Last week I covered the new Speck polycarbonate case for the MacBook Air. There's no doubt it provides ultimate protection for the computer, including the vulnerable corners. However, while this lighter case is thinner and less bulky than previous Speck hardshells, such as the one I fitted to my MacBook Pro 13in, there's no doubt it does add a smidgeon to weight and bulk. Frankly, after a day or two this isn't noticeable and I wouldn't let it worry you. What could give you pause for thought is the way in which the Speck case – especially the satin version I chose – disguises the Air. It could be anything, albeit a slim anything, and doesn't have the in-your-face presence of the miniscule beastie in the buff.
So I have been trying out an alternative means of protection, the Zagg film kit which involves applying a thin plastic covering to the top, bottom and inside (around the keyboard) of the Air. Although it is a little fiddly to apply, involving clean fingers and oodles of the (provided) liquid spray, the result is an almost invisible but very strong covering. As with all these film application procedures, bubbles appear. But if you use lots of the liquid, as suggested by Zagg, it's easy to squeegee them out. I had a few residual bubbles, especially around the Apple logo, but all disappeared within 24 hours.
The keyboard film covers the left and right wrist rests and extends along the sides of the keyboard up to the hinges. There is also a film for the touchpad but I decided not to apply that because I prefer the feel of the naked pad.
Although the Zagg film would not protect the Air from a direct fall, particularly on a corner, it does a very effective job of completely preventing scratches and minimising the risk of collecting dings. If you doubt this, have a look at this video from the prolific iGlaswegian (theunits3 on YouTube). Not only does he show how to apply the Zagg shield, he proves that afterwards you can take an electric drill to the case of the Air and, even, use it as a vegetable chopping block without harm. Only a Glaswegian would be mad enough to try that with a thousand-pound computer, but I take my hat off to him.
Currently, then, my precious little Air is protected in two ways – the Zagg shield for when I want to carry it around naked, and the Speck satin case for everyday use (and prophylactic against stone or tile floors). Both options are pretty pricy with the Speck case at £39.95 (Apple Store) and the Zagg kit at around £35 (Amazon) but both are well worth it if they protect your investment and ensure a higher resale value.
If you are considering the Speck case watch this video which shows you how to fit the case and (probably much more important) how to get the thing off again. It takes real guts but comes easy after a couple of dry runs.