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VINE VOICEon May 16, 2012
Color: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Thule has been long known for their ruggedness so when I saw a chance to snag this MacBook Pro Sleeve for my husband (who just happens to be an IT professional and drags his laptop EVERYWHERE) I just couldn't resist. He is rough on his equipment and it tends to get tough on our pocket book. (if you know what I mean) So I handed it over and told him to test it out.

After a few weeks of use, this is what he had to say.

Pros:

*It's rugged.

*The zippers (though they are a little stiff to deal with at first especially around corners) create a very tight seal keeping the elements (rain etc) out. A must if you are using this as your main carry all. Don't plan on throwing it into a backpack? No problem.

*The texture (or ridges) on the outside make it easily to handle. While most cases are smooth on the outside (and can slide from your fingers if you aren't paying attention to what you are doing) the texture on this sleeve provides a space for your fingers to actually latch on.

*The polyester fiber lining on the inside is top notch. I don't have to worry about my MacBook getting scratched, which makes me a happy camper.

*The elastic bands (on the inside) bend with the display allowing me to use my computer while it's still in the sleeve.

Cons:

*The zippers. I mentioned this in the pros but man...those are some tough zippers to get around the edges. I'm sure with more use they will looses up a tad, but they are difficult to deal with right out of the gate.

*While I appreciate the texture found on the outside (allowing me to grip it easily) I could benefit from a handle. Once the computer is tucked safely inside it tends to get a little heavy (due in part to the heavy duty material used to make it.)

*Unless you are taking this backpacking (which might actually be the reason you are buying such a tough sleeve) there is no additional space provided for accessories of any kind. (aka you can't bring your charger.)

This is - flat out - a backpackers sleeve. If you are looking for a new business case you will be disappointed. And, with the lack of features (which would allow it to be functional for more than 1 "type" of use) it's a tad pricey.
55 comments69 of 71 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Color: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Thule has been synonymous with ruggedness with their line of modular bicycle, ski, luggage and other multi-purpose roof racks since at least the '80s here in the U.S. As one who has used these products on various vehicles over the years, I can attest to their overall quality, along with their customer service.

When I saw this new Thule MacBook Sleeve 13In Tote Bag offered here, it was obviously worth a deeper look, and after receiving it and putting it to use, can say that it has lived up to my expectations.

Pros:

* Semi-rigid, high-density molded high-density polyurethane construction
* Water-resistant zipper and outer shell, allows all-weather use
* Convenient clamshell design; offers easy access
* Elastic band holds the MacBook securely in place
* Weighs under a pound

Cons:

* Could use an inside pocket; may be minor to many
* No handle; again a minor issue

Observations:

This sleeve/case is not only a pleasure to use; it's attractive in its overall design and function. It holds my MacBook Pro Laptop in place perfectly when it's being transported. I wondered about how weather-resistant it might be, so I zipped it up and gave it a quick pass in the shower prior inserting my laptop, trying to simulate street conditions. Dried off the exterior and found the interior to be dry.

The molded semi-rigid exterior appears to be well constructed, and the design is unmistakably Thule. It's the type of sleeve that is excellent for protecting the MacBook when traveling, especially on airline flights when it may have to be stowed in an overhead bin or tossed into the back seat of a care when one is in a hurry. I didn't feel like doing a drop test with my MacBook inside, but rapping on the outside offered a positive feeling about the overall construction.

The dual zipper pulls have rubberized handles, and allow for opening this case in either direction. Should note that the zipper was a bit stiff initially, but using the old-fashioned treatment of gently passing an unlit candle across the fine zipper teeth, then exercising them for a few minutes, cured that problem. From careful examination it appears that the zipper is quite similar to those used in a well-designed camera bag, where weather resistance is a priority.

Should you own a 15 inch MacBook, they also offer a Thule MacBook Sleeve 15In Tote Bag, which appears to be quite similar.

