A few weeks ago, my love for natural leather products was piqued when design shop Twelve South shipped the BookBook for iPhone 4. While the BookBook wallet case is beautiful with its distressed leather and embossed book cover appearance, I had some issues with the wallet part of the case -- basically, it ripped when I inadvertently stuffed in a few too many credit cards. Now the new Hex Code Wallet for iPhone 4 (US$49.95) has caught my attention as an attractive leather case.
Unlike the antique appearance of the BookBook for iPhone 4, the Hex Code Wallet uses neatly tanned leather for a more modern and clean look. The leather is available in three finishes: black, white, and "British tan." Hex sent one of the latter cases, and I have to say that it is extremely attractive.
The case is smaller in profile than the BookBook, primarily because it doesn't use leather to hold the iPhone 4 in place. Instead, there's a handy plastic frame that the iPhone 4 snaps into. Want to take the iPhone out of the case to take a quick photo? It pops out quickly when you need the device sans case.
To hold the phone and your credit cards and/or ID in place, there's a Moleskine-like elastic band around the outside. This resolves one of the concerns I had about the BookBook -- when I placed cards into the slots on the left side of that case, it bulged open. The elastic keeps everything neatly in place inside the Hex Code Wallet.
Unlike the BookBook, Hex doesn't try to market the Hex Code Wallet as a wallet replacement. They suggest using it to carry a few business cards, or a driver's license and a couple of credit cards. Also unlike the BookBook, the Hex Code Wallet doesn't have a liner on the side of the card slots -- instead, it has nothing but leather and should hold up better to holding cards or ID.
Everyone has different tastes, but for my money, I actually like the looks of the Hex Code Wallet more than the BookBook for iPhone. It just seems more "upscale" than the distressed leather look of the BookBook.
As touted by Hex, the iPhone 4 really does snap in and out of the plastic frame on the right side of the case very easily. The frame is designed to hold the phone securely into the case, but it's a cinch to pop it out when necessary.
One thing about cases like the Code Wallet and the BookBook is that they're a bit odd to hold when you're making a phone call. I found that the easiest way to handle both was not to hold the phone up to my ear in the traditional manner, but use the speaker phone feature instead.
If you're in the market for a leather wallet-type case for your iPhone 4, definitely consider the Hex Code Wallet. It's attractive, useful, has that nice leather feel and smell, and is ten bucks cheaper than the TwelveSouth BookBook for iPhone.