Review: Apple’s $149 leather sleeve for 12″ MacBook

Launched under the radar during the iPhone X pre-order spree, the leather sleeve for MacBook is the first case Apple has released for one of its portable computers.

Available in Saddle Brown or Midnight Blue, this genuine leather sleeve will easily protect your 12″ MacBook on the go. Apple has been on a roll this year with their releases of new leather goods.

They have the new leather folio for the iPhone X, a leather sleeve for the Apple Pencil, and even one for the iPad Pros.

The latest leather product is this sleeve for the 12″ MacBook. It uses the same leather we’ve seen in their other products, and looks just as good.

Per usual, here is my video where I check out the form factor, build quality, and use of Apple’s newest accessory.

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So how does Apple’s take on the sleeve compare to the others we’ve looked at?

Lets find out.

Build quality

As usual with Apple’s products, the build quality is exceptional. It has a very precise stitch around the exterior, with reinforced edges.

The leather is very soft, but does not have the appearance of other leathers that are soft, yet scuff at every touch.

There is also a soft, microfiber lining that helps to protect your laptop while it is in the sleeve.

The bottom of the sleeve has four dimples that are precisely the same size, shape, and location as the feet on the MacBook. They help the sleeve fit more snuggly without the feet pushing it away.

In use

There are two types of use for a sleeve like this. There is the protective aspect, such as when you are carrying your laptop around. Then there is desktop use, where you can use the laptop while it is still in its sleeve.

The primary purpose of a sleeve is protection, and with three of the four sides protected, it is sufficient. I don’t see the uppermost opening as an issue. If it is in a bag, it should already be somewhat protected, If you are carrying it in your hand, the exposed side will more than likely be facing up, and would. be unlikely to hit the ground in a fall.

The opening on the top offers another purpose too, the ability to use the laptop while in clamshell mode inside the case. I’ve seen one other case that did something similar, which is the Active sleeve from Picaso Lab.

The idea is you can leave your laptop in place, and connect a USB-C monitor. The monitor can provide power to your laptop, as well as act as a display.

The slits on the top of the sleeve is cut down just enough to provide access to the USB-C port, as well as folding back to make it easy to grip and remove your laptop.

Wrapping it up

Apple’s accessories are never cheap. Let alone their leather products. The MacBook sleeve is no different. Made from genuine, high quality, European tanned leather, the sleeve goes good ways towards justifying its price.

My biggest problem with it, is it is only for the 12″ MacBook. I’m rocking a 15″ Pro, and I’m only left with third-party options. To be fair, there are some great third party options. My personal preference has been the Action Sleeve from Picaso Lab as it looks great, and offers similar functionality.

Apple says the reason they don’t offer sleeves for the Pros is the fact that they can’t work inside a sleeve while closed. The ventilation intake ports are along the side, and that makes it difficult to use in clamshell mode inside a sleeve.

If you do happen to have a 12-inch MacBook and can overlook the price tag, the leather sleeve from Apple is definitely worth checking out. You can get it exclusively through Apple for $149.