Keyboard cover for 11" MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dmelgar, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    A few days ago I was sent a Rearth Silicone Keyboard cover/skin for my 11" MBA. I said I'd review it.

    Overall, it seems to work pretty well. I had previously bought a keyboard cover at the Apple store years ago for my 2006 Macbook which I also used on my 2009 Macbook Pro. That older cover was also silicone, but was substantially thicker than this new Rearth keyboard cover. The older cover was so thick that it was significantly harder to type and I generally only used it when I thought there was a good chance I might spill something on it.

    This new cover fits pretty well. Is thinner and doesn't obstruct keyboard use much. I'm not sure if its the thinnest you can get. I've seen other folks discuss thinner covers. Thinner would be nicer as long as it doesn't rip.

    My biggest concern with this keyboard cover is the edges. The keys on all the Macbooks sit in a well. If you spill something, its not going to run off, its doing to get funneled down in between the keys. If the keyboard cover covers all the keys AND extends over the edge of the keyboard well, you have a chance that the liquid won't go down between the keys.

    For some reason, this Rearth keyboard cover has sculpted left and right sides which go into the keyboard well between rows. It looks like maybe... if you spill something, these indentions might give the liquid a chance to get around the cover, get under it and leak under the keys.

    I'm sure its better than nothing, but having these indentions somewhat defeats the whole reason for getting a keyboard cover. The top and bottom edges seem fine and are not sculpted.

    Any other comments on this or other keyboard covers?
  2. PeterKG macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2003
  3. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    If your going down the Moshi route, I'd recommend their palm rest protector too. You would never know it was on your laptop.
  4. tu4thenguyen macrumors member

    Jul 31, 2010
    Did you notice any heat issues?
  5. gb1631 macrumors regular

    Dec 3, 2009
    PNW Puget Sound
  6. dmelgar thread starter macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    What sort of heat issues should I expect? How would I know?

    If the CPU is taxed, the cover does get warm. I haven't particularly noticed the MBA getting warmer, but its hard to tell. It never gets very warm and I can never hear the fan.
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    No, you shouldn't have any heat issues since all Apple portables vent through the back, near the hinge. The keyboard has never been used as a vent on Apple MacBooks, MacBook Pros or MacBook Airs.
  8. Arthur Young macrumors newbie

    Feb 29, 2008
    a little known fact

    The fans actually suck air in from the gaps in your keyboard and exhausts it behind the hinge area. Apple did this to remove unsightly intake vents and to keep your keyboard cooler to type on.

    If you get one of those older macbook pros and run some benchmarking to get the fans at full speed, you can ever so slightly feel the keyboard suck cool air. it's a lot less evident on todays cooler CPU's and even less apparent on the Macbook Air with its smaller fans. So under heavy loads for long durations, I'd recommend you ditch the rubber keyboard cover, otherwise it's probably alright.
  9. ChinaAzzi macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2011
    Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Brisbane
    I would recommend a Xskn keyboard skin which is the same as I bought. My wife and I’ve used for over a week and it is as good as key board skins get. The normal price is $19 to $24 but nonameChina who’s owner also owns Xskn sells it for $2.50 plus $5.50 shipping. Xskn has it own silicone factory and OEMs keyboard skins for a number of major brands. You will have to wait until the Feb 10 before they will ship. You google Xskn keyboard skins to get more information and reviews about their quality.
  10. Sugi209 macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2011
    Moshi keyboard protector

