Review: See-Thru Hard Shell Case

This case protects your MacBook Pro in style. (November 29th, 2006)

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Speck Products

Price: $49.95 US

The Good

  • Scratch resistant polycarbinate shell. Easy to install. Rubber feet. Does not fall off laptop.

The Bad

  • None Found. Currently only available for 15" MacBook Pro Core Duo. Only two colors.

Sorry promotion has ended and price is corrected - 12/14/06

While the MacBook Pro is a polished beauty to admire, its silver casing is not immune to the hazards of daily use. Speck Products solves this potential problem with a shiny, holiday red, hard polycarbonate plastic shell-type case. Currently, the custom shell is available for the Apple 15" MacBook Pro Core Duo only. A version for the 13" MacBook is announced on the site, but no date appears yet. The red color adds a unique styling to my laptop, though some may consider it somewhat child-like. A clear case is available for those of you who do not want such a bold, eye-catching color.

A perfect fit

The Speck See-Thru case is two separate translucent pieces that fit perfectly around your MacBook Pro. Each half has carefully cut port holes. It contours to every angle of the MacBook exterior and provides an accurate and very stable fit. Once the pieces are snapped around the laptop, the See-Thru allows for unhindered access to every port and slot on each side of the MacBook. Four small, rubber feet on the underside of the case protects the laptop from sliding when placed on a smooth surface. The Speck logo also graces the underside. This is a case truly designed to protect while a laptop is in use without restricting functionality.

Installation and Removal

Installation is quick and painless, because the case simply snaps right onto the machine by unobtrusive little plastic tabs. It takes seconds to install. The top half of the See-Thru snaps onto the back of the screen by four tabs, two near the top and two near the bottom. The bottom half of the case attaches in a similar manner, with two tabs towards the bottom on the inside of the laptop, and five small plastic hooks that attach underneath the laptop right near the back edge where it connects to the screen. The tabs holding the case onto the laptop are hardly visible and do not interfere with closing the machine. The case is very snug and secure and once in place, it is there to stay until I want to take it off.

Removing the See-Thru is a slightly trickier task. You pry off bottom half by flipping over the MacBook and undoing the five hooks on the back. Next, you gently pull the case up, which frees the other two tabs. The top section of the See-Thru is slightly more difficult to remove. The easiest method I found is to close the laptop, and first pull the back left corner free, then working on the others until they release. The case fits so well, that the first time I tried to remove it, I opened the laptop, instead of prying off the case. This is not a case designed for daily removal, which is actually a good thing.

The Speck See-Thru increases the size of my machine very slightly, but I can still use my padded messenger bag. However, if you use a laptop case that provides an already exceptionally tight fit, adding the See-Thru may exceed your available interior space. Most 15.4" cases should accommodate the MacBook Pro with the See-Thru case though.

Over Time

After extended use, the case has not come loose or fallen off while lugging the laptop between different classrooms, settings, and containers. While it does not protect against hard impacts or drops, the Speck case protects against minor nicks and scratches that are bound to show on a laptop after extensive use.

Only the color is hot

My largest concern was that it would increase the temperature of my already hot laptop, and I am happy to report that I have not noticed any difference in heat output. Speck smartly built in a 74-slot ventilation system. Their site notes, "The shell is designed to allow for thermal exchange out of the heatsinks and fans of the computer."

The Speck See-Thru Hard Shell is an exceptional purchase for MacBook Pro owners who want permanent, scratch resistant protection for their aesthetically pleasing, yet scratch-prone laptop exteriors. This is a great holiday gift.

Another review of the Clear Speck See-Thru Hard Shell by MacNN Contributing Writer, Oni Tsang, appears on his TechCast Network Blog:

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Alexander Munro


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