I love changing up the way my smartphones look, and the Pixel is a prime candidate since its design is, well, less than beautiful. Lately, I’ve been trying out a handful of skins for the Pixel XL, including some from dbrand and Colorware. Recently, though, I’ve been trying a real-wood cover from Toast, and it’s a pretty interesting departure from your average vinyl skin.

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Toast sets itself apart based on one primary thing, it offers covers made from various types of real wood rather than using just vinyl. The covers look absolutely fantastic, and along with that, they also offer just a bit of extra protection compared to your average vinyl skin since these are noticeably thicker.

Despite that, Toast’s covers are still very easy to install, with basic instructions included on the packaging. Everything fits perfectly, more or less, and the installation process is pretty straightforward.

The overall look of a Toast cover is also very unique. The real wood looks unique and the dark lines where the cover is cut to flex with the design of the phone ends up showing off a pretty gorgeous overall look. The feel in hand is also excellent, with quite a bit more grip compared to a “naked” Pixel.

Toast also offers some pretty extensive options for customizing the cover. There are three types of wood to choose from, over a dozen engravings, and even the ability to add custom text. Further, you can even fully customize the back of the cover with your own design, like we did by adding the 9to5Google logo to the back of the cover.

One thing that’s different about these covers compared to a vinyl skin is that the adhesive tends to stick through the cover just a bit. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does cause the covers to pick up dust and hairs far more than other covers, so if you’ve got a pet that sheds a lot (like mine), you might find yourself trying to clean off the cover quite often.

I’ve been using Toast’s cover for almost two weeks at the time of writing, and so far, I’ve very happy with it. The fit is great, the look is great, and unlike with a normal skin, I don’t feel the desire to put my phone in a case when I go out. In all reality, my only complaint is how much dust the cover picks up.

Pricing for Toast covers start at $34 and are available for the Pixel and Pixel XL. You can order via Toast’s website.

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Ben Schoon's favorite gear