Ekster wasn’t on my radar until just about a month ago when I got to test out the company’s smart wallets and I’ve found myself very impressed with the design, build quality, and functionality of the offerings. Read on for our full review of Ekster’s smart wallets and what sets them apart from the rest of the market. And, yep, the company is also doing a Black Friday promotion with a 40% off deal.
Ekster makes a refined collection of high-quality wallets that includes a few different form factors. The flagship Ekster wallet, the Parliament is a cardholder blended with a traditional bifold. It includes a mechanical trigger that slides out your credit/debit/ID cards out the top of the wallet in a staggered pattern. The feature makes it a breeze to grab to the card you need and it’s really fun and satisfying every time you get to click the trigger to use it. Ekster also makes a slimmer leather-wrapped cardholder with the quick access mechanism, as well as a minimal leather cardholder.
Materials and build quality
Ekster uses full-grain premium bull leather for all of its wallets. The company also uses a two-toned finish on its leathers “giving them a distinctive look and color that will endure as the wallet softens, bends and forms to the way it is used, whether in pocket, purse or hand.”
I tested out the Vachetta Parliament in Brescia Bronze and the Secretary Cardholder in Nappa Black. From the first time picking up the wallets, the attention to detail and premium construction and craftsmanship is immediately apparent.
As for the quick access mechanism in the Parliament wallets and Senate cardholders, it uses a clever mechanical trigger to pop the cards up (no batteries). As for how it keeps up to 6 cards secure without falling out, there is a rubber strip on the inside edge that with little nubs that creates a snug fit for your cards.
Ekster offers a one-year warranty on its products along with a 14-day return policy for a full refund or 60-days refund period for store credit.
Chipolo solar-powered tracker card
A really thoughtful touch to make its wallets smart is integration with Chipolo tracker cards. But taking things a step further, the Ekster/Chipolo tracking cards recharge via solar. It’s roughly the thickness of two cards and can slide into any card slot.
Three hours of solar charging offers up to 2 months of use.
Ekster/Chipolo tracker card in the back slot of the Vachetta Parliament wallet
The Chipolo tracker card is the secret sauce that brings Siri/Siri Shortcuts functionality for keeping track of your wallet. The Chipolo iOS app is well done and you can even use the button on the tracker card to ping your iPhone or snap pictures as a remote shutter button.
The Parliament wallets pack so much storage and functionality into a wallet that’s just about 0.5-inch thick. So that paired with the soft, high-quality leather makes them a joy to use day in and day out.
So you’ve got the cardholder portion with room for 6 cards and the fantastic quick access mechanism, then on the inside, there are two more slots on the left-hand side. Also on the inside on top of the cardholder on the right, there’s a handy elastic strap to keep cash and other small items like coupons, etc. Finally, the back of the Parliament has another card slot/pocket.
I love that the quick access design to pop out cards is mechanical so it won’t likely wear out. Haha, that’s a good thing because I’ve found it addictive to click the button and push my cards back in as a fidget habit.
Other aspects I really appreciate include the slim design but there always being room for a random receipt, cash, or other small items. And all of that can be stored without a bulky wallet.
For times when you’d like to keep things even slimmer, the Secretary Cardholder is a perfect choice, it offers four card slots and a center pocket/card slot for cash or other items. You can also keep the Chipolo tracker card in any of the slots.
Vachetta Parliament in Brescia Bronze on the left, Secretary Cardholder in Nappa Black on the right
I honestly can’t think of any constructive criticism or ideas for how Ekster could make these products better. They’re really fantastic wallets and I highly recommend them.
I think for what you’re getting, they’re competitively priced but at the time of writing, Ekster is doing 40% off its wallets with the code “BF-40” at checkout making them an even more compelling value.
The Secretary Cardholder normally goes for $39, with the Parliament wallet starts from $79. The Chipolo solar-powered tracker card typically sells for $49.
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