The good folk at PITAKA have sent me one of their Carbon Fibre wallets to review.
It is a gorgeous bit of kit – but does that justify the price tag?
You can also view the unboxing on YouTube
This is a card-holder with space for 6 cards – wrapped up in a protective bundle, secured with strong magnets.
Let’s get the price out of the way first, this wallet costs £80. That’s not Gucci levels of extravagance, but it is more expensive than any wallet I’ve had so far. What makes it so pricey? It is build out of woven carbon fibre – that makes it lightweight and incredibly strong.
The woven fibre design is sleek and subtle. It feels great in the hand, just the right amount of texture. The case catches the light and makes for a pleasant change from dull leather.
The edges are ridged – which helps it feel secure in your hand. This isn’t as slippery as it looks.
As you can see in the video, the action of the mechanism is superb. It takes a little effort to open but snap when it does is perfect. Those strong magnets keep everything in place, with no worries that the cards will fall out.
I haven’t tested the device to destruction, but there’s no flex when pressure is applied to it. It won’t crush, deform, bend, or break.
It appears to be fairly scratch resistant as well. It spent a day in my pocket with a couple of keys and some coins. This is what it looked like afterwards:
It’s about the same size as a pack of cards. But you can change that! The individual card holders are secured by some reasonably strong magnets.
The price for extra inserts is US$30 each – again, a bit pricey – but they’re durable and double sided. Two cards fit in every one.
Personally, I’ve removed one of the inserts from mine so I can have an ultra-slim card holder.
Tap-to-pay cards are a great convenience, but they’re fairly easy for a fraudster to read them. The PITAKA is RFID shielded. With my test equipment I can usually read an Oyster Card through a leather wallet – once it was in this case it became invisible to my scans.
It’s not all good though. This is a card only wallet. There’s no space for notes, coins, or pictures of your sweetheart. I’m (mostly) cashless now – but it may not be suitable for everyone. Extra layers are available which can hold paper money and coins – but they’re a further expense.
The shell is extremely tough, that also makes it completely rigid. It won’t deform to fit in your pockets. It is a hard surface and, if you fall on it, you’ll feel it. It only weighs 80 grammes – so it isn’t excessively noticeable.
The magic magnets which keep everything together will wipe your cards’ magstrips. Thankfully most cards today use Chip & Pin – or are contactless – but you’ll need to find somewhere else for your older cards.
Onto that shielding. The last RFID blocking wallet I purchased had a special pouch which wasn’t shielded. Handy for Oyster Cards. With the PITAKA, it is all or nothing. Handy if you’re paranoid.
Finally, you will need to take a bit of time to learn how to use this wallet. Opening one-handed is pretty easy to get used to – but you’ll need to memorise where your cards are. On any other wallet, I open it then pick out the card I want. With this one, I have to remember which insert I want before I open it.
With all that said, it is a cracking bit of kit. It looks cool, feels brilliant, and is pretty damned secure. The cost is high, but you get a lot of high tech kit for the price.