Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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May 19, 2013 • Reviews

Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini Review Redux

Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini

I reviewed Toast’s wood back for the iPad mini back in March. (Read the review.) It went on easily and looked good. Unfortunately a key shortcoming led me to remove it shortly after posting the review.

Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini

My summary comments on the iPad mini cover say it all…

What I Like: Three different wood options; Option to have a plain back or one of a number of interesting designs; Ability to customize the case; Easy to apply but hard to remove; Terrific attention to detail

What Needs Improvement: Top and bottom of the iPad’s back remain exposed

Here’s the original video review.

My video review of the original iPad mini cover

Yes, a back cover that leaves the top and bottom of the iPad completely exposed isn’t much better than having no protection in the first place. I wrote the review and, once it was published, pulled the cover off. Sadly Toast covers are not designed to be reusable. The wood cover came off in pieces and had to be thrown out. I felt bad wasting such a nice wood product but I really need iPad protection that actually protects.

Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini

Recently I learned that Toast had redesigned their iPad mini covers and, in so doing, addressed this key shortcoming. Obviously I was not alone in my criticism of back protection that only protects part of the surface. (Don’t you love when companies pay attention to feedback?) Toast was kind enough to send a new sample and I’m glad they did. By adding top and bottom protection the company has designed a wonderful way to merge the classic look and feel of wood with the newness of modern technology.

Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini

The new Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini looks similar to the original one. It is, of course, a bit longer since this new cover extends to cover the upper and lower portions of the iPad.

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The cover is still available in three different woods and a number of different designs.

Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini

As you can see it is roughly the same size as the iPad mini. Toast sent the walnut cover with the “Birds on a branch” artwork etched and cut into it. I love the way it looks. At my request they also added www.geardiary.com to the cover!!

Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini

Before you apply the cover to the iPad mini you’ll need to make a decision. As Toast explains, the Apple SmartCover works best when the cover can come into direct contact with the iPad. While the SmartCover will work with the full Toast cover installed, if you plan to use one with the iPad on a consistent basis you are best served by removing the strip on the right hand side. It is perforated and comes off easily. The result is complete protection except for the side being exposed. It is a mixed bag. On the one hand the SmartCover does get a better hold on the iPad. On the other hand removing the strip means a portion of the iPad will remain exposed when you don’t have the SmartCover on. There are pros and cons to each approach.

Obviously I opted to remove the strip.

Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini

After deciding whether or not to remove the side strip you will want to install the Toast cover for iPad mini. The back of the packaging explains that you’ll want to expose a bit of the adhesive on the underside of the cover and line it up with the iPad. It took a few tries before I got it right. And while it is important to be careful you will also want to move quickly- the cover cures in a matter of minutes and if you try to move it after that you will end up destroying the cover.

Notice the corner cutouts? These allow the Toast cover to wrap around the corners of the iPad and protects them. It is a smart design and works well.

Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini

Once in place the cover looks and feels great. The branches are etched into the wood but the birds themselves are cut completely through. As a result the silver back of my iPad mini shines through and gives it a ton of visual interest. And, as you can see, the cutout for the camera lens and buttons are are laid out perfectly. (The lens is a tiny bit off center but that is user-error not something the company did wrong.) If you look at the right hand side you’ll see the SmartCover holding on.

Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini

I appreciate having the Gear Diary URL carved into the cover. It isn’t too obvious but it is there. That means anyone admiring the Toast cover on my iPad will also see, and hopefully visit, the site. Hey, free advertising is free advertising. 🙂

Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini

In all this is an awesome update to a lovely iPad mini accessory. It resolves my one and only issue with the Toast Real Wood Cover for iPad mini and, as a result, I can now recommend this cover without reservation! And, unlike the first iPad mini cover I reviewed this one won’t be coming off any time soon! You can learn more and order yours here on the Toast website.

MSRP: Plain- $35, Design- $40, Add $5 for personalization

What I Like: Three different wood options; Option to have a plain back or one of a number of interesting designs; Ability to customize the case; Easy to apply but hard to remove; Terrific attention to detail

What Needs Improvement: Cover not reusable once installed

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

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