Like I said when I reviewed the BookBook for iPhone 5 a little while back, there’s no such thing as a perfect wallet/case combination. But my hope was restored having reviewed Twelve South’s offering. So, I though I should give SENA’s Magia Wallet a try.
Design-wise it’s as simple as it gets. It’s a slimline, all-leather affair that oozes style and sophistication. It’s essentially a book-style cover held closed by a magnetic strap. Inside of the front cover is a three slot card holder, with a larger pocket behind it for cash. On the opposite side – and here’s the part I love – is a rectangular patch of adhesive (dubbed Magia tape) which holds your iPhone in place. To save on bulk, SENA opted for this method instead of the usual leather holder, or plastic clip-on back. It’s fantastic. Due to needing to review several other cases since I’ve had it, my iPhone has been taken off and re-applied at least 6-7 times and it still holds. What’s more, if it does start to lose its adhesive powers, you can “refresh” it by cleaning it gently with a water based wet wipe.
One of my biggest issues with wallet cases of the book variety is that they’re generally an absolute pain to use when holding a phone to your ear or texting. In fact, doing virtually anything in portrait mode more than a mild frustration. Not with the Magia Wallet. As soon as the leather got used a little, the hinge became so flexible that the front could easily fold back on itself with no effort and be held in place by the magnetic strap. This makes actually using your phone as natural as it possibly could be with this style of case. In fact, I’ve used regular plastic/sillicone rear covers that are more of an inconvenience.
On to the only real negative. It turns out this case’s biggest strength is also its greatest weakness. Its slim and minimalist design also means that it’s not a true wallet replacement. If you need to carry more than 2 cards and a couple of paper notes with you every day, this just won’t do it for you. Even after a week or so’s use, I still couldn’t get a 3rd card in the holder and get it to hold itself shut. But – if like me – you prefer to carry only the bare essentials, this is perfection. On a personal note, I generally only use two cards regularly, and rarely carry cash these days. So, it’s ideal. I don’t have to carry a phone and a wallet. And, with it being so slim, it’s no different to having a regular leather pouch for your iPhone.
I’m a big fan of SENA products, and this has only served to boost my admiration. Instead of going down traditional route of creating a big and bulky wallet case, the designers stripped everything back to the bare minimum. I’ve yet to see another manufacturer look at the problem of holding your phone with such ingenuity, while still maintainging the authenticity and feel of a proper leather wallet. It looks great, feels great, and aside from the limited storage, is a virtually perfect offering to the market. It’s going to take something special to replace the hole this fills in my life.
You can purchase the Magia Wallet for $54.95 from SENA’s online store. It’s available in black, red and brown.