In Use:

Simply put, this Thule MacBook Sleeve functions quite well as a protective case for a MacBook. The surface is easy to grip even when wet, and it has that unmistakable signature Thule appearance. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that even with the Speck Products See Thru Satin Case on my MacBook Pro, it still fit inside the Thule sleeve. Your own experience may vary depending on the thickness of a particular shell case if you use one, but it worked with mine.

Issues:

There been a lot of talk on various support sites about the potential for heat buildup in the various MacBook computers. The product tag that came with my Thule sleeve states: "The clamshell design lets you to use your device while still in the case." I raise a skeptical eyebrow with this statement, as I had asked some techs at a major Apple retailer during a visit there. They pointed me to the Apple Support site, where I found the following info:

"Mac computers have air vents that allow heated air to exit. The vents are in the back of the computer on the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro computers. On an iMac, the vent is a slot on the back near the top of the computer. Make sure the vents remain unblocked to allow your computer to perform at its best."

Another section noted the following:

"Set up your portable on a stable work surface that allows for adequate air circulation under and around the computer. Do not operate your portable on a pillow or other soft material, as the material can block the airflow vents. Never place anything over the keyboard when operating the computer. Never push objects into the ventilation openings."

If you look at your own MacBook when it's in place within the Thule sleeve, you'll see that the airflow is obstructed if you operate it within the sleeve. I tried it briefly, and did notice that the fan speed did increase; a clear indication then there's a bit of internal heat buildup when using it in this fashion. I might suggest that this sleeve be used for transporting your MacBook or protecting it from the elements, and not for actual use with the notebook inside.

Also be aware that the CD/DVD drive will be blocked if one operates the MacBook Pro inside this sleeve, and should you need to charge it using one of the new style MagSafe magnetic power connectors, you'll have to reverse it, blocking the USB and other ports on the left of the computer.

Bottom Line:

If the points above regarding the potential for heat buildup sound negative regarding this Thule sleeve, they actually are not. If anything it's just basic common sense. I use mine regularly, but for transporting the MacBook, and not operating it in field situations. It has proven itself to be excellent all-weather protection for the computer, along with offering a stylishly distinctive look when on location in either the field or the office. I recommend this as a good all around sleeve for transporting the MacBook.

5/15/2012
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on August 17, 2012
Nothing more to say other than the laptop case cost $50, lasted 3 weeks before the zipper teeth broke off and would not open past the first corner. The product now lies broken and in tatters in the garbage can in my office. Thule may be "made in Sweden," but the made in China tag on the inside seems more reflective of the quality of construction and duration of use.
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on May 16, 2013
The case was fine while it lasted. However, after only 9 months of regular use, the zipper is completely broken, to the extent that part of it has come off of the case entirely. For a $50 case, this is totally unacceptable.
44 comments18 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon May 23, 2012
Color: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a case, this one's simple - it fits the 13.3" Macbook Pro to a T. There's little to no extra room inside, though I've been able to connect the magsafe charger while the case was unzipped. Bonus points for being *extremely* light. Being only a very thin, light molded material, it barely registers as extra weight when the Macbook is inside. And the zipper design is claimed to provide a level of water resistance, which is an excellent thing indeed. The Macbook can easily be used inside of the case, it doesn't hinder usage and won't create any clutter around you if you need to use it in a cramped space (such as on an airplane, bus, small table in a Starbucks, etc.)

But in terms of protection, I have to wonder about Thule's claims. This is not truly a hard-shell case. It's a semi-hard molded material that will deform if impacted by the right thing in the right way, and there is no impact foam inside to absorb any of the energy. In contrast, I also have a Case Logic QNS-113 13.3-Inch EVA Molded Laptop Macbook Air/Pro Sleeve (Black) that doesn't have the rugged construction that the Thule has, but instead has a thick layer of dense foam protecting the top and a ridged lower section. I'm torn on which one I feel is the safer of the two for my Macbook - the Case Logic doesn't fit the Macbook very snugly at all, but provides much greater sense of protection over this very thin case. Perhaps you understand my dilemma here.

