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Speck SmartShell SATIN Cover for MacBook Pro with Retina Display Review [VIDEO]

There is an immense irony with Apple products that we as consumers predictably fall into with each and every item we purchase. Apple tout the latest hardware products with the promise of super thin, wonderfully aesthetic devices and of course we are drawn to this pleasing design.

So we acquire the Apple product with its dashing good looks and slender design and then become more than just a little distressed when we notice the smallest of scratches on its surface. Our immediate reaction is to then go hunting for a case or cover that, and this is the ironic part, loses its ultra thin qualities and hides much of the style we were attracted to in the first place.

Thankfully not all cases and covers disregard the finer qualities of the original design or ignore the fact we are trying to keep our products lightweight and sleek.

Air vents are given plenty of room to breathe

One such company that appears to be following this careful consideration is Speck…

I am the lucky owner of an Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display, the first notebook from Apple in fact that includes the wonderful super high resolution screen. It is a truly amazing sight to behold and just like other Apple owners, I too felt the need to protect my latest acquisition before any unsightly marks appear.

Here I am taking a look at the SmartShell SATIN cover for MacBook Pro with Retina Display, which promises to maintain the look of the notebook without adding weight or obvious additional bloat to the overall size.

The cover arrives in two distinct sections, one part that protects the back of the display and the other the underneath and sides of the lower portion that houses the all important computer components, keyboard and trackpad.

None of the ports are obscured and more importantly none of the air vents either that help keep the system cool enough to operate. You might expect the cover to be an addition you only wrap around your MacBook Pro when you venture outdoors, however due to its clever observation of ports and vents – it can remain permanently fixed.

This is aided by the fact the cover looks just as aesthetically pleasing as the MacBook Pro itself in its more naked state. The black cover certainly adds a pleasing contrast with the silver aluminium elements visible around the keyboard. The Apple logo on the rear of the display even shines brightly through the cover, just in case you are one of those individuals whose pride in Apple extends to ensuring your peers view the all important illuminated branding.

Another possible advantage is that when closed, your MacBook Pro doesn’t scream it’s an Apple product for those who might be concerned of not just scratches, but opportunistic thieves who can spot an Apple item a mile off.

Even to the touch, the cover feels right and not in any way an alien element you’ve just attached. It is this attention to detail that helps you realise that not only do you enjoy increased protection, but also an addition that actually adds quality to the notebook.

It’s at this point I am really finding it hard to find any negative comments to attach to this review and I suppose if I am being picky, I would have to highlight the fact that fingerprints do tend to show a little on the cover in certain light – however as I say, this is being picky, in fact very picky to be fair.

It is recommended according to the instructions provided to remove the cover every month just to remove any small debris that might have snuck its way inside and happily it isn’t very difficult to take apart once attached. That isn’t to say though that it isn’t a snug fit, as actually it clings to the MacBook Pro so well you could easily believe that it was designed by Apple themselves.

I should point out that during my review testing, one of the important parts of the cover that help clip the casing to the MacBook Pro snapped off. This is a fairly small clip on the lower portion of the cover, placed at the top corner. It may have been due to the fact it was a review unit and has been under additional stresses not usually administered by a consumer, however it is a weak point of the product to be aware of when taking apart the cover. As a result, I started to place stress on the other side that features an identical clip and even with quite a bit of pressure, the clip remained sturdy and intact.


Pleasant to the touch, maintaining the sleek aesthetics of the MacBook Pro it’s designed to protect while offering the one thing we truly need – peace of mind.

The SmartShell SATIN Cover for MacBook Pro with Retina Display is a worthy purchase for anyone who has the mildest concern that the outer shell could be scratched.

Speck SmartShell SATIN Cover for MacBook Pro with Retina Display





  • Hard-wearing protection
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Ports not obscured


  • Fingerprint magnet
  • Clips can be a little fragile

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James Woodcock

James is a Freelance Journalist, Copywriter, Author, Blogger & Podcaster specialising in gaming, gadgets and technology, both retro and modern. Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles, including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, whilst also interviewing well-known industry figures for popular online publications. Creator of the ScummVM Music Enhancement Project and host of the Game & Gadget Podcast. View his portfolio here: James Woodcock's Portfolio.

James Woodcock has 1096 posts and counting. See all posts by James Woodcock

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