Android Central Verdict
Carved makes what could be considered the ultimate Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra case. It provides excellent all-around protection and drop resistance, clicky buttons, and a set of unique patterns that are literally one of a kind. It does add a tiny bit of bulk to an already big phone but the aesthetic value it adds is totally worth it.
Excellent drop protection
Could be considered bulky
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When was the last time you got excited about a phone case? I imagine the answer for most people is "never," but Carved's cases could be the reason you finally get excited about putting a case on your brand-new phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is one massive phone but its understated design might leave you feeling like it's a tad boring looking. Many of the best S23 Ultra cases add functionality like a kickstand or just some extra grip to keep you from dropping it. But Carved's cases not only add excellent protection and added grip; they also slap with a gorgeous and unique piece of art to spice up your phone's design.
That's because each and every case you buy from Carved was hand-made in Indiana using a mixture of wood and colored resin to create a gorgeous look. And, thankfully, that lovely piece of art is encased in a rubbery shell that's both comfortable to hold and extra protective, even if you happen to drop your phone.
Make your phone look truly unique
In a world where colored silicone cases cost basically nothing to manufacture, Carved went out of its way to ensure that the company wouldn't be called cookie-cutter by any measure. The particular case I'm using here is the Traveler model, which features rubber sides, clicky buttons, and a soft fabric inside to keep your phone from getting scratched.
Each of these cases retails for $59.99 which is a comparable price to most cases these days. The obvious advantage a Carved case has over every other case on the market is that each one is 'one of one' or, in other words, there's not a single case quite like it, even among Carved's many designs.
Carve achieves this by starting each case design with a burl, which is a strange collection of tree cells that often forms into a huge knot on the side of a trunk. You've probably seen one before if you've gone out hiking or enjoyed spending time in the wilderness.
After the burl piece is decided on, the remainder of the space within the rubber shell is filled with colored epoxy resin to add color, texture, and keep the whole thing adhesed together.
My wife has been using these on her S23 Ultra for the past several weeks and has received many compliments and questions about the cases. They're stunning and really are head-turners!
As you might expect, the back is both smooth and lightly textured, but the wood and epoxy don't protrude from the back; it's totally level with the rubber shell. Since each case is unique, different design patterns all have slightly different levels of texturing.
In the pictures here, you'll see two different design patterns. One is a wood and resin swirl, while the other uses an octagonal pattern to separate the wood and the resin. This octagonal one has a bit more texture than the swirl pattern but, as stated earlier, the back of the case never protrudes beyond the rubber frame.
The side of the rubber shell sports several grippy lines to help enhance in-hand feel, and the buttons are separately attached within the shell to ensure that they feel great to press. There's nothing worse on a case than crappy, mushy buttons.
A lip runs around the entire front display, helping protect against drops and bumps but not so large as to inhibit gesture navigation. My wife has dropped her phone several times with this case on and both the phone and the case have been completely unblemished every time.
One of my many pet peeves with lots of cases is when manufacturers put a giant lip around the display and it makes it nearly impossible to swipe inward from the edge to activate the 'back' gesture. Thankfully, that's not the case here as Carved has managed to find the 'Goldilocks' height for the lip, meaning it's both protective and easy to use.
A frame is cut out along the back to accommodate the raised camera lenses on the S23 Ultra. I personally hate the separated lens look on the S23 Ultra and think this helps bring them all together in a much more aesthetically-pleasing fashion.
Similarly, all the ports and S Pen slot on the bottom feature cutouts with plenty of room for cables of all sizes.
On the inside, a piece of microfiber cloth is embedded in the rubber frame to keep your S23 Ultra's glass back from getting micro scratches in case you pick up a few different Carved cases and regularly swap them out.
All in all, this is one of my all-time favorite cases. It's gorgeous, feels great to use, and really protects against all sorts of things as a case should.
Unique, like you
Don't just get great protection, get a case that also doubles as a work of art. Each Carved case is handmade and totally unique, giving your boring phone a way to stand out in a crowd.