Incase Textured Hardshell and Hardshell Case Review: Two Great Ways to Protect Your 14″ 2021 MacBook Pro

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The Lowdown

The Incase Textured Hardshell and the Hardshell Case have the same simple but well-conceived design; the main difference is how they look and feel. While both cases will offer protection from daily scratches and light dings, it seems unrealistic to expect either of them to protect your MacBook from a significant drop.

Overall
5

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Cutouts allow for proper ventilation and access to all ports
  • The Textured Hardshell fabric looks great and is very tough
  • Both hardshell cases should do an excellent job of protecting the MacBook Pro from scratches and dings

Cons

  • It seems unrealistic to expect either of these cases to protect your MacBook from a significant drop
Incase Textured Hardshell and Hardshell Case Review: Two Great Ways to Protect Your 14" 2021 MacBook Pro Listen to this article

My MacBook Pro is the most powerful computer I’ve ever owned. Most of the time, it serves as my desktop computer, but there are times I want to take it with me. Thankfully, Incase has released their Textured Hardshell in Woolenex and Hardshell Case for the 14″ 2021 MacBook Pro; both promise to keep my laptop looking brand new.

The Incase Textured Hardshell and the Hardshell Case have the same simple but well-conceived design; the main difference is how they look and feel. While both cases will offer protection from daily scratches and light dings, it seems unrealistic to expect either of them to protect your MacBook from a significant drop. Let’s take a look.

Hardshell Case for the MacBook Pro 14″ (2021) Dots

Incase says their Hardshell Case offers protection without sacrificing access to ports, lights, and buttons. The Hardshell Case has an injection-molded construction with rubberized feet; it’s available in Black, Clear, and the Ice Pink shown here.

Hardshell Case features include:

  • Stylized textured dot design
  • Precision cutouts for access to ports, lights, and buttons
  • Rubberized feet for increased stability
  • Ventilation to keep your MacBook cool

The Hardshell Case comes with two pieces; the top shell is a simple affair that covers the top and sides of the laptop’s lid.

The tow pieces that make up the Incase Hardshell Case

It has small, hard-to-see clips in strategic places that snap around the laptop’s lid and hold it in place.

Top view of the Incase Hardshell Case

Once in place, it fully covers and protects the entire top surface of the laptop. As you can see, the protective material allows you to see the Apple logo still. And because thee are a few small clips holding it in place, removing it is as simple as putting it on.

As Incase explains:

[The] hardshell is made with Makrolon, an extremely lightweight polycarbonate known for its high-impact resistance as well as its low C02 and emissions and energy savings. Even better, it’s fully recyclable at the end of its life.

The front edge of the Incase Hardshell Case

A small lip at the front, where the “carve-out” for lifting the lid is, makes it easier to get a hold of the lip and lift it.

The lid lift on the Incase Hardshell Case

The bottom piece of the Hardshell Case is a more complicated affair. Like the lid, the bottom part snaps around the laptop and is held in place by a few strategic clips.

The bottom of the Incase Hardshell Case

While the bottom piece of the case protects the front and sides of the laptop, the back is open to ensure the laptop’s thermal regulation is not compromised.

The hinge area of the MacBook in the Incase Hardshell Case

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Cutouts can also be found along the bottom edge on the left and the right side that align perfectly with the ventilation cutouts Apple built into the MacBook Pro.

Detail of the rubber foot and vent on bottom of Incase Hardshell Case

The final cutouts are at the back along both sides of the Hardshell Case; these allow the ports on both sides to be fully accessible without compromising the degree of protection the case offers.

On the bottom of the case, there are rubber feet in each corner. These keep the laptop from sliding around on a smooth surface and will protect the surface from abrasions.

The bottom of the Incase Hardshell Case

I really like the design of the Hardshell Case. It is easy to install and remove, and it doesn’t add substantial bulk or weight to the laptop. The fact that the design maintains the laptop’s thermal management and gives complete access to all of the ports makes it a case that, once installed, seems to become a part of the laptop rather than a case you slapped on it. I also like that at $54.95, it is a cost-effective way to protect your pricey MacBook Pro.

My issue with the Incase Hardshell Case is that it reminds me of my grandparents’ couch. It was a lovely fabric couch with a nice design, but my grandparents kept a clear plastic cover on the sofa at all times to protect it. By doing so, they protected the couch, but it made the furniture look less refined. It also was uncomfortable to sit on when the weather was warm, but that’s beside the point.

Even so, if you are looking for an easy way to protect your laptop but don’t want to put an adhesive skin on it, the Incase Hardshell Case is a great option. Check it out here.

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Incase Textured Hardshell in Woolenex for MacBook Pro 14″ (2021)

While I love the design of the Hardshell Case, I have issues with putting a piece of plastic around my otherwise gorgeous aluminum laptop. That’s where the Incase Textured Hardshell in Woolenex for MacBook Pro 14″ comes in.

Incase Textured Hardshell features include:

  • Ultra-durable Woolenex exterior
  • Complete form-fitting protection for your MacBook
  • Ventilation for Heat Release
  • Airport security friendly

Top cover of the Incase Textured Hardshell in Woolenex for MacBook Pro 14”

It has the same design, but the hard plastic shell is covered in a textured synthetic that looks and feels like fabric; it’s available in Cobalt or Graphite.

The company describes Woolenex as an ultra-durable polyester-based fabric that repels moisture, mildew, and chemicals; the material has the feel of a cotton blend while being resistant to stretching, shrinking, and abrasions.

The Incase Textured Hardshell in Woolenex installed on my 2021 MacBook Pro 14”

The Incase Textured Hardshell in Woolenex for MacBook Pro 14″ offers all the advantages of the Hardshell Case; because it is covered in an opaque textured “fabric,” it doesn’t look like my grandparents’ plastic-covered couch.

I’ve also found that the Woolenex material covering the shell helps me keep a grip on my laptop. Like the Hardshell Case, the Textured Hardshell is easy to install and remove; it’s the perfect protection for my MacBook Pro!

I know I’ll keep using this case while I own this laptop. Check it out.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review samples

What I Like: Affordable; Easy to install and remove; Cutouts allow for proper ventilation and access to all ports; The Textured Hardshell fabric looks great and is very tough; Both hardshell cases should do an excellent job of protecting the MacBook Pro from scratches and dings

What Needs Improvement: It seems unrealistic to expect either of these cases to protect your MacBook from a significant drop

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.