At the moment, I have settled on keeping the Macbook in the Thule case at home, and since I rarely travel with it, the case it simply protection from my kids. The Thule is fine for that. We have a short vacation upcoming, and that's where I'm again torn - Thule or Case Logic? Contrary to my review, I'm leaning toward the Thule because of it's light nature. We'll see...
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VINE VOICEon August 15, 2012
Color: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's hard not be impressed by the look of this Thule Gauntlet 13" sleeve. It easily is the best looking sleeve I have seen. My housemate even joked that this would be the laptop sleeve that Batman uses.

But in terms of its actual function, which is protecting the laptop, I am not so certain. Surely it can protect the laptop from scratches and some element of weather (the zipper is only water resistant, not waterproof). However, this sleeve really lacks padding. Apparently, it protects the laptop from shocks through the rigidity of the panels themselves, thus spreading the shock better than less rigid materials. Also, the protrusions on the panels are in fact the same foam-ish material of the rest of the panel, and so you get some shock absorbance. Finally, and perhaps my main gripe about this sleeve is that it sorely needs a handle (which I know will no longer qualify it as a sleeve). The sleeve, once loaded with a 13" MBP, is heavy and thick. It almost slipped out of my hand once. Be careful!

Overall, I would say that the price is a bit steep for what this sleeve offers. Sorry Case Logic, I have to give a 4 out of 5.
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on June 20, 2011
This case works just fine. MacBook Pro fits inside, nice and snug when zipped shut. The case is easy to hold - not too slippery. The zipper might be a tad-bit too difficult to move, but it's still manageable. Here's the thing: It STINKS! I mean it smells bad. This little case has one horrible odor. It smells of chemical, plastic-y, rubbery stuff and is simply offensive to the nose. I have left the thing outside, in the sun, wind and rain, for a few days. The odor has diminished a bit but it's still stinky. At this point I would not take this to a client's office or a friend's house - just too nasty an odor to inflict on folks. Eliminate that odor and you've got yourself a nice five-star product. 'Til then I'm afraid I won't be using it much.
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on January 10, 2014
The sleeve looks much better than it performs. The zipper is very tight and difficult to open and close. When the new MacBook Pro Retina is in the sleeve there is a little more than a half inch of play in both the length and width, so the laptop tends to slide around inside. I was definitely disappointed in this case, and expected something more form fitting.
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on September 22, 2014
Doesn't really seem optimized for the 13" macbook. Theres a good amount of wiggle room when the laptops in the case. Seems like it will kind of defeat the purpose of the case. Also the sides of the computer don't seem very protected. Then again its not a gigantic pelican box.
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Color: BlackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Our family already knows that 'Thule' makes a great product. My husband Tony and I have a Thule car carrier we've had for several years that has been through long trips through the New Mexico desert, Florida heat, Blue Ridge Mountain hailstorms, Indiana high winds and multiple heavy duty stuffings and held up like an Armadillo's shell. In fact, the cover of this Thule Gauntlet is much like the weather resistant Armadillo's shell, but not quite as rigid. I must confess the zippers were a bit difficult to move back and forth until multiple uses worked out the 'stiffness'. However, the fact that the zippers are rigid and affixed so well to the rubber track assures me they will not slide off or hangup (one of the many things I detest about purse or luggage zippers). This case will protect a 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro from coffee spills, drooling dogs, etc., just be sure to zip it up. I also love the way it's so much easier to just zip up your MacBook and go rather than trying to stuff everything in a computer bag at a coffee shop or library when leaving (which can lead to coffee spill accidents or dropping). Just open the laptop inside the case and you're ready to create.

Note: As another testament to 'Thule' products, we had an incident where a parking garage marked 9ft at the entrance went down in height a couple feet quite suddenly with no warning markers and we hit our Thule carrier on a concrete slab. Though it hit pretty hard, the carrier barely split down the middle, talk about tough! The parking garage happily replaced our carrier and quickly got a new sign with the correct height warnings, but Thule should request their camera footage as proof of how sturdy they make their products. I fully expect my MacBook protection sleeve to hold up as well.
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