This is the wallet that Apple may have thought about building. Built from precision CNCed aluminum, it’s a box wallet that’s better in some ways than Ekster and SECRID, but misses the mark in other ways. Let’s call it an Apple wallet prototype.
(if you want to see all the features and how many cards and cash it can hold, please watch the video)
Regardless of what is thought about Apple products, they are elegantly designed, precise in engineering, and most importantly, they are very simple to use. In this review, we will talk about the Mani Wonders wallet, the Mani Wonders Cascade, which probably could have been created by Apple. It comes in a popup box, inside is yet another box and it is heavy. The box itself weighs four ounces, 115 grams before we get into the wallet. In addition, it has a magnetic closure, besides the thickness which more likely serves as protection to the wallet. And just when you might think that is all, well, that is not quite right, it is secured inside of another frame. The wallet comes with some instructions. I ordered it in silver for video review easiness, but it is quite a cool color. It feels great, it is a little big, but it is a box wallet, so the kind of wallet you would expect.
From a feature perspective, it has one interior card slot, the box wallet holds and ejects the cards, and it has a little door that helps protect the cards from falling out. The side has a flush retracting money clip that comes out just enough to hold cash folded twice, and when not in use, it retracts. That is quite an attractive feature. It is also equipped with two ports on the side where you can attach their mounting ports for the exterior case. The case is genuine leather, however, I do have some concerns about that. Its exterior has no features, but the interior has four card slots. A billfold pocket for cash from the top, and that attaches to the ports on the back of the wallet with the help of two metal stubs and is kept secured thanks to the Velcro closure that comes around the wallet.
It measures 3.9 x 2.6 x 0.4 and weighs 84 grams, an equivalent to 2.96 ounces, a rather hefty wallet. The appeal of this wallet is its elegance, if you like precision and simplicity. It fits in the pocket just fine, however, this is a front pocket only, being that it is a box wallet. It is designed in Toronto, Canada, and made in China. It appears to be made from aluminum, but no other information is available on what this aluminum might be. It inherently has RFID blocking in it due to machine materials. The case is made from premium leather as I mentioned, but I found on the website that it is genuine leather. For the price you would be paying you would expect it to be full-grain vegetable-tanned leather, especially with the premium feel they have along with the overall cost of the wallet. The wallet costs $159 and the case is $39, which is quite expensive.
Minimal carry on this wallet would be four cards and the maximum would be six or seven. If the cards are embossed, then the amount will not exceed five cards. What I found interesting in this wallet is that the cash cannot be put in as a billfold, because it does not fit when it is open, which I can understand because of the design of the wallet, but the design has taken precedence over functionality, which is somewhat useless, because you have to fold your cash once anyway to fit it in. I suppose it is a mechanism to carry your cash. The money is stored by lifting the little money clip, it works well so it is not that bad. In fact, I like this concept, because when it is not in use, it retracts back. The case is the best I have seen by way of its functionality because it has the ports, which, instead of it being glued on like with Secrid or other wallets, it is mechanically attached. Personally, I have not been a big fan of glued cases that is why I like this port connector. I wish the connection on the case itself was something other than Velcro, but something such as a more premium snap. Also, a more premium leather would have been great, full-grain vegetable-tanned would not be a problem if they put the effort into it.
My largest discontent is the lack of a dampening system on this wallet like with other wallets like Ekster or Secrid, and so, the cards just fly out of the case. Without the dampening, a little door had to be added on the top, which is okay, but unnecessary if they had put dampeners on both sides to facilitate getting the cards out. The issue is that you need to open this door every single time you want to gain access to your cards. The reason why this is problematic is that this is not a one-handed operation unless you can reach around, or take your thumb and do it. I believe that this problem could have been solved in a much better way. The convenience is that it protects from debris, dust, and such from getting into the internal mechanism. I do like the little button which is pretty good, feels premium, and comes with a 24-month manufacturer defect warranty.
A question you might be asking is, why would Apple not create this wallet? Well, I would say it would be a nice prototype, but it does need improvement from clean lines to the same font to become an Apple experience. However, it is still a pretty sleek wallet.
The final score of the Mani Wonders Cascade is five for quality, one for the price, three for each of the features, usability, and perception. That gives a final score of 32 out of 50.