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ESR HaloLock Power Bank Wallet for iPhone: I don't get it

I'm all for a MagSafe backup power supply for your iPhone, but the wallet part puzzles me.

In recent weeks I've tested a bunch of MagSafe accessories for iPhone, including a couple of really great ones from ESR. So I had high hopes for the ESR HaloLock Power Bank Wallet, which, if you couldn't guess from the name, combines a power bank and a wallet. Makes sense, right? It's two MagSafe accessories in one. (Actually, it's three, but let's come back to that.) Just one problem: I'm not sure these two really belong together. The product itself is solid and absolutely works as advertised, but there might be better options. Read on for my ESR HaloLock Power Bank Wallet review.

Although it's a very good power bank/kickstand combo, the wallet feels like a limited and fairly unnecessary addition — and there are other power bank/kickstand combos available for less.
$50 at Amazon

For the uninitiated, MagSafe is the magnet-based tech built into all modern iPhones. (I tested the Power Bank Wallet with my iPhone 13; it's compatible with all models from the iPhone 12 on.) With MagSafe, you can snap on kickstands, power banks, car mounts and much more. (For a look at some of the top options, see my aforementioned roundup of the best MagSafe accessories.)

True to its name, the PBW mixes a power bank (one with a 5,000-mAh battery, a common capacity for this kind of thing) and a card wallet. On paper this sounds fine, but think about it: A power bank is something you turn to when your phone is running low on juice; it's not something you want piggybacking on it full-time.

Why? Mostly because it adds weight and bulk. The PBW weighs 6.2 ounces, which literally doubles the weight of my iPhone 13. It's also roughly 0.6 inches thick, which definitely changes the equation if you keep your phone in your pocket.

Side view of the Power Bank Wallet used as an iPhone kickstand.
Strong magnets allow the Power Bank Wallet to act as a kickstand as well, holding your iPhone in either portrait or landscape orientation. (Photo: Rick Broida/Yahoo)

These specs aren't dealbreakers; indeed, they're pretty normal for MagSafe power banks. My issue is with the wallet: That's something I do want full-time. I just don't want another 6.2 ounces and half an inch to get it.

My other complaint is that the wallet can hold only two cards, max. That allows for, say, an ID and a credit card, but nothing more. Personally, I require three, minimum. There's no place to stash a couple of bills, either, for emergency cash needs.

To my thinking, then, the wallet here isn't super-useful. But it's part of the PBW's kickstand, which takes a fingernail to pry open but is otherwise a great way to use your phone hands-free — in either portrait or landscape orientation. It's very sturdy (much more so than those little fold-out arms you see in some power banks) and supports viewing angles from 20 to 70 degrees.

A closer look at the Power Bank Wallet's card holder, which is limited to just two cards.
Unfortunately, the wallet part of the Power Bank Wallet has space for just two cards. (Photo: Rick Broida/Yahoo)

Maybe ESR should have called this the Power Bank Kickstand, which highlights the more valuable of the three features. I can't think of a circumstance when I'd want to transfer a couple of cards from my regular wallet into a power bank, something I'd typically stow until needed.

But that's just me. There's no debating that the PBW is an attractive, well-constructed product, one that can also wirelessly charge MagSafe-compatible AirPods. The PBW also has a standard USB-C port for corded connections, should you need to, say, juice a friend's Android phone. (You can't charge two devices simultaneously, however.)

One last consideration: The HaloLock Power Bank Wallet is priced at $66. Assuming you're like me and don't see the need for a wallet, you could get something like this Podoru 10,000-mAh MagSafe power bank for around $30 (on sale from its regular $43 price). That's a much cheaper option for twice the charging capacity.

Alternately, let me steer you to ESR's new HaloLock Geo iPhone Wallet Stand, a 4-in-1 accessory priced at $40. There's no power bank, but it includes a three-card wallet, kickstand, grip and Apple-certified Find My tracker (basically an AirTag shrunk down to wallet size). I've been using this for a few weeks and really like it.

ESR's latest MagSafe accessory, the HaloLock Geo, swaps out the power bank for AirTag-style tracking and adds a clever sliding finger grip for easier one-handed phone operation. Between the two, this is the one I'd choose.
$40 at Amazon