Recently I reviewed eWallet Pro 4.1 and found it to be a great application. As I mentioned in that review, keeping an electronic wallet on your handheld is very convenient and one of my favorite uses of my Pocket PC. There are four primary electronic wallet programs available for the Pocket PC: eWallet, CodeWallet, SplashID and FlexWallet. I used SplashID before but found a couple of annoying limitations that prompted me to switch to eWallet.
Ilium Software includes a conversion utility for eWallet enabling you to import wallet files from other wallet programs. One program that you can import files from is FlexWallet 2006.The question is, if you are using FlexWallet should you move over to eWallet? Another question... if you do not currently use a wallet program, which one should you use? Finally, since I am now using eWallet does FlexWallet make me want to switch?
FlexWallet was not always developed by WebIS. With the 2006 edition of FlexWallet, it became part of the WebIS family of products. WebIS is well-respected in the Pocket PC community for their excellent PIM replacement application
Pocket Informant. Since this is the first time pocketnow.com has reviewed FlexWallet, here is a list of the major features:
Easily searchfor text stored in any card
Quickly accessfrequently used cards using the Favorites and Recently Used Cards lists
Built inPassword Generator
Choose fromover 190 attractive and consistently themed icons to identify your cards and categories
Secureencryption of all your information using redundant 128-bit algorithms
Full featureddesktop edition for easily entering and editing data
Card LevelSynching for multiple wallets
The setup process is pretty straightfoward. FlexWallet 2006 comes as an .exe file that will install the desktop and Pocket PC versions of the application.
I encountered this error message when I tried to install FlexWallet using the combined desktop / Pocket PC installer. I was able to get around this by downloading the .CAB file directly from the WebIS site. I'm not sure if this is an issue with the application or something on my handheld.
Although FlexWallet 2006 comes with a full-featured desktop version, I am going to focus on the handheld application. The desktop version includes all of the features of the PocketPC version with a standard Windows interface.
When you first run FlexWallet, you are walked through the process of setting up a new wallet. You can choose a name for your wallet and where to store it on your device.
You can then choose the type of password you would like either Alphanumeric or Numeric. Obviously numeric is easier to enter so I used that. This is a great feature and it would be easy to input an alphanumeric password using a device with a built-in thumbboard.
The program will ask you to input your password one more time as a confirmation.
You are now presented with your new wallet. There are 2 views available: a List View and a Tree View. Both are easy to read although the List View would be easier to use with your finger.
To begin the process of creating a new card simply tap-and-hold on the category you would like it to be stored in. You will then choose a template for the new card. There is a great selection of templates to choose from and I think you will find one for just about any use. If you don't you can always create your own or use the "Generic" templates that are included.
I decided to create a card using the "Finance: Credit Card" template. In these screenshots you can see the various fields that are available for you to populate.
On the settings tab of the new card are options to change the text and background colors. You can decide to make a card a favorite (more on that later) and finally you can choose an icon for the card. I have to compliment WebIS on the icons... there is just a HUGE selection of icons available and they are all 3-D and nicely designed. There are many more icons available in FlexWallet than in eWallet. You can also create custom icons.
After creating your card you can then see it in the List View or Tree View under the category you stored it in.
Creating a new category is easy. Just tap-and-hold on the name of your wallet or go to the menu and select Edit > New Category. Either way the screen above will be shown. Here you can specify a name for the category, the default card template (optional) and an icon.
Another option on the main menu is "Find". Here you can search for text contained within a card and even specify to match case. I searched for the word "Test" and FlexWallet found the card with the word in it easily.
Selecting Menu > Options will bring you to this screen. From here you can select the path of custom icons which is nice if you want to store them on a card. There is also an option to use Windows Mobile 5.0 soft keys instead of the Classic Menubar. Obviously on pre-WM5 devices you will get the Classic Menubar.
The security options tab offers you the ability to choose the automatic shut down timeout period among other options.
I mentioned the "Favorite" setting for a card earlier. When you launch FlexWallet and there is already a wallet loaded you can select to view Recently Viewed Cards, Favorite Cards or Categories and Cards which takes you to the List or Tree View.
Once you make certain changes such as switching between the soft buttons and Classic Menubar using the options, FlexWallet will ask you to restart the application.
Finally, FlexWallet also includes an excellent password generator. You can specify upper and lowercase characters, numbers and special characters among others. You can also decide how long you want the password to be.
WebIS is well known for their excellent support. On their website there are very active forums which are frequented by the programmers who develop the applications.
Here are the system requirements:
Microsoft Windows Mobile Powered Pocket PC 2003/2003SE/5.0 or Pocket PC 2003/2003SE/5.0 Phone Edition
Approximately 1.58MB of free storage space (can be installed to a storage card)
Additional storage space is required by the wallet file
It is important to note that FlexWallet 2006 is NOT compatible with Pocket PC 2002 or 2000 devices. You will need to use FlexWallet 2005 if you own a Pocket PC 2002 or 2000 device.
BUGS AND WISHES
Besides the installation issue, which may not be FlexWallet's fault, I did not encounter any bugs or crashes using the program. It seems to be stable and pretty fast.
One thing that FlexWallet is sorely missing is an importer from other wallet programs or even an Excel spreadsheet import function. This is where eWallet leaps ahead of FlexWallet. I understand the programming complexity of creating a converter from other wallet applications, but I cannot see why it is not possible to import from an Excel file. Most of the other wallet programs will export to an Excel file. I think more people would switch over to FlexWallet if an import tool was available. There is however, an import tool to convert a FlexWallet 2005 file to a FlexWallet 2006 file.
You can purchase FlexWallet 2006 from the WebIS. Their software is also available at the leading mobile software sites. FlexWallet comes in several versions:
Pocket PC only — $19.95
Desktop only — $14.95
*If you purchase through the above affiliate links, use code PNWS75025 to receive an additional $5.00 off. Offer is valid until July 31, 2006.
- Very easy to use
- Stable and fast
- Lots of card templates
- Loads of icons
- Password generator
- Find function
- No import or conversion utility from other wallet programs
At the beginning of the review, I asked three questions. The first was, "If you are using FlexWallet should you switch to eWallet?" The answer here is definitely no. FlexWallet is every bit as good as eWallet and in some areas such as selection of icons, it is better. So, if you are currently using FlexWallet you should continue to do so.
The second question was, "If you do not currently use a wallet program, which one should you use?" In my opinion, if you are new to wallet programs you should try both eWallet and FlexWallet and see which you prefer. The functionality is so very similar it is really a draw. If you are really into icons, FlexWallet is the better choice. eWallet has stronger encryption though which is very important. FlexWallet uses 128-bit encryption while eWallet uses 256-bit encryption. Someone decrypting either one is highly unlikely, but I always feel better with stronger encryption. The lesser encryption cost FlexWallet 1/2 a point in my Features rating.
The final question I asked was, "Since I am now using eWallet does FlexWallet make me want to switch?" The biggest advantage that eWallet has over FlexWallet is the conversion / import utility. It doesn't work perfectly, but it still saved me hours of typing when I switched from SplashID. Since FlexWallet does not offer a similar tool, I will not be switching over from eWallet simply because I do not want to re-type all of my cards. If FlexWallet offered an import utility I would consider switching over. The lack of an import utility cost FlexWallet 1 point in my Features rating.
Overall, FlexWallet is an excellent application and so is eWallet. If you are a new wallet user you won't go wrong either way. If you use a different wallet program and want to switch, eWallet is definitely the way to go. But what about CodeWallet? I have a copy of that to review as well and will report my findings in the next few weeks.