When Larry posted about the Case-Mate Mohogany Wood Case, I was smitten — there’s no other way to put it. I loved the look of the rich red wood on the iPhone, and I was thrilled when he sent it to me after the review was complete. I used the heck out of that case, even though it added quite a bit of bulk to my iPhone, and even though it had a flaw which turned out to be fatal. It wasn’t evident from the beginning that the lack of a cutout might be a problem, but because the bottom had to be removed every time I needed to charge my iPhone, it quickly became one. As anyone with an iPhone 3GS knows, the phone must be charged daily, so this happened often. The vertical grain of the case’s wood — the same grain that made the case so striking — played into the problem. The bottom of the case had to be grasped when being removed, and over time I eventually snapped off the bottom right edge — right along the beautiful vertical wood grain. I tried repairing the case several times, but each time it would eventually break during a removal; I finally got frustrated and quit trying.
Because I was now convinced that I wanted another wooden iPhone case, albeit one with a bottom cable cutout, I began to research them. While Googling, I found several references to, a company from Amsterdam, and their . I called myself ridiculous more than a few times, debated the iWood’s price, looked at other wooden iPhone case options I had also found online … and then finally caved in.
Once I had decided that I was going to go for it, all that was left was to decide which color wood I wanted; available choices included oak, padouk, cherry, mahogany and walnut. I was set to(80€ or ~$100), when I clicked the cobra series option — saw their dual racing stripes — I had no doubt which option I would be ordering. Available in wenge & maple or padouk and maple, I chose the latter. I also opted to add my initial to the case (an additional 10€).
I placed my order on February 10th, and was advised that production would take four weeks; I received my package today. I was dubious that the addition of a charging port opening could justifiably add ~$100 to a wooden case, but the Miniot iWood is so much more than just a new wooden case for my iPhone. It is … yummy.
Let me back up for just a moment … After the Case-Mate wooden case had broken its final time, I was carrying my iPhone in a Griffin Reveal, one of the thinnest iPhone cases I have ever used. After using the Case-Mate, I fully expected the Miniot to be of a similar thickness. I was frankly amazed when I opened the box and discovered that the iWood cobra was much closer in thickness to the Reveal; the level of craftsmanship is simply amazing.
The case is cut so that the chrome ring around the iPhone is left exposed, almost like a flashy it of trim. The sides of the case do not come up much further than the iPhone’s screen, so there is no bezel-bump sensation when using the iWood. Overall, my iPhone does not feel much thicker or heavier than it would with any other thin case.
I was a little surprised that there was no included screen protector in the presentation box, as I am used to receiving one with cases costing much less. This wasn’t too big of an issue for me, as I have a Elago Anti-Glare protector that I had no intention of replacing already installed, but it did make me pause. I think that it would be a nice touch for Miniot to partner with a better screen protector company, and in the future include in every package both a matte and clear protector along with a microfiber cloth. For a case this pricey, a lagniappe like that would be much appreciated.
The interior of the iWood has a light neoprene lining, and instead of a friction slider closing system (as the Case-Mate had), there is a ridged tab which will actually lock the two halves of the case together with a slightly audible click.
Instead of having holes for the volume rocker and power button, there are wooden covers which you are instructed on exactly where to press – to get the desired reaction, you are advised to press either side of the volume rocker but not the center, and to press the right side of the power button but not the left. The wooden levers are beautiful, and so far pressing them in the correct spot has been second nature. Because the case is so thin, it’s been no problem to flick the vibrate switch get the tip of my pointer finger.
The headphone jack is perfectly centered (not that you can tell in this angled photo!), and it is cut with a 7mm opening so that you can use most 3rd party headphones without issue.
The syncing & charging port is cut to exactly accept the cable; speaker and microphone holes which exactly match their counterparts on the iPhone flank it on either side. I will likely be trading in my cradle-style extended batteries for other extended battery options which use a bit of cable, because I would truly prefer not to ever remove the case unless it is absolutely necessary.
I have had the case on my iPhone for most of today, and I must say that while I am still slightly in fear of the impulsive decision which led me to spend 130€ (~$170) on an iPhone case, I am absolutely in love with the iWood cobra I received. I doubt that this (or any wooden case, really) would survive a long drop on concrete — and I am not willing to test it — but I do think that the case will protect my iPhone from light bumps and dings. I’ve got a matte screen protector installed which has thus far done a great job protecting the screen, so I am calling it good.
Theis available directly from the manufacturer.
The wenge & maple is 140€, the padouk & maple is 120€. Adding your name is an additional 10€.
What I Like: Absolutely gorgeous, thin wood case which doesn’t add a lot of bulk or weight to the iPhone; properly placed cutout for the syncing and charging cable — no need to remove he bottom of the case; perfectly lined up cutouts that allow finger access where needed; wooden lever covers for the volume rocker and power button add a nice finishing touch; initial monogram is available for an additional charge;
What Needs Improvement: No included screen protector; It’s pricey, there is no way around it. But as long as you expect to pay a premium price on this product going in, you’ll be amazed by the craftsmanship and beauty of the Miniot iWood cobra