I’ve made no secret of my fondness for adding wooden accessories to my iPad and iPhone over the years; I absolutely love the juxtaposition of warm wood on an otherwise industrial-styled piece of electronics. Now I think I may have found one of the most amazingly designs yet seen from one of the last places I would have thought to look.
Element Case has long been known for their beautiful and functional metal and composition iPhone case designs, but nothing in their manufacturing history would have led me to expect that they would make the leap to wood. That’s why I was more than a little bit surprised when they reached out and offered us the opportunity to take a look at their new Wood iPad Shell; of course I said yes, but I’ll admit that I didn’t expect to be overly impressed.
The shell arrived in a plain white retail package, and while the wood grain I could see appeared to be lovely, I couldn’t yet tell what the thickness or weight of the cover might be.
Once I had removed the shell from its packaging, I was amazed by its slim and lightweight construction. The shell is composed of carbon fiber that has been “permanently fused” with a natural Walnut wood veneer. The result is an extremely thin and light back cover that looks beautiful without adding bulk or weight to the iPad.
Here’s a look at the carbon fiber side of the shell. You may recall that we have reviewed other carbon fiber covers in the past, and we have appreciated their lightweight protection to the iPad’s back, sides, and corners. Adding the walnut veneer just takes this kind of case to a whole new level.
Perfectly placed cutouts are all around the sides and back to accommodate buttons, ports, the camera, and the speaker.
The fit is utterly true; the shell grips the iPad’s corners tightly, and its tolerances are so precise that if you have a skin on the back of your iPad (like I do), the shell will not properly fit. Kev doesn’t have a skin on his iPad, so I was able to test it on his; we both loved the way it looked.
Kev was at first concerned about the fact that if someone was using this shell they wouldn’t have anything covering the screen, but I pointed out that since he is already using a screen protector, he was ahead of the game. This shell plus a screen protector would be just about perfect for someone who usually commutes with their iPad inside a slipcase or in a bag pocket, since those type solutions typically leave the iPad completely unprotected when it is in use.
Think of it this way: if you are someone who likes the idea of carrying a naked iPad, but you cringe at the thought of not having any kind of corner protection in the event of a drop, this shell used with a screen protector could be the solution you have been looking for.
The only caveat I can think of is that this shell is not made to be used with an Apple Smart Cover or any other similarly designed screen cover. I have the Miniot Mk2, and I would love nothing more than to be able to use these two items together, but alas it’s an either or proposition.
If you want a lightweight and protective solution that will make your iPad look distinctive and nontypical, this may be the shell for you. Just remember to add some screen protection!
The Element Case Walnut Wood iPad Case is available directly from the manufacturer.
What I LIke: Perfect fit; lightweight protection; gorgeous woodgrain
What Needs Improvement: Does not allow the use of a smart cover or allow you to use a skin on back of iPad