UPDATED: SENA’s Folio Case For The MacBook Air Is Beautiful, But Has A Problem [Review]

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Leather never goes out of style.

Folio Case by SENA
Category: Cases
Works With: MacBook Air
Price: $139.95

For most of the twentieth century, it’s been a material that testifies to professionalism and distinction, and while Apple’s glass-and-aluminum products may be designed with timelessness in mind, this timelessness interfaces well with leather’s inherent timefulness: the way the oils in your hands and the way you touch it give it character over time.

SENA is a company specializing in premium leather cased for phones, tablets and other devices. We gave their Folio Case for the 11-inch MacBook Air a spin. Leather looks good against aluminum and glass, but how does it feel? That’s what we set to find out.

The Good

SENA’s cases are beautifully constructed out of sumptuous, full-grain leather, and even from first blush, the MacBook Air case we tested looked, smelled and felt great. This isn’t just cheap leather: it’s the kind of leather that feels supple from the first moment you touch it. Leather you write GQ about. The inside is similarly nice: a combination of leather and suede.

A folio-style case, the SENA is meant to operate not just as a protective case, but as a folder in which you store all the other documents you might need for your business life. It’s like a huge wallet, with four credit-card slots, one slot big enough for an ID, and another couple of pockets big enough for stray documents, envelopes, papers and so-on. If you have a SENA case, chances are you can leave it at home.

The SENA Case fits my 11-inch MacBook Air well. The bottom is secured by sliding it into a sheath that overlays the bottom third of the keyboard section of the Air, with a square for the trackpad cut out. The lid of the Air is kept attached to the folio section with two stretchy loops on each corner of the display.

So the SENA case looks good. It’s beautifully constructed. But how’s it working with day-to-day?

The Bad

Where's Facetime?

Where’s Facetime?

On the official website for SENA’s Folio case, one of the features it proudly boasts about is that the Folio case has an “unobstructed camera and display.” Not in our experience.

The way the SENA Folio case closes is thanks to a rigid leather snap. When you close your laptop, you just button this snap on the underbelly of the device, and it’ll stay shut until you pop it open again.

But this snap is a major iritation when the laptop is actually open, because it dangles over the display. It not only obscures completely the Facetime camera, but it obscures about two square inches of the actual screen as well. You can sort of jury rig the snap so that it gets sandwiched between the case and the actual display, staying out of the way, but it’s not the natural configuration.

It’s a big deal, and it’s my biggest beef with the SENA case, which is all great leather and solid craftsmanship, but has this one ill-designed feature that is constantly getting in the way of you and your Mac’s screen.

UPDATE: According to SENA , the way this is supposed to function is that a magnet keeps this flap out of the way. On my review unit, this absolutely does not function, but it seems likely based upon SENA’s comments and the comments of others that I was shipped a dud unit with the magnet accidentally left out. 

The Verdict

The SENA Folio Case for the MacBook Air is beautifully constructed, but in our test unit, there was a major design flaw that irritated us endlessly. If not for that one flaw with our review unit, we’d even go as far as to say it was an excellent product. As such, we’re going to hold back a specific rating on the SENA Folio Case, but essentially, if you can confirm for yourself that the magnet flap works as advertised before you purchase your SENA, we’d recommend the case.

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Product Name: : Folio Case by SENAThe Good: Sumptuously made of beautiful leather. Looks great and feels great.

The Bad: Killer issue means that the case’s snap constantly dangles around two-inches in front of the screen.

The Verdict A beautiful case turned into an also-ran by one inexplicable design flaw.

Buy from: SENA

Related
  • GlenfordCanning

    Take the snap and bend it back over the cover until it touches the leather. There’s a magnet there that will hold it in place and out of the way. I thought the same thing you did when I first used it but someone in an Apple store pointed that out to me.

  • mxmoore

    Yes – absolutely correct – works great. However I have a major beef with the product…..I bought the 11″ SENA – and it is gorgeous. i work in a corporate environment and it is a pleasure to carry my AIR arround in such a slick case.
    BUT – the other flaw – which I’m surprised no one has commented on is that the elastic ‘bands’ that hold the case back in place to the screen are TOO narrow…..when I have my AIR open at a comfortable angle, the elastic is barely gripping the corners of the screen – and more times than not, they slip off and the case flops down….it is really annoying. It would have been SO simple to fix this – simply use a wider elastic…..this one is about 1/4″ – a 1/2″ wide band would have been perfect……and the extra width would in no way affect any other aspect of what is a delightful and beautiful product. I’m even tempted to take it into a shoemaker and ask them to remove and replace the bands……if I do I shall report on the difference and the cost.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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