Using magnets, the Ekster Modular Secretary wallet provides a bifold with a detachable card wallet, enabling a 2 for 1 Ekster bifold wallet option for heavy or light carry options.
(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
As reviewed previously, Ekster launched their company with the box wallet, equipped with the push button ejection mechanism. Those wallets have expanded since then to a more traditional type, and some exhibit a type of twist, such the one seen in their Modular Bifold.
Ekster’s shipping boxes are all black, with a discrete stamped logo. The wallet boxing is very compact and the dimensions are closely matching the box. What makes this waller modular is the magnets it has, one located in the bottom on the main bifold and the other on the bottom of the modular card wallet that goes with it, together, these magnets snap. This design is rather neat and works properly. Another detail to this wallet is the fold over edge with an extra logo that adds to the looks perspective.
The wallet presented in this review is a caramel color. This wallet also comes in brown and black. The exterior has no distinguishing features to the bifold. Moving towards the interior, two card slots can be immediately spotted on the right hand side. As the card holder is taken out, we noticed that there are no other card slots because this is where the card holder actually lands. Going to the interior reveals a nice billfold pocket making an open billfold front, which can be used to put cash. The bifold feature means that another piece of leather running along, and involving an actual point of pocket, is not required. Moreover, this is becoming more popular as it demands less material permitting a thinner feature to the wallet and still allowing quick access to the cash.
Concerning features of the Ekster Modular Bifold wallet, the card holder has two card slots on each side, as well as a slot for cash or additional cards. It defines a full featured card holder integrated with the bifold. The advantage of this feature is the possibility to use the bifold when needed, such as when more space is required, as well as it allows to carry only some critical cards and cash by simply removing it, making this feature quite clever.
In regards to the card and cash insertion test, the wallet content counts six cards and five slips of cash. The company states that it can hold up to twelve cards. While four cards would be great as the minimalist, eight could probably be a reasonable number of inserted cards. However, as the content is inserted, the wallet thickness increases very quickly. This wallet measured 0.8 inch, which is not very thin with only six cards in it. Besides, the modularity adds some additional thickness due to the magnets on both sides of this wallet. After adding some cash, it begins to thicken up even more. Therefore, if the modularity feature is attractive enough to cover up for the thickness issue, or in case the user needs to carry the card holder more often than the bifold, then this wallet could be a good choice. Still, it is important to keep in mind that it gets thick quite fast. The card holder can hold up to eight cards, it’s equipped with four slots, two in each, leaving the upper slot which can be used for cash or another card.
From a quality perspective, this is designed in the Netherlands and assembled in India. The quality of the card wallet is remarkably good and can be noticed in the step down. After having it completely open, it turns into a stand-alone wallet permitting to spread the cards, previously placed in the front, towards the back. This feature is not always possible, but as mentioned, it is now a full on card holder. It was not created without consideration, what makes it a great little wallet. It could have been made poorly, but there is good attention to the design and construction detail. This attention can be clearly seen in the creases which mean that the designers care about details and that they put a lot of effort in the design. Another highlight of detail is the dip located in the spine of the wallet. That helps the fold ease, besides the smooth access to the cash. Even though cash can be grabbed in a straightforward manner, this reduces a lot of the friction happening in the spine and provides a great access point to seize the cash.
This wallet is equipped with a RFID, seen as the gray material. Moreover, the leather in these pockets does not go all the way down, while there is clearly more RFID material in them. Leather would be a better choice than RFID, however, this RFID material does not seem to be a bad option, it is rather rugged and durable and has a good tactile feel to it. But still, leather would have been more preferable for an all leather wallet.
Despite the bifold being wrapped edge, it is also painted, which looks nice. However, if a sewn wrapped edge wears out, then it frays and the connection is lost leading to the face coming off. Having a painted edge provides more protection. On the card wallet, there are no wrapped edges, it is simple sewn leather. The painting does a great job in trying to protect the card wallet and in marrying it to the bifold.
The wallet price is $89 and the leather comes from American hides, tanned via the DryTan method from ECCO that makes shoes. ECCO has invented this dry tan method that provides access to environmentally certified gold rated tanneries from the leather working group around the world.
With regard to the magnets, it appears to always be a problem when not done properly, and even when it is not the case, it raises the concern of card demagnetization, specifically the strips that are on the back. The magnet design factor in success or failure resides in its positioning, which refers to the Halbach array. It is a discrete method of augmenting the magnetic field directionally, thus cancelling out the magnetic pole. While the stripe is at the top, these magnets are placed towards the bottom away from the top, leaving the stripe far from the magnetic field and preventing its demagnetization. In addition, the magnetic field that is produced faces away. The Halbach array allows it to decide where to encompass its influence. Which, in this case, is far away from where the strip is. If the cards are placed correctly, they will avoid this demagnetization. While the thought of this still happening might linger, the manufacturer informed that they have done their testing to avoid this from occurring, which is not always the case with a lot of vendors.
When it comes to the chip and pin, there’s a fair question about whether this is even a concern as the strip would eventually go away, but since there are still loyalty cards, access cards, hotel keys and so it is uncertain when they will go away, at least in the United States and especially in countries in Southeast Asia, South America, Africa and so forth. And currently, there is this mingling that comes to the use of chip and pin or the strip which can still be available and used by merchants.
This wallet works with the Chipolo tracking card that comes from Ekster, which can be placed in any of the slots, and probably would look conveniently nice, placed on the top of the card wallet.
The wallet measures 3.1 x 4.2 x .5”, and the card holder itself is 2.8 x 3.9 x .2”. From a weight perspective, the entire wallet weighs 61 grams and the cardholder weighs 21 grams. From a perception perspective, being able to get a two for one out of this wallet is pleasant, a nice bifold which can downsize to a cardholder is a great idea. In addition, if the concerns about the magnets are overlooked, the placement, the way they are put together and their utilization makes it rather reasonable. So far, these magnets do not seem to indicate any problem, however, in case issues are faced, it would be a good idea to contact Ekster for inquiry.
Ekster Modular Bifold wallet scores a 4 for the quality, a 3 for the price, a 4 for the features, a 3 for the usability and a 4 for the perception. Which gives a total score of 36 out of 50.