Regular readers will know I’m a sucker for anything made from wood, but even I was surprised to see a wooden iPad sleeve. You’d think that wood would be too heavy and inflexible for a slip-in protective sleeve for an iPad Air, but no, this one is neither.
Available for both the iPad Air and the iPad mini (either model), the sleeve comprises a wood veneer outer, a wool lining and a leather and brass pull-strap to slide the iPad out of the sleeve …
Grovemade offers a choice of two woods: eastern hardrock maple and Oregan black walnut. The one I tried is the walnut.
You do get a real sense of quality right from the moment the sleeve arrives, complete with hand-signed, embossed thank-you card. As they are hand-made, I assumed at first glance that this would be signed by the person who made it, but the embossed legend instead said ‘Packed and sealed by’ – not quite the same image!
There’s also an adhesive sticker should you wish to apply it. Without the sticker, the sleeve has only the tiniest and most subtle embossed logo in the bottom-right corner of the sleeve.
The wood veneer is exceedingly thin, so the sleeve is flexible, the geometric shapes allowing it to move without any risk of cracking the wood.
The wool lining in the interior feels a little rough to the touch, but certainly nothing that is going to scratch.
Getting an iPad out of a tight-fitting sleeve can sometimes be awkward, but the leather pull-strap makes it easy with this one. Just pull the bar at the top (a brass tube enclosed in the leather) and it slides right up.
Any sleeve of course adds bulk to the iPad, but it’s still a compact enough package to slip into a bag.
The only disappointment to me is the feel of the wood. It has a very smooth, polished feel that is so slick to the touch it doesn’t really have the tactile sense of real wood.
That aside, however, I was very impressed. It looks fantastic (and several people asked me about it when I was out and about), offers a decent level of protection and the pull-out strap removes the fiddliness of sliding the iPad out.