(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
We recently reviewed the FOCX R.02 Accountant wallet, but today, we have an early peak at their C.02 Advanced wallet, currently being promoted and shipping in February 2021.
The Advanced is part of their new C series, which means “completed”, and consists of two wallets, the C.01 Essential and the C.02 Advanced.
It looks a lot like their other wallets, but the difference is in the functionality and even adjustments to the elastic strap that keep the wallet together. This elastic is interesting because it is only a partial wraparound. This wallet does fold over, but when it is closed, it still provides access to coins and cards. For coins there’s a little pouch on the side that provides access to coins, keys or whatever you can get in there and the strap acts as the containment method so they don’t fall out. coins go in here.
On the front bottom, we have a d-ring attached to a quick access pull strap loop. It provides access to cards without having to open the wallet, and you can put several in there, but because it doesn’t have any stopper on the opposite side of the main internal elastic, you can also gain access to other cards that are not affected by the quick access pull strap. So if you want to have access to cards, you can either open it or just start fishing around from the front for more cards beyond what the quick access pull strap will provide you.
If we move to the interior by undoing the main elastic strap, we see how the cards are captured by the pull strap here within the main elastic housing contained within the folded leather. Another thing to mention is this wallet has an integrated, programmable 500 byte NFC (near field communication) chip. The chip is cleverly concealed in the wallet. NFC is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them in close proximity, usually no more than a few centimeters. Communication is also possible between NFC device chips, or “tags” as they’re called. If you’re interested in understanding how you can program a tag, because you can program these tags using your phone, go watch this video.
What would you use a programmable NFC tag for, you ask? You can use it to communicate available business card information, links, wifi credentials, emails, telephone numbers, also social networking information, et cetera.
I successfully put 6 cards, 3 on the quick access and 3 on the other, inside that strap, 5 bills, 3 coins and a key. This little wallet consumed it rather well with no problems. The company recommends up to 10 cards and 8 bills, so I’m not far off from what this really can do. From a quality perspective, it is designed and made in Germany like all of their other wallets. It is a full grain veg tanned leather around the full exterior of the wallet. The elastic that you see inside is also made in Germany. It does come in three colors, black, brown and cognac. The promotion price is $40. I’m not sure what the pricing will be after the campaign, but I’ve never seen it lower than a promotion price so I’m sure it’ll go up.
From a usability perspective, if you don’t carry keys or coins, then the C.01 Essential wallet might be better for you. If you need better cash carry, an extra pocket for coins or other things, then this Advanced wallet will work very well. What’s nice is the access to the coin pocket only requires you to move the elastic down to the side, not completely off the wallet, making access quick and easy.
The fact that you can access all of your cards without needing to undo the elastic strap is huge. It’s only when you want cash that you’ll need to unstrap the wallet. The fact it’s leather-wrapped with the main elastic on the interior is also a nice aesthetic and improvement over competitors. Full leather wrapped up and around, and the elastic, the big elastic, isn’t apparent until you get into the wallet, which is great because we all like leather.
One of the annoyances is the quick access pull strap for the cards. It’s a loop, not a single piece of material, which allows the D-ring to move around and get stuck when pushing cards into the wallet. It’s the same problem we have had with the other FOCX wallets.
Now to the cash placement, unfortunately, it appears to be somewhat of an oversight in how it works. The placement of cash as FOCX demonstrates it, is just not optimal. As demonstrated by FOCX, you fold your cash once then place it in the back, fold it over the elastic, then fold the leather top over. Unfortunately, you can’t tuck it into the back as the pull strap is anchored there. The best way I found is to put the cash in the front of the main elastic, which when folded does not protrude, provides better security for cash and doesn’t look back at all.
It measures 3.43 x 2.32 x .24” and it weighs 32 grams. The C.02 Advanced is a great improvement over their existing wallets and over other similar wallets in the field despite some of the shortcomings we have discussed. With that said, I still think it’s a really good wallet and the adaptation of the cash I think solves that for me. I do wish that the closure elastic was a little wider. It still starts to bind at times and becomes a bit annoying. However, if you’re really not getting into the interior due to using the quick access pull to get access to cards, I don’t know if it really matters that much.
Now to the final score. For quality, a 4, price, a 4, until the final retail price is finalized. Feature’s a 4, usability a 3 and perception a 4. That gives us a current score of 38 out of 50.