Al Idian

Real Wood Keyboard Skins from WoodWe

2020.08.07

WoodWe is an online retailer based out of Europe that makes ornamental add-ons to Apple products (like MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, and even the bluetooth Magic Keyboard). In this post, I write about my experience with one of their real wood keyboard skins for the MacBook.

Rationale

When it comes to personal devices, finger smudges are my mortal enemy. It bothers me to no end when otherwise-beautiful tech gadgets are revealed to be fingerprint-magnets, and I notice and appreciate it when products are designed to retain their pristine looks even when under heavy use. For the MacBook Air (mine is the 2020 model in silver), the part of the computer where I see the most smudges is, predictably enough, the keyboard. I knew I wanted to find a solution for this.

Deciding what to buy

As a software developer, typing experience is king for me — so those silicone-like keyboard covers were out. I wanted to find keyboard skins, and after some research, I found two promising candidates: Keyshorts and WoodWe.

Keyshorts looked great and was well-priced. Unfortunately, their order processing took too long and the shipping options they offered were either too slow or too expensive (at least for my area).

On the other hand, WoodWe was priced at a premium. And true to its name, WoodWe products are not made of the usual vinyl. Instead, it is made of real wood (usually — sometimes it is made of real stone). Their website showcased their products very well and order processing and shipping was quick — so despite the hefty price, I gave them a try.

Ordering and shipping

The online ordering process was smooth, thanks in large part to WoodWe’s impeccable website. There were plenty of high-quality photos which showcased their products in a variety of angles, and the selection was plentiful. They had an FAQ section which was generally helpful but missed key pieces of information (more on this later). Order processing took about a day and shipping (I went with the quick option) took about two or three business days.

When the product arrived, I immediately noticed the quality of WoodWe’s packaging which like their website was premium-quality. There is little chance of any product damage during shipping here. While opening the package, I got the sense that I was opening something special.

Initial impressions and installation

Upon seeing and touching the keyboard skin (I got the walnut variant), I was in awe of how luxurious it felt. Feeling the wood at my fingertips instead of matte plastic was transformative and, in my opinion, worth the relatively steep price. I suddenly could not wait to install the keyboard skin on my laptop.

Included in the package were clear instructions printed on beautiful material. I appreciated that the instructions were written in a light and friendly tone. There was even a handwritten note from one of the WoodWe employees thanking me for my purchase — this was a nice touch!

Installation was easy and took around an hour. It was a fun and rewarding process to slowly watch my keyboard get converted into a beautiful wooden material. However, it was during this installation process that I became increasingly aware of what I consider the biggest downside of this product (more on this later).

The initial unboxing experience, along with the installation process, was truly excellent. I am unable to find any faults here.

Using the product

Of course, the most important part of all is how good the product actually is. And off the top, there are some large downsides that might be dealbreakers for many:

  1. One downside is the hefty price. As far as keyboard skins go, this is a premium product with premium-level pricing. For me, they are worth it — but to each their own.
  2. Here is what is probably the biggest downside: When closing the lid of my MacBook, I could tell that the added thickness of the keyboard skin causes the laptop screen to touch the keys. It is not enough so that the laptop’s lid does not close; neither is it enough (in my estimation) to cause any damage to the screen. Thankfully, I have a matte screen protector installed on my computer which means I am not worried about any scratches from any contact between the keys and the screen. In my opinion, the contact is also not enough to break the glass of the screen in any way. I imagine others’ risk tolerance here is lower than mine.
  3. As a touch typist, I rely on the little bumps on the F and J keys. These covers remove those and replace them with little holes instead. This makes these keys more difficult to find without looking.

Now that we have those out of the way, I will proceed to talk about what I love about this keyboard skin:

  1. Like I mentioned above, these things feel luxurious to type on. Since installing them, I have been taking every excuse to type on my MacBook keyboard rather than my default Logitech MX Keys. These key covers add some height to the keys which make for a noticeably better typing experience.
  2. It meets my primary criteria for a keyboard skin — no more fingerprint smudges!
  3. They are extremely pretty. Some photos here.
  4. Believe it or not, they give off the smell of real wood. I notice it every time I open my laptop to type. It is a very distinct and pleasant smell, which I have grown to really enjoy.

Conclusion

Overall, I am pleased with the walnut keyboard skin from WoodWe. It has increased my enjoyment when using my MacBook’s keyboard — and it has entirely removed any anxiety I have with smudges on my laptop.

The biggest hurdle for buyers here will be the fact that the skin elevates the keys enough to touch the keyboard on (certain) laptops. I have recommended to WoodWe Customer Service that they add this detail to their FAQs for full transparency.

As for me, I am enjoying typing on dead trees at the moment. I find this purchase as satisfying as the lavish typing experience.