I doubt very much the team that dreamt up the Ziploc snack-size baggy ever considered that it might be used to protect a device worth hundreds of dollars, rather than dispensing munchies. The fact remains: The #1 protector of iPhones that I see in use by cyclists is the Ziploc bag. At least, that’s what I see here in Southern California, where protecting a smart phone is an afterthought of less importance than, say, zipping your fly after a trip to the bathroom. During my recent trip to Memphis, however, I saw nary an iPhone in anything other than a water-resistant Otter Box. The combined effect caused me to wonder if I was in a city populated by nothing but ex-Navy SEALs.
I’ve wanted something that could offer my phone a bit of protection while also allowing me to keep track of a credit card and some cash. Something that made me look, well, look less homeless than using a plastic bag did.
I ran across the Lezyne Phone Wallet at Interbike and it was one of those revelations that is just what makes the show such a great adventure. I’ve been using one on rides where there’s a chance that I’ll stop for coffee. It’s got pockets for three cards (enough for a hotel room key plus two credit cards), a pleated pocket to hold some cash (and keep any change separated from the glass of your smart phone) and a zippered compartment for your smart phone. The zipper is water resistant and the seams around it are welded; add to that the water-resistant nylon material the wallet is cut from and you have something that offers at least as much protection from water as a baggy, not to mention it’s a good deal more functional.
The zippered cash compartment and the card pockets are contained in a flap that closes (thanks to Velcro) over a clear panel in the case so that you can actually use the phone a bit without removing it from the wallet. Not that you can place a call that way (trust me, I tried), but you can read a text message or email; hell, you can update your status on Facebook if you’re so motivated.
I try not to be. Motivated in that way, I mean.
The wallet is big enough to hold an iPhone 4 or 5 or any of the other myriad devices that you typically see. That flexibility of use is, unfortunately, the device’s only downfall. It measures roughly 5.5 inches by 3.5 inches—big enough that you are unlikely to get anything other than this into a jersey pocket. That said, the wallet features a zipper pull with a large loop that makes it easy to yank the wallet from your pocket should you hear your phone ringing.
I’m hesitant to be too critical of an item that goes for $19.99 that is also a clear improvement over anything I’ve previously used. Picking on this would be like complaining about a $2 slice of pizza—how bad can it be? It’s $2 and it’s pizza!
I like the Phone Wallet. I have to be honest though and say I’d like it a bit more if it were a bit smaller and more specifically adapted to my model of phone. Given the ubiquity of iPhones, it seems like it wouldn’t be a bad investment to offer iPhone 4- and 5-specific models alongside this more generic version. A snugger fit would make it easier to use the phone inside the wallet and leave a bit of room in that jersey pocket so you can stash a bit more food.
Thank heaven someone is thinking creatively about how to organize your stuff.