The iPhone 6 wallet case is a bit of an oddity. ApplePay is, of course, designed to replace the danger-ridden world of credit card payments, but until it’s the universally-accepted currency of which Tim Cook dreams, chances are you still need to carry around a credit card or two. Plus, identification still comes in card form, so what to do if you’re looking to travel light? Grab a wallet style iPhone case that gives you two in one toting power.
iPhone 6 Wallet Case Common Features
We got our hands on two iPhone 6 cases that come with built-in card carrying functionality: Speck’s CandyShell Card and newcomer Silk Innovation’s Vault Slim Wallet case. Both feature basic corners-and-back protection for the iPhone 6, with a slot out back where you can slide a few credit/ID card-sized items. Both cases come in iPhone 6 Plusvariations; though that size was not reviewed, the designs are the same, so our results should apply even if you’re carrying Apple’s larger phone offering. Both cases feature full coverage for the volume and power buttons, with cutouts for the mute switch, camera, and all ports down on the bottom. Speakerphone sound quality was excellent from both cases, as was access to all ports and switches.
Care should be taken if you plan to use your phone for ApplePay payments: in testing ApplePay transactions without any cards in the wallet behind the phone, I didn’t find either case to be a problem. The cases are both designed to keep the edges of the cards below the NFC antenna on the iPhone 6, and even further below on the 6+. However, your mileage may vary based upon the cards you carry with you. Any card using NFC—like a building identity badge or tap-to-pay credit card—could interfere with the signal your iPhone uses to communicate with the ApplePay terminal.
Because both cases provide additional storage, they do make your iPhone significantly thicker. The upside of this tradeoff, obviously, is the elimination of a wallet from your list of things to carry. Unless your entire wardrobe is form fitting leggings, you should be able to slide either case in a pocket without issues. To free your card from the slot on the back, both cases offer cutouts on the opposite side of the phone from where you insert your cards, so you can easily push cards out to retrieve them.
In This Corner, Hailing from Speck Products, the CandyShell Card
Speck makes awesome products, and their CandyShell line is no exception. The basic case is a hard plastic exterior with a soft silicone interior. The button covers are the same silicone, which makes themvery easy to use (no mashing to turn the volume up), and the silicone also makes this case easy to apply/remove, while still providing excellent protection in case you drop it. The hard shell back is smooth, which makes this case easy to slide into and out of pockets, though it doesn’t provide a very grippy surface.
The one flaw I found in Speck’s design for the CandyShell is their placement of the card holding mechanism. There’s a ridge on the inside back of the case that provides friction to hold your cards in place, and Speck put that right up near the top of the case. This puts it about 1/4 of the way down your card’s surface area, and I found with minimal effort I was able to get cards to walk out of the case slightly. It took a massive arm swinging effort to actually get one to fall out, so I doubt this would be a major issue, but it could be a concern especially if you have cards that are odd shapes (like an animal-shaped gift card).
The CandyShell Card is available in Black/Slate Grey, Overcast Blue/Wisteria Purple (exclusively at Target), or Beaming Orchid Purple/Deep Sea Blue, and goes for $39.95 at Amazon.
Its Opponent, from Silk Innovations, the Vault Slim Wallet Case
Silk Innovations was an unfamiliar name when I first opened the box, but this upstart company has gotten my full attention with a darn good iPhone case. The entire case is made of a soft-touch plastic that provides a slightly grippy surface, and all button covers are completely integrated into the case body itself. This unibody construction features ribbed plastic to absorb and disperse shocks if you should drop the phone, plus the Silk folks throw in a screen guard, too! Silk advertises that you can fit three cards plus cash in the case, but since you have to fold bills into quarters to make them fit, you likely won’t be carrying a large wad of money.
Silk’s placement of the card holding mechanism won over the Speck case because it’s right in the middle of where your credit card goes. This helps distribute the card’s weight and provided a more confident hold; even with a pretty hefty swing of the arm, I was unable to dislodge my cards at all. I had to use the access slot on the opposite side of the phone to push the cards out, which provides an extra measure of confidence that my important cards won’t accidentally fall out.
The Vault case is available in Midnight Black, Pacific Green, or Champagne Gold, and goes for $14.99 on Amazon.
And The Winner Is…
Both the Speck and Silk cases would make excellent wallet-phone combo cases for those looking to downsize, and in a normal review both would earn a solid B grade. In a head to head showdown, however, Silk makes a better showing with their combination of more protection, more secure card storage, and price advantage. Although Speck has more experience creating cases and performs extensive military grade testing for drop protection, I’m not sure it justifies the $25 price difference. Speck definitely wins in the design department with their contrasting color schemes, but Silk wins the day with their utility.