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Review: Grove iPhone 4/4S Case, Craftsmanship Embodied

It time for another case review. The only difference this time being that the case we are reviewing is not just any other case. What we have for you today is a different class of iPhone case. I would venture to say this this product strays more into the realm of art then it does what I would classify as a case. To call something a case is to denote something purely utilitarian in nature, this product however transcends this moniker and achives nothing short of greatness.

The case I’m referring to was granted to us for review by a little company called Grove. Based in Portland, Oregon, this company strives to produce environmentally friendly protective cases for our beloved iOS devices. The company produces two cases, for the iPhone, and the iPad 2. The latter will be reviewed at a later date as at the time of this writing, I have yet to receive it.

So let’s dive right in shall we?

When ordering your iPhone case from Grove there is a few things to keep in mind. For starters you need to be aware that these cases are manufactured by a small group of people, out of bamboo, and primarily finished by hand. That translates to a significant wait time for your case from order to delivery. To the tune of about 4-6 weeks (or in my case significantly longer as they were back logged). That seems like an eternity for an iPhone case, and understandably so. But the finished product is worth twice that wait time.

When the case is finally delivered, and you pull it from the mailer. The first thing you will notice is that the leftover block of bamboo, from which the case itself was cut, was used for its packaging! The effect is a beautiful presentation that gave an impression of craftsmanship and attention to detail, as even the protective frame was honed and smoothed into something beautiful (I’m actually utilizing it as a frame at present, it’s that nice)

Upon removal from the packaging, I was greeted with a sense of awe. The feel of the case in hand is extraordinary, and the level of attention to detail is amazing. Everything fits perfectly. All ports and switches are accessible with ease and are aligned as if the case was crafted in the same room with the device. They marry together that well. In fact, it fits so perfectly that the instructions warn of case damage if you try to install it over a screen protector…. Now that’s precision.

It truly is a thing a beauty. As an additional augment to this, all of the cases offered by this company are available with laser etched artwork. The artwork itself, to my understanding, is done by the very artists responsible for making the case. At the time of this writing, there are 37 different designs to choose from. Of coarse, there is always the option of supplying your own design, or the natural bamboo look. To each there own. The case I was supplied with was etched with a design called “Tree”. As you. Can see, the level of detail is quite high. Quite impressive really.

All in all, I’m very impressed with this case. So much so that I was looking forward to its continued use. Unfortunately thought that was not to be. The original review period was done using an black iPhone 4. After receiving my new white 4S, the first thing I wanted to do was slide this puppy on to see if it fit. I spoke of precision earlier and in this case it’s no different. As has been noted by some, the white iPhones are indeed almost unnoticeably thicker than their black counterparts. It was a tight fit. A very tight fit. Unfortunately, so tight in fact that the case split down the back. I am of the understanding that they have addressed this issue and are now selling these as 4S compatible though so no worries.

I cannot remember the last case that I have had the pleasure of reviewing that was so well made. On top of that, the gang at Grove are an amazing group of folks and have been an absolute treat to work with. I recommend this case and award it 5 out of 5 stars. Very well done. You can pick one up for your very own at starting at $69 for a plain case or $89 for a designed one. Worth it either way. Go get one.