Wallet/iPhone case hybrids: Callet vs. Tuff-Luv In-Genius

The concept of combining your money, credit cards, ID, and iPhone in one package could be extremely convenient--or a disaster waiting to happen.

The Callet is one of a new set of iPhone cases that also carry your credit cards and ID. John Scott Lewinski/CNET

A new breed of iPhone case could prove extremely convenient--or burden you as effectively as it protects your gadget.

Wallet/iPhone case hybrids look to cocoon your smartphone while providing a place to store your cash, credit cards, and ID. Obviously, the idea is that you'll no longer have to carry both a wallet and your phone in your overburdened pockets if you combine the two.

That convenience comes with a risk, though, since keeping all your eggs in one basket is only sensible if you make sure you never lose the basket.

Two manufacturers developing early players in the wallet cases pitch offered up their products for a cursory look. The Callet is simply a soft rubber iPhone condom (sorry...) with two pockets molded into the back. For $20, it offers basic but adequate protection with a tactile surface that prevents you from dropping the phone while keeping your cards and money tucked in sticky place.

The only potential structural problem might arise with prolonged use, as the thin rubber will wear. It might be best to use the Callet only on occasions when you'd like to be less weighed down or you're dressing lighter.

Tuff-Luv
Tuff-Luv In-Genius Tuff-Luv

The Tuff-Luv In-Genius is a higher-priced rival of the Callet. The faux-leather version sells for $40, while the real cow-killer version retails for about $50. The In-Genius differs from the Callet in design, including a folding cover that protects the smartphone while also holding the cards and greenbacks. So, for at least double the price of The Callet, the In-Genius provides a little more ruggedness.

The final verdict on which case to choose comes down to price. They both do the job, so you buy what you can afford. These two are not the only contenders as competitors like the iPhone Wallet from Waterfield Designs will no doubt continue to appear.

But the bigger question for a crazed traveler like me is whether I'm mindful enough to keep my entire mobile life in one package. Personally, I would use either case, but only on occasions when I need to be less burdened. Going about my day-to-day business, I'd stick to a wallet in one pocket and my phone in another.

How about you? Would you use a wallet/iPhone case hybrid? Have you found one you like?

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