The Maclocks Lockable Cover Solves The Retina MacBook Pro’s Security Problem [Review]

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In order to make the Retina MacBook Pro so thin, Apple had to make some sacrifices. One of those was doing away with its optical drive — which is no longer an issue for most in the digital age — and another was using flash storage rather than old-fashion hard-disk drives.

Lockable Cover by Maclocks
Category: Locks
Works With: Retina MacBook Pro
Price: $24-$31

But Apple made another, slightly more subtle change that the average consumer may not have noticed. It did away with the Kensington lock, providing users with no way to secure their device to their workstation to prevent it from being stolen.

Fortunately, Maclocks has a number of solutions to solve this problem, and I’ve been testing two of them over the past few months. First up is the Lockable Cover, a protective case that covers the top and the bottom of your MacBook Pro, and adds a lock to its base that you can plug a universal security cable into.

The Lockable Cover costs $24.71 on its own, or $30.90 if you need the security cable as well. That’s a small price to pay to protect your beloved notebook when you can’t always keep an eye on it, but is the Lockable Cover worth it?

The Good

When it comes to installing the Lockable Cover, you have two options — both of which are pretty simple, and should take you no longer than 5-10 minutes.

Close-up.

Close-up.

The first option — the less secure option — is to simply clip the cover onto the top and bottom of your device. It has small plastic lips all around its edges and they cling onto the edges of your MacBook Pro. They look pretty fragile, but they’re actually surprisingly strong, and once the cover is secure there’s little chance of it popping off. If it does pop off, you didn’t secure it properly.

The first option is the best one if you don’t want to mess around with screws, but again, it’s not the most secure — and certainly the one you should avoid if you’ll be leaving your notebook unattended for anything more than about 60 seconds. It’ll take a thief less than that to pop the bottom cover off of your device and get away with your notebook.

Sure, the lock may deter them altogether, but I’d recommend playing it safe and going with the second option from the start. This involves removing five screws from the bottom of your MacBook Pro and actually screwing the cover into it. Installation takes a few minutes longer, but it means the cover cannot be quickly popped off, and your notebook is completely secure when connected to the cable.

For a thief to get away with your MacBook Pro after using this option, they’d have to actually break the cover itself, and risk breaking the notebook, too. The cover is made from an incredibly strong polymer that — while flexible enough to bend when clipping onto your device — certainly won’t snap easily.

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The cover has other benefits, too, of course. It’ll protect your MacBook Pro’s beautiful aluminum unibody from scuffs, scratches, and dings, and it will help it stay cool while it’s in use; its feet elevate your device off the surface to provide better ventilation.

It also provides ample room for your MagSafe connector, your Thunderbolt and USB ports, your headphone jack, and everything else you’ll need to get to — so don’t worry about those these being covered up.

If the additional bulk bothers you, you can use the bottom cover on its own.

If the additional bulk bothers you, you can use the bottom cover on its own and leave the top one in the box — the top one has no affect on the locking mechanism whatsoever, it’s purely there for protection. But I felt it looked a little odd using one without the other. Also, I’d be even more annoyed if my MacBook Pro picked up a big scratch knowing I had a perfectly good protective cover sat doing nothing at home.

With both covers, you’ll find your notebook weighs 0.7 pounds (317.5 grams) more than it does naked. With just the bottom cover, your MacBook Pro will weigh 0.35 pounds (just under 158 grams) more.

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The Bad

Those differences in weight, and the additional bulk that the cover adds to your device, are definitely noticeable. The Retina MacBook Pro isn’t a super light machine anyway— you’ll always notice it in your backpack — but with the Lockable Cover applied it’s noticeably heavier and thicker.

The underside.

The underside.

Having said that, it’s not really any thicker than a standard MacBook Pro cover. In fact, if you remove the lock on the corner, it’s no different. And personally, I’d rather have the lock there if I was going to user a cover at all. And again, you can use the bottom cover on its own if this is a massive problem for you.

I soon got used to the weight, but one thing I do notice all the time is the rather rough edges on the bottom cover, which sit around the sides of your device. Your wrists are likely to rest on these while you’re typing — depending on how you sit — and it’s a little uncomfortable. It’s not a problem when wearing a long-sleeve top, but if you’re wearing a t-shirt it’ll bother you. It’s a shame these edges weren’t made a little smoother.

My only other gripe with this product is actually with the cable rather than the cover. The one that comes bundled with the case uses small keys, and I was always concerned I’d lose them and end up with my MacBook Pro stuck wherever I last locked it up. I’d much prefer it if the case came with a combination lock instead.

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The Verdict

The Lockable Cover from Maclocks is one of the cheapest and simplest ways to add a lock to your precious MacBook Pro and prevent it from being stolen. It also kills two birds with one stone by simultaneously protecting the top and bottom of your device from anything damage while it’s on your desk or in your bag.

I found the Lockable Cover incredibly quick and easy to apply and use, and I’ve been more than impressed by its build quality. Sure, there are a few things I’d change, but the pros far outweigh the cons.

Having said that, I do prefer the more expensive but more elegant Maclocks Lock Bracket — but you’ll have to wait until next week for my review of that one.

Maclocks
Product Name: Lockable Cover
The Good: Protects your MacBook Pro and prevents it from it from being stolen; strong and robust; well made.
The Bad: Adds weight and bulk to your MacBook Pro.
The Verdict: If you need to add a lock to your MacBook Pro, and you want to spend less than $35, then the Lockable Cover is the way to do it.
Buy from: Maclocks

Cult of Mac rating: Good

  • jameskatt

    Too bad they increased the price to $50.

  • jameskatt

    The biggest problem with this case is that they completely block the side air intake vents on both sides of the MacBook Pro. These vents are very important to cooling the MacBoo Pro. Other case makers have openings to these vents. Maclocks forgot about them.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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