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Toast Leather Cover for MacBook Pro and Air review


I tremble at the sight of brand-new stick-on iPhone screen-protectors. No matter how hard I try, no matter how religiously I follow the directions, I always end up with three or four bubbles staring defiantly at me from the covered screen. Using the touchscreen starts to feel about like trying to read Braille. Every time I’ve tried to use one, I’ve ended up ripping it off and throwing it in the trash.

So you can imagine my fear when I received my new Toast cover for my MacBook Pro. It’s a leather case, but it differs from most of its competitors by being a stick-on—yes, much like an adhesive iPhone protector—rather than something you plop the MacBook into. It’s laser-cut and designed to fit your MacBook perfectly. Even so, I steeled myself. I put it off for a day. Give me some credit: If I messed this one up, I’d be tossing around $160 total in the bin.

The scary bit about the Toast leather cover is that you’re potentially not taking only one risk but three, depending on how whole-hog you go on the order page: one cover for the top ($99), one for the bottom ($60), yes, even one of the spaces on either side of your MacBook’s trackpad ($30). For another $30, if you can add your own custom design (although you can add an Apple logo cutout for free). For $5 more for each side, you can add an extra line of text for the top and bottom. Fortunatelty, there’s no cost difference for choosing any of the 10 available covers, but even so, that’s $229 if you splurge on all that. That’s a lot of leather, and a lot of chances to screw up. 

Toast Leather Case for MacBook ProLeif Johnson/IDG

The stabilization pads get covered up with the bottom half, but that’s fine because the whole thing gets more stable with a leather cover.

And wonder of wonders, it (largely) worked out. Take some inspiration from that. If I managed to do okay with it, you should be fine, too. I only really messed up on the top cover, as it’s a couple of millimeters off of the alignment it should have (and which I find livable, particularly since I didn’t get the version with Apple logo). I found the bottom side a lot easier to align, as all I needed to do was slip the case over the holes for the screws and slowly let it drop in one place. Even the trackpad cover went on fine, even though it’s essentially “hard mode” as it comes with two thin strips that must perfectly fit in place.

Naturally, I proceeded to drag it through hell. I toted my Toasted MacBook where I composed drafts on rocky outcroppings; I dropped it in my bag without the usual sleeve I keep it in. I left it in the sun of my kitchen window, and I used it for a coaster. And it’s fine, although I couldn’t ever shake the impression that the edges weren’t as protected as they could be. Toast had already made a good name for itself with a line of customizable wooden covers, and the leather ones live up to that reputation—provided, of course, you don’t mess up the actual installation process.

toastproperToast

I didn’t order the version with the Apple logo cutout, but I kind of wish I did.

But the Toast leather cover is a strange beast to review, in part because it’s so customizable. You have all the options above, and Toast makes specific versions for everything from the 13-inch MacBook Pro to the MacBook Air. (Sorry, regular MacBook lovers.) Your attitude toward it may differ significantly depending on how thoroughly you embrace it.

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