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Cases, cases, cases, I love cases, down in my pocket. In the past, I have reviewed minimalist-style cases, luxurious wood-laden cases, protective cases straight out of Fort Knox, and now, I am trying out a fit-life, active-style convertible case designed by tech21, and no, your eyes aren't deceiving you… I said "convertible".
The tech21 Evo Wallet Active Edition case is a 2-in-1 case, which incorporates a removable front cover which can be used to stuff all sorts of things in to free up your pocket space, or wallet, when you hit the trail or go for a nice run.
Sound great? Let's dive a little bit deeper and see what this case is all about.
- Solid construction and durability
- The pouch built into the cover is well-designed and convenient
- Great for stow-and-go activities and fitness scenes
- Backed by tech21's one-year warranty if the phone case becomes faulty or defective
- Not for everybody; price or design
- Expensive! If you want it, try to catch it on sale
- Long-term durability of the pouch/cover may be an issue down the road
- Screen doesn't shut off when the cover is closed
After opening the package that came in the mail (which is always like Christmas for tech enthusiasts like me), I was happy to see that the packaging was easy to open, which was nice after I nearly destroyed a package recently while trying to get a case out of it.
The presentation is definitely top-notch with this case. The packaging has a small nylon pull tab on the side that allows the case to slide out like a little drawer on a nightstand. My initial observations were positive. The texture and fine-woven material that creates the cover has a lot of appeal and definitely adds to the "Active" description of the case model. It looks like something you can tote around during outdoor activities, throw in a bag, or generally just appreciate being able to carry in some cargo shorts and not have to worry about it.
The construction is solid all the way around, and it comes in three different colors: pink, black, and smoke gray. The two biggest selling points for this case are mobility and protection - emphasis on mobility. I have reviewed a few protective style cases lately, and the Evo Wallet was more than ample in the security department. The mobility aspect is definitely apparent and appreciated.
If you're someone who likes to carry as little as possible and not have to worry about where to set your phone down during more dangerous activities for phones, like a brisk jog, getting tossed in a gym bag, or lugging it around in your backpack while you go hiking, then this case may be just what you're looking for.
Overall, I think the aesthetics are catchy and definitely fit the build. Another cool feature on the Evo Wallet is that the cover can be removed. That's right ladies and gentlemen, the case is convertible. You can carry it around with the cover on it, and then at your leisure, replace the insert that has the flap attached and you can turn it into a normal phone case. I actually think the case looks a bit more stylish this way and is much more well-suited for daily use.
Much to my disappointment, the cover does not turn the screen off when you close it, so you will need to keep an eye on that. I also need to add that it's not as easy to convert the case as the instructions would lead you to believe. It works well in theory, but in practice, this case gave me a fit trying to change between the two modes.
The entire case feels solid, which helps reassure you that it was worth the hefty price tag associated with this case (currently $64.95 on tech21s website — I was able to find them a little cheaper on Amazon, but prices and availability were hit and miss).
The woven material on the cover feels nice, but I would recommend being careful with how you stow the case. I didn't run into any issues personally, but it seems like the woven fibers could fray over time, or potentially get snagged. The cover material is very stretchy, which was by design. The front cover pouch is designed to be loaded up with car keys, ear buds, and anything else that you can manage to squeeze into it. I didn't stuff it with car keys, but it was nice ditching my wallet and toting around just my phone with my driver's license and debit card in it. (PSA: Not that this isn't obvious, but if you put your house key, drivers license, and credit card into the phone case — if someone steals it, it all walks off at once.)
There are no problems with the functionality of the pouch, but I do have concerns about overstretching it, or how it will hold up over time. Also, the spine on the phone — the side with the volume rocker on it — is kind of slick, which makes it difficult to grab from that side, or hold onto securely. This is especially important for prospective left-handed owners.
Also, the slick material doesn't provide the consistency or ease of access that I like for the volume buttons. The volume buttons are covered and not easy to find or use while the cover is closed. I don't want to sound overly negative, but these are important considerations when the phone case is as expensive as this one, and is designed for more fit-wear type conditions. I don't have any doubts about the physical security of the device, but it may take a few days to get used to before you decide to take it on a 5k.
The overall look off the device is definitely on par with "Active" wear, especially with the fancy 3D woven fiber cover installed. The case bumpers have a nice feel to them. According to tech21, the case is made out of "FlexShock" material, which it claims is an ultra efficient impact-absorbing material that can provide greater protection than its competitors with a 30% reduction in thickness and 60% lighter. FlexShock is three layers thick and provides 3-meters/9.9-foot drop protection — 10ft really seems to be the magic number for many of these newer protective cases, so is definitely on par with the standard.
Having used the case and trusted it to protect my iPhone 7 Plus, I can certainly say that I feel safe having it strapped into this case. One thing I'd like to add that I'm not crazy about is trying to take the phone out of the case. I didn't include a picture of what happened to my fingernail when I was trying to pry the phone out of the case, but I'll say I bent the heck out of it. It's great that the case is so tight and secure, until you're trying to pry it loose.
You definitely don't have to worry about the phone falling out on accident, but you need to be careful with your fingers. I don't recommend using any sort of object to extract the phone with.
I don't recommend this case for everybody. The case definitely hits a lot of high points for potential active users, as the name of the case implies. I actually think that it's very well suited for physical fitness and training activities. However, for day-to-day use or for the average phone user, I think there may be other cases that might better serve you, and your wallet.
The Evo Wallet Active Edition is the first case that I've ever tried that is specifically geared towards active wear and use, and I think that it does a good job carving out a place for itself in your backpack or gym bag. However, I don't think it checks enough boxes to qualify recommending it for daily driver status. I will admit, it's great being able to tote your car key/house key, debit card, and driver's license around in, but it may not match well if you're wearing a suit and tie. One added bump to the feasibility of the case is that the cover is removable, which actually takes the phone up a notch for me.
The case does look really nice, especially with the solid/clear blended design to spice things up a bit, but the conversion process to flip it back and forth wasn't worth it for me. Maybe the conversion mechanics will get better with time, but straight out of the box it was rather frustrating.
If you're into working out and rigorous indoor/outdoor training, it's great. If you're not, there are other lesser-priced Evo cases.
What do you think?
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