It’s not everyday a review product makes it’s way to the door of the DinoRobo office, so to say we were excited to receive this package from Grove doesn’t quite describe the overwhelming emotions the entire staff displayed. Take note, gadget accessory creators; we want to review your stuff! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to showcase one of your new products on our blog. We’d be honored. On to the review!
If you’re not familiar with Grove, I’ll give you the lowdown. Grove is a Portland, Oregon, based company that does business right. They design and manufacture their cases themselves. This lends to top quality products that provide a personal-touch feeling. And, boy, does that add value to the product.
Grove was created by Joe Mansfield and Ken Tomita, who both have roots in design. Joe, a custom laser engraver, and Ken, a furniture designer and builder, met by chance in 2007 and decided to collaborate on an iPhone case project. With much effort and hard work, Grove was established and their first case launched in April of 2010. Ever since, their business has grown and so has their case lineup.
One of their most recent offerings for the iPhone 4/4S is the new Grove Leather Back. While Grove admits that “it really doesn’t offer any additional protection against impacts/drops” other than preventing the back glass panel of your iPhone from getting scratched, that’s not really the intent of this product. So rather than reviewing this as if it were a “case”, I’ll be reviewing it for what it is: a way to customize and accent your iPhone.
Upon opening the package, I was met with a warm welcome to my new Leather Back. The tabs that hung out of the envelope made for an easy way to remove my new pieces of iPhone paraphernalia from confinement. Nice touch Grove!
Once removed, I got to take a good look at what I was about to adhere to the back of my phone. In general, I use an Incase Slider case for my phone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t change it out frequently. So, while I had some apprehension to move into something a little less protective and more for the show, I tucked the Slider away for now.
Let’s face it. It’s likely that if you’re going to buy one of these guys, it’s to give your iPhone a unique look. If that’s the case, then the Grove Leather Back does that job with flying colors.
Grove has a lot of great designs that have been made available for you to customize your leather back. If you haven’t checked them out yet, I highly recommend doing so by clicking here. While they haven’t provided an option to use your own custom design, they’re FAQ states that the option to do so is coming! They just don’t know when yet…
But with 42 different designs and two different color schemes for each, there’s bound to be something that will be to your liking. I’ll admit, I much prefer the Black leather to the London Tan.
As you can see in the image above, these designs pop. The method Grove uses to carve into the leather works great and the designs come out exactly as you see them on their website.
The installation process of the Leather back is very simple. If you’ve ever had to put a screen protector on your phone, the process to apply the Leather Back is very similar. But since the stress of potentially seeing dust behind the screen protector is eliminated, it’s so much easier.
As you can see, the Leather Back isn’t very thick. But it is thick enough that you likely won’t be able to use your other cases on top of it. So that raises the question: if I have to take this off of my phone, will I be able to re-apply it? There may definitely be times when you’d rather have a protective case on your phone than the Leather Back.
The answer is yes. I had initially put the London Tan Kong Leather Back on my phone and decided I really didn’t like the London Tan color. I removed it (which was just as easy as putting it on) and put it on a piece of press and seal food wrap to store it. This or wax paper will work great to preserve your leather back when not in use. The adhesive stays sticky so you can re-apply it when you feel like it. So don’t worry about when you have to take it off. Just make sure you have some way to prevent the adhesive from getting dusty and dirty.
The Leather Back isn’t cheap. At $29 for a plain leather back and $39 for one of their sweet designs, the price sounds steep. But that’s not without reason.
As I mentioned earlier, the entire process that goes into the creation of Grove’s products is done in house. While you may be paying a premium for that fact, buy purchasing their product you’ll have the knowledge that you’re supporting an American company that keeps their manufacturing local.
This shows in the quality of their product. What you see is what you get. The leather is genuine, the designs are unique, and the clarity of the design cut into the leather is pristine. Worthy of $39? I think so. Would I be more inclined to purchase a Leather Back with a design if they were $29? Yes. But $39 isn’t out of the question.
To add some value to your purchase, checkout the wallpapers they have available freely that match their Leather Back designs. Here’s my favorite.
Grove’s philosophy is a rarity in the iPhone accessory realm. I laud them for keeping everything in house which I feel adds value to their product, and I hope they never feel the need to start “maximizing profits by moving production overseas”. The effort that they put into their products shows in the quality of the Leather Back. The designs that are available are unique and look great. The color options provide an additional dimension of customization. Not to mention, they’re easy to put on, take off, and re-apply.
While this is the first Grove made product I’ve had the pleasure to check out, it won’t be the last.