Wallets and smartphones are two items that most of us EDC, or everyday carry, on our person. Why not combine the two? Or at least use them together. There are more than a few smartphone wallets available today, but the Kynez Cazlet iPhone Wallet, billed as an “Truly All-in-One Wallet,” caught my eye for its rugged yet elegant styling (Nubuck suede leather with Cordura exterior), its internal organization features (lots of pockets and optional, customizable accessories) and its iPhone protection and accessibility (nearly full access to the phone features while protected inside the wallet). I was fortunate to have the opportunity to evaluate a sample of the Cazlet iPhone Wallet and check out all of its features. Gadget on!
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As a daily user of both an iPhone and a wallet, I’ve had my eye on various versions of wallets in which iPhones can be carried for some time now. Only a few of them have actually piqued my interest, like the Waterfield Bags Finn Wallet and iPhone Wallet. I randomly stumbled upon the Kynez Cazlet iPhone wallet while it was in the middle of its successfully funded campaign on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. It caught my eye for two reasons. One reason is that it appeared to have a rugged and simple yet elegant styling, well-designed organization with modular accessories and provided access to nearly all of the iPhone’s controls. The other reason is that it appeared to be a knock-off of the Waterfield Designs iPhone Wallet, yet also included additional features. I contacted Kynez and they were good enough to send me a sample of their Cazlet iPhone Wallet to review.
- Actual exterior – Nubuck leather with Cordura or Nappa leather edge trim (see details below)
- iPhone pocket – Soft, fleece-like fabric
- YKK self-locking
- US Size (fits US dollar bills) = 3.5 in wide x 5.9 in long x 0.55 in thick (8.0 cm x 15.0 cm x 1.4 cm)
- Euro Size (fits EU Euro note bills) = 3.46 in wide x 5.9 in long x 0.63 in thick (8.8 cm x 15.0 cm x 1.6 cm)
- US Size = 2.11 oz (60 g)
- Euro Size = 2.40 oz (68 g)
- 30-day Money Back
- Lifetime Replacement
Location of Manufacture
- Singapore (designed in Australia)
Wallet version – The Cazlet is available in two versions, with both the US Size and the Euro Size available in both versions:
- Touch ID Friendly (TIF), which allows access to the Home Button/Touch ID Sensor
- Home Button Sheltered (HBS), which protects but still allows the Home Button to function.
- Exterior – Nubuck leather (color options listed below)
- Edge Trim – Cordura-enforced, Nappa leather or Nylon
Wallet colors (Color descriptions only, the wallet leather is not made from the hides of these critters):
- US Size – Dingo or Koala Nubuck leather
- Euro Size – Dingo, Koala or Platypus Nubuck leather
Optional accessories – Several optional accessories are available to help customize Cazlet, each available for an additional few dollars as listed below:
- Coin Pocket – $9
- ID Sleeve – $4
- Card Band – $8
- Hand Strap – $12
- Cleaning Pad – $2
The version of the Cazlet reviewed here is as follows:
- US Sized
- Touch ID Friendly (TIF)
- Dingo Color Nubuck Leather
- Brown Cordura-enforced trim
The Cazlet arrived in a simple bubble-wrap envelope. Ta da! There was also a few pieces of foam inside, presumably for additional shipping protection.
Interior packaging was a simple Ziplock-style bag.
The Cazlet product sample came fully equipped with the following:
- Cazlet iPhone Wallet
- SIM Eject Tool
- Coin Pocket (optional accessory)
- ID Sleeve (optional accessory)
- Card Band (optional accessory)
- Hand Strap (optional accessory)
- Cleaning Pad (optional accessory)
The first thing I noticed about the Cazlet itself is its solid construction and high-quality feel, very solid.
The exterior of this review sample of the Cazlet, a US Size TIF (Touch ID Friendly) version, was made from Nubuck leather in a Dingo color. This leather is very soft to the touch, with an almost velvety-like feel, and the color is a rich brown with a hint of orange. I’ll be honest, it felt like butter, and with a gorgeous color.
In fact, the Nubuck leather appeared to have a fair amount of water resistance. I performed the Farmer Jones test shown above (FYI: A “Farmer Jones Test” is a quick-and-dirty, not particularly scientific little evaluation that gives at least a baseline of confidence that something performs the way it is intended). I placed a few droplets of water on the outside of the Cazlet and allowed it to sit for a few minutes. The water never passed through the leather. I was able to wipe it off and the tiny amount of water that did penetrate into the very top surface of the leather dried on its own after a minute or two. Note that this in no way means you should go snorkeling with it in the pocket of your board shorts or tucked into your bikini (or even show with it for that matter). That would be foolish, people.
