Both wallets have great customers who like the features, but how does Ridge vs Fantom compare? Are they too different and are they worth your money?
(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
This review compares the Ridge to the Fantom R wallet and reveals the differences between both wallets. By definition for Walletopia both of these wallets are slim. The Ridge, as always, comes with a Torx wrench, which is quite nice because it makes this wallet completely serviceable. The Fantom wallet was obtained from Kickstarter and has a lovely dimpled leather insert as the R version.
As a quick feature comparison between these two wallets, starting with the Ridge, this wallet is made of many metal pieces. The only plastic part is the elastic cash strap. The features are really limited, but the simplicity of this wallet is what makes it great. The wallet can accommodate up to 12 cards before the elastic begins to stretch. In this review, 10 cards are inserted and they sit nicely. Thanks to the backstop, the cards will not get pushed all the way out when it is being utilized. The access is through the thumb or finger slot, with a push, the cards are accessed, or by pinching to get the entire stack out. However, since accessibility is the target, the fewer the cards, the greater the accessibility and obviously, the more the cards, the more difficult it is to get those in the middle. In the later case, the suggestion is to place the more used cards either on the back or in the front of the stack to facilitate accessibility, or by taking out the entire stack, pulling the needed card and putting the rest back, however this might turn laborious.
The interior lip and the two interior pieces help feed and funnel the cards back in. The wallet has a money strap on the back; the cash is folded in thirds or fourths before being put and is visible on the outside of the wallet. As mentioned before, a money clip can also attach to this wallet.
Looking at the Fantom R13, this wallet was picked up in a Kickstarter campaign. It is the R model and the number 13 means that it can hold up to 13 cards. This wallet is in the brown leather dot model, stunning looking with great leather texture. On this particular wallet, the same 10 cards previously placed in the Ridge wallet, are inserted in the Fantom R13. They are first put in at an angle, then pushed to the back and are locked. It should also be noted that the cards stick out a bit. However, that is functional and done on purpose, because of the notch, they can be grabbed and pulled out. In addition, the cards from the interior can be easily accessed. It only requires getting the cards out, by doing so from an angle since the top level is what holds the cards into place. Once the card is out, then it is just an easy exercise of getting it back in. Another method is using the trigger, which pushes and fans out the cards halfway. Of course, this is the primary method to pull the desired card out and then push it back.
The back of the Fantom has several screw holes. These are to function as methods of adding accessories as they have many. A review on these accessories can be found here, it includes holes on the bottom to attach a money clip.
Next we’ll look at three perspectives; construction, capacity and usability. Starting with the construction, the Ridge is designed in the United States and is made in China. This Ridge wallet is the aluminum version made from Aerospace grade aluminum. It has RFID protection, which may not be ideal, but it comes by default due to the materials. It feels very solid and is serviceable which is amazing, as it permits one to take the entire wallet apart. Certainly, the most insubstantial piece that would break over time would be the elastic, however, it is replaceable.
Another attractive feature is the grip nodes on the bottom. All of the Ridge wallets have these grippy little plastic rubber nodes which fit under the elastic, holding the cash down. Therefore, when the cash is placed it will hold and prevent cash from accidentally sliding out.
The Fantom R is an all aluminum chassis, which has been ceramic coated, hence all of the gray color seen. This makes it one of the toughest box wallets out there, and it has the most durable lever mechanism. With that said, all things mechanical will eventually break, but the Fantom has a simple mechanical sweep that is not commonly seen in traditional box wallets. It is simple, working off of a fulcrum, and there are no moving parts other than just a pin, which is metal, therefore breaking it would require excessive use and/or force. The bottom has a bumper to help keep cards from jumping around inside the case and protects them to a certain degree. The friction at the top is what holds the card in place and helps prevent them from falling out. More cards also help ensure that they stay in place. An appealing feature is how the trigger has a soft close, as it does not snap shut thanks to the spring, this is a small thing, but a great detail.
Looking at some measurements of these two wallets, the Ridge is 3.4 x 2.1 x 0.3” and the Fantom is 4.6 x 2.8 x 0.5”. Thickness is based on the number of cards, but the Fantom is a rather large wallet in comparison. From the weight angle, the Ridge is 59 grams and the Fantom is 89 grams. This is on the heftier sides, but being aluminum with ceramic coating, it still does not feel that heavy. Price-wise, the Ridge aluminum is $75, while the Fantom R is $94 not including the money clip, which is an extra $12.
From a capacity perspective, the Ridge fits six cards and three cash. The company states that it can take up to 12 cards before the elastic begins to stretch. The Fantom R, similarly, fits six cards and three slips of cash. The company says that it is up to the number of cards corresponding to the purchase wallet. This Fantom should accommodate 13 cards, however, in a previous review, the test has shown that it can only fit 12 smooth cards and if the cards are embossed, the number is significantly decreased.
From a usability perspective, a carry test has only been performed on the Ridge. Card insertion on the Ridge is smooth, they can move around, which means that they can be smoothly moved without having to pull everything out, but they still cannot be fanned. Of course, on top and bottom is the best placement for frequently used cards as it is easy to gain access. It has an interchangeable cash strap or a money clip, which is very nice, in addition to the wrench.
The Fantom has RFID as well which comes as default because of the material. The wallet does not offer more usability than other box wallets, especially due to its increased size compared to its competitors. Nonetheless, it still has an interesting design.
Overall, band wallets suffer from the same problem, all the contents are stacked into a single space with no organization method provided by the wallet. A normal wallet is usually equipped with different slots, the bi-fold wallet opens up and in the multi-slots cards can be easily retrieved.