JackBacks: Custom Wood iPhone Back Replacements

Unplggd Test Lab

Product: JackBacks Custom Wood iPhone Back Replacements Price: $88 for plain, $99 for custom etching Rating: Recommend*

Ever since I've upgraded to an iPhone 4, it seems like I'm always on the search for the perfect accessory to complement my favorite device. Whether it's a case, bumper, replacement back — you name it, I'm interested in checking it out to accessorize. But it's actually pretty rare that I actually find something worth actually purchasing...After reading Vivian's how to Add a Metal Back to Your iPhone 4 I was all ready to order up the metal back and be done with it! That's until I was given the opportunity to customize a custom piece of wood for the back of my iPhone 4.

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JackBacks are custom etched pieces of wood for the back of your iPhone. There are seven different types of wood to choose from: Natural Bamboo, Amber Bamboo, Mahogany, Walnut, Cherry, Maple and Wallichiana. I chose Cherry based on the gallery of photos and then submitted my custom design (my initials) via the downloadable etch templates. There are a few simple requirements for the artwork template, but nothing beyond maintaining a certain size and dpi.

It may seem like installing a new back would be a complicated task, but the whole process took me under 5 minutes. First, using a supplied screw driver, you remove the two tiny screws at the bottom of the iPhone. The screw driver is magnetic so it holds onto the screws once they have been loosened, but you'll want to work with a towel under the phone to ensure you do not lose any of the pieces. Adam mentioned in the video that he actually lost one of the screws and simply replaced it with a screw from an eyeglass repair kit.

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Once the screws are loose and you've set them aside, you remove the glass back from the iPhone. I was pretty nervous about this part of the process, because I had never actually taken my phone apart before (never had a reason to!). With a small amount of pressure, the back slid right off. I was really surprised at how easy it was to slide off without causing any damage to the back. We're all well aware of how easy these phones are to crack.

So, now I had the back of the iPhone off, the screws safely stashed away and I was ready to place the custom etched JackBack onto the phone. There are notches located all around the back and it's important to match them up with the spaces on the iPhone. Once you've matched them up, press the wood back onto the phone and then slide it up to lock in place.

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You'll want to look around the edges to make sure each notch is hidden and not hanging out the side. If there is a notch exposed, just slide the back to remove it and replace it again. After you're finished, you'll have a smooth wood back on your iPhone.
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Some examples of other designs and wood finishes available.

I have to say that I was immediately impressed with how great the wood back looked on the iPhone. The wood tones work great with the aluminum and glass. The wood back fits flush against the iPhone and the camera works perfectly with the new back. The iPhone is actually easier to hold now because the wood provides somewhat improved grip compared to the original slippery glass.

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Pros: The process of removing the old back and installing the JackBack was really easy. The installation video on the website was extremely helpful and walked me through the process. The JackBack provides an easier surface to grip onto as opposed to the slippery glass from the iPhone back.

Cons: The price is slightly high and I'm not sure if the average consumer would want to spend $100 for a new back. The JackBack turned blue after having it in the pocket of my jeans, but that was easily wiped away with a wet cloth.

Our Ratings:
Strong Recommend
Recommend*
Weak Recommend
Don't Recommend

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.

[Images: Kristen Lubbe]

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