    I bought moshi keyboard protector for my new MBA. So far, it looks nice and very thin, although I have not received my MBA yet. I hope I'll get my MBA this wednesday. I'll post some pictures and more review once I got it..:)
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    This is absolutely false. Please learn facts before posting, so you don't spread misinformation. There is a solid sheet under the keyboard, preventing it from being used as a vent. The air intake and exhaust vents are located at the back of the computer, near the hinge. Read my post just before yours.
  12. carreragt7 macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    I've used Moshi Clearguard covers on multiple laptops and keyboards. They are very thin, well-fitted, and have a nice feel to them.
    After about 1.5 years on my old 13" MBP the cover did get some discoloration, but that just means it saved my keyboard from receiving the wear.
    I currently have one on my 11" MBA as well as one on my full-size wired keyboard on my MP. Highly recommend them. They are a cheap alternative to wearing out your keyboard. I go through computers very quickly and resale stays higher when the computer looks and performs like new. :)
  13. nowstime macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2008
    How does the screen look? Do you get any marks from the key skin? I'm planning to get Moshi but worried if I will have to wipe the screen every time...
  14. carreragt7 macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    No key marks at all, and the computer has been used for about two months now. I can't remember if the 13" MBP has key marks still or not, and I'm not near it to check. I think the fact that the Airs don't have the silly glass over the screen help prevent the normal rubbing.
  15. PeterKG macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2003
    I haven't ever had marks on my MBP or now my MBA. I guess it depends how greasy you are.:D
  16. Ronnoco macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
    Just ordered the Moshie ClearGuard 11 on your recommendation...:)
  17. dmelgar thread starter macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    Received a response from Rearth regarding the sculpted sides. They say its to help with heat dissipation, allowing air to get under the silicone cover.

    My understanding is that the intake and exhaust for the fan is through the vents at the back by the hinge. I'm not sure why it would be important to be able to vent the keyboard and its not clear how effective it could be, but I've forwarded the response.
  18. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    The keyboard gets warm, the result of radiated heat, in the same way the solid bottom gets warm, even though neither is used for air venting. The only benefit I could see in venting any kind of plastic cover would be so it doesn't form any moisture underneath, although I find that unlikely.
  19. axu539 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2010
    The solid sheet under the keyboard is metal. This could act as another heat dissipation method. The heat could then escape through the keys... just speculating. Therefore, adding a keyboard cover might simply act like an insulator (much like you'd heat up a computer if you used it in your lap vs on a surface).
  20. 3goldens macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2008
    No keyboard illumination!

    I too was offered one of these to test and review.

    I think it is an exceptionally well made product, the packaging is well thought out and the price is certainly right, who can beat 13 bucks and free shippng?

    It does not seem to impede the cooling process at all and form fits to the MBA perfectly. HOWEVER-on the keyboard illumination side...BAD NEWS!

    It visually cuts down the keys natural illumination from the display because of the frosted coating on the skin.

    While it protects is beautifully it does make it a little more difficult to see the board in low light situations.

    Ordinarily, one can use the display's light to provide the right amount of light on the keyboard to allow one to see pretty well without the need of an illuminated board but the frosted background eliminates this altogether. It virtually cuts that down to almost nothing, no reflective qualities what so ever after its put on.

    Rearth might want to consider using a clear translucent skin rather than this frosted version to help with this problem.

    At first I was a little put off by the left and right sides not fitting into the well of the keyboard but this appears to be one of the ways it allows some air to circulate under the keyboard. It does not interfere at all with typing and allows it to be removed easily.

    All in all at this point I would say its a perfectly good part time product to use in well lit circumstances. It is functionally fine, though its not a product I think I would ever use, primarily because I can no longer see the keyboard.

    I would only recommend it for the slobs out there concerned about sloshing something on their keyboard, but would caution them to keep on an eye on the heat build up.
  21. ChinaAzzi macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2011
    Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Brisbane
    I seen an iSkin keyboard skin in China and when I pressed on the keys on the sides the skin lifts. I talked to a company which designs keyboard skins and they told me they were aware of iSkin's problem and it had to do with the stiffness of the skin but most of all with how far the skin goes down the edge of the keys. If it goes down too close to the bottom of the key it causes the walls to bow out when you press the key down and this causes the neighbouring key skin to deform. They could resolve this by adjusting the mold and not going so far down the edge of the keys.

    You guys have to be smoking something to pay $31.98 for a piece of silicone skin that costs less than a $1 to make
  22. gb1631 macrumors regular

    Dec 3, 2009
    PNW Puget Sound

    Well, if it does that when I get it, I'll return it! Are you sure it wasn't a Chinese counterfeit iSkin. Ya know you can't trust them chinamen! :rolleyes:
  23. imac9556 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2004
    I would also have to highly recommend this keyboard protector too for the following reasons:
    1) Price
    2) The quality of this keyboard protector - it is very well made for the price. It is made of high grade silicone. The texture or finish of the keyboard protector is not "sticky" and will not attract dust or dirt that easily
    3) This thing is very THIN! It is thin enough that it doesn't "transfer keyboard dirt" to the screen. I carry my Macbook Air around in the Incase Sleeve and used this protector for about 2 weeks already.
    4) The design is very well thought out and doesn't feel like it "overheat" my macbook air

    Overall, this keyboard offers great value for its price!
  24. fatefulwhisper, Aug 10, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2011

    fatefulwhisper macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    I have bought both the Rearth Verco and the Moshi Clearguard.

