Review: Grove Bamboo Back – An Artistic Skin for iPad (Video)

Review: Grove Bamboo Back – An Artistic Skin for iPad (Video)

I’ve been an iPad user since the original iPad was introduced, and until very recently, I’ve always kept my iPad (1st and 3rd generation) in a case. When the time came to get an iPad mini, I opted to get Apple Care, and have since kept it caseless most of the time. Consequently, I still baby the mini every time I pick it up or put it down (heaven forbid I get a scratch on the slate back). When the folks at Grove offered me a Bamboo Back for iPad mini, the biggest question  it raised in my mind – “Does it offer protection, or is design more important than function?”


The Grove Bamboo Backs are a simple sheet of real bamboo, hand smoothed and cut by a top notch team in Oregon. Available for iPad, iPad mini, and MacBook Pro/Air, the bamboo back adds a classic, real wood touch to your Apple device.


Fitting just smaller than the full height and width of the iPad or Mac, the Bamboo Back uses a strong 3M adhesive to stick on to the back of your Mac screen lid or back of your iPad. Applying the Bamboo Back is a simple process – clean the surface, remove the backing of the adhesive, align the back over your device, and slowly lower into place.

In the center of the Bamboo Back is a small cutout which aligns over the Mac or iPad’s Apple logo. The cutout can be any number if designs, ranging from the Grove logo, power symbol, or headphones, to various animals and complex designs. Regardless of design, the cutout is positioned over the Apple logo to provide a nice accent or color and design on the back of your device.


From a protection aspect, the Bamboo Backs aren’t not at the top of my list. On an iPad, they’ll keep scratches off the majority of the back (great if you’re setting it on rough surfaces), but with the edges exposed, it’s still easy to dent the body or crack the edge of the screen. While this may pose a concern for those who tend to be hard on their devices, if you’re keeping your iPad stowed away in a bag and are confident in your grip, the Bamboo Back can certainly help keep the device looking new without adding bulk.

Verdict [rating: 3.5]

Part of the beauty of an iPad to me is the big Apple logo on the back and the beautiful aluminum backing. While I do find the wood to lend a softer appearance, at roughly $30 a pop (and no *easy* way take it off and put it on depending on your mood), it really does require a commitment to having a wood skin on the back of your iPad.  That aside, I do really enjoy the look of the Bamboo and the pop of flavor it give the iPad when I’m out and about.  The smooth finish and vivid wood grains are a truly hip way to show off your Apple tablet.  Unfortunately, the lack of protection provided by the Bamboo Back means that if you’re hard on your iPad, this may not be the best option.


  • 50+ cutout designs
  • Smooth, vibrant finish
  • Prevents scratching on the largest exposed metal surface of the device
  • Very thin and light (Tim Cook would be proud)


  • No easy way to remove and reapply
  • Price is a little high for a 1-time use skin
  • No protection for sides/edges

To pick up your Bamboo Back for iPad/iPad mini/Macbook Air/MacBook Pro, head over to Grove’s website and choose your favorite design.