HuMn HW2 Aluminum Wallet Review

Also known as "why I had to, unfortunately, send mine back."

Like many tech types I'm always on the lookout for a better way to deal with stuff. Most recently I've been on a wallet hunt.

My last wallet hunt lead to a Dopp Regatta 88. It kept just the stuff I needed, forced me to keep what I needed to a minimum, looked good, and wasn't too expensive. I've gone through two of them now. Eventually credit cards blow out the sidewall of the thiner cloth interiors. They're still a great option, but it was time to try something else.

I've been intrigued by the HuMn designs ever since I first saw them in one of the thousand other wallet posts online. The aluminum plates make the mechanical engineering part of my brain happy and the idea is just so damn elegant. After a couple Regatta's at $25 a piece the HuMn prices, that put me off a couple years ago, didn't seem bad anymore. It'll last forever. And good design is worth it, dammit.

So I ordered a gray/black, two plate, HW2 just after Christmas.

HuMn HW2 wallet

The order process was easy and it arrived faster than I was hoping. It came packed in a small microfiber bag and the plates were perfectly cut and finished with clean, but not sharp, edges. Very nice machine work. It also included their Shock Strap 2, using a rubber banding on the strap instead of the original metal. So my one concern about scratching whatever else is next to the wallet in my pocket wasn't an issue. Perfect.

Putting my stuff in the HW2 gave me a bundle about as wide and thick as my Nexus 4 phone, and about 1/3 shorter. The phone and wallet fit together in the front left pocket of my Levi's comfortably. So far so good.

Unfortunately, two issues killed the HW2 for me:

  1. Opening the wallet as shown in HuMn's videos pinned the US cash I wanted to carry on the inside behind my finger, making it very tricky to get it out of the wallet. I don't want to show everybody who sees my wallet how much cash is there so I wasn't willing to strap it to the outside of the wallet like others seem to do.

    HuMn HW2 wallet

    The cash access issue was pretty specific, but I found it tricky in general to get things in and out of the wallet. With my finger holding it open, pinning the bottom of the plates together, I felt like I was fighting the wallet to pick a card and pull it out. The reverse was also true for me. Putting stuff back in required navigating around the finger keeping the wallet open and pushing the stuff already in there down out of the bottom. Looking at the videos again as I'm writting this I probably would've figured it out after some more practice. It seems likely the "cash inside" layout was the problem for me.

  2. I have two cards I need to swipe multiple times per day - a public transit smart card and a one of those common (in the US) white building access cards that are about double the thickness of a common credit card. Neither of the readers I need to use would register their respective cards when they were strapped to the outside of the HW2. Pulling those cards off the wallet each time seems like a minor issue until a few days go by and you realize how many times you swipe cards...

So I regrettably filled in a return form on HuMn's website outlining these issues. Ken replied almost instantly and thanked me for the feedback. Great customer service!

Both of my issues are personal use things. If you don't swipe cards daily, or the readers you use are more powerful, or you don't carry/use cash often, or your fingers are smaller, or RFID skimming protection is more important to you, or, or, or, the HuMn is very much worth a try and the price. It's an elegant design that will last forever, looks great, and can be customized via material and color selections to make yours unique.

Ken at HuMn did mention a new polycarbonate option they're working on so I'll keep stopping back.