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G-Form Extreme Sleeve 13-inch laptop case review: G-Form Extreme Sleeve 13-inch laptop case

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MSRP: $69.95

The Good The compact design of the G-Form Extreme Sleeve provides serious extra protection for your 13-inch laptop without taking up too much extra room.

The Bad While padded with high-tech materials, this is still a soft case, and may not be too effective against sharp objects or corner drops.

The Bottom Line Trusting the life of your laptop to a rubberized sleeve is serious commitment, but the high-tech materials behind the Extreme Sleeve will at least make your MacBook checked-luggage-friendly.

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 9

G-Form started out making high-tech protective gear for sports and outdoor enthusiasts, including knee and elbow pads. The same concepts behind protecting the human body, the thinking goes, would also work wonders for protecting delicate electronics, such as laptops and tablets. The company now has a line of sleeves and cases for tech gear, including the $79 Extreme Sleeve for laptops, available in 11-, 13-, and 15-inch sizes (we tested the 13-inch version).

While not promoted as being specifically designed for MacBooks, the company's promotional materials invariably show an Apple logo peeking out from the sleeve, and our 13-inch aluminum MacBook Pro fit inside snugly (a MacBook Air would be a loose fit).

The idea behind the thick, rubberized case, with a crisscrossed pattern on each side, is to not only cushion the laptop, but also absorb the force of any impact. To do so effectively, of course, requires more than just simple foam. G-Form says its cases are made from a material called Poron XRD, which is in turn described by its manufacturer as working like so: "When stressed at a high rate or impacted quickly...the material reaches the point when the urethane momentarily 'freezes'--like water freezing into ice." Essentially, the material these cases are made out of stiffens on impact to absorb the energy, instead of transferring it to your laptop.

In practice, you end up with a case that looks like a cross between a diver's wetsuit and a piece of protective hockey equipment. It's not an unattractive design, but it's thick and bulky and could look jarring coming out of, say, a high-end briefcase in a boardroom meeting. The thick padded areas keep you from feeling like you're ever too close to direct contact with your laptop, which is a good thing for optimum protection.

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