    I have the C2D 1.4 11" MBA and I have the new i7 1.8GHz 11" MBA.

    This is a completely unbiased review of both of them, as I have put my own money on both of these products and was not given any free sample. I have used the Verco for 6 months, and the Moshi for 2 weeks now.

    The main reason for buying two different brands was because I had an un-fixable issue w/ the Verco cover and thought that the Moshi one would resolve the same issue. However, there is definitely an issue with both covers (probably because of their extreme thinness) where the material "stretches" (much like fabric, over time) and will refuse to reset back to it's original shape.

    This was a major issue w/ my first Verco cover (I bought it back in Feb 2011) where the stretching go so bad, the cover kept slipping off everytime I typed on it. I sent photos of the issue to Rearth tech support and their only answer was that it is normal for it to stretch (even though I only used it for 3-4 months; I was hoping it would take longer), and the only solution would be to buy another one. They claimed that they "fixed" the problem by adding another coat of their poly-utherene material to make it more durable and last longer. I was upset by this but went ahead and purchased another cover about a month ago (July 2011). After only 2 weeks of use, this "new" version of the cover actually was worse. It was already stretching (possibly due to the excessive heat, despite the holes on the side) and the stretching was so bad, it was making the holes on the side useless as it was stretched so far, they were covering the keyboard completely and the idea of venting the air was no longer working since there was nowhere for the heat to escape. Because of this, it created it's own "vent" to the right of the space bar that was permanent. I could not reshape it back to it's flush, flat state no matter what. Here's a photo of what it looks like:


    The good news though is that the new Rearth cover does in fact stay in place this time, and does not slip off the keyboard. My only worry though was that with the continued heat issue and stretching, it would eventually render the cover useless, after only a few months of use.

    After that terrible experience, I threw away more money into the Moshi cover, due to the positive, biased reviews. I was quite happy with it for the first few days. I even asked their customer service if they had the same "stretching" issue that Rearth's cover had. They told me that there was no such issue and it would last for years. After just one week of normal use, the product is already stretching. However, I will admit that the stretching is not as extreme as Rearth's (my old and "new" cover don't fit flush into the keyboard anymore), but only after just one week of use, their claims of it "lasting for years" already seemed to sound false. I'm going to wait and see how much worse the stretching gets, and it's already slipping off the keyboard on the side where the stretching is. I've only had this cover for 10 days now (bought it on Aug 1, 2011). I mentioned the stretching issue to Moshi and they shrugged me off and said that I could get a replacement instead. I don't want to get a replacement if the issue happens all over again--that's just a hassle to keep getting it replaced?

    You also might be wondering what I'm doing on my MacBook to make it so hot? Not doing anything unusual... I do normal web surfing, email and watching videos. The fans start to kick in when I watch youtube videos though, and that's when it starts to get hot. And I'm watching the videos at 360p, I'm not even watching them in hi-resolution (my internet connection is not the greatest where I live). Otherwise, when I do anything else on the macbook, I never hear the fans kick in (meaning the temperature hasn't risen) at all.

    I hope this review helps, among all the other biased reviews I've seen on youtube which made me believe these products were robust. The truth is, most of those reviewers only tested it for less than an hour or day, so that doesn't help. I just wished (before I bought the covers) that there was a store nearby where I could test both products or a way someone could give more of a real, unbiased review of weeks/months of usage for both products on the new Airs.

    I have used Rearth's cover in the past for a MacBook Pro I used to own (before switching to the Air) and it worked fine on that model, which was why I went ahead and continued with them when I got the new Air.

    In both companies' defense, this is a very new product for them and I'm sure they have met a lot of challenges to perfect the cover for this very small machine. They had to compromise on the thickness of the material in order for it to fit properly when the lid is closed, so I commend them to some degree for at least trying to meet that challenge and come out with their own respective products.

Share This Page