Bottom line: Wrap your MacBook in premium full-grain leather.
Premium full-grain oil-waxed leather
Luxurious look and feel
Snaps onto your MacBook for all-day, all-over protection
Lined with soft microfiber
Cutouts for full use of ports and venting
A bit heavy
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There are many wonderful MacBook Pro sleeves and even MacBook Air sleeves on the market, many of which are leather. There are also some great snap-on MacBook hardshell cases, but I haven't come across a leather hardshell case — until now.
Andar's "The Helm" MacBook Case is a premium full grain oil-waxed leather snap-on case made just for your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. The fit and finish is excellent, and the case gives your MacBook a different look. Unlike leather sleeves, this hardshell case snaps on securely and stays on while you use it, not just when you put it away.
The inside of the case is soft microfiber, so your MacBook won't get scratched. The four "feet" on the bottom of the case aren't really sticky, but they do provide stability, and I did not experience any slipping around while using it on my super-smooth desk. The bottom of the case is vented so your MacBook won't overheat. Cutouts along the sides allow full use of every port. Andar branding is engraved on the outside of both the top and bottom pieces, as well as the inside of the bottom. Between the leather and the microfiber, there seems to be a plastic "skeleton" that gives the case its solidity and helps it protect your precious MacBook from more than just scratches.
Andar's The Helm MacBook Case: Price and availability
You can purchase The Helm on Andar's website. There are four different sizes: 13-inch (2016-2020) MacBook Pro, 15-inch (2016-2019) MacBook Pro, 16-inch (2019) MacBook Pro, and 13-inch (2018-2020) MacBook Air. It comes in four colors: Brown, Jet Black, Camel Tan, and Navy, which is the one you see in my photos. Note that while Brown comes in every size mentioned here, the other colors come in limited sizes. Both the 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro cases cost $120, while the 15-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro cases cost $125.
Andar's The Helm MacBook Case: What you'll like
Leather sleeves are a wonderful way to wrap your MacBook in elegance, at least when your laptop's not in use. Snap-on hardshell cases are a great way to protect your MacBook while you use it as well as when you're not. I like that The Helm combines the best of both: upscale leather plus snap-on protection. It's a pretty unusual case that you don't see too often.
I like that the case doesn't get in your way or interfere with the functionality of the computer in any way. The vents on the bottom allow your MacBook to "breathe" so it won't overheat during use.
My MacBook feels so protected with this case on. Unlike typical plastic cases, the microfiber lining means you don't have to worry about scratching the pristine look of your laptop. It is indeed a hard case, with some kind of plastic sandwiched between the microfiber and the leather, which makes the case feel quite protective. Though the exterior is a full-grain oil-waxed leather, it doesn't feel oily or waxy in any way. It just looks and feels gorgeous. Like all leather goods, The Helm will develop a rich patina over time. The Helm comes beautifully packaged, which makes it a great gift (for yourself or someone else.)
Andar's The Helm MacBook Case: What you might not like
Not surprisingly, this case isn't cheap. It also probably won't surprise you to learn that the case is a little heavier than a simple plastic shell. It does, after all, have three layers. Still, it is a slim case and doesn't add much bulk all things considered. I'm sure it goes without saying that if you don't like leather products, this isn't the case for you.
Andar's The Helm MacBook Case: Competition
If you're looking for a leather sleeve, I like the Harber London Slim Leather Folio Laptop Case and the Woolnut Leather Folio for MacBook. The advantage to a sleeve is that you can use it for a variety of computers, making it a little bit more future-proof. Whether it's an advantage or not, obviously you don't use a sleeve while you use the computer — it's just for safe transport.
On the other hand, if you want a shell that's not leather, check out the MOSISO case featured in this MacBook Pro case roundup. It offers inexpensive snap-on protection and comes in lots of colors. It even comes with a matching keyboard cover.
Andar's The Helm MacBook Case: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want a high-end snap-on case that fits your MacBook perfectly
- You love premium full-grain leather
- You want your MacBook protected all the time
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You don't want any extra weight added to your MacBook
- You don't have the budget for a case like this
- You don't like leather
This is the case you're looking for if you're in the market for an elegant leather case that snaps onto your late-model MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. If you want all-over protection all the time, this is a case you'll enjoy. This is not the case for you if you don't like any extra weight on your MacBook. If you prefer to use your MacBook entirely unencumbered and only want a case for transport, I'd recommend you get a sleeve instead. Of course, this case is not for you if you're not into leather, or if it's out of your budget.
The Helm by Andar stands out from the crowd. Unlike most leather sleeves, this is a snap-on case that stays on while you use it. Unlike most snap-on cases, this one is made from premium full-grain oil-waxed leather and lined with soft microfiber. If you're a fan of luxury leather goods and you have the budget for it, I'd recommend checking out Andar's The Helm MacBook Case.
Bottom line: Protect your MacBook in luxurious full-grain leather that fits your laptop like a glove.
Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at CNET. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, AppAdvice, WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.