Grovemade Maple Case for iPhone 5/5s review

Sections: iDevice Accessories, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Reviews

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My wife doesn’t understand why anyone would want an iPhone case made of wood. “Why cover technology so modern looking with wood?” she’s asked. It’s a fair point, but I come from a generation where wood and technology went hand in hand. Stereo systems, car dashboards, even gaming consoles all had wood construction or accents. If that’s your thing, cases like the Grovemade Maple for iPhone 5/5s are sure to please.

Grovemade Maple Case

Grovemade has many wood iPhone 5/5s case options available. Bamboo, walnut, bumpers…even one made from recycled skateboard materials. The review unit they sent us was the maple model, which itself comes with either black or white surface materials. This is what surrounds your phone and rises up above the screen a bit to keep it protected. The interior is padded with a firm material that holds the case on your phone and keeps it protected from the harder outer materials, but also has the negative effect of leaving lines on the back of your phone. They can be cleaned off, but it does indicate a very tight fit.

Grovemade Maple Case

To apply the Grovemade Maple, you simply slide your phone into the larger upper portion, then slide the smaller bottom end on. It’s simple enough to do, although my phone tended to slide out from the upper portion a bit when removing the bottom cover. Not a big deal unless you have to remove it a lot, which you will need to do if plan on using a third-party dock. The bottom cover Lightning port opening is just wide enough for a Lightning cable.

Speaking of ports, the camera opening is a bit small, but the covering around it should eliminate flash glare. The volume button and mute rocker opening is recessed for easy access, and the power button is completely covered with a wood mechanism that allows for very easy access.

Grovemade Maple Case

It all comes together quite well. In fact, only the line where the bottom and top portions of the case come together seemed to offer a misaligned fit, as the two pieces didn’t sit flush with one another (see top photo).

What matters most, though is the wood finish, which looks fantastic and feels great; very smooth and comfortable to hold. Whether you go with the walnut or the lighter bamboo or maple finishes, the black accent does a great job of pulling the design together with the iPhone itself. I’ll admit that I don’t like the white accent as much, but that’s the price you pay if went with a white iPhone…which I also don’t like as much.

The Grovemade case isn’t at all cheap at $99, but that’s because it’s not…well, cheap. This is a very attractive and very well constructed case that offers solid protection and a distinctive design. My wife may not like the idea of a wood case, but I don’t like the idea of a pink iPhone, so there you go.

Appletell Rating:
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Buy the Grovemade Maple Case for iPhone 5/5s

Provides: Scuff/scratch and basic drop protection
Developer: Grovemade
Minimum Requirements: iPhone 5/5s
Price: $99
Availability: Now

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  • Corey Meredith

    I’ve owned a Grovemade case for my iPhone 5 and there’s a serious issue with flash glare. Grovemade’s response when asked about it is “we address it in our FAQs:”

    The FAQ is outdated, refers to content that no longer exists, and they downplay the problem. Trust me, it’s worse. Any flash photo taken with the case on is heavily washed out in a white haze. I love the case otherwise, but simply do not understand why they don’t modify the camera cutout. Even their new iPhone 6 cases have the same cutout design! The new cases are thinner which probably reduces the problem, but I doubt that it removes it. This is a serious case of form over function.

    The cutouts have three problems:
    1) They are too close to the flash
    2) Light from the flash is reflected in the gap between case and phone
    3) The cutout isn’t tapered

    I’ve chatted with people that have modified the cutout themselves to solve the problem. This shouldn’t be necessary for a $100 case!