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flipside wallet, follow-up

As hard as it is to take pictures of firearms without highlighting the scratches in their finishes, you would think taking pictures of a plastic wallet to show the scratches would be easier… 

Anywise, back in May, the good folks at FlipSide Wallet provided me a test-and-evaluation unit after I sent my old, leather wallet on an unscheduled washing machine excursion.  Since then, it has served as my primary wallet, spending all of its waking days riding around in the pocket of my jeans, khakis, and cargo pants along with my County Comm Embassy Elite Pen and the occasional bits of change. 

flipsideworn1The end result?  Well, not a whole lot, honestly.  It functioned flawlessly as a wallet.  As you can see in the pictures, it held up against the stainless steel of the pen about as well as you would expect – there is scuffing, but I would hardly consider it to be unacceptable level (the pen was even wearing on my leather wallet).  The RFID shielding still keeps all of my sensitive, personally-identifiable information stored safely away* (if I actually had any ID cards with radio frequency identification tags in them).  The money clip still holds more money than was originally advertised, along with my copy of TN Attorney General Opinion Number 05-154, and my little sheet of backup Google Two-Factor Authentication numbers.  The gripper pads that hold my credit card and ID cards in place still grip tightly.  The springs that power the release latch and the primary hinge still keep the wallet closed and flip it open with authority, respectively. 

flipsideworn2In other words, this thing works about as well as it did when I took it out of the box the first time.  There are only three things that could potentially count as “downsides”. 

1.  The exterior finish did wear, but you knew that would happen.  It happens with leather wallets too, the only difference here is that you cannot write it off to “character” – after riding around in your pocket for months and moving every time you move your leg, the plastic on the wallet will polish and wear, and just look different.  Entropy wins.  Get over it. 

2.  It collects dust inside the little corners and crevices.  Again, “normal” wallets do this too, but you can unload them, shake them out, and everything is happy.  Well, in this case, unload it, shake it out, and wash it.  No, seriously – it is plastic and metal, and a good rinse under the faucet will clear out most of the junk and lint it might grow over time. 

3.  It does not hold quite enough cards for me.  Thanks to Keyring, I need to carry a lot fewer cards than I would otherwise, but some companies (*cough*Victoria’sSecret*cough*RegalCinemas*cough*) only use the magnetic stripes on their cards, not bar codes, and there is no way to consolidate/replicate those.  Thanks to our health/dental insurance requiring me to carry four separate cards (which doctors’ offices invariably need to take copies of), my credit and debit cards, my driver’s license, and my two carry permits, I have to periodically use my old Jimi Wallet for random “membership” cards. 

However, there is a fix for even that.  As you can see in the picture to the right, my FlipSide has a business card clip on its back, capable of holding four business cards, but it does not have enough of a grip for plasticky / credit-card-like cards.  Enter the FlipSideKick.  Ten bucks nets you a backpack for your FlipSide 2x wallet that can hold another three regular cards, up to six business cards, or some combination of the same.  It is not RFID shielded, but that can be useful too – put your proximity cards in there, and just hold your wallet up to the reader, rather than having to take it out to be read. 

So what is the conclusion?  After six months of use, I would consider the FlipSide wallet to be well worth its price.  It is made here in the good old USofA (so buying it constitutes a real “stimulus”), it holds what I really need it to (and I can expand it if I have to), is not any larger than is absolutely necessary, and it holds up to even my somewhat excessive levels of wear and tear.  Nothing has broken, nothing has failed, no cracks have developed, and everything works about the same as it did when I took it out of the box.  Maybe it is not as classy as your grandfather’s leather wallet, but it has a few bells and whistles even his did not, and I am willing to bet it will last about as long. 

(* – My father actually purchased, and still uses, one of these for all of his prox- and RFID-equipped cards at work, and reports that it keeps them safe.) 

(Obligatory “kiss my arse” to the FTC: Note the category.  Read my disclosure policy.  Go away.) 

