I have often been a fan of good looking skins on phones. Several years ago I paid a small fortune for an NFL football leather back for my Nexus 6 and I loved it — the smell of the leather and the texture of a “football”. I have tried other types of skins including coloured skins with various textures but never got around to trying a real wood one on my phone.
When Toast offered up a Toast cover for the Pixel XL to test out I jumped at the chance to check it out. Wood and the Pixel XL. Seemed like a marriage made in heaven full of some fun innuendos.
When I first removed the Toast cover from the packaging I was a bit disappointed. On first glance it just looked like a basic wood-like vinyl wrap. Upon further inspection I changed my mind. It is real wood (well, real enough to fool me anyway). In the box Toast have included the standard back cover that also wraps around to cover the sides and a front cover (sold separately).
Included with the standard back cover are button covers which are required as the wood around the buttons is high enough to make the buttons impossible to push without them. There is also a standard alcohol swab used to clean your device before installing the Toast cover.
As always I procrastinated about installing this but eventually decided to do it one night at 1030pm. It was actually a breeze. Following the instructions on the inside cover of the Toast packaging it was very simple. Instructions were as follows:
- Clean phone with alcohol swab
- Plug charging cable into USB port to aid alignment
- Carefull position cover over phone ensuring all the camera holes etc match up
- Once happy press this down
- Roll device onto its sides/top/bottom to press the side flaps down. Use finger to ensure good adhesion
- Press button pieces onto the buttons
- Sit back and admire your Toast cover
The Toast cover fits perfectly on the back and sides of the device. The way it wraps around the sides of the phone make the phone still feel as good in the hand as it did before. My only issue was at the front of the phone. The edges of the cover were/are very square. If they were rounded off it would have felt a lot better in the hand. I like the way the Pixel XL curves at the front so that using the phone feels really comfortable. With the cover it just feels a bit sharp.
The exposed edges at the front are minimal lint and dust attracter but it does happen, not too badly but something to be aware of. It did not affect me much at all as I keep my phone in a relatively clean pocket or on my desk at work most of the time.
The look and feel
I was sceptical before installing the cover but now that it is on I think it looks great. Combined with the coloured G I installed myself (purchased separately elsewhere) I feel it looks stylish and minimalist. I didn’t apply the Toast cover for the front of the phone as I did not like that look and I already have a tempered glass screen protector on there.
In the hand it feels great too. The wood is a bit thicker than a standard skin so you are unlikely to be able to fit a decent case over the top of it (cheaper ones tend to have more “give” in them and may stretch over it). I only use a thin, cheap case while at the gym to prevent scratches so this does not affect me at all. Yes, the Toast cover will obviously protect your phone from scratches but is unlikely to give any protection at all from drops — so don’t drop it.
I was sceptical at first in applying this to the phone. I originally thought Toast would be a wood case of some version but it’s a stick on piece of wood, etched to fit the device, including the corners, perfectly. The adhesive applying the cover was strong but not too strong that I couldn’t adjust it before adjusting the final resting place of the cover.
I thought the cover would be an instance of applying it and using it for a day or two, write the review and then take it off forever more. Not the case here. After applying it I quite like it. It makes the phone about 1mm thicker all around but it just feels like the thin case I had on it anyway. It will be staying on my Pixel XL until it falls off, which it does not feel like it is going to do for a long time.
Toast is not cheap but in this case I can say you get what you pay for. Check out the pics of my Pixel XL with it on and if you like it think about buying one for yourself. It can be purchased from US$34 from the Toast website. Add US$10 for the front cover and US$5 for any custom etching you want added to the back.