Ekster Smart iPhone Case review: Luxurious leather minimalism

(Image: © iMore)

If you love leather but you don't like a bulky case on your iPhone, check out this slender beauty. The Ekster Smart Case has a compartment that holds a couple of cards on the back, plus tiny interior compartments for a SIM card and a SIM tool.

The Good

  • Lightweight and non-bulky
  • Premium top-grain leather
  • Card slot holds one or two cards
  • SIM card slot
  • SIM tool slot
  • Looks elegant
  • Wireless charging compatible

The Bad

  • Only for iPhone 11 Pro at this time
  • Not very protective

Clever design

Ekster Smart iPhone Case: Features

Ekster Smart iPhone Case

(Image credit: iMore)

Ekster is known for trackable smart wallets which are actually quite cool. They've just released an iPhone case, though at this time it's only available for the iPhone 11 Pro. The case is slim and minimal, it's not an ultra-protective case. Constructed from premium top-grain leather, this case is a beauty. All of Ekster's leathers are tanned under environmental protocols in gold-rated LWG tanneries. LWG stands for Leather Working Group, which is a group of independent tanneries that promotes sustainable environmental practices.

If you're looking for a slim case but you want it to look and feel amazing and offer some smart features, check out the Ekster Smart iPhone Case.

The edge of the case comes just over the edge of the screen for a bit of screen protection when you set your phone down screen side down. There is a camera cutout, and the case is just thick enough that no camera lip is necessary. There are no other specific cutouts or buttons. Rather, there are large open areas on both sides and the bottom around the mute switch, buttons, Lightning port, and speakers. So the full functionality of the iPhone is maintained and the case is easy to take off and put on. But the trade-off is you get less protection from scratches on the bezel around those areas.

A pocket on the back holds one or two cards. Even with a card (but not two) in the slot, wireless charging works fine for me. The interior of the case is lined with soft microfiber. This is where you'll find tiny slots for the SIM card and SIM card removal tool. If you travel frequently between countries or just need to use two different SIM cards with your iPhone, this is a huge convenience. SIM cards and SIM tools are tiny and could easily get lost without a specific slot to keep them in. You could stash a bill or two inside the case as well, though there is no designated slot for it. The Ekster name and logo are imprinted into the microfiber as well. A small, tasteful logo (a capital E inside a shield) is engraved on the back of the case. Choose from four colors: Juniper Green (I'm guessing this would look amazing with the Midnight Green iPhone), Classic Brown, Nappa Black (as seen in my photos), and Merlot Red.

Attractive case

Ekster Smart iPhone Case: What I like

This is an elegant and professional-looking iPhone case. The premium leather looks and feels amazing. It's convenient to be able to carry a card or two on the back, as well as a SIM card and SIM tool on the inside, particularly when traveling. I like being able to charge my iPhone wirelessly inside this case, even with a card in the wallet slot.

Ekster Smart iPhone Case

(Image credit: iMore)

Not super protective

Ekster Smart iPhone Case: What I don't like

If you're looking for a case that's going to protect your iPhone from major drops, this isn't it. This is a slender, non-bulky case that offers more protection than no case at all. The areas around buttons and ports are all open, so if you're prone to scratching up your metal bezels, it's something to be aware of. If you have any other model phone beside the iPhone 11 Pro, you're out of luck here. At this time, Ekster only makes one model.

Smart leather

Ekster Smart iPhone Case: Bottom line

If you're looking for a slim case but you want it to look and feel amazing and offer some smart features, check out the Ekster Smart iPhone Case. This lightweight case is crafted from premium top-grain leather. A pocket on the back holds a card or two. Two tiny slots inside hold a SIM card and a SIM tool, which is a great feature for people who need to swap out SIM cards frequently. In my testing, I found the case to be wireless charging compatible, even with a card in the slot.

See at Ekster

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.