The Basics Wallet began life back in September of 2014 with a, quite frankly, ridiculously successful Kickstarter campaign - achieving over 1700% funding. That's not a typo that's added an extra zero, it really did get close to 2000% funding, and not just of a tiny target either, of a respectable $10,000 goal. Impressive stuff! So, it was high time that we took a closer look at the basics wallet. We've checked out both the black and grey versions for this review.
Read on for our review. Alternatively skip down to the bottom of this page to see our unboxing and video review of the Basics Wallet.
The main idea of the Basics Wallet is to be a slim but stylish design that offers easy access to four of your main cards. It achieves this by using a simple lever mechanism that we'll touch on a bit more later. It is branded to be a simple design that will compliment both casual and more formal looks.
The Basics wallet is made almost entirely from woven elastic, apart from a small strip on the top of the pull-strap which is faux-leather, adding a little bit of character to the wallet. The materials feel of good quality and the stitching is neat and tight. The wallet also comes packages with a small credit-card sized card loaded into it which gives a little more information about the wallet and Basics brand - see our video review of the Basics Wallet for a look at that.
The design of the Basics Wallet is surprisingly effective given its simplicity. It seems to have a minimalist charm that comes from its unique loading and access system. The wallet is designed so that it doesn't cover the whole of your cards, but leaves some exposed on each side for easy access. The wallet requires you to split your cards in to two groups, placing your 4 most used on the outsides. These two piles are then inserted into the two pockets on either side of the wallet, one pile pushing down the pull-strap and the other pile is held in place by the pocket itself.
This is a little difficult to describe, and probably harder to understand, so to see in in action check out the video Basics have created below.
This design means your cards are slightly exposed, which may not be to everyone's taste, but I think actually gives it quite an attractive minimalist look - especially if you have some funky cards you want to show off! As mentioned before, the small faux-leather strip on top of the pull-strap is a nice touch and adds character to an otherwise plain wallet. The Basics logo is pressed into this, and though simple, makes a big difference to the overall look of the wallet.
The Basics wallet comes in four colours, black, grey, mint and red.
The Basics wallet is designed to hold a pretty flexible amount of cards, so will meet most people's needs. Anything from 4 to 15, or even more, should fit in fine, but if you're carrying that many cards, you aren't going to be feeling the benefits of the slim nature of this wallet, and frankly you need to have a long hard look at yourself in the mirror.... This wallet probably functions best in the range of 6-8 cards, but anywhere from 4-10 is also going to be comfortable.
The wallet has a small pocket on the front side to hold cash and other small items such as a key. You're not going to be able to stuff masses in here, but it will comfortably carry several notes (which will need to be folded twice) and a key or a couple of coins. One small issue with this pocket is that when storing notes in it, it will slightly obscure your main easy-access card, but it's not a big issue as you can still get to it very easily.
The materials used in the Basics wallet feel of pretty good quality, and the stitching seems solid. Obviously the real test comes with extended use, and I would expect this wallet to begin to fray a little after a while, especially if you are a heavy user or have it stuffed quite full. With a price of less than $20 though, this isn't exactly a disaster if it only lasts a year or two, and is perhaps to be expected at that end of the price scale.
Update (31/05/15): After responding to customer feedback (always a good sign), Basics have now updated the design slightly to reinforce the areas previously prone to fraying. This makes it much less likely to fray, and should increase the lifespan of the wallet considerably.
The Basics Wallet is very easy to use and has been designed with ease of access in mind. Your notes and main card are are instantly accessible at all times and can easily be done with one hand (unless you've got it stuffed seriously tight). Three other cards are only a quick pull of the lever away, which is quick and easy. The rest of your cards are slightly more difficult to access, but even then it is only a case of fanning your cards out and finding the right one, so only difficult in comparison to how easy the other four are. Besides, who can really say they use more than 4 cards on a regular basis?
If you are concerned about reloading the wallet after having pulled the lever - don't be. This has been worked into the design so it is simply a case of pushing both side down, which can easily be done with the thumb and finger of one hand, and your cards are back in place and secured.
The Basics wallet is certainly on the slim side of the wallet scale, and is generally as big as the cards you put into it. However, it is not ultra-slim, given that the necessary pull-strap does add a little thickness to the wallet. It is comparable to something like the Trove in terms of thickness, though the Trove does just edge it on this front. With 9 cards loaded, we measured it at about 88 x 60 x 17mm.
No. The Basics wallet does not offer any RFID protection.
The Basics wallet will only cost you $19.99 (about £13.20 at the time of writing). By anyone's standards that is a pretty good deal for a wallet with the design and features it boasts.
The Basics wallet gives away its main charm in its name - it is basic, but in the most positive sense of the word. It provides exactly what you need, a secure and stylish holder for your cards, that offers very easy access to your four most used cards. Our only concern with it is longevity, but at under $20 it is great value and has to be worth considering for anyone looking for their new wallet.
UPDATE (21/06/15): You can now purchase the BASICS Wallet direct from our website which means there are no pesky import taxes or handling fees to contend with in the EU, or if your based in the USA/Canada, you may prefer to go directly to the Basics Wallet Site.
The Basics wallet is probably best seen rather than described. That's why you should check out our video review: