Apple FineWoven case review: Not the leather replacement we were hoping for

Apple FineWoven Case Review

Apple FineWoven cases

2.0/5 Buy on Amazon

During the presentation of Apple iPhone 15, the new FineWoven cases were presented as an example of an environmentally friendly alternative to leather — but they are largely ineffective in actual use, and we cannot recommend them. Apple's new FineWoven case is a thick micro-twill case that Apple says has a suede-like feel and has undergone “thousands of hours” of testing to protect your iPhone 15. It's available in all four sizes for Apple's latest devices.

The new cases are available in five colors — black, charcoal, mulberry, evergreen and pacific blue. We selected all five to test on our iPhone 15 Pro Max.

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Apple FineWoven case review — Lots of little details

The FineWoven cases replace the leather cases in the line, acting as a premium upgrade to the slightly cheaper silicone cases.

Apple's line of silicone cases

The silicone cases are fully molded with microfiber lining and come in bright and fun colors. Like leather, FineWoven is available in just a few dark colors and features anodized metal side buttons.

The buttons are made of anodized aluminum in the corresponding color and are pleasant to the touch.

These buttons are one of those quality details that we love in Apple cases. They are made of aluminum and anodized to match the color of the new FineWoven material.

Apple's buttons are some of the best we've ever felt on a case, and they're essentially floating so they make direct contact with your phone's buttons for a nice tactile feel.

All Apple FineWoven iPhone 15 Pro Max Cases

FineWoven material covers the back of the case for an ultra-soft feel and a bit of a gift that gives you a comfortable feel. It does not roll up the sides, but gives way to plastic sides.

These sides are lightly textured to mimic FineWoven material. They add a little extra grip without adding bulk.

The inside of the case is covered in a generous amount of FineWoven material, although we would have preferred the same microfiber found in previous leather cases or existing silicone cases.

Review of the Apple FineWoven case – gray-brown Apple case for iPhone 15 Pro Max

There's a raised ring around the camera modules, and the bottom is completely enclosed with cutouts for the microphone, USB-C port, and speakers.

We tested the water resistance of the new material, and although it appears to absorb water, it ultimately dries in about 40 minutes without any side effects — provided that the water is clean and does not contain anything that could stain the housing. More on this a little later.

Apple FineWoven Case Review — MagSafe Wallet

All Apple cases support MagSafe, as evidenced by the stamped ring on the inside. You can connect a variety of accessories from Apple's new FineWoven MagSafe wallet or the new HiRise 3 Deluxe.

When you place the case on your phone, it triggers an on-screen animation and haptic feedback that matches the color of the case. This is done using an NFC chip hidden inside the case.

This is cool, but completely unnecessary for a case that doesn't do anything that requires NFC.

Apple FineWoven Case review: a completely new texture

Although there are many pleasant details in Apple's affairs, there is no escaping the inevitable — they just feel terrible.

Apple's evergreen FineWoven case

There was a lot of discussion within the company about how best to describe the feel of the new material: from “velvet” to “all the same” that scratching an old windbreaker from the 90s in the worst possible ways.”

It's certainly soft to the touch, but if you quickly scratch it with your fingernail, it mimics the sound of a DJ record being scratched. However, the best word to describe it might be “cheap.”

Apple FineWoven case (right) and old Apple leather case (left)

Apple is positioning this case as a premium alternative to the now discontinued leather case. . They are in no way an alternative to premium leather, despite the same price.

Apple FineWoven Case view — No long term durability

One of our biggest concerns is how this case will hold up over time, given that it doesn't hold up very well when tested. The FineWoven fabric is so thin that Apple had to cover the back of the case with a layer of memory foam to give it some softness and thickness.

But dents are easily visible on this foam. When you put your phone in your pocket and take it out, there might be something pressing on your back and the foam will show it.

Interior of Apple FineWoven cases

Due to its woven structure, it is also prone to snagging. Thanks to its fine fibrous texture, we see no reason why any rough surface wouldn't catch on the fabric — or worse — go through it.

There is also a problem with lint. Small pieces of lint stick to FineWoven and are not easy to brush off. When you wipe off the lint, it just stays in place.

Stains are a problem here as well, compared to what they replace. Leather can be wiped down, conditioned and will develop a beautiful patina over time. This plastic-like woven fabric gets dirty easily, as expected given the material.

Leather can also have stains, but on this material the stains remain more noticeable. Perhaps that's why Apple chose such dark colors.

Are Apple FineWoven cases worth buying?

Although they had their detractors, we liked Apple's leather cases. They were subtle, minimalistic, looked great and aged well.

They had their own problems that went beyond Apple's vaunted environmental concerns. Any fall on a rough surface could easily tear the skin, and water was never their friend.

A pack of FineWoven cases

We were hoping that with the advent of Apple FineWoven we would see a new premium alternative that would be even more durable and at the same time look and feel just as good. We didn't understand this.

We received a cheap plastic case with an ultra-thin layer of FineWoven material, custom-made by Apple — which is not very good — on his back to try and lift him up.

It is difficult to imagine this case in usable condition after six months of use. We might be surprised, but given what we see so far, we doubt it.

Apple FineWoven case review: pros

  • Nice complementary colors for the iPhone 15 line.
  • Nice details like on-screen animation and metal buttons.
  • Cheaper than leather cases.
  • MagSafe support
  • Available from day one

Review of the Apple FineWoven case — Cons

  • Overall looks cheap.
  • Dents and scratches easily remain on the back.
  • Tendency to collect lint.
  • Will have durability issues, stains or scratches.
  • Plastic sides, again, don't feel premium.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Where to buy Apple's FineWoven cases

You can buy the new FineWoven cases directly from Apple or at a discount on Amazon. But there are much better options.

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