(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
Today we’re going to do a comparison between the Secrid Original Cardprotector and the Ekster Parliament wallet. These are both bifold wallets. They’re both box, pop-up wallets. But what we’re also going to do is bring in a knockoff for an objective evaluation. Are wallets which sell for more than $75 really better than a $15 knockoff?
Let’s jump into a quick comparison of the features between them. Links to the full reviews for each of these are available in the notes below and I’ll have links up top too.
As we work our way through the evaluation, we’ll look at five issues:
- Card capacity
- Box construction
- Lift mechanism
- Outside the box
It’s good to be aware of a common issue and major complaint that customers have with pop-up, box wallets. That is regarding the types of cards is can hold and how it affects the boxes’ capacity. All pop-up wallets in this size can hold UP TO 6 cards. But that assumes they are all smooth cards, meaning, they aren’t embossed. Embossed cards are imprinted where the letters and numbers are raised. If embossed cards are involved you will likely only get 3-4 cards in the box. It’s a simple matter of increased width of the cards, which is why the manufacturers will put a 4-6 number on how many can fit. This is a HUGE complaint for customers so look at the type of cards you have and set your expectations accordingly.
The Secrid and Ekster wallets as well as most knockoff’s use an aluminum box. With all of these wallets, only the box provides RFID protection. I’m sure if it’s possible with plastic, but I’ve not seen one yet. I was sure the Ekster box was plastic as it’s black and seems to have a feel and elasticity of plastic, but their website says it’s aluminum. There is a consistent message across support boards and reviews that over time, these boxes begin to bend inward which interferes with card capacity and insertion/ejection. Secrid mentions you can carry their wallet in your back pocket, but I would suggest that’s a bad idea due to possible integrity issues with the box. There’s also the likelihood that over time, and depending on the frequency you use the trigger mechanism, the material used to maintain the friction and holding power of the cards in the box will wear down. The end result is cards will begin to leave the box on their own. If you want to see how the knockoff doesn’t handle this well, watch this….
If we look at the buttons, I’m sure you’ve seen that the one invented by Secrid what the most commonly seen trigger on knockoffs. The Ekster has a push button trigger and I’ve seen others who have trigger modifications that are similar. I can see how the Secrid version could catch on clothing, possibly breaking it off, but I haven’t heard, read or seen much from customers regarding Secrid’s trigger being problematic or breaking. With Ekster, however, there is ample evidence from customers that their trigger has had instances of breaking.
Now, onto the lift mechanism. Let’s mention first, since we’re dealing with moving parts, there’s an increased chance things can break and go wrong. Wallets with moving parts are not long-term, generational wallets you hand down to your kids. But I’m going to assume you already understand that.
Secrid invented the pop-up box wallet. So, it’s safe to assume they’ve had the longest experience with the lift mechanism to understand its weaknesses with plenty of time (they invented this over 10 years ago) to address problems. They recently released an improved version of the mechanism, called “Salamander”, which has a failsafe if cards are forced into the too hard. Instead of breaking the mechanism, it simply splits open, kinda breaking it, but not really. In reality it’s a pressure relief valve. YOU CAN SEE HOW THE TRIGGER FROM THE BOTTOM IS SPLIT IN HALF, THAT’S WHERE THIS IMPROVEMENT RESTS. THE KNOCKOFF DOESN’T HAVE THIS. After the event, it can be snapped back into place, thus recovering the wallet from a potential failure.
I spent some time using an endoscopy camera to look at the internal mechanism of the Secrid, with the new Salamander version, the Ekster and the knockoff for comparison. Let’s look at them all in as much detail as we can without tearing them apart.
Generally speaking there isn’t much visual difference. They all had a spring for trigger recoil, so that’s a potential failure point. Other than that, it was an expected lever design to use the sweep arm to push the cards up.
The friction mechanism used does have an impact. Let’s look at the difference in how far each wallet ejects cards and also the distribution distance between each of the cards, which can affect your ability to quickly select cards.
OUTSIDE THE BOX
Comparing each of these to each other outside the box, let’s look at construction, capacity and durability concerns.
Starting with the Secrid, the company indicates you can hold up to 12 cards. That assumes you can get a full 6 into the box and 3 in each slot. The leather, albeit full-grain, is split very thin and there are consistent complaints about the leather not holding up over time and not being able to handle the stress of more cards, the edges are raw. The sewing is subpar, especially when it comes to backstitching over seams. The cash holder is plastic, which has consistently been panned as cheap and the adhesive used to place this entire part of the wallet to the box has been criticized for detaching over time. There have also been concerns about the lack of responsiveness from their support organization.
The Ekster Parliament, by the way “Ekster” means Magpie in English. It can hold 10+ cards, again, assuming a full size in the box. Unlike the Secrid, the Ekster wraps its box in leather. The leather is top-grain and is sewn well, but doesn’t backstitch over seams. The slots have a sewn liner in them and the edges are painted. Cash is addressed via the integrated strap which does require you to fold your cash twice. This creates bulk which does affect the ability of the wallet to close. When problems occur, their support organization appears responsive and monitors their major online sellers’ forums.
The knockoff has the same problems as Secrid since it’s replicating its designs.
AS WE WRAP THIS UP…
One distinction is the variety of options available with Secrid versus Ekster. If you’re serious about a box wallet, please spend time on both of their websites to more fully appreciate their offerings and what appeals to you most.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this comparison and will come back for more reviews and discussions about wallet. Thanks for joining us today, thanks bye!
A premium leather smart wallet, perfect for slim storage and quick card access. The built-in aluminum cardholder fans out your cards at the click of a button and protects them against skimming. Holds 1-12 cards and bills.
The Secrid slim wallet. Special design credit card holder made from aluminium and leather. With a click all cards slide out gradually. The cards will not fall out