Pad & Quill has emerged within the past year as a great competitor for the DODOcase. I managed to play a bit with the review cases that Steve Sande reviewed in January at Macworld/iWorld and was impressed with the build quality for the iPad. Pad & Quill also makes the Cartella Case for the MacBook Air. It's made for both sizes of MacBook Air, and I got my hands on the 11-inch one to try. Steve took a brief look at the Cartella in January, but we're getting a chance to take a deeper look now.
The case looks and feels like a Moleskine on steroids. The cover is Italian-bonded leather, which you can get in several colors. The one I'm trying is the basic black cover. It feels good in your hands. It's secured by a strong elastic band, which feels like it can take a fair amount of abuse and not fray.
The interior tray is made of Baltic Birch and is equally exquisite. Two cutouts hold the MacBook Air in place in the bottom of the tray, and there's a slash pocket on the cover's interior to hold papers. There's easy access to all ports.
The Cartella holds the MacBook Air more securely than I thought it would. Place the computer in the case with the trackpad pointing toward the edge. If you get mixed up, the cutouts match the bottom of the MacBook Air. The case is free-hinged and will let you completely fold it back so you have a mini stand for the MacBook Air. It angles the computer just enough that you can type comfortably without removing the MacBook Air from the case.
However, there's nothing holding the MacBook Air in the case other than gravity, so if the case gets knocked too hard, it could go flying out. Make sure you've got a good grip on the case and computer if carrying it around with the lid open.
With the case closed and secured, it can withstand a fair amount of abuse. You can't drop it off your balcony, but you can toss this in your bag. Or, for the truly paranoid, you can stick it on your bookcase alongside your other books. Very few will realize there's a laptop in there and just think it's another notebook.
At US$79.99 for the 11-inch Cartella and $89.99 for the 13-inch Cartella, it falls right in line with similar cases made for the iPad. It's handmade in Minnesota, and if you're wanting to spend a little money for a true book-like feel for the the MacBook Air, you won't go wrong with the Cartella.
- Handmade in the U.S. in Minnesota.
- Reasonably priced, in line with competitors.
- Looks good, elastic band is secure. Computer fits well in wooden tray.
- Can fold back case to be used as a little lap stand.
- Computer isn't latched into case, so you need to take care if moving it around with the lid open.
Who is it for?
- People who want a book-like case for their MacBook Air that's just as easy on the eyes as similar ones for the iPad.