Grove - Bamboo Case for iPhone 4
Unique cases are getting harder and harder to find for your mobile device. These days just about everything has been done and seen. So when a unique case design comes up, we just have to check it out.
Grove has been making waves with their case entry, made entirely of bamboo, for the iPhone 4. Each case is custom CNCed and hand oiled so that the case is a piece of art. They even have an artist series that has custom etched pictures on the back of the case. Today we are taking a look at one of the plain cases made of bamboo with an aluminum bezel (note that some of the newer designs use a bamboo bezel).
The first thing that catches your eye is the great packaging Grove uses. They actually reuse the pieces of bamboo that the cases are cut from to create the packaging and the overall presentation is wonderful. It really gives a sense of style and luxury from the instant you lay eyes on it.
In addition to being a great presentation, the packaging also doubles as a picture frame. If you order one of the artist series you get a matching artist card, or if you order a plain case like ours you get a random artist card to display in the frame. It simply slots into the bamboo and is a neat touch.
Now on to what really matters...the case itself! It is a simple design that has two halves that come together to make the completed case. At first I was worried about how tight/loose the fit would be, but it turns out it is perfect. The case is machined perfectly and fits the iPhone 4 like a glove. The back of the case has a soft material that keeps your iPhone 4 scratch free and also ensures the case stays in place.
Here you can see the Grove logo engraved on the side, again done very tastefully.
All the cutouts fit perfectly and are nicely edged. There are no rough edges or weird design elements here. I personally really like the volume button area where the bamboo sweeps in elegantly and allows easy access.
A completed case that adds a touch of design and class to the already good looking iPhone 4. Kudos to Grove! The finish on the bamboo is natural and oiled, so you can really get your hands on the soft surface of the bamboo.
Apple official connectors fit perfectly, though some 3rd party ones can be a bit tight.
In use the Grove case is one of the better cases I have tried out. It is nice to hold and easy to get a good grip on. The cutouts also make accessing all the functions easy. The headphone cutout is a bit tight for many headphones (the official Apple ones work fine though), so you might want to get an extender with a slim tip to use third party headphones/earphones.
The only issue I have with the Grove case is signal strength. I have noticed that it cuts down the signal by about -5 to -10 db (measured using the iPhone's field test mode). This is not impossible to overcome and in using the case for a few weeks I have had no problems with calls, but it does cut down on battery life a tiny bit and can make some areas with poor signal even worse.
Overall the Grove Bamboo Case for the iPhone 4 is a really unique entry into the saturated case market and Grove puts forth a design that is worthy of the price. I was worried about the bulk of a wood case, but it really is not bad at all. It certainly turns heads and is one of my top picks for iPhone 4 cases that I have seen so far!
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Our owner and founder, Gray, started Tech Islands in 2005 to help pursue his interest of Pocket PC News and Reviews.