The outside edge of the Cazlet, the long side opposite the zipper, is made from a dark brown Cordura material which is known to have high durability.
The iPhone sits in the Cazlet in a special “pocket” on the side of the wallet. This pocket is lined with a very soft, fleece-like material to protect your iPhone from scratches. In addition, there is a padded bumper built into the edge of this pocket that provides further protection.
Above, a photo of the Cazlet next to the iPhone 5. Here you can begin to get an idea of the relative size difference between the Cazlet and the svelte iPhone 5 that will be placed within it.
The process for inserting the iPhone into the Cazlet is simple as long as you pay attention to fully “seating” the iPhone down into the Cazlet’s pocket. Start by sliding the iPhone top-first into the open end of the Cazlet’s exterior pocket.
Next, press the iPhone’s bottom end down into the Cazlet’s exterior pocket, so that the iPhone’s end “seats” down into the pocket’s ledge.
The iPhone is then held securely in the Cazlet’s exterior pocket, but is relatively easy to remove if needed.
Above, a side view of the Cazlet with the iPhone inserted.
The Cazlet’s construction is top-notch. I did not find any poorly-sewn seams and everything was squared. Above, a closeup of the corner of the Cazlet, which illustrates the Nubuck leather’s texture as well as the Cordura material. Cue ooo’s and ahhh’s here.
The Cazlet features a YKK zipper. The zipper’s hardware has a bit of an antiqued finish and with a plastic tip on the end of the zipper pull for some extra grip. This particular zipper also has a locking feature. When the zipper pull lies flat against the zipper, it is in the “locked” position and cannot be slid open. Only when the zipper pull is lifted away from the zipper can it be opened. A very handy feature for securing items inside the wallet.
The Cazlet has openings for all of the necessary access points on the face of the iPhone. Above, the trapezoidal-shaped cutout at the top provides access for the iPhone’s speaker, proximity sensor and front-facing camera. The organge colored stitching indicates the locations of the volume up/down buttons as well as the lock button.
This version of the Cazlet, known as a TIF, or Touch ID Friendly version, allows access to the iPhone’s home button via a semi-circular cutout. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to an iPhone 5s, or I could try out the Touch ID. However, based on the amount of clearance, it seems as thought it would work without incident.
The Cazlet feels good in the hand, mainly because of the luxurious feel of the Nubuck leather. However, it is a bit bulky when compared to the iPhone 5’s svelte profile, as noted above.
Above, another photo illustrating the Cazlet in hand and access to the iPhone’s buttons.
Although the Cazlet essentially fully encases the iPhone, by just slightly opening the opening (yeah, I just typed that), there is enough space to plug in both the earbud cable as well as the Lightning connector.
In fact, the Cazlet works just fine with the cables plugged in and didn’t seem to place any undue strain on either cable.
While there are many features on the Cazlet’s exterior, there is a lot going on inside it as well. Alright, its basically a party in there. For starters, most of the interior is made from a soft material that has a grey cross-hatched textured pattern as seen in these photos.
First are the interior features that allow access to the iPhone’s buttons. The two small brown leather squares near the top of the photo act as pushers for the volume buttons. The leather strip that wraps around the corner of the iPhone pocket provides some additional bump protection to the phone in this critical area. Near the bottom of the photo is a small square of gray material that is used as a pusher for the lock button. Very thoughtful design throughout.
Above, another photo of the interior. On the left you can see the pocket that the iPhone sits in. On the right is the organizer, with multiple pockets and other features including a key slot, a free slot and a card slot.
Against the outside of Cazlet’s interior includes a clear plastic access card slot inside of the main organizer pocket.
The access card slot can be used to hold a single card, like an ID, a business card or a frequently-used credit card.
Kynez provides several optional accessories to customize the Cazlet, each of which is described in the next section below. However, there is one accessory that is included with the Cazlet, a SIM Ejection Tool. I’ll be honest, I can’t recall the last time I had to eject my SIM card, so I don’t know that I would need to carry one of these in my wallet, especially since a bent paperclip would accomplish the same task, but I suppose there may be folks out there that have the need to pop out their card more often than I. To each his/her own here.
