Woolet 2.0 and Woolet Travel XL 2.0 review: Never lose your wallet again (unless it runs out of battery)
What a time to be alive! As I write this, I have just updated my wallet’s firmware. This isn’t a sentence I ever thought I’d have to type, but it was at least a pretty painless experience. My wallet has, as far as I’m aware, yet to crash. In that respect, at least, it’s like every wallet I’ve ever owned.
“Who in their right mind wants their wallet to be battery-powered?” you might ask. The short answer is people who really worry about losing it. An embedded Bluetooth receiver and battery mean you can’t move away from your wallet without your smartphone warning you. And it manages to offer this extra piece of mind without costing the Earth; £106 for the Woolet 2.0 and £122 for the Woolet Travel XL might sound pricey, but isn’t unheard of for a quality leather wallet.[gallery:4]
The question is: does the Woolet meet that brief, and is its smart functionality worth having?
Woolet 2.0 and Woolet Travel XL 2.0 review: Design
The answer to the first half of that question is undoubtedly “yes.” This is both a smartwallet and a smart wallet.
We were sent a Woolet 2.0 in black leather and a Woolet Travel XL 2.0 in distressed brown leather. The former is super-slim – in fact, it’s a little bit too dinky for my needs, with only four slots for cards, and a pretty limited change pocket. Still, while disappointing for serial receipt-collectors like me, the flipside of this is that this is a slim wallet, even with its added smarts. Smartwatches need space for a chunky battery to power their intelligence – the Woolet just looks like a regular wallet. And that’s a good thing.[gallery:0]
The Woolet Travel XL 2.0, on the other hand, is a beast. It’s pocket-book-sized, with space for six cards and a passport, and even has a mini pen included, slotted in a discrete loop attached the spine. The pen is stumpy enough that you wouldn’t want to write a novel with it, but it’s handy to have if you need to sign something. Despite its capacity, though, the Travel XL has a slim design that means that, surprisingly, it fits in jean pockets without much resistance.
Both are finished with a somewhat unnecessary pin shaped like the “W” in the Woolet logo. To add a touch of class, this is coated in 24-carat gold.
Wallets are, of course, a very personal thing, and while I’d rather have a middle ground between the two sizes, you can’t argue that they’re not nicely designed and don’t suffer at all aesthetically for the electronics hidden within.[gallery:11]
So, to the all-important question. Why does this wallet have electronic components in the first place? Inside is a Bluetooth receiver that pairs with a smartphone app (iOS and Android are supported) and effectively makes it impossible to leave behind without your phone nagging you that it’s no longer in range. This nag arrives in the form of a notification with an accompanying sound of your choice – bafflingly, a dog barking, the German national anthem or the Borussia Dortmund hymn. No, me neither.
If these notifications get annoying, you can set up trusted places where the Woolet will relax when it’s left unaccompanied. Doing this is as simple as pinning locations on the map, or letting your phone’s GPS do the legwork, and tagging it when you’re at the office or at home. You can also adjust the sensitivity, allowing notifications to only trigger when you’re “far” or “very far” from your wallet.[gallery:14]
If your wallet is in range but you can’t find the darned thing, you can make it play a little ditty. The company claims it can reach up to 90dB in volume, but this seems hugely optimistic to me – with the background hum of the office, it was audible, but I imagine it would be hard to pin down if lost under a pile of dirty clothes (don’t judge me).
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