Students and Bike Commuters: Aluminum Durability?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by dyrmaker83, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. dyrmaker83 macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2009
    Does anyone who uses an aluminum macbook/pro bike to work or school with it in either a backpack or messenger bag?

    I posted a comment about this in the MacBook Pro forum, and I'm not altogether sure this is the most appropriate sub-forum, but I feel this is a specific request. I know there are a lot of threads about durability of the aluminum, but they tend to boil down to arguments between users that leave their laptops on a desk and those that take them everywhere. I am asking those of you that take their laptops with them, whether it's school, work, etc.

    I ordered a new white macbook this week, basing the decision on perceived durability for putting it in my backpack for class, and I absolutely HATE the screen. You angle it so that the dock icon colors are correct, and the top of each window is beige instead of gray. It's horrible. Oh, and the LCD case closes slightly crooked so there's a small overhang on one side.

    Anyway, I'm considering trading for the 13" pro but still have concerns about denting or warping the case while it's in my pack with books and other stuff. I'd love for anyone who caries their laptop in a pack with heavy books has can chime in, but I will be cycling to school regularly and plan to take the macbook with me everywhere. And no, I don't expect the unibody to withstand a car hitting me.

    Anyone here with experience? If it's too risky I'll just try to put up with the macbook's sh***y sh***y screen.
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
  3. dyrmaker83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2009
    Well, reviews of them seem to say they don't offer much protection and they leave scratches (although I'm not sure if there's a difference between the aluminum and polycarbonate). Not sure if that's true or not. It may be nit picky, but I also don't like the look of them

    I would definitely look into them if they came highly recommended.
  4. Cyclo0n macrumors newbie


    Aug 6, 2009
    Be careful

    Im having my MacBook Alu for almost a year and cycle with it since i have my MacBook to school. ill have to say take a hard case with a soft skin inside or take a sleeve. I have a sleeve and having it in my backpack and it works as long there are no hard object near the sleeve :p and i didnt mind that the first time and now i have a lot of scratches on my MacBook :(
    So as answer: you can take youre macbook to school but be careful!
  5. morrisman1 macrumors 6502

    the aluminum is fine, just dont play football with your bag when its in it.
    Aluminum is much more resistant to small scratches than what the plastic is but because it is a malleable metal means if you drop it onto something hard then its more likely to bend than plastic, which would just spring back into shape, or crack.

    I have mine in a neoprene case and in my backpack, carrying it to uni and stuff and it has never been a problem in there.
  6. Legolai macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
    my girlfriend has a unibody, with a speck hardcase on it, admittedly she doesnt take it around with her much, but i took off the case the the other day to clean it and the aluminum was perfect, not a mark on it, the case was scratched on the top and bottom, Compare it to my whitebook, with no case and you can tell the difference, its scratched to hell, and i put it in a padded bag when i go out with it.

    Aluminum all the way
  7. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    I've been hauling around my PowerBook since day one, and while it's a bit scratched and has a few wee dents in it, it's looking good for 4 years of hard labour :D
  8. dyrmaker83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2009

    It certainly sounds like the polycarbonate's advantages are slim to none. Not sure if I'll be switching or not.
  9. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
    Use a a North Face backpack...and don't fall. You should be fine. ;)
  10. ml2k1 macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2009
    whatever you do, avoid the speck hardcase at any cost... I used it for about a month and when I removed it, there were small round scratches on the aluminium. It was probably from the dust that was trapped in between my umb and the case. Right now, I'm using invisible shield but I'm pretty sure you could use any thing similar, like the ones made from 3m. I haven't taken it off yet (only been using it for a month) but my iphone with the invisible shield had no scratches on its shiny black finish when I took it off. If I were to have a do-over, I would save the $50 I spent on the junk spec hard case and invested it in the invisible shield. It's also alot cheaper to buy it off ebay than in stores or from them directly for those that decide to take that route. Also, if you don't apply it correctly, it's going to look pretty nasty so take your time and don't i did :rolleyes:
  11. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I got bumped and my MBP dropped onto the concrete. It was in a padded sleeve, in a messenger bag. It fell maybe 2 feet. The corner got dented, and Apple then refused to honor my warranty at all unless I paid them $1200 to fix the dent.
  12. toxictrix macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
    I have mine in a tucano second skin and then put into my macbook. It still looks perfectly fine after lugging it to class everyday.
  13. yoyomaster macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2009
    I use an incase sleeve and my chrome messenger bag and it did fine.
  14. dyrmaker83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2009
    I've decided to try and exchange it for a pro, but I'll have to wait and see if they waive the restocking fee. Hopefully the crooked screen is enough of an issue.

