Trove TAG & Cable Clip Review
My new go-to, English-made wallet Trove has released a few more products over the past month, adding to their ecosystem of mostly integrated hardware. Since I had the equivalent of 20 GBP taunting me in my debit account, I bought both. A mere five days later, Royal Mail delivered them to my Chicago doorstep1.
So what’re the latest products? The Trove Cable Clip, a fairly straightforward leather product for clipping things together and the Trove TAG, a more complicated product that has three specific wallet-enhancing features.
The Trove Cable Clip
As the name suggests, this is a clip. It costs £5.00, which seems perfectly reasonable for the build quality if you live in England, but it comes out feeling overpriced when you order with US dollars. Here’s a quick rundown of my initial thoughts:
Compact size that could be a good or poor choice for use depending on your other hardware. The Cable Clip fits snugly into the housing of the Trove wallet, but it would have been nice to see the dimensions on the product page — I wasn’t thinking very clearly when I ordered it (probably a drunk purchase), and it ends up that it does not clamp together the way I hoped it would around my RHA headphones. This is probably because the RHA earphones I use comprise thicker, stiffer cabling than the example Apple Earbuds used in Trove’s marketing. When I tried fitting the Apple Earbuds in the clip, it worked perfectly (I didn’t need to clip a half of the loop as I did with the RHA’s — see image above).
While the size is nice — it appears much smaller than competitor cable clips (due it needing to fit into the Trove wallet for storage, as needed) — it also could be seen as a hinderance. As mentioned above, it won’t work with larger earbuds or thicker cables, but most cables like short USB and Lightning ones, should be fine inside its clamp.
The Trove Cable Clip functions exactly like you’d image it to. As noted about its size, you just need to slip whatever clump of wound cable (or anything else you want to clip, for that matter) into its Veg-tanned Italian leather and clamp down the buttons. That’s it. That’s all it does. It’s a cable clip.
Since it's sized for the wallet, there’s the option of slipping it into your wallet to store while you’re using your earphones or other cable. In practice, however, I noticed that you need to have a smaller inventory of cards in the wallet because — depending on your setup — the Trove Cable Clip can cause some pressure against the other cards, bending the overall wallet to its will. This isn’t a problem if you only use a couple of the slots (configured so that there are three proper “slots”), but if you have a lot of cards in there, say six or seven, the thickness of the cable clip’s buttons widen the wallet considerably. It also doesn’t align with Trove’s role in minimizing your wallet and inventory, but then again, you don’t need to put the thing in your wallet when you’re not using it.
Like with the Trove wallet, the clip is made using the same kind of leather that’s found in the squared leather portion of their main product — the part that holds everything together. And as with the wallet’s leather, it’s genuine and solidly wrought. Though I’ve had the clip a short while, I imagine its longevity to be in line with any pure leather product: quite a while.
The product has a few adornments to note: the Trove branding is visible on the outside of the clip design, subtly embossed into the leather, and their “Reverse the Rules” tagline, along with a link to their site, adorns in the inside (which is never visible when you’re using the clip. It comes in a variety of colors, including black, blue, brown, green, grey, lime, orange, and a smattering of others. I’ve only seen one in person, and it matched my expectations of the colors seen on the site.
When I received Trove’s email announcing the Trove TAG, it took me a while to actually understand what they were peddling. Recognizing the increased technological complexity of the world around us when it comes to using debit and credit cards — contactless payments, card skimming technology — the company has attempted to add flexible intelligence to analog hardware. The Trove TAG is marketed as three products in one, and does, in practice, solve the issues that can stem from these real-world issues.
What Trove TAG Is
The leather-wrapped, card-sized slab does the following:
- Operates as a guard (the ‘G’ in the name) in two ways:
- Mitigating its user from becoming a victim of contactless card theft (whereby a malicious person uses card-skimming technology in passing you by on the street and swiping your card details from the contactless tech inside it)
- Removing worries of multiple contactless cards being activated at the same time when used inside the wallet (for instance, you use your transport card in your wallet, without extracting it, but that card gets charged along with another contactless debit or credit card also sitting in your wallet nearby)
- For both of the features above to work properly with the RFID card inside the TAG, you need to slide the two target cards against each side of the TAG (in my case, my debit and credit cards site on either end of the TAG inside one of the Trove’s slots)
- Includes an anchor (the ‘A’) in the form of a triangular tab that sits at one corner of the TAG. It comes with a small attachment cord that can easily be taken off, but if you are so inclined, may use it to attach the entire wallet to your keys, accessories, luggage, etc. You may also decide to just use the TAG on luggage without the wallet for the final feature:
- Comprises a tracking ID (the ’T’) on one side of the TAG that, upon registration with Trove’s subscription service (first year free with purchase of a TAG), allows the TAG (and whatever you’ve attached or slipped it into) to be tracked if someone finds and reports it online via Trove’s Report TAG Serial Number page.
Trove TAG Build Quality
Specifics about the actual materials used in the Trove TAG are oddly omitted from the site, but it’s apparent that they are using some kind of vegetable-tanned leather (similar to the wallet and cable clip material) around the hidden, interior RFID-blocking card. The design is classically analog, with stitching around the border, and gold-stamped branding on one side, and embossed instructions (for TAG discovery) on the other.
I picked up a yellow and black one to match my Factory Edition Trove Wallet, but it comes in a slew of colors that match with the other wallets and cable clips in their current hardware line, including embossed text colors of aqua, blue, orange, pink, purple, and red. Each model will run you £15.00.
Overall Impressions of the Trove TAG & Cable Clip
These are two unnecessary additions to the already fantastic Trove Wallet, but if you’re looking for added usability, they both are well-built products that perform exactly as intended.
The Cable Clip is a great little investment if you need something like it. My only caution is make sure you have an understanding of its dimensions (it’s about 5 x 8 cm) and how that will wrap around whatever cable you plan on using it with — it has a fairly small loop.
The Trove TAG is a new kind of product that has great benefits if you need them. For me, using the Chicago CTA everyday for commuting, it’s an easy purchase — I have a debit and credit card in my wallet along with the Ventra transportation card, and putting my two payments cards against each side of the TAG prevents them from accidentally getting charged when I lazily press my whole wallet against the bus or train contactless payment machine. In this case, it’s convenient to be able to do this knowing only your transport card will be used. The TAG also wards off any fear that card-skimming assholes can’t extract your precious bodily card data. If you carry around more than two cards you’d like to target with the TAG, you will have to buy another TAG for every one or two additional cards beyond your first pair.
The tracking ID feature and the anchor are less interesting to me. For tracking to work, you need to subscribe to Trove’s service at £5.00/year (after the first year being free), and rely on whoever finds your wallet or luggage or whatever you attach it to actually report it in. The Trove tracking subscription sign-up isn’t as intuitive as it ought to be, either, and it’s actually very hard to find on the site (it’s linked to through a simple blue, in-text link instead of a masthead navigation link). And the anchoring thing just isn’t something I’d use unless I had an extra TAG to attach to my backpack in case it was left somewhere.
Overall, Trove continues to impress with a cool set of products all tied to its ecosystem around its minimal, functional, and what I’ve called The Best Slim Wallet, with the benefit of each product working perfectly in isolation as well. If they sound like something you need, they come recommended.