Rating: ★★★½☆

There is no question in my mind that our landfills are stuffed to the brim with discarded iPhone cases because their utility or cool factor wore out.  Fighting that good fight are the fine folks at HEX with the Code Wallet for the iPhone 4.

It’s crafted from genuine leather, which is echoed with a stamp on the inside of the case.  The right side holds your iPhone 4 firmly in place, while the left side features 3 slots designed for IDs, credit cards or business cards.  An elastic strap keeps it closed, and while the black and brown version boast a black strap, the white one includes a white strap, though I’d imagine the latter would draw dirt relatively quickly.

Noticeable discoloration after just 3-4 weeks of use – click to enlarge

There is no doubt that the HEX Code Wallet case protects your iPhone.  The screen, even though it’s bordered by a set of credit cards is covered from keys and whatever other sharp objects are lurking in your pockets.  The back is also comparably protected, as are the edges since the iPhone is encased in a hard plastic.  However, the headphone jack, lock button and dock port remain exposed, though the strap slightly covers the latter two when in place.

I’ve been carrying the HEX Code Wallet for about 3 weeks now.  As a result I’ve eliminated my wallet, with the caveat that I only carry two credit cards and an ID.  Also, keep in mind there is no slot for carrying cash, though you can stuff money underneath the elastic strip.

The hinge, or the fold quickly lost its shape and attracted the most discoloration. This was compounded by the addition of credit cards, since when the case is closed it adds bulk and bends at the fold causing it to lose its uniform shape.  Perhaps they could have quelled this issue with a bit more material to allow for the change in shape and added bulk.

The “hinge” or fold could use more material to compensate for the cards added bulk – click to enlarge

The discoloration is a result of taking the wallet in and out of my pants pocket, which generally are a pair of dark jeans.  The version I tested out was brown, so in theory the black version wouldn’t suffer from the same problem.  A slight bit of discoloration also occured on the face and rear, but despite this wear and tear the stitching held firm.  It’s just a shame that the leather aged so poorly after just a few weeks of use.

From a practical/utility standpoint I couldn’t be happier with the HEX Code Wallet; I was able to ditch my other wallet.  To address the lack of slots, I plan on taking photos of my insurance cards and storing them on my iPhone, which should suffice in the event I get pulled over or need to present proof of medical insurance.

On occasion I wear a pair of slimmer jeans and while it was too big for the front pocket, I simply resorted to the rear pockets.  Two cards, or doubling up two cards in one slot seems to slightly addresses some of the closing issues (less bulk because less leather in the fold) I mentioned, but those are purely aesthetic issues.

Bottom line: The HEX Code Wallet for the iPhone is perfect for the night on the town or those that that don’t require more than 3 cards and don’t carry cash.  It’s biggest draw back is that the camera isn’t accessible and that filling the 3 card slots caused the case to lose its form.

You can buy the HEX Code Wallet for iPhone 4 from HEX for $49.99.

Pros:

  • iPhone and wallet in one
  • Made from genuine leather
  • No need to remove the iPhone to charge/sync or listen to music

Cons:

  • Rear camera is inaccesible
  • Leather attracts discoloration quickly
  • 3 card slot cause the wallet to lose form quickly

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Christen Costa

 
Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."