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The ‘Book Mystique Review - MacCase Premium Leather Flight Jacket For Apple Notebooks

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

by Charles W. Moore

A few months back I reviewed the retro revival of the MacCase Classic computer case, originally designed in 1999 for the then brand-new clamshell iBook, and now offered for the 13-inch MacBook in the full range of classic iBook colors. I was impressed with both be design and workmanship of the Key Lime Classic Case we tested, but the latest offering from MacCase takes cool and classy to an even higher level.

MacCase’s a new Premium Leather Flight Jacket has a retro flare as well, but this time reaching substantially further back then 1999, to the era between the twentieth century world wars when aviators wore leather flight jackets to buffer the wind-battering they got in open-cockpit aircraft and chilly temperatures at high altitudes in non-pressurized cabins. The Flight Jacket Case indeed looks like a piece of kit in which Indiana Jones - a young Indiana Jones - might have packed his gear around.

Designed by MacCase CEO Michael Santoro, a professional industrial designer who spent six years working in Chrysler’s styling office, during which he created the exterior design of the 1995 Car Of The Year - the Chrysler Cirrus - and its sistership the Dodge Status, as well as the return-to-its-roots restyle of the 1996 - 2006 Jeep Wrangler. Mr. Santoro clearly has a feel and flair for traditionally iconic form, having also done design consultancy for the Vector M-12 and the Lamborghini Jota exoticars, and the Gulfstream G5 executive jet aircraft.

Drawing on the success of MacCase’s Premium Leather Collection of computer sleeves, shoulder bags, and iPod, iPhone, and accessory cases, which are contemporarily-styled, the MacCase Premium Leather Flight Jacket has a more complex and retro-funky look, and is entirely believable as something that might have been made in the 1930s. Pictures really don’t do it justice, and it has a presence that kind of reaches out and grabs you. “I want that,” was my wife’s immediate comment upon spotting the Flight Jacket for the first time, before she even knew what it was. It has that effect; you want to touch it.

The MacCase Premium Leather Flight Jacket is available custom-sized to fit and protect the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and MacBook, and its vertically-oriented compact form factor is intended to offer effective protection for your Apple laptop with minimal bulk. It can be carried a briefcase-style with its top handle, under the arm using the provided matching leather shoulder strap, or in a backpack mode with the optional backpack harness straps.

Michael Santoro comments that “the design of the Flight Jacket embodies the minimalism of the MacBook Air and the the romanticism of our Premium Leather. Apple owners looking for a timeless case designed with outstanding protection and minimal bulk will find this, and more, in the new Flight Jacket.”

The Flight Jacket combines the protective benefits of the company’s sleeve with the utility of the larger shoulder bag.

The Flight Jacket is available in three colors: Chocolate, Black, and Distressed Vintage, all with contrasting white stitching and robust stainless steel hardware. Our review unit is the Distressed Vintage version, and while I have only seen the Chocolate and Black versions in photographs, my provisional take is that the Distressed Vintage highlights the design most effectively.

As noted, three models are offered, respectively custom sized to fit and protect the MacBook Air , the MacBook Pro, and the MacBook. The Flight Jacket perfectly fits the entire MacBook series including Apple’s latest launch of the new 13” MacBook and 15” MacBook Pro.

The quality of the leatherwork is excellent. The material itself thick but luxuriously soft, with neatly-done stitching. The computer compartment closure is a foldover flap with generous overlap and secured with color - matched the overall heads of generous dimensions.

The Flight Jacket has several storage pockets for accessories and a removable, customized pouch for the MacBook Air Super Drive or AC adapter for the larger MacBook Pro models. On the outer face of the flap is a full-width zipper-closure pocket lined with nylon taffeta fabric over what feels like a thin layer of foam padding.

Under the flap cover on the front of the Flight Jacket is another the pocket, also taffeta-lined and with its own dedicated Central Velcro closure. There is another deep, open pocket on the back side of the case.

The computer compartment is lined with a soft knit fabric and has somewhat heavier protective padding. An interesting feature is a removable customized pouch which attaches to the front of the flight Jacket with a quick release connector and is sized to carry a MacBook Air SuperDrive or an AC adapter for the bigger-sized MacBook models.

The shoulder strap or backpack harness attach to the Flight Jacket with hefty, swivel-mounted spring clips and it riveted, sewn-in stainless steel D -rings.

The MacCase Flight Jacket’s retail price is $169.95 (shoulder strap and handle carrying options included). The backpack strap option bumps the price to $189.95.

Delivery is via DHL in the US, (varies in other countries), and costs anywhere between $10-15.

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