Woolet 2.0 and Woolet Travel XL 2.0 review: Never lose your wallet again (unless it runs out of battery)

£106
Price when reviewed

At this point, you might be thinking: “hang on: isn’t that a bit similar to the Tile?” Well, yes, it is, but with two key differences. Awkwardly, one is a big positive, while the other is a big negative. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Let’s start with the bad news. One of the best things about Tile is that it has a huge community of users with the app installed. That means that if you misplace something with a Tile attached you can report it as lost, at which point every other Tile owner will then be inadvertently on the lookout for your missing item. The site has dozens of case studies of items showing up all over the world in this manner, from stolen goods to items misplaced on holiday.[gallery:8]

Perhaps aware that the Woolet community will always be smaller (Tiles are more versatile and a fifth of the price), the company’s answer to the problem is less satisfying. Every Woolet ships with a ten-digit serial code/QR combo that, once registered, connects your Woolet to a central database. The idea is that when you find a misplaced Woolet, you enter the code printed on a card and get the owner’s details to return it to them. Hmmmm – colour me distinctly unconvinced.

Of course, the whole basis of Woolet is that this should never happen anyway. Your phone will tell you if the Woolet has got away, after all. But Bluetooth isn’t always 100% reliable – as I discovered when the app buzzed me to tell me my wallet was missing, when both were sitting on my desk in front of me.[gallery:13]

But here’s where the Woolet gets a vital hit on the Tile: you can recharge it. The battery is hidden away deep in the lining of the wallet, but thanks to wireless charging, you won’t ever need to replace it like the Tile. The battery is said to last six months – something we weren’t able to test for obvious reasons – but there’s no reason for that to be unrealistic given how little it has to do.

It charges with any Qi standard charger, but should you not have one to hand, you can order an accompanying leather charging pad from the Woolet store. These go for £33, which seems a bit of overkill for me given the Woolet is something that only needs charging once every six months. On top of that, a leather block with a USB lead poking out the end feels a touch incongruous – like pairing a cowboy jacket with Google Glass. Far better to pay £3 more for an Ikea lamp with built-in wireless charging for my money. I you like the look of the pad, however, we found nothing inherently wrong with the models Woolet sent us, and they can be used to charge other wireless devices as well.[gallery:17]

Woolet 2.0 and Woolet Travel XL 2.0 review: Verdict

The Woolet isn’t going to appeal to everyone, and if you were unconvinced by the need for a smart wallet at the start of this review, I doubt you’re converted now. I suspect that the kind of person who instinctively buys a Woolet is the kind of person to whom its utility would be immediately obvious.

That said, the Woolet does what it sets out to do really nicely, and they haven’t fallen into the trap of charging the world for it. Yes, you can get a wallet for a tenner if you really want – and you can give it similar functionality as the Woolet with a £30 Tile Slim; equally, though, you can pay well over £100 for a quality leather wallet without smarts, and the Woolet is a style match for plenty of those.[gallery:1]

In short, if you’re looking for a stylish new wallet, then the Woolet is worth a look, even if the idea of needing to charge a wallet leaves you feeling cold. It’s a feature that’s invisible until you need it, and when you do it could save you a whole lot of grief.

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