iSkin SOHO Protective Sleeve Review

by Reads (12,896)

by Gerald Edgecomb

iSkin is best known for their protective iPod cases, but now they are aiming to protect your Mac notebook with their new line of SOHO laptop protective sleeves. The SOHO is available for both the 13.3” MacBook and 15.4” MacBook Pro and, according to iSkin, will also fit other similarly sized notebooks. The SOHO line is available in black and has five accent colors to choose from: Azure (blue), Graphite (grey), Magnum (red), Sahara (orange) and Amazon (pink).


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Design and Build

Like most high-end notebook sleeves, the SOHO is comprised of three layers. The first is the outer shell, which on the SOHO is synthetic leather. Then it has a rigid inner layer followed by a plush inner lining. The center layer is where the bulk of the protection is and when compared to a Crumpler School Hymn sleeve of similar design, the SOHO is more rigid giving a better sense of protection than the Crumpler.  For the zipper, iSkin chose to go with a smaller tooth, and while the zipper does travel smoothly and easily, a larger toothed zipper would travel better. Aesthetically, the SOHO is pleasing to the eye; iSkin has added just the right amount of accent to give the case personality, but not so much that it is overbearing. Inside it is rather pedestrian, no revolutionary changes to the classic notebook sleeve design. They have added two straps to hold the top of the sleeve to the notebook screen so that you can use the notebook with the sleeve still on, something missing from the Crumpler School Hymn.

In Use

The SOHO offers excellent protection while in use. The sleeve hugs my MacBook Pro perfectly and does not allow for any movement. It also protects the notebook while I am taking it out of my bag; I can sometimes be clumsy and bang things around, but with the SOHO sleeve on I do not have to worry as much about damage. The outer shell of the SOHO is also not too slick like some sleeves, which helps in keeping a grip on it. iSkin advertises being able to use your notebook while still in the SOHO, and while I saw no significant increase in temperature during testing, iSkin does not recommend operating the notebook in the sleeve for long periods of time. However, for short periods of time it works well and seems to have no ill effects on the notebook. My only other experience with a notebook sleeve is with the Crumpler School Hymn, which I have been using on a daily basis for sometime. When compared to the School Hymn, the SOHO is much more rigid and offers better protection overall, and while the School Hymn’s zipper is smoother and the price is lower, I cannot justify using it over the SOHO.


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Conclusion

The iSkin SOHO combines excellent protection and aesthetically pleasing design, and while this combination comes at a price when compared to some other sleeves on the market, I believe the superior protection is well worth the extra cost.

Pros

  • Excellent protection
  • Available in several colors
  • Unique look

Cons

  • Price
  • Only fits a small number of notebooks, mainly Apple
  • Unique look may not suit everyone


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The 13.3” MacBook model retails for $59.99 USD, but I tested the 15.4” MacBook Pro Sahara model that retails for $64.99 USD. You can order the iSkin SOHO direct from iSkin at www.iskin.com


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