A Close-Up of the Plasticsmith mini Skirt glo
Plasticsmith have come into their own since the launch of the Mac Mini, developing accessories at an alarming rate, and offering some really original and funky ideas. These include a monitor stand to place your Mini underneath, a tower to support your Mac Mini vertically and the mini Skirt which I am going to review.
I want to put out of the way at this point that the item is not an essential buy. It doesn’t add any major functionality to your Mac Mini, and it is (lets face it) purely for aesthetic value. This is the case with many of Plasticsmith’s products. They are often space savers, or simply new ways to enjoy the look and feel of your Mac Mini (with the exception of their new USB hub). However, this product does what it was designed to very well indeed, and it I think it is a worthy addition to your Mac Mini.
What you get
The package the mini Skirt comes in has similarities to the Mac Mini’s box. It has the same foam padding inside, the mini Skirt comes in a protective plastic bag, and there are some rather brief instructions. Included in the box is also a USB cable (complete with an on/off switch) and an LED to plug into the mini Skirt. These items are packaged in their own small plastic box – a nice touch.
The LED and USB cable supplied with the mini Skirt
As you can imagine, setting up the mini Skirt is a very simple task. You sit it on your desk, place the Mac Mini on top, then just plug the cables in. One end goes in a free USB port on your Mini, the LED on the other end is plugged into a drilled hole in the Skirt. Flicking the On/Off switch on the USB cable illuminates the LED which spreads across the edges of the mini Skirt very effectively.
At first, I wasn’t over impressed by the blue light, and the extra height this added to my Mac Mini. However, it has really grown on me over the past couple of days. I now think it is a fantastic addition to your Mac, and it looks incredibly suave. The mini Skirt has four plastic feet on it, which allow it to cling very well to any surface. I feel my Mini is more protected when it is raised a couple of centimetres off the surface of the desk.
The way Plasticsmith have achieved the lighting effect is very clever. The majority of the Skirt is made up of a clear acrylic plastic material. It looks almost identical to glass, but it isn’t. However, the edges have been given a frosting treatment. This means that the LED light passes through the majority of the clear Skirt, and just illuminates the frosted edges. The area directly in front of the LED (situated in the back centre) recieves slightly more light than everywhere else, but it is a generally even effect.
The Skirt matches the Mac Mini's form factor exactly
There are a couple of downsides to the mini Skirt glo. Firstly, $29.95 is quite a lot to pay for an accessory which doesn’t add any real functionality. It certainly looks cool, but it isn’t really a ‘must buy’ product. Also, it uses one of the Mini’s USB ports. Although this is a very efficient way to power the device, the Mac Mini only offers two USB ports to begin with, so you might be forced into buying a USB hub if you want to run the Skirt’s light all the time.
As mentioned above, Plasticsmith are now selling the mini Skirt for $29.95 which will rise to $39.95 after this month’s promotion. If you are planning on ordering one, you had better act fast to save yourself that extra $10. If you don’t like the blue light, you have two options. You could either spend just $19.95 and buy the ‘non glo’ version without an LED, or you could request a white LED when you order the mini Skirt. Plasticsmith sell all their products from their own online shop.