The Bison is an amazing animal that evokes the old West. Rugged, independent, and able to withstand weather extremes without blinking, they roam the new West in herds that are growing each year after being hunted almost to extinction in the late 1800s. It's fitting that Bison Made, LLC chose the beast as its namesake, as the company produces unique and ruggedly built leather products. Today we're looking at the company's iPhone 5/5s Wallet (US$75.00), which provides a comfortable home where your iPhone can roam, and you'll also have money to pay (sorry, I can't think about bison without thinking about "Home on the Range").
The design of the Bison iPhone 5 Wallet is extremely simple: take a piece of beautiful, supple leather in natural, whiskey, Malbec, or jet finishes, and roll it into an overlapping cylinder shape. Flatten that out and provide strong stitching in two locations, and you have a case that not only holds and protects an iPhone 5 or 5s, but also features a "wallet" for carrying cash, credit cards, and IDs.
I like the looks of the iPhone 5 Wallet. It's streamlined, unlike some other really large leather wallet cases I've tested. However, my idea of a wallet is something that can be securely closed, and this design leaves both ends of the card pouch wide open. Sure, the pouch is snug enough that chances are very good that nothing's going to probably fall out, but I'm paranoid.
Now, for a $75 wallet case from a luxury company, I have a few beefs about the Bison. First, the inside is just leather. I'd expect the "backside" of the leather to have been bonded to some soft felt made from yak belly fur, but no, it's just the other side of the leather strip. Second complaint? That price. I mean, come on. Other companies that make luxury iPhone wallets in the same price range, Pad & Quill for example, at least seem to put some work into their products, adding things like elastic bands to keep things closed, actual credit card slots and see-through ID slots.
Or how about DODOcase, which makes a similar minimalist case out of leather and waxed canvas but at least lines it with soft cotton and prices it for $25 less? Maybe I just don't get the entire "luxury product" genre.
At least the Bison iPhone 5 Wallet is very stylish, very lightweight, protects the iPhone (I found I had to actually "dig" to get mine out, so maybe it's a bit too protective), and should get better-looking with age as it gets that leather patina.
If you happen to be in one of the luxury good retailers listed on the bottom of the Bison Made web page, need a nice looking iPhone wallet, and a $75 purchase for a beautifully finished piece of leatherwork, go for it. Those who might need more room or organization in an iPhone wallet, or who would like to spend less money might want to look elsewhere.
Rating: 3 stars out of 4 stars possible
Have an iPhone 5 or 5s that you'd like to carry in style? We've got one of these Bison iPhone 5/5s wallets in a "whiskey" finish that we're rarin' to give away, and some lucky TUAW bronc-buster is going to ride away into the sunset with it. Here are the rules for the giveaway:
- Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
- To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
- The entry must be made before September 22, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
- You may enter only once.
- One winner will be selected in a random drawing and will receive a Bison iPhone 5/5s Wallet valued at $75.
- Click Here for complete Official Rules.