Monolith’s Wood Skins For The iPhone 5 Are Simply Sublime [Review]


Monolith's new wood skins for the iPhone 5 are every bit as good as the replacement backs they made for the iPhone 4... and that's saying something.

I like my iPhones in wood. Part of it’s to satisfy my Danish mid-century pretensions, but as I’ve said before, there’s something perfect about making a smartphone after wood. Wood implies an intimacy that metal or plastic doesn’t — that it was hand-crafted with you in mind — which makes it a natural (but not practical) material for a smartphone, which is the gadget with which most of us have our most personal relationships.

Back when I had an iPhone 4S, I replaced the glass back of my device with a replacement teak back by Monolith and never looked back. Not only was it more practical and more unique than the iPhone 4S’s easily shattered glass back, but it felt just sublime in the hand.

When the iPhone 5 came out, I was eager to know from Monolith whether they’d be doing replacement wood backs for Apple’s latest handsets. The response I got was a disappointment: while it was possible to replace the back of the iPhone 4/4S by just popping out two screws, it was impossible to replace the iPhone 5 ‘s back plate in the same way. The best Monolith could do, they said, was adhesives. My heart sank. Surely, wood stickers you slap on the back of your iPhone 5 would just suck.

They don’t. Defying both my expectations and experiences with similar products, Monolith’s wood iPhone 5 skins are every bit as amazing as their wood iPhone 4 backs. They’re beautifully made, wonderfully packaged, easy to apply, feel rich and luscious to the touch and are so thin as to make you have a hard time believing they can shave a tree this thin.