7 comments to flipside wallet, follow-up

  • Joshua

    How does the clasp hold up on it? Presumably since it wasn’t mentioned, it hasn’t broken. I’ve got an Alumawallet that I’ve had for somewhere between six months and a year, and recently the locking clasp to pop it open has come apart and upon trying to fix it seems hard to repair in a manner that will last. How firmly does it hold cards? If it slips out of your hand while unlatched, does it spray its contents all over the floor?

  • So the clasp is a hinged piece of spring-loaded plastic – an entirely separate piece from the rest of the wallet, on an actual, honest-to-god, pin-and-hole hinge. If I recall from my brief fiddling around with an Alumawallet, its particular clasp is actually part of the plastic rim around the edge of the wallet, and the “hinge” is actually just a fold in that plastic – that could be in error, though.

    In any case, the clasp hinge is showing no indications of failing, and the spring locks it back into place like it should every time I use it. I have dropped the wallet, and the clasp has not released. I have not dropped it open, so I do not know if the cards will stay in place for that, but the little rubber grippy points are still snug on my credit card, after using it at least every other day for the past six months, so it is not likely to let things go accidentally.

    On that point alone, I think the FlipSide wins – the Alumawallet makes no attempt to hold things into its accordion inside, while the FlipSide has positive grippers even inside of the positive clasp.

  • Joshua

    The part in question on the alumawallet is a separate plastic piece with two small pins to pivot on, but no means of holding them in place. That piece pushes down on the actual latching mechanism which is part of the plastic rim on either side that holds the wallet shut to release it. Latch part has held up fine, the mechanism to open it is what has the issue.

    The fact that you haven’t dropped the FlipSide points either to it being well designed for one-handed use, the alumawallet being poorly designed for one-handed use (which it definitely is), or most likely a combination of the two.

    I assumed the FlipSide would be a good deal better and intend to grab one somewhere down the line. Only got the alumawallet because my old wallet was failing and I wanted something RFID blocking, and didn’t have the $40 knocking around for an out-of-stock FlipSide.

    Just wanted to double-check on whether the few complaints I’ve actually had with the alumawallet were not present on the FlipSide. Thanks for the useful reviews and follow-up responses.

  • If you refer back to this picture and this one in the original review, you can kind of see how the hinging works – the spring is visible in the second picture under the latch, and the hinge pins themselves are part of the latch (i.e. the same casting). Furthermore, the pins are captive – there is no way for them or the latch to slide out of the body, so far as I can tell.

    In other words, this cannot suffer the same failure.

    I definitely agree that the FlipSide’s price is a bit steep, but quality often is ;).

    And no worries about the follow-up – I always get annoyed by reviews that do not provide one later on, and you always wonder how well the item in question held up. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Alumawallet – I had been eyeing them as well, and I dare say I made the right choice, given how hard I am on things.

  • Joshua

    That latch looks kind of like a much better version of the one on the alumawallet. I would have gone straight for quality (you’ll spend more in the long run replacing things not up for the job), but it was out of stock and out of my price range. I wouldn’t say the alumawallet is BAD, it’s just not as GOOD. Its only mechanical failing was not related to the phenomenal ability of my pockets to destroy anything placed into them (grinding against a skeletonized knife, 2-4 pencils and/or pens, and occasionally some change while I do things like run and practice martial arts). All of the flaws I’ve mentioned are there because of how cheap it is designed to be, rather than the result of breaking from use.

    Alumawallet: Designed to be cheap, manages to be decent.
    FlipSide: Designed to be good, excels at it.

    Speaking of following up on reviews, that reminds me, I need to put some more rounds through my Sub2k and write a followup to my pre-range-test “first impression” review, which will likely also vanish into the internet without being read by anybody the way the first did.

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  • So I will say that the plastic skin on the Flipside is, milimeter for milimeter, not as strong as the alumawallets, but I would bet it is also thicker, so it should manage to hold up to that abuse just fine. I try to keep my individual pockets relatively light – I hate grinding things together – but just my tactical pen has not affected that much damage on the wallet.

    And, yeah, blogging is a bit like throwing a ball into a black hole and seeing what happens, but you never know who might pick up your post and run with it :).