I love the MacRumors forums. There are many people there who are quite knowledgeable when it comes to all things Apple. I’ve found many great things by threads with reviews with recommendations. It’s a great place to join a Mac community. Saying that, believe me, MacRumors also has it’s fair share of internet douche bags as well, like most forums.
So, after purchasing the Moshi Palm Guard because of a thread there, and people absolutely loving that product, I saw the thread on the Clear Guard. It’s a very thin keyboard cover made to protect the Mac against minor spills. I didn’t want it for spills, I want it to protect the key from the acid levels in the oil of my skin. After a short amount of time of typing, the black plastic keys can easily “wear” some, and cause areas of almost a high polished shine to them, that won’t clean off. I can’t have that, so reading this thread, it had 2 pages of RAVE reviews, and I had to try it.
Once it arrived, and I removed it from the ENORMOUS box in which it came, my first impressions were very positive. The material is so thin, you seriously hardly notice it on the machine. After inspecting this, the fit is great… Wait… What the hell? The function keys don’t fit correctly… The space provided on the clear guard is larger then the function keys on the unibody MacBook Pro. UGH. This is HIGHLY disappointing since every photo of the product on their website is on a MacBook Pro Unibody.
I tried the clear guard on a white MacBook. Perfect Fit. I tried it on a wireless keyboard… Perfect fit. So, Apple changed their function key size to be a touch smaller, and Moshi still sells this as compatible with the new MacBooks… What a shame.
OK, getting past the poor top row fit, it’s actually not horrible. It still functions correctly, and has a bit of hang over on the top. I can live with that. The material does cause a certain shinny cast to the keys, but I can live with that too. The material allows for your back light to shine through perfectly. No problems there.
Typing on the CLear Guard has instantly frustrated me for a few reasons. The material is very thin (and that’s a good thing). The plastic material, even though is so thin, is also quite rigid, so it really gives resistance when typing.
According to the people on MacRumors, I am certainly in the minority here on this one. I’m honestly stunned people say they hardly notice a difference when typing. For me, it’s a HUGE difference. It completely changes the way the keys react. I’m a pretty light typer, were I barely touch the keys when I type. Now, I can’t do that. I really have to press down. I find my self missing a lot of key presses with this on.
My problem is because of the way I type. I don’t always press the center of the key. Sometimes, my fingers are on the key, but on the edge when I press down. With the Clear Guard on, I can’t do that anymore. The edges are very stiff. The center has move give, and pressed down very easily. I realized this by pressing down in between 2 keys, as to press two at the same time with the same finger. It’s very hard to do that. So, because of this, you need to be completely accurate when typing, and hit the keys dead center.
I have heat concerns, and some people will tell you the openings around the keys is one way the MacBook’s breathe, and draw in cool air, so I did a couple of tests. Sitting idle, the heat levels are basically the same. It doesn’t seem to make any difference, but when doing something processor intensive like a big render in Photoshop, the temperature difference was raised about 10 degrees fahrenheit with the lear Guard on then with it off.
I ran the same test several times, and I got similar results each time, give or take 1 to 2 degrees. After running the test with the Clear Guard on, I immediately removed the guard and it was very warm, especially at the top end around the function keys.
Take it for what it’s worth… It’s not a lot of heat, but in some cases, it CAN add to the temperature. Because of this, if there’s ever an issue with your Mac, I would suggest removing the Clear Guard before taking it to Apple, and not mention you use it. If they know it adds ANY heat at all, It would be very easy for them to place blame on you, and claim it voids the warranty.
Overall, it’s a decent product. The thin see through material is fantastic. The product needs to be retooled to fit the Unibody MacBook’s perfectly in the function key area. I wish it was less rigid, so my finger placement doesn’t need to be dead on. It has taken me several days, of forcing myself to type on this, but it is growing on me. I’ll give this a good month, and decide if I keep it on or not. So far, it’s 50-50.