When is a phone case not a phone case? When it’s a Patrona Connector Wallet — a smartphone accessory with an interesting twist.
The type and number of smartphone cases available is nothing short of overwhelming. There are cases that protect, cases that store, not to mention cases that can inflict excruciating pain via the medium of electrocution. Joining the ranks is the Connector Wallet from Patrona, which stands out thanks to an intriguing mix of fashion, form and function.
OK, so the Connector Wallet isn’t really a case – more a flat leather wallet you stick to the back of your phone using a stick-on magnet. It’s a simple concept, but one that works well. The circular neodymium magnet, which sticks to the back of your handset using powerful adhesive, allows you to mount your handset not only to the Connector Wallet, which has slots for three credit cards, but also to an optional in-car connector, on a whim.
Look at me
Patrona’s solution has plenty going for it, most notably the design. The Connector Wallet is available in several styles, including the Italian veal leather Heritage range, which comes in eight colours. Splash a bit more cash and you can have the limited edition Silver (a crocodile print wallet with a silver connector) or Limited Edition Gold (a crocodile print wallet with a gold connector).
Whip out any of the designs in public and you’ll draw attract – partly because it’s an attractive, unusual solution, and partly because you’ll look like you’re talking into a wallet full of credit cards (you might want to think twice about using this after dark in dodgy areas).
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with the Connector Wallet. For a start it’s more difficult to fit than a normal iPhone case. You’ll need to clean the surface of your phone with the bundled disposable wipe before painstakingly sticking the circular magnet to the rear of your handset. Stick it in the wrong place and the entire wallet will be off kilter, but Patrona supplies a sticking template to help you get it right first time.
Patrona claims it’ll hold four credit cards, but realistically you’ll only manage three. Even then, once fitted, you’ll have terrible trouble getting them out again in a hurry – if at all.
Other problems? You’ll need to rotate the wallet every time you want to take a picture, as it obscures the camera. And it doesn’t protect your phone as other cases might. The rear of the handset is fairly well sheathed, but the sides and the front are exposed to the elements, so you might want to invest in a screen protector to provide extra security.
One of our favourite features of the Connector Wallet is the ability to use contactless cards, such as Oyster or Visa Contactless, by tapping your phone against a reader. What’s more, you can do this without having to remove the cards. One small caveat: we’d avoid using multiple contactless credit or debit cards in the same wallet – you’ll have no idea which one is being read.
In all, we’re pleasantly surprised by the Patrona Connector Wallet. It’s a clever concept, looks great, and while they don’t come cheap (between £80 and £240) they’re a great alternative to traditional phone cases. Just watch where you use them if you value your valuables.