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Hands-on with Grovemade's luscious Walnut iPad Sleeve

Grovemade Walnut iPad Sleeve (Photo by Steven Sande)

Damn those designers at Grovemade! Every time I turn around they're making magic with wood and coming up with some product that just makes me smile at their design skill and manufacturing savvy. This time, they've wandered into the realm of iPad sleeves, something that is usually the domain of companies that make bags and backpacks, not solid walnut and brass iPhone docks. So did Grovemade deviate from its tried and true material, wood? No -- as you'll see in this review of the Walnut iPad Sleeve (US$89 for iPad Air, $79 for iPad mini -- also available in Maple).

Design Highlights

Grovemade has figured out how to make hardwoods do amazing things, and in the case of the Walnut iPad Sleeve and its Maple counterpart, they are turning it into a flexible component. That is done by taking extremely thin slabs of solid wood, adhering them to premium German wool felt that acts as the interior liner of the sleeve, and then making a geometric pattern of cuts into the wood with a laser. The wood is hand-sanded until smooth, and then an oil finish is applied for protection.

Your iPad or iPad mini fits snugly into the sleeve; so snugly, in fact, that if it weren't for a leather and brass pull strap you might not be able to remove your tablet without a struggle.

Grovemade Walnut iPad Sleeve (Photo by Steven Sande)

The design is simple, yet classic. The geometric scoring in the wood gives the sleeve a subtle geodesic dome look that Buckminster Fuller would be proud of, while allowing the wood to flex as the iPad is placed into it.

Functionality Highlights

What can you say about the functionality of a tablet sleeve? It either provides protection for your device or it doesn't, and in the case of the Grovemade Walnut iPad Sleeve, it provides protection for your device with a lot of style.

The iPad slips into the sleeve with just a bit of resistance, is held snugly by the felt, but then pops out with a tug on the pull strap.

If I had to say anything "negative" about the sleeve, it's that it looks so nice you probably won't want to just throw it into a bag or onto a car seat for fear of scratching it. I'm sure that the nice folks at Grovemade would send you refinishing instructions if you do damage that nice exterior...

Conclusion

It's not for everyone, but if you want a way to protect your iPad Air or iPad mini with all natural materials and have it look awesome at the same time, the Grovemade Walnut iPad Sleeve is a winner.

Giveaway

Have an iPad mini or iPad mini with Retina display? Then you have a chance to win one of Grovemade's Walnut iPad Sleeves. Here are the rules for the giveaway:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before May 19, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected in a random drawing and will receive a Grovemade Walnut iPad Sleeve valued at $79
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

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