If you have kids, you'll be well aware of the pressure to provide them with the latest and greatest tech gadgets. Some of these are tools, many are toys and often you have to make a call on which is which because that affects what you'll agree to pay for and what you won't.
All that to one side, the thing I've always agreed to straight off the bat - in fact, I've insisted on it - is shelling out for a decent case.
Nothing breaks my heart more than the sight of a cracked screen, busted hinge or broken cable... apart from the fact it inevitably means yet another "discussion" about who should have to pay for the repairs. I'd prefer to avoid as many repairs as possible in the first place.
And to be fair, it's not just my kids who can't be trusted to look after their own stuff; I'm undeniably one of the clumsiest people I know. Accidents happen. So zipping, clipping and buttoning your precious devices up just makes sense.
In fact, with the right case, you might even prevent losing your new toys too...
Twelve South has been busy carving out a niche for itself in the world of tech accessories. While the company claims to design its gear "exclusively for Apple," that doesn't mean you won't find something very cool, even if you're not currently a member of the iCult.
In this review I'll be trying out three of Twelve South's latest additions, timed to coincide with the release of Apple's latest MacBook range. The SuitCase for MacBook is specifically tailored to protect the 13-inch Macbook Pro or Air, or there's a larger version for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Although those are the devices its been designed for, it's just as useful for many other laptops and tablets of a similar size - even if they might not fit quite as snugly as the Apple devices do.
The main objective of the SuitCase seems to be maximum protection with minimum bulk. You get a triple layered defence against knocks, spills and drops; an attractive, water-resistant, quilted twill exterior, a sturdy-yet-flexible Thermoform hard plastic shell in the middle and a soft, microfibre interior to prevent any scuffs or scratches. That sounds like a lot but in fact, as I've pointed out, it's all very slim and compact, keeping the whole case thin enough to slip into a briefcase or large handbag.
In order to keep things tiny and tidy, you won't find an over-supply of pockets and compartments for accessories like your mouse or charger, although there is a single internal slot plenty big enough for a charging cable and possibly any adapters you may use regularly.
Twelve South claims to have invented an "innovative suspension system" to keep the lid protected by the top half of the case, even while you have your laptop open. In reality, this is a couple of elastic cords sewn into the interior of the case on each side, which just about hold the lid up as long as you don't open your device too wide. Don't buy the SuitCase for this feature. It's not really a feature.
Buy it because everything else about it is absolutely first class, from the the premium materials to the way it feels so comfortable using it on your lap. The durable double zip means you can leave your laptop charging while still securely zipped up, wherever the charging port is located on your device. There's even good attention to detail with the way the leather handle retracts flush back into the edge of the case when you're not using it.
Yes, as an attractive, durable and compact option, I'd have no problem recommending the SuitCase - and not just for MacBooks, for anything that'll fit.
Similarly, the AirSnap is a great looking, well made case too. There's an option for AirPods and another for AirPods Pro.
Obviously, there's not a whole lot to say about this wee case for a case other than you can choose from a variety of colours in leather or twill. I've been sent boring old black (reviewers always get sent boring old black) but it's still pretty funky with bold stitching and solid-feeling hardware (including the branded snap to open and close the case).
The main part of that hardware is the clip - this is kind of the point of using a case like this at all. Clip your AirPods to your bag, your keys, your belt loop - given how easy it would be to misplace something as small as your AirPods, this seems like a stylish no-brainer to keep your several-hundred dollar investment within reach. You can also easily access the charging port for your AirPods case through a tailored slot at the base.
Then there's my favourite case of the three; the BookBook. Not sure if I love the name but I definitely love the product. I was sent the BookBook for Kindle Paperwhite, which is a shame, as I only have an old, 4th-Gen Kindle Touch. Twelve South also produces BookBooks for most iPads, iPhones, larger ones for MacBooks and there's even a BookBook CaddySack with a selection of elasticated compartments just for charges, cables and other peripherals.
This is my most adored kind of cutting edge tech, the kind that looks antique. With my Kindle zipped up in the BookBook, it looks pretty much exactly like a... well... like a book. Which it is of course. And yes, I said, "My Kindle" because I couldn't resist jamming my Kindle Touch into the pouch that's designed for the much newer (and slimmer) Paperwhite. That's why the screen looks a little off-kilter in the photo below. Still works great though - that's the main thing.
Not only does the premium leather outer look and feel amazing, it offers outstanding protection for your device while disguising it as some useless old book nobody would be interested in stealing. There's even a magnetic kickstand built in for hands-free reading - something I like to do while eating a leisurely weekend brunch at the table.
Come on, just look at it! If you own one of the compatible devices (or like me, one that's compatible enough if you really shove it in there) surely this is the coolest case you've ever seen.
In fact, all three of these do their jobs brilliantly in great style. They're not cheap but when you're protecting something worth hundreds - if not thousands - of dollars, you don't want cheap. You want something like this.