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Review: SurfacePad for MacBook/Pro by twelvesouth

I recently picked up one of Apple’s newly released 15″ MacBook Pro machines and am loving it. My plan is to hopefully keep this machine for many years to come, so one of my first things to do was to buy some equipment to protect it as much as possible. I picked up a Speck SeeThru Satin case which is doing a great job protecting the outside of the machine. But, since I’ve been using laptops heavily for over a decade, I know what a beating the inside can take. That’s where the SurfacePad comes in…

The SurfacePad for MacBook (and MacBook Pro) is a leather keyboard deck and wrist-rest area protector made by twelvesouth. twelvesouth has a really slick line of Mac-only accessories for MacBooks, MacBook Pros, iMacs and iPads. The SurfacePad is available for MacBooks and MacBook Pros in black, with a smooth or pattern finish. twelvesouth also sells SurfacePad Colors, which is a basically the same product exclusively for MacBooks that come in a variety of candy-like colors.

Out of the box, the SurfacePad comes in two pieces, each with a plastic, peel-away backing. Three small stickers on the back of the pieces outline the steps to install the accessory. Starting with the keyboard deck (ie. the bottom of the laptop when looking at it from the top), you peel back a small piece of the plastic backing. This allows you to line-up the cover with your laptop and  fit over your trackpad. After that is in place, you peel off the second half of the bottom case and finish sticking it to the laptop. The second strip of leather in the package is designed to fit the area between the top of the keyboard and display, complete with a cutout for the power button.

Installation was much easier than I thought it would be. I always seem to have to put these types of products on, then spend an hour trying to get the spacing even all around the device. Whatever substance twelevesouth uses as an adhesive – it works. The cover didn’t slide around at all during the several hours I’ve been using it. I was easily able to peel the cover back off while adjusting for the perfect fit. Even after a couple “stick down -> peel off -> stick down” cycles, the SurfacePad is still as sticky as it was when I first took it out of the box.

I have the smooth (non-pattern) version of the case, not the “pattern” version that has some modern, flower-type designs in the lower left and right of the keyboard deck. The material itself (leather) is very smooth, and feels extremely comfortable, even after hours and hours of use.

The case adds no weight or bulk to the laptop, and still allows the case to close completely. Aesthetically, whether or not you like black pads the on the surface of your MacBook is pretty much  matter of personal preference. I’m kind of on the fence about the look of them. I think the MacBook version looks really slick, because you don’t get the spaces for the speakers like you do on the MacBook Pro. But again, it’s all a matter of personal taste.

Based on my experience so far, I would highly recommend this accessory for any MacBook user. It offers great protection for the keyboard deck – which I find often starts to get grimy after only a couple days of use. It also feels fantastic while your hands are resting on it.

The SurfacePad is available for MacBooks and MacBook Pros from the twelvesouth website.

MSRP: $39.99 (plus free shipping)

PROS: fully protects keyboard deck & wrist area, easily removable, comfortable even after hours of use

CONS: black aesthetic may not suit your personal tastes

Original Author: Mark Hawkins

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