Review: Picaso Lab’s Active MacBook sleeve—versatile protection in gorgeous handcrafted leather

When it comes to protective sleeves for your MacBook, they are generally very similar: some outer material, a soft inner material and your Mac slides in and out.

The Action Sleeve from Picasso Lab is similar to most sleeves but it adds additional features that make it not only the best looking sleeve I’ve used, but the most ingenious.

We will go hands on with two different colors of the Action Sleeve, what sets it apart and how you can score one with an exclusive iDownloadBlog discount.

Subscribe to iDownloadBlog on YouTube

To get the full picture on the Action Sleeve, I recommend watching my short video.

What is it?

The Action Sleeve is a protective sleeve for your Mac. It’s similar to cases in that it’s meant to offer some protection for your computer, but it’s different as it’s meant to easily be slid off when you go to use it. It’s kind of a middle ground for someone who wants some protection, but doesn’t like the bulkiness of a case.

Like the other sleeves from Picaso Lab (that Anthony is an unabashed fan of), it is handmade with genuine leather. The outside is leather and the inside has a soft microfiber that helps guarantee protection.

The corners are exceptionally strong, which helps offer up some additional protection in the unfortunate case of an accidental drop. It comes in two different color options, a brown and grey and a black and red. I love both of them, however I do prefer the smoother feel of the brown leather compared to the more pebbled texture of the black.

What sets it apart?

One of the biggest differentiators is the fact these cases are handmade. And rather than being bulk-machined in China, they’re made right here in the US. To me, that already makes them special.

On top of that, however, is the design. There are three unique aspects that make this sleeve work. First, is the exposed area for the top of your Mac. Second, the red leather suspenders. Lastly, is the perforated holes on the bottom edges. Why the holes? Well, this case is unique because it is made to be used with your laptop in or out of it.

Normally that is a no-go because while your Mac can be used in clamshell mode, it would quickly overheat in a sleeve. The perforated holes along the side allow your machine to easily intake cool air and expel warm air out the back, which is also open.

The cutouts for the opening on the top also allow easy access to the USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports so you can plug your Mac into power, a monitor or a great Thunderbolt 3 dock.

The red suspenders are completely optional as the sleeves fit very snug, though that can loosen a bit overtime. The suspenders snap into place and can be there for a little extra piece of mind.

In use

I tend to use my Mac a lot in clamshell mode. I have it closed and I utilize a dock and one or two external monitors, depending on if I am at my home or work office. I think it keeps my desk clean and gives me more area to work.

This case is fantastically easy to tote around and I can’t start to quantify the number of comments I’ve gotten as I’ve taken it out with me as I’m writing at work or the coffee shop.

I opted not to use the leather suspenders, at least for the moment.

When you first get your Action Sleeve, it is tight. So tight I wondered “will my laptop ever come out?”. It has to be this way though, because as leather stretches, it loosens out. You need to leave your laptop in it a couple nights to start to break it in and form to the computer.

As it loosens up, I may decide to put the suspenders back one. For now, it seems nice and snug.

Wrapping it up

To some degree, the Action Sleeve lowers the amount of protection you get out of it.

The whole top area of your Mac is exposed. In reality, that isn’t really an issue. If you’d ever drop your laptop while holding it, it would drop straight down and hit one of the bottom two corners that are very strong.

I find this to be an exceptionally well-made sleeve that looks stunning (in either color option), but is also simple and functional. I greatly prefer this to a standard sleeve because of the additional versatility you get out of it.

Picaso Lab happens to be one of the favorites of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

In fact, he helped with a charity effort by selling autographed Picaso Lab sleeves with proceeds going to a Woz-selected charitable organization.

Pricing & availability

If you’d like to pick one up for yourself, they aren’t very cheap.

After all, it is a hand-made leather case that you can even have engraved for goodness sake. They start out at $89 for the iPad sleeve and go up to $145 for the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

If those numbers look a little steep, you’re in luck.

iDB discount

We have an iDownloadBlog exclusive 10% discount for any of our readers. To apply the discount, head over to the Picaso Lab website, select your sleeve or case and use the promo code idownload10 at checkout.

Let us know what you think of the Action Sleeve down below in the comments.