New iPhone, new case. So goes the cycle. This time around I wanted something a little different. Enter Grove’s Bamboo iPhone 5 case ($79+).
I was immediately drawn to bamboo because I love the brightness and warmth of the wood and because I work in hospitals and thought applying the natural antibiotic properties of wood to an iPhone might be yet another helpful line of defense.
Founded in 2009, Grove is based in Portland, Oregon, and everything they sell is designed, crafted, and processed there. In addition to their iPhone cases, they also produce bamboo backs for Mac laptops; leather/bamboo cases, covers, and skins for the iPad 2; and wall art. Their iPhone cases come in three styles; plain bamboo, custom engraved with your own design or engraved with one of the their designs. There is also an option for monograming on the edge of the case.
Obviously, my case came with one of their designs — a pretty slick one at that. Obviously I can’t speak to the longevity of the case as I just received it, but so far color me impressed!
The bamboo has clearly been cut, shaped and finished with great precision and skill. I especially like that the case has a power button actuator built into it, very cool. All buttons are easily accessible and the headphone jack opening is plenty big for any straight plugged cans. The case is a snug fit, but after putting it on and removing it several times I can’t find any trouble areas with excessive rubbing, likely due to the velvety lining that sits between the wood and the device.
The case feels pretty damn good in my hands. It adds just the right amount of bulk to the phone, the iPhone 5 almost felt a bit small in my hands. And the bamboo has a substantial, grippy texture which makes the phone seem much more secure in my hand. There is no traditional wood finish or lacquer, instead Grove applies four coats of an oil/wax blend to each case. The wood feels like it could take a beating.
The Grove Bamboo iPhone 5 Case isn’t cheap starting at $79, but for the price I’m more than happy with the quality, fit and finish and I think this one will definitely last the life of my phone. The plain bamboo ones are $79, the stock designed cases come in at $99, and the custom laser-engraved ones start at $129. Monograming is available in three separate locations on the case and each application is $14.99.