The metal body of the HTC One M8 is a standout feature; it feels great, but it’s quite slippery. Covering such a gorgeous phone in any old case or skin seems like a travesty, but it needs something to give it grip. Toast has stepped up to the plate with their real wood Toast Cover; do metal and wood mix?
Toast’s covers are a bit of a hybrid. They are quite thick and substantial, but stick to your phone like a skin with a strong adhesive. Once you have installed the cover, it is not reusable, and we will cover the removal process more below. Installation seems a bit intimidating at first, since there is one continuous piece of wood to stick on your phone, and it isn’t easy to adjust for errors. Once you have it centered, though, it fits onto the phone like, well, a second skin. Toast has done an amazing job of fitting a stiff piece of wood around a curved phone using careful indentations that make the skin more flexible. It gives the cover a really great visual flair as well helping to keep it all one piece. I also appreciated that Toast keeps the branding to a bare minimum with just a tiny Toast logo etched on the bottom.
Once the cover is installed, it isn’t coming off until you remove it. I shoved my phone in and out of my pockets, in and out of bags, and my son definitely managed to chomp on it a few times. Despite daily abuse, the cover looked pristine, and even baby drool didn’t loosen the grip. It also made for a great conversation piece, as people loved the look of wood meets metal and complimented it regularly. Because Toast uses real wood, there’s texture and striation and variation in each cover, and makes your phone look quite unique. Toast covers the entire sides, back, and bottom; only the top is left open. They also include tiny covers for the SIM slot, MicroSD slot, and volume keys, so you have full access to these in your Toasted phone and they match the rest of the sides. To give you an idea of the thickness of the Toast cover, the volume keys need the button covers because the wood comes up to about the same level as uncovered volume keys. So, as I said, this is a bit of a hybrid-thicker than a regular skin, thinner than a case, but as protective if not more so than a minimalist case.
Now, the Toast case is great. But taking it off is an exercise in patience, detail, and fingernails of steel. The adhesive is quite strong, and the company suggests loosening it with a hair dryer before you peel it off your phone. I tried that, and it worked, sort of. It took a lot of wrangling, and the cover mostly split into pieces as I removed it. Since my fingernails are fairly short, I had a lot of trouble getting underneath to peel the cover, but I did have success using wooden skewers (I figured soft wood skewers would not scratch my phone-thankfully I was right!). I also had a lot of adhesive left behind on the phone, though some of that could be that I didn’t heat it for long enough with the hair dryer. A little rubbing alcohol and I had it all cleaned up, though it was a good lesson-if you put a Toast cover on your phone make sure you want it there for a while!
Note: We were also warned that our review sample was from an initial batch that used adhesive that was so strong, the company received complaints about buttons being removed along with the cover, so they are retooling the HTC One covers. New orders should be fine, but if you bought one of the early ones and have an issue, contact Toast!
I like Toast covers quite a bit. They add warmth and natural style, and they are high quality and well designed. There are two downsides to consider: one, you aren’t getting much protection beyond grip and some scratch resistance, and it is difficult to remove if you’re the type to swap styles often. However, if you like a minimal look and you know you like the wood look, a Toast cover should be your number one pick!
MSRP: $30 for a plain cover as reviewed; prices vary for custom text, HTC logo, and front cover add-on (not reviewed)
What I Liked: Fit was impeccable; color and texture complemented the phone; adds grip to a slippery device; button covers and cutouts lined up perfectly.
What Needs Improvement: Difficult to remove
Source: Manufacturer provided review sample