Retina screens on a tablet are a marvel of engineering. The new iPads are premium products and the accessories chosen to cover them should be made with similar workmanship. Enter the Grove Bamboo & Wool Felt Sleeve. My extended testing period with the sleeve proved its worth many times over. It’s even made with enough room to fit an iPad and an Apple Smart Cover.
The Grove Bamboo and Wool Felt Sleeve is made with premium materials and from a, “small team of passionate creators changing the way you think about products.” That first line from their website started my excitement to review the sleeve. The team at Grove does everything from start to finish, including the production of the cases to customer service.
In addition, they have a fun website with all of the employees listed with cool “Polaroid” like photos. All together, the professionalism of Grove translates into the creation of higher quality products and it shows.
The charcoal colored wool felt from Germany is stitched in such a way that it hides the magnetic bar inside of the closing flap, which is nearly the length of the sleeve. Cases of lesser quality only install small round magnets at the ends of flaps. The extra strength provided by the magnetic bar, helps to hold in a full sized Apple iPad with or without an Apple Smart Cover. Premium cases and sleeves are great until the iPad falls out and breaks. In my extended testing, this did not happen.
Bamboo is an unusual material to include on any high-tech accessory. But it works on this sleeve two fold. It provides a pleasing color contrast against the charcoal wool felt and as harder protection for the iPad screen. Imagine the sleeve in a bag with pens and a letter opener. The bamboo combined with the wool felt protects the iPad’s Retina screen from acute pressure caused by sharp objects.
However, thin wood veneer, stitched onto wool felt that wraps around the base of the sleeve is usually a recipe for near immediate cracking. This may be true in some circumstances, but in my extended testing period, even the full weight of a hand placed directly over the folding crease, while leaning on it, did not crack the bamboo. It was an inadvertent test of the case and should not be performed at any time during ownership.
The wood acts as a cool surface to hold on to while traveling from place to place. Grove says in their FAQ (http://www.grovemade.com/faq/general/38-how-will-my-case-wear-over-time/), that the bamboo will, “…wear gracefully like fine, hand-oiled furniture. The oils from your hand will polish your case as a result of the natural oil and wax finish.”
This sleeve is most definitely a “daily driver” for anyone who wants to look good in the office or about town. The magnetic closing flap had enough strength to hold the iPad in, even with it facing downward. The sleeve is made to fit the iPad 2, 3 and 4 with or without the Apple Smart Cover, but also works with the iPad mini.
Grove is commended for making one of the highest quality, nicest looking iPad sleeves on the market. The 12-week wait to get one of these premium cases is the reason for the half star. I understand that quality takes time. To put the wait time into perspective, some Kickstarter project backers may wait far longer for premium iPad accessories. Grove is actually producing these sleeves now and customers should be happy with the result.
Grove certainly changed my idea of what quality, made in the USA accessories for the iPad, should be made like. Stepping up to a premium and fashionable case for the latest iPad, while simultaneously knowing the tablet is secure, is easily accomplished with the Bamboo & Wool sleeve made by Grove.
The Grove Bamboo & premium German Wool Felt Sleeve is available now, and sells for $79 on their website.
- High quality German wool felt
- Magnet snapping closure
- Fits iPad with Apple Smart Cover
- Works nicely with an iPad mini
- Natural bamboo veneer
- Won’t fit anything more than iPad and Apple Smart Cover
- One line of zigzag stitching around the bamboo is prone to catching on stuff in a bag
- Long wait time for shipping