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Review: Incase Hardshell for 14-inch MacBook Pro

When it comes to protecting MacBooks, I love hardshell cases. These are the type that act like a second skin to the MacBook, offering protection from scratches and bumps while not adding a lot of volume. Today we’re looking at the recently released Incase Hardshell for 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021), available for $59.99. The company also makes a similar shell for the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Incase Hardshell Case for 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) in Ice Pink

Design of the Incase Hardshell

The design of the case is meant to offer protection, port access, and a less-slippery surface. Made of a polycarbonate called Makroton, the Incase Hardshell has a subtle dot pattern providing a solid grip. All of the ports are wide open, and there are ventilation ports as well to ensure cool operation of your MacBook Pro. There are rubber feet on the bottom to make sure your MacBook Pro stays in one place.

The Incase Hardshell is a bit heavier than I’d expect (0.86 pounds, or 390 grams). However, compared to a competing shell that I had on my 16-inch Intel MacBook Pro, I feel that the Incase product offers better protection.

There are three color options for the Incase Hardshell: clear, which is what I am using; ice pink, and black.

This closeup of the corner of the black Incase Hardshell shows how it protects while leaving ports open

Functionality

As I mentioned, I prefer cases like this as they don’t get in the way of anything. I’ve reviewed more expensive cases and portfolios from companies like Pad & Quill and TwelveSouth that look nice, but I find them annoying to use. They’re bulkier and weigh more as well.

Prior to getting the Incase Hardshell, I was using a RadTech RadSleevz ($34.95), which is a very lightweight soft fabric sleeve. While it protects against scratches, it doesn’t help cushion the MacBook Pro from drops, nor does it protect the computer while it’s being used.

Speck’s SmartShell is quite similar to the Incase Hardshell and sells for $10 less. I’ve used their product one previous MacBooks and found them to be very protective.

Installation is a piece of cake — just remove the shell from the box, determine the front and back of the top and bottom, then snap ’em in. The shell stays put once installed. If you need to remove it, it snaps off easily.

This image shows how the shell snaps onto the top and bottom of the MacBook Pro

Review overview

Value9
Durability10
Protection10
Weight8
Ease of Installation10
Port Accessibility10
Ventilation10

The Pros

  • Attractive
  • Protective
  • Ports are accessible
  • Excelent ventilation
  • Easy to Install

The Cons

  • More expensive than competing PE shells

summary

9.6While heavier than expected and more expensive than a competing hardshell, the Incase Hardshell provides excellent protection for your Apple Silicon MacBook Pro.

the authorSteve Sande
Steve is the founder and former publisher of Apple World Today and has authored a number of books about Apple products. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist. Steve and his wife Barb love to travel everywhere!
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