Just a year or two ago there were pretty much only two or three different types of materials that your phone could be made of. Most often phones would just be made of shiny plastic, sometimes with a matte or soft-touch feel to them, and if you were lucky you could get a more premium feeling device made of metal or glass. Nowadays more phones come in alternate materials than ever before including wood, leather and multiple other fabrics. Recently we had the pleasure of receiving a Bamboo back for the OnePlus One and reviewing it, and now it looks like one of the biggest phone manufacturers in the world will also be making wood backs available for one of its most popular models.
Xiaomi is set to not just one-up OnePlus today, but five-up them with 5 different types of wood backs for its super popular Mi4 smartphone. Since these backs come in a variety of wood types that inherently means colors too. On the listing for the wood backs on the Xiaomi Mi Store you'll find, going from lightest to darkest, White Oak, Bamboo Bangkok, Walnut, Rosewood and Black Apricot Wood. It looks like there's also a sixth variety out there, Wood Latte, but it's not ready to purchase at this time. These backs are all high quality and made from actual wood as the OnePlus One bamboo backs are, and is coated with a laminate material to protect the wood from the elements. Given how wood can shrink and grow depending on factors like humidity, and of course rot if it gets wet these backs need to be laminated to protect them from the world.
What's even crazier is the price of the wood panels, which comes in at an unbelievable 69 Yuan ($11 USD, 9.5 Euro). That's considerably cheaper than the OnePlus One Bamboo back, which costs $50 USD (about 300 Yuan), and is offered in more colors and more readily available. At this point you can only purchase it on the Mi store, but retailers in China are likely to pick this one up soon for those who would rather wait and see them in person. No word yet on availability of other models but given that Xiaomi usually makes the back covers on its phones replacable we wouldn't doubt that this trend would carry itself over to other models in the future as well. Check out the Mi Store link below if you want to purchase some!