Protect your keyboard in a variety of colors. (April 18th, 2007)
Product Manufacturer: iSkin Inc.
Price: $24.99 US
- Edges do not roll up. Stays put on keyboard. Assorted colors available. Models available for Mac portables as far back as the Pismo.
- Very thick. Attracts dust. Masks backlighting on keyboard. Ghost model makes keys hard to see in dim light. Expensive.
There's only so much one can say about a keyboard cover and MacNN has looked at a few from different manufacturers, so I was hesitant to write up another one. Yet, iSkin sent me MacBook and PowerBook ProTouch keyboard covers that seem somehow different, so I decided to take a closer look.
Many color choicesFirst, the iSkin ProTouch comes in different colors than most. They sport fashion titles, such as Sonic, Blush, Artic, Ghost, and Eclipse. For those of us outside of the fashion loop, those colors translate into frosted blue, pink, and clear, opaque black and an opaque white, glow in the dark cover.
I tested the opaque white and black models, and was sorely disappointed. First, the Ghost white cover reduces your ability to read the backlit keyboard, even though it glows in the dark. Without the cover, you can see each key label perfectly with the backlit keyboard on, but with it applied, there's this unearthly circular glow that makes the keys hard to read. Generally, I know where all the keys are, so this doesn't impede typing, but it is distracting. In addition, while the white keyboard cover was slightly more useful, the black ProTouch completely blocks out the key backlighting. The letters are printed on the cover, so no light shows through at all, plus it is so thick you have no hope of checking key placement in dimly lit areas. The covers are easily read in normal lighting though.
Thicker Than Other Keyboard ProtectorsThe silicone ProTouch covers are at least twice as thick as the RasFox cover I usually use, but fit the same way. Each key conforms exactly to the keys on your keyboard, and the cover never strays off its intended spot. It muffles keyboard noise completely and has a nice feel on your overused fingers. The covers were always warm to the touch when removed, which indicates they trap heat, never a good sign. My PowerBook closed fine with the thick keyboard protection, but I do not recommend leaving this cover on when your computer sleeps.
Good ProtectionIf you like to eat while typing, the ProTouch protects well against crumbs falling between keys, but at a significantly higher cost than other skins reviewed. iSkin claims it protects against keyboard spills too, but excuse me if I don't test that out. I'm not about to drip water onto my machine to test this claim. Water can also seep in from the edges, so its protection only works if you spill directly onto the keyboard cover.
As Alex Munro pointed out in his review of the Macessity Keyboard Shield (URL below), "While its rubbery texture feels good when typing, it also acts as a dust and fuzz magnet... This may present an issue for anyone who is allergy-prone." This sentiment also applies to the ProTouch. I thought the ProTouch attracted even more dust than normal. After washing the black cover, it was covered in dust after drying for a day. Shaking the cover didn't remove the dust, so I had to wash it again, but all the dust never came off.
Available for most Mac PortablesTo their credit, iSkin is one of the few companies that still sell covers to support almost every working Mac portable. A different model exists for the MacBook Pro and PowerBook G4 Aluminum, the MacBook only, and the PowerBook G4 Titanium, G3/G4 iBook, plus the PowerBook G3, and Clam Shell iBooks. The problem is that I just cannot recommend this product. The Ghost and Eclipse models are too thick, make backlighting useless, attract too much dust, and are too expensive.
Keyboard Skin by Lakesen International Inc. - Rasfox ($12.99)
Macessity Keyboard Shield ($19.99)
U-Cover Keyboard Protector by Uniea Corp. ($19.99)