[UPDATED] Carved iPhone case review: Astoundingly beautiful one-of-a-kind smartphone cases

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Techaeris Rated 8.4/10

When I started this website in September 2013, one of the first things I reviewed was smartphone cases. We are way beyond smartphone case reviews; I still do them, but I prefer to do one article on multiple brands. When Carved reached out to me about its Carved iPhone case products, I initially figured I would just toss a review in with my 2022 iPhone case roundup.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

But occasionally, you get something that’s exceptional and deserves a platform all its own. The Carved iPhone case is one of those special things. The company actually makes two different products, its Live Edge Carved iPhone case, and its basic Carved iPhone case. We have an example of both, so this review will cover them together.

UPDATE January 22, 2024: We’ve updated this review with some new information and experiences. Our Carved Live Edge case had been functioning pretty great (since June), though we had no drops with it. Yesterday, we experienced our first drop of our iPhone 13 Pro Max in the Carved Live Edge case.

The drop was from waist height and the phone fell flat on its back inside the case. The results are pictured below. This is the first time, in over 10-years, of reviewing cases that a case has not protected our device.

That being said, this could very well be a fluke. There are many reasons a case may not protect a device, and the way a phone falls and angles all play a part. But I felt I had to update this review with this information and reduce the score of this case due to this mishap.

We’ve informed Carved of the incident and have offered to send the case back so they can evaluate it and maybe improve the design.

The Quick Take

This is a very straightforward and to-the-point quick take on the Carved iPhone case and Carved Live Edge case. The Live Edge case is expensive; I’m not going to try to soften that point at all. But it is so lovely and unique that, to me, it is worth that $189 asking price. But, if you’re seeking affordability and beauty, the basic Carved iPhone case will only set you back $59, which is honestly about the same price as most of the big-name iPhone case makers. Listen, this is a product that is really dependent on personal taste and preference, you either like it enough to spend the money, or you don’t. One thing is certain, though, they are of high quality and built in the USA, and that’s worth it.

Specifications

The Carved iPhone case has the following features and specifications:

  • Carved iPhone case
    • Includes MagSafe-compatible magnet
    • Protective outer rubber shell (read more)
    • Clicky buttons
    • You’ll get the exact case pictured on the company’s website
    • Works with our Qi Wireless Chargers
    • Designed, assembled, and shipped from Carved in Elkhart, Indiana
    • Made in Elkhart, Indiana, using real Maple wood burls & epoxy resin.
    • $59
  • Carved Live Edge iPhone case
    • Clicky buttons
    • Includes MagSafe-compatible magnet
    • You’ll get the exact case pictured on the company’s website
    • Works with our Qi Wireless Chargers
    • Designed, assembled, and shipped from Carved in Elkhart, Indiana
    • Live Edge cases are made from an amazing combination of stabilized wood burl and colored resin.
    • 1-year, 1-replacement warranty
    • $189

What’s In The Box

  • Carved iPhone case or Live Edge case
  • Sticker
  • Documentation and care instructions

Design

Carved creates one-of-a-kind, handcrafted wooden and epoxy resin phone cases, bracelets, wallets, Qi wireless chargers, and rings. Carved cases are made from real and natural materials and provide excellent protection for your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy device.

The Carved iPhone case and Live Edge case use wood burls (mainly Maple and Buckeye) mixed with epoxy resin to create unique one-off designs. Each case is uniquely named, and each case has a unique design.

Carved iPhone Case basic

The basic Carved iPhone case has a wood and resin back with a very nice TPU-type bumper all the way around. The buttons are nice and tactile, providing excellent feedback and feel. This case does support wireless charging but has no MagSafe magnet. It also comes with a very cool canvas bag, nice for storing other things, I suppose.

The Live Edge case is made of wood and resin all the way around and looks absolutely stunning. The buttons, in this case, are also very tactile. I find that many case makers do not make buttons tactile enough; these buttons feel like the iPhone buttons themselves; they are that good.

The Live Edge case has a MagSafe magnet, making it compatible with MagSafe accessories. There’s really no better way to describe the design, look, and feel of these cases than stunning.

Carved Live Edge iPhone 13 Pro Max case

Build Quality

Both the basic Carved iPhone case and the Live Edge case are made from wood, resin, and some TPU materials. I feel that these materials are all of high quality and provide a mid-tier protection level to your phone. Both cases are compatible with most screen protectors.

One potential negative may be that these cases should not get wet or be kept in humid areas. Because of the nature of wood, water and humidity could potentially harm the case. That is something to keep in mind.

Performance

We do not do drop tests here; I don’t have the budget for that, LOL. But from our handling and feel of both the Carved iPhone case and Live Edge. I am confident that both of these cases will protect your device well, providing a mid-tier level of protection.

Price/Value

The basic Carved iPhone case is priced at $59, which I think is reasonable and in line with industry case prices. The value is in its unique design and the fact that it is wood. The Live Edge case is truly unique but runs a hefty $189. I still think there is a ton of value to be found here. In the end, it is going to be dependent on your idea of value and what you think these are worth to you.

Wrap Up

The Carved iPhone case line isn’t for everyone. The company’s Live Edge case is pricey at $189, but its basic case is affordable at $59. Each case is unique and one of a kind, meaning no one will ever have the same case you have, and as someone who loves wood, art, and uniqueness. These cases are well worth the money, and I think users who have the same likes will agree.

If you’re interested in the Carved mission and story, be sure to check out the company’s website here.

Carved iPhone cases

$59 | $189

Design

9.0/10

Build Quality

8.5/10

Performance

8.0/10

Price/Value

8.0/10

Nailed it

  • Unique designs that are stunning
  • Top-notch build quality
  • Excellent mid-tier protection
  • Basic case is priced well
  • Small business making a great product

Needs work

  • Live Edge case is pricey
  • Water and humidity could harm the case
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