In my opinion, wood is one of the nicest materials you can make a computer case out of. Sure, it's not as durable as aluminum or stainless steel and it doesn't have the protective qualities of polyurethane or silicone. But for sheer beauty, the warm colors and the feel of natural wood just can't be beat.
That's why I was immediately attracted to a new series of iPhone cases from UK-based Mu Mu. Their new Slide 2.0 iPhone cases are available for both iPhone 5 and iPhone 4/4S at a quite reasonable price tag of £35 (about US$56).
Mu Mu uses sustainable hardwoods -- maple and walnut -- to make their Slide 2.0 cases. The entire case is made of multi-laminated maple and walnut for a striped look, while the back retains the look of maple (the lighter colored wood) or walnut. The wood is rough-cut to shape by CNC milling, then de-burred and sanded by hand until perfect. A light wood oil is applied to protect the wood from moisture and bring out the natural grain of the wood.
Inside the cases you'll find six small transparent pads made of grippy material that are used to hold the iPhone snugly inside a Slide 2.0 case. The cases are made in two pieces for easy installation. The top of the case is the larger part, and has cutouts in the proper places for the camera and flash, headphone port, volume and mute switches, and the power/sleep switch. The top edge of the case grips the chamfer around the front edge of the iPhone. Once the top case section is installed, the bottom slides on to complete the case. Note that while the iPhone 5 Slide case has a Lightning port, the iPhone 4/4S does not have an opening for the 30-pin Dock connector.
The iPhone 4/4S Slide 2.0 case I installed on my device appeared to have a slightly curved back panel, so the top half of the case kept popping off of the chamfered edge of the iPhone on one side or another. The case still held together -- it's just a little crooked looking on one side. The Mu Mu team did tell me that these were pre-production cases, so I am going to assume that was the issue and it will be resolved in the shipping product.
I still don't have an iPhone 5 so I couldn't check out that case, but the curve on the back panel -- which probably keeps the iPhone firmly locked in the case -- was less pronounced than that on the iPhone 4/4S case.
The cases are incredibly lightweight. The iPhone 5 Slide 2.0 case weighs just 32 grams; although there wasn't a listed weight for the iPhone 4 case, I would assume that it would be slightly lighter.
The cases are currently on pre-order and will ship starting on October 29. If you're in the UK and want to support a regional business that is using sustainable materials to build cases, definitely jump on the Mu Mu bus as soon as possible. The company does ship to other parts of the world as well, with shipping to the US currently about $10-12, although they're looking at less expensive shipping options.