This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: All 22 Wallet Apps, Reviewed. Additional details may be found in the original article.
eWallet ($10) is one of the most well-known and common secure wallet apps for portable devices, having been available on Palm and Windows Mobile devices for several years already. Its introduction into the iPhone world was somewhat expected, although the App Store business model has made it necessary for iLium to change their pricing model slightly. Previous PDA versions normally included the desktop application and mobile version bundled together in the same package, whereas the App Store does not really permit this type of bundling, requiring the desktop version to be purchased separately directly from the iLium web site. The iPhone version of the application sells on the App Store for $10, and the Windows desktop version can be purchased for an additional $10. A Mac version is currently not available, but is under development and expected by the end of the year.
eWallet is easily the single most configurable iPhone wallet application that we’ve reviewed, and provides one of the nicest wallet interfaces that we have seen. Unfortunately, this level of customization can be a two-edged sword: with the ability to specify custom card colors, background graphics and icons, it’s definitely possible to spend more time making your cards look pretty than actually storing your information.
In terms of item types, eWallet supports just about every type of item you could even think of storing, ranging from the obvious (credit cards, bank accounts, web passwords) to the more mundane (driver’s license, social security number) to the esoteric (clothing sizes, prescriptions, voter registration numbers). These item types are merely defined by the templates provided to get you started, but in reality each individual entry is completely customizable in terms of field names and content types on an item-by-item basis, and 15 additional detail fields are also provided for each entry type.
Item fields can be given a specific type, and contextually-appropriate data entry methods are used: entering data into a numeric field will bring up a numeric keypad, and entering into a date field will bring up a date browser. Hidden/masked fields are also supported, although these are treated as general text fields. Hidden fields are masked during viewing and can be tapped on to show the content of individual fields (passwords, PIN numbers, etc). Hidden fields are not masked during data entry, however. A separate “Notes” section is provided for each item, allowing extensive notes to be added.
Individual items show a graphical card-like representation of the item depending on the template used. Specific card types such as VISA and Mastercards will show the appropriate logos in a credit-card style, while other item types will simply show a generic “card” background. More detailed items can be viewed by tapping the “i” located in the bottom-right corner, which will “flip” the card around to show a table-style summary view of all fields.
Cards can be further customized by specifying a card color, choosing the general card style, adding notes, setting icons, and even choosing from either a supplied collection of background images, or a photo from your iPhone’s camera or photo library.
Rather than a single data store, eWallet supports the concept of multiple “wallets” which can each have their own password (or no password at all), and individual security settings and folders within each. Upon initial installation, eWallet provides a default “Sample” wallet with no password and some instructions and sample data to get you started. You can either customize this wallet further or return to the main screen and create a new wallet.
Each wallet also has its own security settings, such as whether or not automatic lock or intruder lockout is enabled for that wallet, and the auto lock time, number of invalid password attempts, and intruder lockout time for that particular wallet.
eWallet supports a folder/category structure within each wallet as well to help you further organize your items. Each folder can be set with a default item type/template, and folders can be nested within other folders.
Synchronization with the Windows desktop companion app works in much the same way as it does for other iPhone apps. Clicking the “Sync” icon will take you to a sync information screen, where you can either initiate a synchronization or set up a new sync. Choosing Sync Setup will take you through a step-by-step process of ensuring that your iPhone and PC are connected to the same network, that you have the appropriate wallet file open, and take you through “pairing” your iPhone eWallet app with the desktop eWallet software.
Ultimately, the only real deficiency in eWallet is that it does not support any kind of search feature—an unfortunate limitation in an application that is well capable of storing hundreds of different pieces of your personal information, but certainly not a serious show-stopper for most users, particularly given the very robust folder structure support. Unlike applications such as 1Password, eWallet on the iPhone is fully functional by itself, making the eWallet desktop application a companion app which is useful for synchronization and faster data entry, but certainly not required.
The bottom line is that eWallet is easily the most feature-rich, configurable, and graphically stunning wallet application we’ve reviewed on the iPhone, with the only real downside being that users looking for a simple no-frills app to store basic information may find eWallet to be a bit overwhelming. It should be noted that none of the advanced customization features are required to use eWallet, and the available templates mean that even users looking for a simple option will be able to get started without too much of a learning curve. iLounge Rating: A.
Company and Price
Company: Ilium Software
Compatible: iPhones, iPod touches