DistilUnion Wally Wallet for iPhone 5 Review

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DistilUnion Wally-9934


hen I say that life revolves around our smartphones, you know I’m not joking. For nearly every service, there’s an app for that. Now we’re at the point where our phones are replacing other everyday items like keys, laptops, and even wallets. Some ideas like the recently announced Jacked are a bit too far out to work for real people, but there is definitely a great solution for a wallet-replacement case. And the Wally is pretty darn close to it.

The Wally is a wallet case that sticks onto the back of the iPhone (either 4/4S or 5; maker DistilUnion makes two versions). It houses enough space for 3 cards, enough for a driver’s license and two credit cards. Or a bus card, a credit card, and some cash. Just pull the little red tab and everything slides out. In fact, the number of available combinations are endless and that’s been the bane of my existence since testing the Wally: how to fit less into a product that typically is made to carry more.

When I first started moving over to the Wally, my wallet consisted of three credit cards, drivers license, a half-dozen bills, several store cards, my bank debit card, and a Paypal debit card. No way would that fit in the Wally; heck, it barely fits in my wallet, which I “upgraded” to last year amid some very torn, very low-quality leather. Throwing away several cards isn’t hard. I don’t really need any of the store cards, most purchases are online. I don’t need either debit card; the bank card was for deposits (all done online through the smartphone app), and the Paypal card was always for emergencies only. I still use cash regularly, but not often. And as an Los Angeles local, I drive everywhere.

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Furthermore, I just got new business cards and have traditionally kept them in my wallet instead of carrying a specialized case for the purpose. I’d only kept a small handful, but a few is always better than none.

That left me with the driver’s license, two regularly used credit cards, business cards, and cash. Bills fit in only with a tri-fold, and folding them takes up even more space. Today, my Wally houses the license and two credit cards, plus one business card. No cash. In the few days I’ve used the Wally like that, I’ve worked around not spending cash; there are still plenty of stores that don’t accept credit for small purchases. There are also plenty of times you may not want to spend with credit, like if you’re close to your monthly limit and don’t want to accidentally go over, or if you don’t want a record of that purchase.

Like when purchasing a gift for your significant other who you share an account with. Nothing illegal, of course.

The beauty of the Wally is that it’s a product made to simplify life. It not only does this by removing the wallet from your already crowded pockets, but by forcing users to simplify their wallets too. And just like everything else in life that you try to dumb down, it’s a painful process. One-card solutions like Walla.by are great — where one card automatically controls x-number of credit cards you own — are perfect for the Wally (and the similar name is just butter on that bagel). But until the iPhone has NFC (Near Field Communication, a technology available on Android that enables users to send data within three feet like payments) everyone who gets a Wally will need at least two cards: an ID and one credit card. What you do with the extra space is up to you.

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On that note, the scary bit about the Wally is that it can technically fit more. If you pack four or five cards in though, the leather will stretch, and it’s difficult to get leather to go back to it’s original rigidity. So if you want to work your way down to less, the Wally isn’t a good way to do it.

My biggest problem with the Wally is that it’s sticker-based, meaning it connects to the back of your iPhone with a sticker, as opposed to other technologies like NanoSuction like on the recently reviewed SETA Smartphone Stand. Stickers are fine, but the instructions recommend 24-hours to let the sticker settle and to stick it on clean surfaces if you decide to take the Wally off. Within a minute of showing the Wally to a friend, he accidentally pulled the sticker partway off and now on the top of my iPhone the Wally isn’t set as good as it should be. That’s just the nature of stickers. The Wally originally shipped with Nanosuction, but currently only ships with what the company dubs “Alternahesive”, which is really made for iPhone cases, not the iPhone itself.

I like the Wally a lot, but the implementation could be better. The general principle is the best part of the Wally: Simplify. Your. Wallet. And there’s no better way to simplify your wallet than with Wally. Using a sticker isn’t the best way to keep the Wally connected, and there’s no “learning curve” for users who need to get down to less in their pocket. But I never been as relieved as I am with the Wally instead of my iPhone 5 and wallet. It also solves that nagging human error of leaving without the phone; you know you can’t leave without an ID or credit card, and that’s hooked to your phone. Just remember that logic works both ways.

However, if you are looking for a case instead of a stick-on wallet, DistilUnion does have a Kickstarter for their next product, the Wally Case. We’ll test that once it’s out later this year, but do know that it’s specific for the iPhone 5 (sorry iPhone 4/4S owners). And right now it’s selling for the same price, $40!

Bottom Line: An excellent wallet for your iPhone that promises to simplify your wallet, keep your pockets comfortable, and do it in style.


Price: $40
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Great idea. The easiest way to physically simplify your wallet. Simple yet elegant implementation.


Limited space is problematic for people trying to use less over time. It's not a case, so protection is limited. Sticker is only okay.


James Pikover

Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.

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One Comment


    I have a Wally and LOVE IT. As a former giant purse carrying gal, I have realized that purses are pretty unnecessary and the bigger of one you have, the more junk you carry around every day that you hardly ever use, and can never find anything quickly. I recently switched to a tiny purse that just fit my iPhone + cards/cash…until I found the Wally. Now I’ve ditched the fluff and just carry my iPhone + Wally w/ my license, credit card and debit card, and it’s all I need for everyday. The red pull tab is brilliant (and fun), and the leather is really high quality and supple that so far has aged beautifully. Thrilled with the Wally and can’t wait to get a Wally Case when they come out!

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