With leather wallet iPhone cases being a hot commodity, we’ve recently shown you several from brand names. Another little-known contender in the market is Distil Union, a company that integrates their unique quick-release technology into the card slot of their cases.

In this review, we’ll be showing you the Distil Union Wally Ether for the iPhone 7 Plus. It’s a wallet case alternative with stitched leather flavor that has been designed for minimalists who need to carry a card or two on them anywhere they go.

First impressions are that the Wally Ether has less leather in its build than a lot of the competition does, and that’s because the case maker wanted to have a different style that stood out from the competition, for better or for worse.

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They’ve succeeded in making a unique case because not only is the snap-on portion of the case clear so you can see your iPhone’s finish along every edge, but the leather backing even has a slick quick-release strap integrated into the card slot that lets you extract your cards more easily.

This quick release strap is the main component that sets this case out from the crowd; it’s the same technology Distil Union uses in all of its non-iPhone wallets. By pulling on the strap, all your card(s) are ejected out of the case so you can grab them more easily, and when you push your cards back in, the strap retracts back into the case.

In terms of accessibility the Wally Ether case doesn’t cover your buttons or switches and this means they feel like they do when you’re using your device without a case on. From a protection standpoint, this makes the finish more susceptible to daily wear and tear. On the other hand, those who like going bareback (i.e. the minimalists out there) will like feeling the buttons in all of their glory.

The bottom of the case isn’t much different; being totally exposed, you can use just about any Lightning-based accessory you can imagine with this case without experiencing fitment issues, including some of the best iPhone docks, like the HiRise 2 from Twelve South.

You’ll also notice the lack of any screen protection with the Wally Ether, so I will just clear up right now that this case isn’t for the clumsy; just the minimalists who are careful and daring enough to go without a bezel hump that protects the screen from being placed face-down.

The camera cut-out offers one of the tightest fits I think I’ve ever seen in an iPhone 7 Plus case. Rather than having a large cut-out like most manufacturers do, Distil Union chose to craft a perfect-fit rim that lines up with the camera hump; a separate cut-out exists for the flash and microphone. Fortunately, this rarely-seen design doesn’t cause issues for photography.

The inside of the case, like all other wallet cases we’ve shown on iDB, has a protective pad on the inside. This material is spongy, so it’s not as classy as the suede-like material found in some of the higher-end wallet cases. Nevertheless, it gets the job done by protecting your finish from any micro-abrasions that could appear without it.

So how about that leather? Distil Union uses aniline-dyed and vegetable-tanned tanned leather that’s sure to develop a rich patina over time. It’s also coated for durability, so it won’t shred up easily like cheaper leathers will.

Synopsis

Admittedly, because I have the Jet Black iPhone finish, I was a little bit cringy to snap this hard plastic shell over my iPhone, but I found the material was much more flexible than I expected it to be. I didn’t have to wrestle it over my iPhone and it snapped on with ease, which was a pleasant surprise.

I still prefer full-bodied leather cases like the Nomad and Twelve South options because they offer far more protection, but some people actually prefer the exposure, as it lets them see more of their iPhone’s industrial design finish.

In terms of cost, Wally Ether is an economical option. If you can’t afford a $50 wallet case, but still want one that’s crafted with real leather, then it’s definitely an option you can consider for your needs.

Wally Ether is available for both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus for $35 on Amazon and it comes in a variety of colors, including Rust (a red tone), Hickory (a brown tone), Slate (a gray tone), and Ink (a black tone).

Below is a summary of pros and cons for the Distil Union Wally Ether case:

Pros:

  • Cost-efficient compared to many other leather wallet cases
  • Comes in different colors to choose from
  • Has a unique credit card-dispensing system
  • Lightweight and minimalist design feels great in the hand
  • Lining to prevent micro-abrasions to your iPhone’s finish
  • High quality aniline-dyed and vegetable-tanned leather

Cons:

  • Much less protection than other leather wallet cases
  • No screen lip to protect your display
  • Plastic shell doesn’t look or feel as good as a full leather case does
  • More moving parts than a simple pocket wallet case

While it’s a lot less luxurious than many of the other, higher-costing options out there, it comes down to how much you’re willing to spend on a wallet case for your iPhone, as well as what features you want to have. Personally, I prefer some of the alternatives to the Distil Union case, but it’s still a fair option for those on a budget.

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What are your thoughts on the Wally Ether case? Share in the comments below!