gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Concrete Cases Mac Hook 13″ MacBook Pro Case

Concrete cases is a new kid on the block when it comes to Apple laptop cases, but they’re certainly not the underdog. They’ve made a fantastic start with their Mac Hook case which combines a premium quality of workmanship with a unique, innovative and original design.

The Mac Hook case is built around a lightweight aluminium frame which gives it a great degree of structural rigidity, and subsequently an excellent degree of edge protection for your laptop. The usefulness of the metal frame doesn’t end there, though. The Mac Hook gets the “Hook” in it’s name from the four corner hooks, any two of which you can opt to attach a variety of different length straps to orientate your case in a portrait or landscape style. An adjustable canvas/leather strap is included in the price of the case with additional fixed straps being available as optional extras.

You can, for example, get an extra-long strap to use your Mac Hook case as a messenger bag, and keep a short strap handy for a more brief-case style affair depending on your requirements. You’re probably not going to need a messenger bag strap if you’re driving to work, for example. The straps detach and re-attach easily and quickly using a carabiner clip at end end, so it’s no trouble to reconfigure your case as the fancy takes you.

When it comes to protecting laptops it’s usually the edges and corners where it counts, bags are all too frequently put down a little heavily and that can spell disaster. Mac Hook has simply unparalleled edge protection; a ridged metal frame which not only makes it uncrushable but lends the bag a distinct look and provides the four corner anchor points for straps.

The Mac Hook combines its rigid metal frame with a soft, yielding and frankly luxurious padded suede interior. It could be thicker and more protective, but that would unnecessarily bulk out the bag and ruin its sleek profile. As it is, the padding is about 5mm thick which is likely enough to adequately protect a laptop in all but the most demanding of situations, and is most certainly a fair deal more than the seemingly zero padding of the laptop bag I use on a daily basis.

I looked at the “Antelope Brown” Mac Hook case. I believe the design has since been improved, but my observations still largely hold true. The leather has a great character right out of the box and looks, quite simply, fantastic as any good quality leather should. It’s not overly polished, and has a great aged look and a wonderful spectrum of colour and texture variation that should make each bag unique. This character can only improve and further distinguish itself with age, and is what makes leather such a great choice for accessories and cases.

All of the main seams are concealed inside the bag, and the metal frame is stitched in extremely robustly. So robustly, in fact, that how the metal frame even came to be inside the case almost defies explanation. The deep purple interior offsets the brown and gives a classic premium look, it’s just disappointing that you only see it when inserting or removing your laptop. As far as I can tell, this colour has also been changed for cobalt blue which I can only imagine looks even better as the deep purple, whilst admittedly being one of my favourite colour choices, does tend to get lost in the dark interior of the bag.

The zip is robust, and has a large easy to grab leather pull tab to aid opening and closing. It’s also easy to padlock the zip to one of the corner anchor points of the bag; making it reasonably secure if a little unsightly.

The strap is reasonably comfortable, although the hand grip lacks padding and isn’t quite as polished as the rest of the bag. The carabiner clips are extremely thick and robust, and no doubt much, much stronger than they need to be (they’re about twice, if not three times the thickness of my usual laptop bag). The clips are triangular in shape, which is much better than the usual rectangular alternative on cheaper bags, which can so often pinch the end of a strap into an unsightly crease. The thick leather strap is riveted on firmly with three rivets on each side and a thinner metal cross bar makes absolutely sure that it doesn’t bunch up into one of the corners of the triangular clip. All in all, extremely well thought out.

The only downside to the Mac Hook is the lack of room for a power adaptor, or at least a UK one anyway. I’d wager that a US adaptor without the long additional cord would fit, but those of us in the UK and a handful of other countries are constantly hamstrung by our ridiculously bulky and dangerously pointy mains plugs.

Overall, however, it’s a truly fantastic case with a very unique and distinctive look which constitutes a perfect example of form and function being in perfect harmony. Every detail looks great, and each one serves a purpose.

Monday, June 4th, 2012, MacBook Pro, Personal Computing.