Toast, the company that brought you custom-designed hardwood veneer covers for phones and laptops, has now started doing cases for gaming consoles — and they’re actually quite handsome.
The company lines up the veneer so that the wood grain appears to flow from one surface to the next. Is it practical? Well, the vents are still openn, but it’s not going to improve your gameplay in Star Wars: Battlefront. Is it fun to look at? Absolutely. And at $60, a basic wood cover costs about as much as your latest game. Custom designs add another $30.
The company started in 2012, perhaps not surprisingly, by covering iPhones. They’ve since branched out to Android phones, tablets, and laptops. If “it looks pretty” isn’t enough reason to buy one, Toast founder Matias Brecher lays a little philosophy on top.
“At Toast, we are interested in how we can improve our interaction [and] relationship with tech,” he said. “Most gadgets are so often cold, metal and glass and plastic. These are not human materials, we can’t relate to them. But with wood and leather we understand where they come from, how they are made, how they age. People yearn for authentic relationships, to surround themselves with things they can understand and relate to. They want to know who bakes their bread and brews their beer. Not to be snobby and elitist, but simply to know and understand and appreciate the world around us.
“Toast strives to help. Instead of a plastic case made in some anonymous factory in China, we are a small team making covers from real wood and hand finishing each piece.”
Consoles in particular make good candidates for this kind of natural-material makeover, Brecher said.
“With gaming consoles, they are all about horsepower and being these aggressive black boxes,” he said. “That may look good at Best Buy, but that is out of place in most living rooms where you want things to be comfortable. Consoles don’t fit in a room with wood coffee tables, books and couches.”
The company’s site is full of pictures of happy customers cuddling their custom-designed covers.
“You get to choose the wood, add custom text engraving or even have your artwork engraved into the wood,” he said. “People love to put their names on things, mark them as theirs; take ownership. Then your console isn’t just the same black box like 100 million other black boxes out there. You put your mark on it, made it fit into your world, made it express your personality.”
The custom covers, which take 3-5 days to make, are self-serve. You send an image file, Toast makes the panels, and you eeeeeeever-so-carefully stick them on your machine. They come in walnut, bamboo, ebony, and ash.
“Not many people can tell you how a smartphone works or how a console can render hundreds of frames of an imaginary world per second. So we need things in our lives that we can understand, things that are warm, things that are made by hand, things that age gracefully,” Brecher said.
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