The SIM Card Ejection Tool fits down into its special SIM Eject Tool slot in the organizer. The slot is marked with a small graphic that indicates where it fits. Just to the right of the SIM Card Ejection Tool slot is another small slot for a nano SIM card, also marked with a small image, should you for some reason need to carry a second one with you. Also, just behind the SIM Tool slot and the SIM card slot is the key slot, where you could place a house key or extra car key.
The Cazlet also includes a bright orange lanyard loop. The lanyard loop is made from strip of cloth webbing secured to the interior of the Cazlet via a rivet. The lanyard loop can be tucked down and out of the way with a second small loop of the same material. This keeps it from sticking up and out of the Cazlet when not in use.
When being used, the lanyard loop is easily deployed by sliding it out of the securing loop and flipping it up. It then sticks out of the zipper and can be used to attach to the optional Hand Strap as shown below.
The Cazlet has several optional accessories that can be used to customize it. They are available separately from Kynez. And who doesn’t like accessories, right? The exception is the SIM Eject Tool, which comes with the Cazlet and is described in the section above.
First up is the Cleaning Pad, available for $2. The Cleaning Pad fits down into its own small dedicated cleaning pad slot on the inside of the Cazlet.
The top of the Cleaning pad is made from the same Dingo color Nubuck leather material as the exterior of the Cazlet, with the Kynez logo branded into it.
The underside of the Cleaning Pad is a very soft, faux suede material.
The Cleaning Pad requires no cleaning solution. It can be used dry, or by applying a drip or two of water. Just press it against the iPhone’s screen and swipe away to remove fingerprints and other grime. Try to resist the urge to lick it to remove gunk from your screen. That’s just nasty.
Next up is the Cazlet’s optional Hand Strap accessory for $12.
The Hand Strap connects to the Cazlet via the interior lanyard loop.
The Hand Strap is made from a rubberized elastic material with a quick-release connector. The connector allows it to be removed quickly from the Cazlet’s interior lanyard loop.
The rubberized surface of the provides some additional grip for when using the wrist strap around your wrist, to prevent it accidentally slipping off and the elastic material gives it some springiness. You could, in fact, turn the Cazlet and your iPhone into a sort of yo-yo with the Hand Strap, but I cannot recommend this.
Another of the optional Cazlet accessories is the Coin Pocket for $9. The Coin Pocket is made from the same material as the interior of the Cazlet and even has the same Nubuck leather trim at its opening and the Kynez logo branded into it.
The back of the Coin Pocket has a small plastic tab that allows it to slide into a matching slot in the Cazlet’s interior, as shown below.
The Coin Pocket is equipped with a pair of small, hidden magnets in the opening which allow it to close automatically once you release it, but open it relatively easy.
I found it easiest to squeeze the edges and it seemed to “fishmouth” open. You won’t be able to hold enough coins to keep you busy at the arcade all afternoon, but it will help you organize loose change. What? Arcades are nearly extinct? When did this happen?
Above, a photo of the Coin Pocket attached to the inside of the Cazlet. It actually sits over the top of the SIM Eject Tool and the SIM card slot, both hiding them from view and protecting them. Clever.
Another optional accessory is the ID Sleeve, available for $4. The ID Sleeve, as its name cleverly implies, is a transparent plastic sleeve that holds an ID or two or even a credit card or business card. The ID Sleeve has a strip of leather trip at the top. And yes, this is my old college ID from about a thousand years ago. I am a proud Purdue Boilermaker and hey, big glasses are back in style now. So don’t judge.
The ID Sleeve fits into the clear plastic pocket access card slot inside the Cazlet, but it is a little tight. The leather trim aids in gripping when inserting or removing the ID Sleeve from the Cazlet. Alternatively, you could just place the ID Sleeve into the Cazlet without placing it inside the access card slot, saving the slot for another card.
The final optional accessory is the Card Band for $8. The Card Band is a strip of black elastic with leather trim and the Kynez logo stamped into the elastic.
The Card Band holds several cards, like an ID, credit cards or business cards. In the photo above, I’ve placed three cards in the Card Band, but it can quite easily accommodate several more, or even some cash if folded. It can be used as a stand-alone item, almost like its own minimal wallet, sliding it into your pocket for quick trips where you don’t need all of the other items.
