In my never ending quest to get more utility from my iOS devices I was perusing Kickstarter a few months ago, looking for something that would both spark my interest and offer some unique value other accessories don’t. While the entrepreneurs looking for financial backing for their idea are legion, the actual numbers of worthy campaigns have dwindled as of late. The world may not need yet another iPhone dock or sync cable, regardless of how clever the tweak may be. Thankfully, just before I gave up I stumbled across a gem from an organization I’d already supported in the past.
Distil Union has already coaxed my credit card from my CM4 case thanks to their (recently reviewed) Snooze bedside alarm clock accessory and accompanying app for the iPhone. They were seeking funding for yet another interesting take on a category of accessory that I find most useful: the iPhone wallet. The Wally was an intriguing product; instead of a case providing slots for your cards (as my CM4 and BookBook had) it acted as a piggyback wallet. Either use the case of your choice or be one of the brave ones to go without; the Wally would adhere to most surfaces via a ‘microsuction’ coating on the back of the vegitable-tanned leather. The description was enough to entice me to back the campaign (which not surprisingly had already reached their production goal). After a short wait for the campaign to end and production to begin, I was ready to see what Wally was like in a practical, every day setting.
As I’ve stated in older posts, I prefer an iPhone card case over a traditional wallet. My work scrubs have a profound pocket deficit, and with the other devices I’m asked to carry (VOIP phone, pager, pen, etc.) the more multi-use devices I can find the better. I’ve used several wallet/card cases to date with varying levels of satisfaction; ultimately the need for easy access to my iPhone’s screen and providing the slimmest profile possible have been the deciding factors (otherwise I’d opt for the newly redesigned BookBook; it’s absolutely gorgeous). The Wally seemed to offer just that- a slim, easily accessed card pouch that could be quickly removed and reattached should I wish to use/change cases.
Upon arrival I had a slight problem with the Wally. As with all leather goods, it had warped somewhat during the less than optimal conditions of shipping. The leather had curled a bit, making it form a shallow C shape and stretching the card pouch too much to snugly hold my three cards. After conferring with the organization (they suggested using a touch of water to shrink the leather) I ended up using heat in the form of a warm clothes iron to press/shrink the leather back to its original configuration. After the heat/pressure treatment the Wally’s pouch held my ID, debit, and credit cards as perfectly as I had envisioned. Apparently my experience was an outlier; few other backers/early adopters had such issues.
The second caveat was the ‘microsuction’ layer; while my iPhone was case-free and cleaned of even fingerprints, the adhesive just didn’t want to hold firmly. Thankfully the Kickstarter had been so successful that Distil Union had provided an extra adhesive product that really did the trick. After well over a month of use it’s still holding on like a champ.
The true value of the Wally has come from it’s unique construction. Unlike other cases Distil Union crafted a bright red ribbon inside the card slot that when pulled extrudes your cards from their repository. It may not seem like much, but after fighting to get a card past the silicone edge of my CM4 every time I needed it I was more than happy with this new product design. The Wally itself sports some high quality components; the leather is both durable and stylish. The bright red ribbon makes for an eye catching accent as well as being more functional than you’d think at first glance.
I had chosen to go case-free, and both enjoy and regret the decision. The lower profile and lack of a somewhat sticky silicone bumper edge has made my iPhone easier to remove from pockets, but during testing of the PanaVise PortaGRIP mounting bracket I was careless and let my iPhone fall, scuffing an aluminum corner (but thankfully not cracking the glass) of my handset. I’ve learned to be more observant, but I’d encourage others to at least use a bumper case for their rather expensive phones.
Ultimately, would I recommend the Wally? The answer lies in what the questioner is looking for. Should you be like me and want to eliminate carrying an everyday wallet while keeping your iPhone’s profile as slim as possible, then absolutely. The Wally is stylish and more configurable than any other product I’ve tested, especially considering that it can be used in conjunction with many (but not all) cases. It reflects my fascination with all things clever, coupled with my desire to get the most from my iOS devices.
The Wally is available now via Distil Union’s website in either brown or black (in my opinion the only acceptable colors for leather items) for $49.99
- Hello World! My Name is Wally – the Stick on Leather Wallet for iPhone (prweb.com)
- Fluent Ink Launches iBillfold2 Kickstarter Campaign for an iPhone Card Case & Attachable Wallet (prweb.com)
- Four Highly Anticipated iPhone 5 Cases [that I can't wait to get my hands on!] (epicagear.com)
- Review: Distil Union Wally for iPhone 5 (ilounge.com)