Ekster smart wallet

Cool factor 5/5
Usability 4/5
Value for money 4/5

A wallet may not do much more than hold cash, coins and cards. But it’s hard not to get excited about a traceable, voice-activated version with instant card access at the click of a button. And Ekster’s range of smart wallets contains much to hold our attention.

The classic brown Parliament wallet in genuine leather reviewed here arrived from the Netherlands in packaging made from recycled materials.

Ekster claims it is the "world’s slimmest wallet" — it has a thickness of just 10mm. It certainly is the most functional wallet for its size that I’ve used.

Its primary slot for cards holds six comfortably and is protected by RFID blocking technology, which prevents cards from being skimmed.

For quick access you press the mechanical trigger at the bottom and all six cards are displayed in a staggered configuration.

On the inside flap the wallet houses two additional cards, and at the back it has room for a tracker. I found the tracking card to be thick, but if you choose not to use it the slot can hold two more cards. The wallet has a cash band but no space for coins.

The tracker is solar powered, and pairs with a Chipolo app. It provides up to three months of use on a single charge. The tracker serves two functions: you can use the app to track the wallet or press the button on the tracker twice to ring your smartphone.

I couldn’t get the tracker to work with Google Assistant, despite successfully linking the Chipolo app to my Google Home. However, it does work with Siri shortcuts if you ask it to ring your wallet.

The manufacturer ships its products to SA. It took three weeks to get to me, and the customs duty I had to pay at my local post office amounted to R28.

The Ekster wallet would be handy if you like smart products, don’t carry coins or tend to misplace your wallet. It holds up to 10 cards if you forgo the tracker. But only time will tell how long the mechanical trigger will last.

The Parliament wallet can be bought for $79 from Ekster.com in one of seven colours. Shipping to SA is free.