Or, the Card Band can be loaded with some cards and placed in the Cazlet. It can help keep several of your cards together and keep them from sliding around inside the Cazlet. Like the ID Sleeve, the leather trim piece on the Card Band actually helps a bit when gripping the Card Band, especially if it has been placed inside the Cazlet.
The photo above shows the Cazlet fully loaded with all of its optional accessories.
In the image above, I’ve placed not only all of the Cazlet’s optional accessories, but also several cash bills (folded half) as well. The Cazlet can actually hold quite a bit more than this if needed.
Above, another photo of the loaded-out Cazlet, just prior to zipping it closed. That’s what I’m talking about. This dude can hold a lot of stuff.
The photo above shows the loaded-out Cazlet once it has been fully zipped closed. It does become fairly thick with everything inside it. At this point, I felt it was more like a small ladies’ pocketbook than a wallet, but I tried to keep in mind that not only was the iPhone in there, but also all of the other accessories as well. Still, the Cazlet is a large wallet even when not fully loaded and because of its size I found it nearly impossible to use it as a “front-pocket” wallet due to both its footprint and thickness. As a “back-pocket” wallet it would be slightly better for me, but not a whole lot. I have also never been comfortable about placing my phone in my back pocket, whether it was in a wallet, case or otherwise. If I were a daily cargo-pants wearer, this would be perfect for me, but alas, I am not. However, YMMV as they say, and you may find the Cazlet’s bulk acceptable, especially considering the trade-off with how much it can hold. In the interest of full disclosure here, I have been gravitating toward more minimalist wallets of late, and away from the larger “carry everything including the kitchen sink” type wallets, so that is coloring my view of the Cazlet a bit here, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t suit someone else’s needs and wants perfectly.
One other aspect of Kynez that I would mention is its “Cazlet Experience Program.” This program essential allows buyers to get involved in the promotion of Cazlet and earn cash back on the purchase of their Cazlet. It works like this. A customer enrolls in the Cazlet Experience Program when they order a Cazlet Review Unit from the Kynez site. Once the customer receives their Cazlet, they can record videos of their Cazlet—essentially a mini-review—and post them on YouTube. For every second of video posted on YouTube, the customer earns back one US dollar up to $30. I think this is a clever marketing tool. It allows real customer to share their real experiences with other potential customers and promotes Cazlet in the process. And it keeps Kynez honest too: customers are under no obligation to post positive impressions of Cazlet to get their cash back, only to post video. If a customer’s impression of Cazlet is not favorable, then this will create negative press, not positive, so Kynez has incentive to ensure that Cazlet is all they claim it be. Win-win for everyone.
The Kynez Cazlet is like the Cadillac of combined iPhone-wallet cases. Its materials and construction are top-notch, and its design is very thoughtful. Externally, its Nubuck leather is rich in feel and has good durability. The exterior “pocket” that holds the iPhone both holds it securely while still allowing access to the screen, home button and other buttons. The headphone jack and Lightning connector are also accessible, and its locking zipper is a nice feature as well. Internally, the Cazlet includes many organization features like slots for cards, ID and cash. But perhaps one of the most useful features of the Cazlet is the ability to customize it with any or all of the several accessories that are available separately, such as the coin pouch and cleaning pad, all of which have been designed to fit into special locations inside the Cazlet. While the Cazlet does provide good protection to the iPhone and holds quite few items internally, it still presents a fairly large footprint and thickness. If you are looking for a “slim” or “minimalist” wallet, this isn’t it by any stretch. However, if you like to carry your iPhone and wallet together, along with other wallet-type items (cash, cards, and so on) this would be a great wallet to consider. The Cazlet is a well-built, great-looking iPhone wallet-case combination with lots of useful features.
For more info visit http://www.kynez.com/
Update (11 June 2014)
One very important aspect that I considered quite a bit when evaluating the Cazlet, but somehow completely slipped my mind when I was writing the review above (Look, I’m over 40 people, I forget stuff. Deal with it.), was Cazlet’s access to the iPhone’s camera. As can clearly be seen in the images above, when the iPhone is inserted into the Cazlet, there is no way to access the rear-facing camera. As a frequent user of the iPhone’s camera (for Instagram, Facebook, or just snapping pics of things I want to remember), this was a major difficulty for me. I realize that the design of the Cazlet makes it impossible to provide access to the camera, but this is still a bummer. Perhaps a future version of the Cazlet will include this capability. Apologies for this omission.