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Zilfer Cycling Phone Wallet review

17 Apr 2020
Verdict:

A practical but expensive all-weather wallet

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Neat • Decent looking • Useful beyond cycling
Against 
Not entirely waterproof • Expensive • Doesn’t fit larger phones

Assailed from within by your sweaty back, at risk from without thanks to spray flung up by your tyre - the pocket of your jersey is a poor place to store your phone. Ditto your wallet. Although the UK’s switch to plastic banknotes has somewhat alleviated the embarrassment of paying for your coffee with a soggy fiver.

The solution for many cyclists is to jam their cash, cards and mobile into a sandwich bag. For anyone after something more dapper, an array of weather-resistant cases and wallets has sprung up, spanning every niche from the fashionable to the utilitarian.

Designed in Australia, the Zilfer Cycling Phone Wallet sits somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. Made of textured plastic, it’s rugged looking and easy to keep a hold of. Unlike other cases I’ve tried, it's also definitely a wallet. So no one’s going to accuse you of carrying a purse should that sort of thing bother you.

 

Construction, size and features

Slightly padded, once opened the Zilfer reveals four slots for cards or tickets, along with two deep pockets either side of its fold. With your phone likely to spend most of its time in one of these easily accessible interior pockets, in really miserable conditions you can transfer it to the zippered exterior pouch. Extending around the entire width of the unfolded wallet, this sizeable pocket will also provide a secure home in which notes, receipts or brevet cards can shelter.

Guarded by a rubberised YKK zipper, while the closure on this won't keep out water if you go for a swim, it should deal with everything short of extended immersion underwater. Taken together it’s a simple and easily navigable layout.

Measuring 172 x 82 x 15mm when unfurled, the folded wallet slips neatly into the pocket of a jersey or jeans. When it comes to swallowing your phone, it’s the perfect size for a standard iPhone 6, 7 or 8 in a slim case. Newer and larger phones like the standard Apple X, XS or Pro will be a bit of a squeeze, while anything bigger won’t fit.

Buy now from Zilfer here

Apparently, the Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, S6 and S7, along with the Google Pixel 1, 2, 3 and 4 will also all find enough space.

More secure feeling than leaving my phone unholstered, thanks to its rigid corners and grippy material, I never feared the Zilfer would eject itself from my jersey, even when bouncing around or hopping over curbs and suchlike. Well suited to other active pursuits, it’s also ideal for hiking, while I found it just about squished into a running belt. So, how come the comparatively low score?

 

Cost

Unless something is dreadful, there must come a cost at which it could gain a five-star review. For the Zilfer, I reckon that point would probably come about halfway to its recommended retail price. It’s a nice product, it works well, but for a cleverly folded and seam-welded bit of plastic, £53 seems a little dear.

Like a watch, a wallet or case is an item it’s nice to splash a bit of cash on. Even knowing you might not get much practical benefit in return, the compensation is provided by the pleasantness of spending your life surrounded by tactile things.

Buy now from Zilfer here

Rapha wants £25 for its pretty Rainproof Essentials Case. High-end outdoor brand Bellroy’s use of the word ‘considered’ to describe its ‘carry goods’ is sphincter-clenchingly irritating. Yet I still find myself lusting after its £79 leather All Conditions Phone Pocket. Hermès will also do you a nice billfold for a little over £1,000.

Find out more and buy: zilfer.com

Arriving neatly boxed along with a slightly superfluous drawstring bag, the Zilfer doesn’t feel cheap. That no animals were bothered in its creation is also a definite plus, while its styling is minimalist enough to fit easily among all your other bits and bobs.

Still, for my fifty quid, I want a little more sauce than it provides. It’s practical rather than lovely, and expensive for a square of plastic, however thoughtfully laid out it might be.

Available in black or grey, it looks good and works well. However, unless you’ve very deep pockets, I suspect it’s the sort of thing that’d make a nice present, but that most people would baulk at buying for themselves.

Price: 
£53