Nutshell Smartphone Wallet Review

New Zealand’s Nutshell Corporation makes a series of cases for handheld devices called “Tuff-as-Nuts”. Gadgeteer Mike Reigel verified that the name was appropriate back in 2003. They combine that reputation with an interesting fastener in a tough wallet case for your smartphone.

The main body of the case is a nice piece of gorgeous leather with a rich but subtle smell. The inside is a soft fabric that is Velcro compatible. There is a magnetic tab, and pockets on the opposite side for bills, cards, etc. The logo and other info is embossed on the pockets and does not appear anywhere outside.

Wallet case, with my phone inside

Wallet with my phone inside, showing pockets and logo

The big difference in this case is a ‘Micro-fine Velcro Pad’. This interesting stuff features a self-adhesive pad of the ‘hook side’ that is dang near flat! The barely there hooks snag securely into the soft fabric lining the case- it almost looks like magic! Try as I might, I could not really do justice to it with a photo.

Micro-fine Velcro Pads (2 included)

This pad barely adds anything to the back of the phone- even as a pocket-carryin’ guy, the pad rarely caught or interfered, or even felt odd at any time. Yet, it holds very securely in the case. I like this stuff well enough that I am searching for a source for some of my own projects. (I believe it is this stuff- Velcro Ultra Mate.)

OK, so… tough- check. Good looking- check. Interesting element with the thin Velcro- check. How is it in use?

Obviously my experience with the Samsung Epic will be different than your experience with your phone, but I found this wallet to be a bit chunky.

Wallet in use, end view- note the angle of the magnetic tab

My phone is thick enough that the magnetic tab does not lay flat on the cover. If I press down by the tab…

POP! The tab just pops off. It would be fine with a thinner phone, but the Epic is just pushes the boundaries a bit. In fact, I dislike how the Epic fits in most cases- it is already a tad thick and the case just makes it worse.

Beside this rather minor issue (even with the so-so fit, it still works fine), this is a terrific case- well-made, protective, and incredibly durable… although whether it is worth $59.95 is up to you.

 

Product Information

Price:$59.95
Manufacturer:Nutshell Corporation
Pros:
  • Tough
  • Attractive
  • Well-made
  • Interesting fastener system
Cons:
  • Does not fit thicker phones as well
Posted in: Android related, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Reviews, Wallets

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Ian Lim October 17, 2011, 9:19 pm

    Weirdly enough this reminds me of a leather case that I used to use on my HP Ipaq H3970 all those years ago……..

    What goes around, comes around I guess. :)

  • OEB October 18, 2011, 10:47 am

    Doesn’t hold a candle to the Twelve South iPhone case in my opinion. =)

    http://twelvesouth.com/products/bookbook_iphone/

  • andix October 18, 2011, 11:30 am

    Probably good when you’re not swapping cases a lot. I have an Otterbox Defender for work and ordered a wallet from Amazon for those more dressy days. But the self-adhesive velcro would certainly not go along that good with the Defender.
    Then there’s the camera issue, you have to take the phone out of the case to take a photo. Not my cup of tea. Same issue with the Twelwe South… A shame because that was looking like a really interesting case.

  • Mark Adkins October 18, 2011, 12:04 pm

    @OEB- The BookBook is pretty dang cool- but won’t fit a huge variety of phones that would otherwise be able to use those dimensions. Kinda sad that they don’t offer a more ‘universal’ version- possibly with the cool low-profile Velcro the Nutshell cases uses.

    @Andix- You might be surprised by the Velcro Ultra Mate (or whatever it is). It is amazingly low-profile- to the point that every photo I took of it shows it as nearly smooth.

    As for the camera- such is the curse of many wallets and other cases, eh?

  • Ian Miller October 18, 2011, 2:33 pm

    Hey great review. Unfortunately the reviewer did not use the product long enough for the case to ‘mold’ itself to the phone. We deliberately made the platform large enough to accept large format Smartphones and added a generous 5mm to the spine of the case to accommodate thick devices (including some thin phones in accessory cases) as well as the stuff folk inevitably pack into the case. Once the leather has ‘softened’ through use we find the clasp works – every time. The use of the micro-Velcro makes it easy to remove and replace the phone in the case, time after time after time. Many thanks for a thoughtful appraisal.

  • Mark Adkins October 18, 2011, 3:32 pm

    @Ian- {Headsmack}Dang! Molding. It has been so long since I broke in leather shoes or wallets that I completely forgot about the molding effect.

    We use the products before we do reviews, but sometimes it is hard to use things in real-world situations for long enough periods. A wallet-style case does not work well for me at work, so it most often got used around the house and on weekends- resulting in an inadequate break-in time to let it mold properly.

    I apologize for not thinking of that aspect.

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