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Road Tests

Road Tests :: Distil Union Wally Stick-On Wallet

by , October 31, 2013

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What are two things you most certainly always have with you? Your wallet and phone, right? At Carryology, we have always pushed the thin, minimalist wallet agenda, so when the the team at Distil Union contacted us to test their Wally, we couldn’t resist. They sent one over, I handed it to my friend Boris. You see, the Wally supports iPhone 4 and 5 (every iteration), and I don’t have such a phone. Boris put the phone through the paces and here’s what he had to say.

What’s It About

Adam, Nate and Lindsay, the threesome behind Distil Union started the company by launching a Kickstarter campaign for an iPhone alarm clock. They went on to design other products, including Wally. The Wally is a stick on wallet for the iPhone. Imagine using double-sided tape to attach your wallet to the back of your phone and you’ll have a rough approximation of what Wally is. However, things are not quite that simple. The adhesive is thin but very strong, and most importantly, it’s removable. You have your choice of black or brown leather. Wally is shaped just like your iPhone, with round contours and even a cut area for the rear camera.

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Who It Suits

The Wally is designed for the minimalist professional or someone who likes good design. It can carry just three cards so you’ll have to be comfortable with walking around without your frequent diner card at your local deli. For me, this was a challenge because I am used to carrying more cards, not to mention cash. The Wally can also attach to the back of your existing iPhone case, so long as it has a smooth surface. Think: Incase or Belkin case.

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Who It Doesn’t Suit

This is not for the Costanza wallet carriers or someone who is obsessed with carrying a bunch of club cards, etc. I imagine this arrangement also would not offer much benefit for women if they carry a wallet and their phone in a larger purse, since it wouldn’t really save much space or weight.

It also doesn’t suit those who want the slimmest pockets, as separating your wallet and phone in different pockets keeps the bulge lower.

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Design

The Wally is well designed, with soft leather and a strong adhesive in the back. My first impression upon receiving it was that the instructions could have been better. I know it’s not rocket science to put on a sticker but, for example, it said to clean the back of the phone but did not include a cleaning cloth. I already had a previous cover which left some residue on the back of my iPhone 4S so that had to get cleaned off. I ended up using a new pair of socks to give it a good cleaning. I think including a cleaning cloth would be a nice touch. Or, to give better instructions on what solutions (soapy water?) or cloths (microfiber?) are recommended.

Before putting Wally on, I noticed that it was slightly larger than my iPhone 4S. I did a double take then took a look at the packaging, in case I received the wrong size. It confirmed I got the right size. I am not sure why there is this small size difference even though the size of the iPhone 4/5 are widely known. After applying it, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the small lip that extends past the edges of the phone. I kept wondering if I would snag it on things or if it’d catch items in my jean pockets.

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Features

Wally is made from a single piece of leather which gives it a seamless construction, strength, and the ability to age well (patina) over time. It also makes for a comfortable grip when you’re pulling it out of your wallet or bag. It’s comfortable to hold when you are using the iPhone to make calls. As I previously mentioned, one corner of Wally is contoured to make room for the rear camera. I tested this out and the camera does not catch any part of Wally.

The case is designed to carry just three cards. There’s also a red pull tab that helps you pull out the cards. The case is very thin and discreet and actually draws less attention than an actual wallet, since people are not expecting money or cash to be carried attached to an iPhone.

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Usability

I consider myself fairly minimalist but Wally proved to be a challenge when I first started using it. I like to carry an ID, two credit cards, a health insurance card, a lucky charm and some cash (three to five folded bills). I had to seriously reconsider what I could eliminate. I took pictures of my AAA, insurance and health card. However, I was hesitant to leave my health card behind because I wanted the peace of mind of having it with me, in case I get hurt or injured. Distil recommends using an app like Lemon Wallet to digitize your wallet contents. I used a similar solution and it has worked well for me. I probably would not have considered it if I wasn’t introduced to Wally.

The cards are really easy to remove from Wally, perhaps a bit too easy. One of my initial concerns is that if I didn’t stuff the wallet, cards would fall out. However, if I stuff it, the leather stretches which will make matters worse. So far, it hasn’t really proven to be an issue. The Wally attached to my iPhone is easy to remove from the pocket. It does not add significant thickness so unless you’re wearing really slim pants, you shouldn’t have any problem getting it out.

I would have preferred the Wally be part of a bumper case. A visit to the Distil Union site shows that they’ve been reading my thoughts! They have a Wally Case on pre-order, shipping in December. I’ll be sure to check it out when I get the new iPhone 5S.

One small thing that annoyed me is with Wally on, I couldn’t use my Logitech dock to play music. If you have any sort of cradle or dock, consider how even a few millimeters of thickness may affect fit.

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Verdict

I have been using Wally now for two months now and I’m sold. People have come up to me to ask me about it and I have recommended the Wally each time. It was challenging at first to carry less items but for most days, that’s all I need. I don’t have to worry about where I placed my wallet since it’s always attached to the phone. In situations where I need extra items, I can just carry a thin wallet and I’ll be no worse off than I was before.

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