Grab your Phone and Ditch the Wallet

When it comes to protecting my iPhone, I do not always turn to the closest proximity cases at my local Best Buy or Walmart.  Over the past several iPhone generations, I have enjoyed several other brands.  Although many of the case manufacturers may be lesser-known, they may best their competition in design/construction/features.  One of these brands has been smartish.  Energetic in packaging design and feature development, the smartish ambiance may provide an uncanny and unique experience.  In the end, we must all decide to case or not to case; that is the question.

The smartish Wallet Slayer Vol 1 for 2020 6.7” iPhone arrived in a 3 9/16 inches wide by 6 13/16 inches tall by 11/16 inches package.  The cover panel had a cartoony mint-green “smartish” logo along the top with surrounding action lines and a large sticker along the bottom of the panel.  The sticker showed the “Black Tie Affair” case with the Wallet Slayer name and three features: Secures 3 Cards, Grippy Sides, Protective.  Along the bottom, you will find that the case paired nicely with the 2020 6.7” iPhone, also known as the iPhone 12 Pro Max.  Both the left and the right panels displayed the mint-green smartish name upon the packaging’s white background.  The rear panel provided a jovial picture of a phone writing on a chalkboard, “i will not expose my phone during YouTube videos.” Beneath the chalkboard section, the company provided a brief self-description and about their Texas-based team of operations.  Further down, you will find an SKU barcode and information about the color of the case.  Wrapping around to the bottom panel, the company included its trademark information and product manufacturing labels.  The overall experience was somewhat playful and less formal when compared to other products/packages.  Honestly, it is nice to be able to experience a bit of fun in a serious world.

I opened the case, slid the “OPEN SESAME” tab outward, and removed the 1.65-oz case. The inner cardboard provided a Goldilocks iPhone 12 sizing chart, cartoon pictures about the “Wallet Slayer,” detailed the lifetime warranty, information to obtain a screen protector (“Because you’re frugal…and accident-prone.”) and a playful series of thought bubbles linking to the Instagram @StaySmartish handle as well as to the YouTube channel.  As noted above, I liked the playful decorations and interactive flow of their packaging design.  I missed seeing a MIL-STD 810-G rating or much of a drop rating statement at all.  However, the packaging did note “grippy sides” and “protective” but left me with more questions than answers about the Wallet Slayer iPhone 12 Pro Max case. 

The unibody style plastic case had a precision cut 1 9/16 inches wide by 1 5/8 inches tall camera cutout.  The backing of the case was built-up and extended 1/4 inch above the back of the phone.  The design protected the camera within the recessed cutout.  Just beneath the camera cutout, you will find a pocket that will hold 3 cards.  Closest to the power button side of the phone, you will find a trapezoidal cutout (1 1/4 inches wide by 1 1/4 inches tall).  By pressing against the card’s exposed segment, you can slide the bundle out of the 3 5/8 inches wide by 1/4 inches tall opening.  The cards remained securely within the pocket thanks to a pressure-retaining wedge on the inside of the case.  Interestingly, I could not get them to fall out even when I shook my iPhone, when I tried to tomahawk the phone, or when I banged the bottom edge onto my hand. To remove the cards, press into the V-shaped cutout and push them out.  As a bonus design feature, smartish gained significant design points with the Wallet Slayer experience.  

You will find a 5/8 inches wide by 5/16 inches tall lightning cutout, which was flanked by speaker cutouts along the bottom of the case. Toward the volume toggle side, you will find a 3/8 inches wide by 3/16 inches tall downward-facing speaker cutout, and toward the power-side, you will find a 9/16 inches wide by 3/16 inches tall downward-facing speaker cutout.  Along the volume toggle side of the case, you will find a generous 7/16 inches wide by 1/4 inches tall volume toggle cutout and dual rubberized 7/16 inches wide by 1/8 inches tall volume up/down buttons.  The opposite panel had a 3/4 inches long by 1/8 inches tall power button.  The cover of the case jutted upward above the screen and did add a degree of glance-protection.  The texture of the case was smooth yet grippy and had a nice grip-feel.  There was no discernible smell to the case, nor were there any ridges/grooves outside of the volume/power buttons.  I found it odd that the company logo, the Wallet Slayer name, and the Black Tie Affair verbiage were absent from the case’s external surface. It was present on the inner surface of the case, however, just above the retenion-wedge. The inner surface had several large air chambers to lighten the case and to serve as cushions during a fall.  

To install your phone into the case, simply press the volume toggle side into the case and walk your fingers around the case.  I loved the texture of the case but completely disliked the volume and power buttons.  The rubberized texture proved to be quite muddy and unresponsive.  When trying to take a screenshot, I found that the case buttons either increased the volume or placed the phone into sleep mode.  They did not have a reproducible click-feel and I did not like the way they interacted with my phone.  The volume toggle cutout was more than adequate, and the lightning port cutout accommodated every cable that I threw at it.  I think I have been a bit spoiled with the forward-facing Catalyst speakers and with their click-style buttons.  Other companies, like UAG, also have a similar style of click buttons instead of the rubberized buttons seen with the smartish case.   Even the smartish Grip Zilla case (watch for review soon) had a better set of buttons than the Wallet Slayer Volume 1 case.

To summarize, I loved the credit card slot, the card-retention security feature, the grip-feel of the case, the weight, and the lighting port cutout.  However, despite the positive features, I held a significant dislike for the volume and power buttons, and the design eliminates the ability to charge my phone wirelessly. I would give smartish an 88% rating overall.  The packaging was top-notch, and fun, but the volume/power buttons really detracted from the positive aspects.

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