    I decided to order the Tom Bihn vertical Brain Cell. It looked like the most protective case, and has gotten rave reviews. On top of that, I have a light cloth sleeve that will stay on the mac any other time it's not open. My pack is a nice waterproof backpack made for cyclists, but it only has one large compartment. This is great for storage space, but less than ideal for throwing a laptop in with a bunch of books.

    Glad to see there's some other cyclists on here. Thanks for the advice!
  15. toxictrix macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
    Dang that's an expensive sleeve. Post some pictures when you get it. Looks interesting.
  16. dyrmaker83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2009
    Yes, I know it's pricey. It's almost as much as I paid for the backpack! I figured it was worth it to protect an $1100 computer, and it's only $10 more than the hard cases cost.

    On another note, the apple store waived the restocking fee! Looks like future posts will likely be in the "pro" forum. I'm excited. Apple rocks.
  17. ebika macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2008
    Those speck cases and similar are really just for warding off scuffs. If you need omg-i-fell-down-go-boom laptop protection, something like this is better: . I have one for traveling and it is built like a tank.
  18. Takuta-Nui macrumors regular

    Apr 30, 2009
    I use a simple Neoprene sleeve from the Apple site, putting it inside a regular messenger bag. As long as I stack my papers and books and pens inside neatly so they won't poke the sleeve, and treat my bag carefully, I can't see what might cause damage.

    What you ordered seems a bit over the top to me, lol, but if it'll put your mind at ease... =)
  19. dyrmaker83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2009
    As requested. You can't tell, but the black material's texture is very nice. The materials are all high quality, and it's made in the US. It also fits the pro like a glove.



  20. Takuta-Nui macrumors regular

    Apr 30, 2009
    Looks very snug! I rather dislike the apparent lack of a zipper. My messenger bag has a zipper and then a flap with magnetic clasps, so it's quite secure. Velcro is hard to break out of, but you'd be surprised how fast things can fly in an bike accident.

    I guess your intent wasn't to also have room for textbooks, since if you want that it looks like you'll need to carry two bags.

    But here I am criticizing everything when it's doing its advertised job - protecting your MB and making it look pretty at the same time! Well done.
  21. dyrmaker83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2009
    Actually, this is meant to be used inside of another bag. Although they did add clips that you can use to add a shoulder strap. I think they didn't use a zipper so the velcro flaps could be extra padded, plus I believe zippers can scratch if the computer rubs against the inside of them. A agree that velcro doesn't cut it in an accident, but then that would be the least of my worries then, wouldn't it!

    It's perfect for me because I have a waterproof bookbag that is built like a tank itself.
  22. rcf-dds macrumors member


    Jul 31, 2009
    Cleveland & Columbus, OH
    off-topic but those are some great pics! what kind of camera are you using???
  23. pizzacake macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2006
    Unfortunately, whilst the MacBook outer casing might survive a drop, the insides will take a bashing. The screen most likely will crack. Thankfully hard drives are pretty tough these days so at least your data is safe.

    Use some sort of sleeve, skin or padded bag to lessen the impact on the internals of any drop.

    p.s. those camera pics, which camera and auto or manual settings? thanks.
  24. dyrmaker83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2009
    Nikon D40, normal 18-55 VR lens.

    Actually, I do use a Shaggymac screen protector. Not much I know, but I think it goes a long way to protect the screen and glass trackpad.
  25. pizzacake macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2006
    Just looked up the Nikon D40, it's an SLR, no wonder the pics are so good! 122 out of 141 are 5 star reviews on!

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