Is Surface Pro 6 black Type Cover made of Alcantara?
What is Alcantara fabric?
Alcantara is a hybrid material made up of polyester and polyurethane, with the actual mix and method kept secret by the manufacturer. It's soft, looks like suede, and offers decent durability, which is a must on a surface like a keyboard that's going to get a lot of attention from your hands.
Alcantara is Italian-made and is actually a brand name, registered as a trademark of the Alcantara S.p.A. company. You might also find it used in the automotive, fashion, and aviation industries, lending itself to a luxurious finish.
Why is Alcantara fabric special?
Compared to natural alternatives, Alcantara is relatively inexpensive, though you'll still pay a premium for it over a lot of other manufactured materials. You might hear the term "Alcantara leather" thrown around, but know that it's 100 percent animal cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.
Ultrasuede is a similar material you might hear compared to Alcantara, but the differences here come down to region of origin. Alcantara is manufactured in Italy, while Ultrasuede (which is also a brand name) is made elsewhere. Think of the Champagne sparkling wine example, where only the legit stuff comes from Champagne, France.
Can you clean Alcantara fabric?
The palm rests on the Type Cover get a lot of attention from your hands, but thanks to its composition and durability, Alcantara can be cleaned up fairly easily and with household products.
A lint-free cloth, some mild liquid soap, and warm water are all that's required to get off most day-to-day stains and dirt, though you can buy specially-made Alcantara fabric cleaner for tougher stains. Lemon juice can even be used for certain stains like soda, alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, and tomato sauce.
Keep in mind that Alcantara will age over time, and the color might change or become permanently rubbed down if you type a lot. These are the tradeoffs for the extra luxury it provides. If that doesn't sound appealing to you, there are other options.
How does the black Type Cover otherwise differ from the Alcantara option?
The black, non-Alcantara Type Cover, though finished with a standard fake-suede plastic material, still delivers a full typing experience for your Surface Pro. You still get an LED backlight, big glass touchpad with Precision drivers, and suitable key spacing.
The non-Alcantara Type Cover is a bit smoother and should stand up better to wear and abuse, plus the dark color will hide stains. If you're concerned with your Type Cover getting dirty because you have a hands-on job, you might want to consider this option over Alcantara. Considering it's $30 less, it might just make the most sense from a financial standpoint.
Stick with the black Type Cover for a cheaper option
The standard Type Cover with a black finish delivers the same typing experience — a backlit keyboard, sizeable Precision touchpad, comfortable keyboard — all for about $30 less than the Alcantara option. If you're worried about stains and wear, this is probably a better option in the long run.
No Alcantara, but same typing experience
The standard black Type Cover doesn't have an Alcantara finish, but it's still a great option for turning your Surface Pro 6 into a full-on notebook.
Go with the Signature Type Cover for an Alcantara finish
If you don't mind spending about $30 more, the Signature Type Cover will provide a more luxurious typing experience. You can choose from three colors, and you'll get the same typing and pointing experience as found on the standard black Type Cover.
A luxury option available in three colors
It costs about $30 more than the standard version, but the vegan-friendly Alcantara fabric certainly offers some extra style to your Surface Pro 6.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.