Today we’re going to do a comparison between the Ekster Parliament and Senate wallets. We’ve done individual reviews of both in the past, with links above and also down in the notes We believed it would be useful to put them side by side and determine why there was a disparity in the final rating between them since they appear to be so much the same. When reviewed, the Senate ranked 39 out of 50, while the Parliament rated 31 out of 50. So let’s quickly walk through the differences and why they received their ratings.
For quality, the Senate received a 4, and the Parliament received a 3. Our quality rating is almost always based on the materials used, construction, etc., but how these materials were applied created a unique outcome. For these wallets, it was due to the perception of quality through final presentation. Both wallets use top grain leather sourced from tanneries in Europe, and although the quality of leather may be the same, it’s very thin due to the need to work around the slider box without appearing bulky. However, by showing more leather on the Parliament, the extreme thinness of the leather was really exposed and it looks cheap. Whereas, with the Senate, since it’s all attached to the card slider box, conforms to look more like you’d expect. With the Senate not trying to show off more leather, it actually looks more balanced thereby increasing quality perception. That is a very subjective observation by us and if it was strictly based on materials, their rating would be the same.
The price, the Parliament was is more expensive than the Senate as of this recording, and it received a lower rating of a 2 versus a 3 for the Senate. The Senate pricing while slightly higher than we would have hoped for a product like this (its rating bordered on a 2), was still within acceptable pricing for what we would expect, so it received a 3.
(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
At the core of both wallets are card slider mechanisms, the only difference is how card capacity and presentation is built around them, with both being able to store up to 6 non-embossed cards in the box. Both wallets received a 4 in the rating for features.
While discussing card slider mechanisms, let’s look first at the trigger. There are reports that the Ekster triggers have a tendency to break, which while not desired, shouldn’t be unexpected since you’re dealing with technology infused in a wallet. However, not all trigger mechanisms are created equal and why I want to show how the design of the Ekster trigger and slider box are well thought out on all of their products. I have here a $15 aluminum (not plastic) card slider box. You might think aluminum is better, but due to construction and size, the proper plastic can actually be more advantageous. But back to the triggers. This trigger mechanism is different and would likely have a greater chance of being caught on something in a pocket or purse and breaking off. But I also want to show you how Ekster has worked to ensure that cards placed in the box stay put when in and operate elegantly when they’re coming out, versus a solution that didn’t have as much thought put into it.
Coming back to comparisons, as demonstrated in the feature review, what really sets the Senate apart from the Parliament is the larger capacity card carrier. The Parliament is limited by the single cash strap and overall only provides 2 additional slots over the standard Senate with the pocket strap BEFORE you begin loading cards into it. Ultimately, this means that even though the Senate looks like it would hold less, it can hold 3x more than the Parliament.
If we’re talking about usability, the Senate really shines as it’s easier to get in and out of your pocket faster than the bifold Parliament, due to the propensity of the cover getting caught on something with the cover flopping open, there’s no clasp to keep it closed, or catching on something while extracting or putting it back.
So, even though the individual scores were close they were still far apart due to the weighting of the individual categories. Again, the final ratings were, the Parliament was a 31 versus 39 for the Senate. And finally, if you regard these as minimalist wallets, the Senate comes out ahead due to slightly less bulk.
Ultimately, however, the choice comes down to your preference, style and capacity carry needs. If you have other questions or comments, please let us know.