Sorry, when I was coming up with that title, the Beatles song just got stuck in my head, and I could not help but let it run.  And run.  And run.  Unlike the wallets that I find myself drawn to as of late, which are very much of the compact and minimalist sort (see here and here for some recent examples).  I became aware of another one recently that adds more tech to the mix, the Ekster 3.0.

On the surface of it, the Ekster 3.0 looks like just another minimalist wallet, albeit one with a rather clever trigger deployment for the credit cards (we’ve asked about the MTTF testing on that trigger action, and you can see that in our informal interview at the end).  And sure, the various colors of leather give you plenty of options, and the various starting price points ($29 for the Secretary Card Holder, $39 for the Senate Card holder, and $49 for the Parliament wallet) are, again, similar to what we’ve seen for the more technically-oriented wallets.

Where things get interesting – and how the Ekster 3.0 gets it’s “Smart” moniker – is via that module you see in the photo above.  Obviously, it’s solar powered, so it’s battery powered.  What it is is a relatively slim module that brings GPS location and Bluetooth connectivity to the party.  In other words, if you have a tendency to misplace either your phone or your wallet, this little tracker can certainly help you out.

What I like is how Ekster has implemented the tech – both practically, and in terms of pricing.  For starters, the module is not built into the wallet, but set to to slide into a dedicated pocket.  Easy to charge, remove (in case you need to carry something else), or maybe even move over into something else like your work bag.  This also means that you can keep pricing down by opting out of the tracker, or even just pick up the tracker itself (and not a new wallet) to add it to your existing setup (pricing starts at $29 for that).

It’s definitely an interesting option in my opinion, and the Kickstarter page seems to support that.  With the campaign wrapping up on November 22, 2018, it’s already sitting at 1000% funded (yup, not a typo – one thousand percent).  Not having seen one in person, I can’t tell if I’d be persuaded to change over from my current daily wallet, but that GPS module is intriguing.  And if you’ve not yet gotten into the compact wallet game, this looks to be a rather intriguing place to start your explorations.

Now, one of the benefits we have with these crowdfunded campaigns, is that we’re generally in touch with the people behind the brand, so we can ask some more directed sort of questions to help inform you.  Sometimes we’ll fold that into our content, but in this case, it seemed of benefit to set off by itself.  So, that preamble out of the way, here’s what we asked Ekster about.

WristWatchReview (WWR):  Why should someone consider this wallet, as opposed to another minimalist/compact front-pocket wallet?

Ekster:  I believe our wallet is of choice over other similar competitors because 1) we have been the first to introduce a reliable tracking system which has a two way tracking system (tracking phone from wallet and wallet from phone) and is solar powered. The same goes for the voice-activated commands which we are about to implement in our next generation tracker.

Everything about this system is designed to minimize hassle and stress on the user’s side, whilst maximizing user experience and comfort. 2) we believe the way we blend technology with class is rather unique. Our wallets look clean and simple, despite the technologies embedded within them. We believe this renders our wallet a top choice for both the classic man who prefers a stylish option, as well as a tech geek who wants to show off what his wallet can do.

WWR: What is the rated MTTF for the trigger component on the wallet?

Ekster:  Our mechanism may last depending on how often it is used, but estimations through tests have shown that at least 100,000 activations can be managed without incurring any sorts of systematic issues.

WWR:  If the trigger system breaks or jams, can I get my cards out?

Ekster:  If the system breaks, o jams, cards can be removed from the cardholder using tweezers. By no means your cards will be lost forever if our wallet jams or breaks.

WWR:  What grade/quality leather are you using?

Ekster:  We use top-quality genuine leather, made from steer hide. Our leather is tanned in LWG top-rated tanneries.

WWR:  You’re at 3.0 – what have you decided to improve over the first two versions – and why?

Ekster:  We have created a slimmer tracker card with:

  • Alexa and Google Assistant Integration
  • Worldwide Lost & found
  • Extended BLE range
  • Upgraded solar panel
  • 2 month the battery life
  • 2x the charging speed
  • 2x louder ringer

We have completely redesigned the wallet mechanism:

  • Slimmer profile
  • Easier card access
  • Smoother ejection
  • Fool-proof durability
  • Sleeker look & feel

Probably the most exciting about this launch:

  • Our slimmest wallet yet: The Secretary Cardholder
  • 3 new colours: Juniper Green, Merlot Red, Blush Beige

We fixed these issues based on the feedback we got from our customers in the past two years! We put our customers first and try to ensure that their needs, product-wise, are met.

Last Update: January 29, 2019