Alongside the new MacBook Pro launch and Blackmagic eGPU, Apple also released a new Leather Sleeve for its flagship laptop, albeit to significantly less fanfare and/or controversy. The MacBook Pro Leather Sleeve follows in the footsteps of similar leather-based offerings for the 12-inch MacBook and iPad Pro.
Comprised out of high-quality European leather, the MacBook Pro Leather sleeve is available in one of three colors for both 13- and 15-inch models. Should you consider dropping $179 (13-inch) or $199 to protect your MacBook Pro in style?
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- Designed for all MacBook Pro models between 2016 and 2018
- Features 13-inch and 15-inch version
- Comes in three colors: Midnight Blue, Saddle Brown, and Black
- Made of high-quality natural European leather
- Soft microfiber lining inside to protect your MacBook Pro
- Price: $179 or $199 (13- and 15-inch respectively)
I’ve been testing the 13-inch version of the MacBook Pro Leather Sleeve in Saddle Brown. The sleeve costs nearly $200 after tax.
Like similar Leather Sleeve products for the iPad Pro and 12-inch MacBook, the MacBook Pro Leather sleeve comes in a white box that pops open when you pull on the tab connected to container housing the sleeve. From there, you’ll be met by the MacBook Pro Leather Sleeve neatly nestled behind two tabs on the inner enclosure.
When you first touch the sleeve it becomes readily apparent that the leather is of a high-grade. A rich leather smell accompanies the sleeve, but it isn’t overpowering and doesn’t offer an offensive chemical odor like cheap “genuine” leather sleeves that you might find online.
A neat stitch around the perimeter of the sleeve keeps its two sides together, and on the inside you’ll find a microfiber material on the bottom half of the sleeve. This is an interesting design decision, considering that the microfiber will only come into contact with the bottom of the MacBook Pro.
On top of the sleeve is the obligatory debossed Apple logo, and on the bottom of the sleeve are four impressions that line up with the four feet on the bottom of the MacBook Pro.
I wouldn’t trust subjecting the Leather Sleeve to very rough environments, but it’s a well-put-together product that will protect your MacBook Pro during general day-to-day usage.
My biggest gripe with the MacBook Pro Leather Sleeve, outside of the obvious cost factor, is that it’s not designed to be used in concert with a USB-C charging cable. The stamped Apple logo on top of the sleeve highlights the way that the laptop should be placed inside, which means that the USB-C ports go in first, eliminating the possibility of charging the MacBook Pro while fully inside.
But even if you go against the grain (heh) and put the MacBook Pro inside the sleeve “backwards”, the USB-C ports would still be recessed too far inside the case to connect to a USB-C charging cable while completely inside. The conclusion is that this sleeve was simply not designed to be used while charging your MacBook Pro.
Apple may have its own legitimate reasons (potential fire hazard, etc.) for designing the sleeve this way, but I find it to be an annoyance. There are much less expensive third-party MacBook Pro sleeves that permit the laptop to charge while enclosed.
A secondary complaint is that the bottom edge of the sleeve can be uncomfortable to hold, because a hard edge is created where the two pieces of leather are stitched together. With a 3 pound MacBook Pro inside, I found it slightly uncomfortable to carry around with the edge pressed into my fingers.
The MacBook Pro Leather Sleeve is the product for those who desire a first party product, and will spare no expense protecting their MacBook Pro in style. The leather is indeed beautiful, and I don’t doubt that it will form a nice looking patina over time.
But not being able to charge your MacBook Pro while inside the sleeve is a big downside for me, especially when so many exponentially-cheaper third-party sleeves exist which allow you to do so.
What are your thoughts on the MacBook Pro Leather Sleeve? Are you planning on picking one up for your 13- or 15-inch MacBook Pro? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts.