Speck MBP38

All my friends and family can tell you how much I love my MacBook Pro. In fact, to their chagrin; it is always by my side. I try to take good care of it and keep the outside looking immaculate. Of course this is harder than it sounds. Recently I have kept the top of the machine protected from minor scratches by covering it with a GelaSkin. Unfortunately, this does not provide enough protection from more physical hazards.

Fortunately, Speck a company known for creating cases for various electronic products has sent Test Freaks a version of their SeeThru Hard Shell Case line. For today’s review, I will be looking at the Aqua version of the SeeThru for MacBook Pro (silver key version). This case comes in nine translucent colors. It is light weight so it will not increase the weight of the MacBook Pro and the colorful case accentuates the stylishness of the machine.

The Speck SeeThru Hard Shell Case comes sealed in a clear plastic wrap with a sleeve label on the side with the Speck logo and a picture of the case on a MacBook Pro. The back of this sleeve lists the features of this hard shell case in six different languages.

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Once the SeeThru case is removed from the wrapping, we find the case separates into two halves, an orange cleansing cloth, and two instructions sheets.

The SeeThru is composed of a polycarbonate plastic which measures in at 14” width, 9.5” in length and 1.0” in height and weighs 9 oz. It is a translucent shade of aqua which allows the MacBook Pro’s exterior to be easily visualized through the plastic. It is composed of a two piece snap on design and allows access to all the ports. The only times you would need to remove it would be to access the battery door or to clean any dust or particulate matter that gets caught between the shell and the MacBook Pro.

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The top of the SeeThru has a large opening towards the back portion which corresponds to the hinge on the MacBook Pro. The bottom half of the case has multiple open areas for the various openings found on the bottom of the MacBook Pro.

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On the front, we see openings for the SuperDrive slot, the hinge release button and the IR receiver. The right side has a large cut out area for access to the security port, USB, two Firewire ports, LAN and DVI connector.

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The left side has five individual cut out areas for the power connector, USB, Express Card slot, Microphone and Headphone jacks. On the bottom we find a series of 74 vent slots which surround the Speck logo. There is also a small circular opening for the battery strength testing button. In each of the four corners we see a black rubber feet. Finally on the back is another wide cut out area for the MacBook Pro hinge.

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Specifications:

Speck SeeThru Hard Shell Case for 15” Mac Book Pro

Accent the sleek look of your 15″ MacBook Pro notebook (older, silver keyboard model)! Get great hard case protection, a hint of color and a massive dose of shine. SeeThru MacBook cases are made of translucent hard plastic to beautify and protect.

Hard plastic shell gives great protection
Full access to all controls
Cool translucent case
Comes with rubber feet for added support
Fits “older” MacBook Pro 15″ (with silver keyboard)

Length: 1.0 inches
Width: 14.0 inches
Height: 9.5 inches
Weight: 9.0 oz.
Colors: Blue, Red, Pink, Aqua, Purple, Black, Clear, Green, Orange
SKUS: MB15-BLU-SEE, MB15-RED-SEE, MB15-PNK-SEE, MB15-AQU-SEE, MB15-PUR-SEE, MB15-BLK-SEE-V2, MB15-CLR-SEE-V2, MB15-GRN-SEE-V2, MB15-ORG-SEE-V2

Installation involves placing a closed MacBook Pro in bottom half of case then snapping on the corners and back ‘hooks’. Next, place the top half of the case on top of MacBook and snap on corners. Viola! Your MacBook Pro is now covered and protected by the SeeThru Hard Shell Case.

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To remove the SeeThru case, pull the small tabs of the case away from the MacBook Pro. Speck recommends using a credit card for prying off these small tabs. I found removal was a little harder than getting the case onto the laptop.

You can see the clarity of the SeeThru case, as my GelaSkin is easily visualized.

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Here is a closer look at the left side ports. There is plenty of space to fit the standard sized devices, but a USB plug with an irregular shape may have a problem with proper contact on this side when the SeeThru is on.

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On the front, the Super Drive is easily accessible along with the latch release button.

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The right side opening is totally exposed, so anything that fits in the MacBook Pro on this side will fit with the SeeThru case attached.

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Looking at the back of the MacBook Pro, we see clips locking the case onto the base of the machine and a large open area for the hinge and vent area.

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Flipping the machine over, the 72 vents are seen along with the opening for the battery test button. Plus there are the four non slip rubber feet. These rubber feet are fantastic, as my MacBook Pro’s rubber feet seemed to be more silicone based than rubber and tended to slide rather easily. These feet grip most surfaces like a magnet, so there is no worry about your MacBook Pro sliding around.

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Here are some shots of the MacBook Pro housed in the Speck SeeThru Hard Case Shell.

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After using the SeeThru Hard Case Shell for a week, I found it to be a nice security blanket in protecting my MacBook Pro from scratches, minor bumps and hazards. The SeeThru seems like it can take most minor dings and impacts pretty easily, but I would not want to see what happens from a real hard impact or drop since this case was not designed with that type of protection in mind.

Temperature wise, I did not notice a difference in heat output as my MacBook Pro felt as warm as it did while “naked”. Apparently the 74 vents do help in dissipating any stored heat from sitting in an enclosed environment.

Aesthetically, it kept the sensibility of my MacBook Pro and the colorful case actually drew several compliments. Its weight is negligible and the slight size increase is somewhat noticeable, but I quickly acclimated to it within a few days. The only complaints I had with the SeeThru Hard Case Shell was that sometimes I would feel the plastic snap way as I was using the MacBook Pro and would get the feeling that my laptop was coming apart. Also, removing the case without a credit card is a bit harder than I would have liked; but this also means that the case stays on really well.

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Conclusion:

The Speck See-Thru Hard Shell is a terrific product for providing your MacBook Pro a permanent scratch resistant home, while maintaining the stylish appearance of the Apple lifetstyle. Just keep in mind this protection is not intended for drops and hard impacts. I know my MacBook Pro will be residing in the Speck SeeThru Hard Case Shell for quite some time!

Pros:
Translucent Shell
Does not take away from the MacBook Pro’s aesthetic
Secure fit
Plenty of access to all ports

Cons:
Hard to get off quickly

Grades:  
Overall score-9-10
Design score-10-10
Performance score-9-10