Review: Vaja Custom Cases iPod Video iVolution Suit

by James Bain Jan 05, 2007

When a product is “Best of Breed” it is very very obvious. It might be a subtle product, but its quality is so *there* that you just know it. There’s something about it, something ineffable, that just speaks volumes.

The Vaja iVolution Suit iPod Video case is definitely one such product.

I was given the chance to try out matching RAZR and iPod Video cases. The deal was that in order to test these cases and their AWESOME *metal* belt clips (more about THE clip later), I had to wear them. On my belt. So I did.

Not all the time mind you, but often enough that I feared hordes of children would start mobbing me chanting, “Bob the Builder! Can We Fix It? Bob the Builder! Yes We CAN!”. Or have people sidle up to me on the bus humming the old Batman theme song.

Translation: I really really hate belt geekage, stuff hanging off of my belt, but Vaja just might have made me a convert, or at least have pushed me to overcome a deep-seated aversion by the sheer quality of their products.

I suspect that a strong part of that phobia by-passing is due to the clip. “The Clip! The Clip!” Or should I say “De Clip! De Clip!”?


Vaja offers another, the Ultra Clip, but I recommend you shun it like a, well, something you’d shun without offending any particular special interest group or another. The Ultra Clip is a perfectly decent and sturdy plastic clip, but you’re best off going right for the very solid, very very amazing stainless steel Rivet Clip. It is more expensive, $20US vs $7US say, but it is more expensive for a reason. It works. Works better than anything else I’ve ever ever clipped to my belt before. Vaja says this is meant for “action-oriented youth, high-tech connoisseurs and business professionals.” Some fancy writing there, but it’s deserved. The Rivet Clip clips on and off with a one-handed ease and rapidity that still impresses me every day. And it has not once come off unintentionally. And that, my special iPod friends, is simply unbelievable.

So, what about the cases themselves?

“So, what do you think?” Shannon’s father asked, showing her the Vaja-encased gadgets. “The cellphone is pretty now,” she said.

And that pretty much gives you the gist of this. I think if Vaja made cases for monkfish, arguably the ugliest animals in the world, they’d wind up looking kinda of attractive, or at least sort of cute, as a result.

NB: Though Vaja has yet to announce a monkfish case, they do have a pretty snazzy Zune case. Overall, Sony PSPs and Viao TRs, Apple iPods, Creative Zens, Microsoft Zunes, Pioneer Innos, Toshiba Gigabeats, Samsung Helixes, Motorola SLVRs, RAZRs and Qs, Sony Ericsson w950is and M600is, Palm T|Xs and Treos, Blackberries, and Nokia E61 and E62s are all covered with one style or another of Vaja case. That’s pretty freaking overwhelming!

If the phrase ‘custom design, hand-crafted Argentinian premium leather’ doesn’t get you excited, then maybe this back detail picture will:


Look at the finish and form. The clamshell case latches with this very secure and very comfortable flap. the Rivet Clip is shown to scale here as well, and the low profile rivet coming out of the back of the case is visible as well. This rivet has never caught on anything when not clipped, even when quickly hauled out through several layers of suit jackets and overcoats. Once again, unbelievably impressive!

The leather is incredibly dyed with rich and even tones, and its grain is surprisingly regular and smooth. The slightly pillowed front of the iVolution Suit design is done in such a way that the view of the iPod screen itself is in no ways hampered or limited, as has unfortunately been the case with some other manufacturers’ case designs. Even the Vaja logo on the front—logo-itis is an illness or affectation I never caught—is discrete and tasteful.


I’ve never owned an iPod dock, so being able to put an encased device into a dock really is nothing I pay any particular attention to. Being able to plug in my charge and sync cable is, however. Take a look at the detail above. See that? The bottom cut-out is an exact fit. For a relatively unyielding leather case, that was a surprise and definitely was not a given. In addition, the headphone jack cut-out was built so that even the fat plug of my Shure e4c’s fits well and without effort. I must say that with some cases I’ve tried that is more than a bit of a problem.

So, kudos all around for the design and finish of Vaja’s iVolution Suit. The design of this model is impeccable. The quality of the Vaja product line overall is outstanding. I haven’t spent much time discussing Vaja’s RAZR case as well, but suffice it to say the fine steel mesh covering the phone case’s back microphone port, which does the best job I can imagine of keeping dust and debris out, really is a great measure of the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of all their design point. Do make sure you got to their site and check it all out for yourselves. The configurers are available at Vaja Choice. The main site with much more than just small electronics case is at Vaja Cases. I have to find some way to get them to let me review one of their Men’s Wallets!

This is luxury. These cases are gorgeous. At about $70US for a case and $20US for the mandatory (IMHO) Rivet Clip, they will set you back a bit but, damn, I’m in awe.

I give the Vaja iVolution Suit for Video iPods a clear and unequivocal 95%. I don’t think I’ve ever given any other product a higher grade, and I don’t really expect to. There’s no way I’m ever taking my iPod out of this case, unless it’s to put it into a slightly more rugged customized silicone rubber case for those times when I’m going to be a bit more sporty, or into a water- and impact-proof case for those times when I’m going to be a LOT more active or environmentally challenged. My iPod has found its permanent home now, so please forward all email to it in the future to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

And my RAZR? Well, Shannon said it best. It’s pretty now, and I don’t think it’s going to be looking for a new case any time soon either.





  • “Works better than anything else I’ve ever ever clipped to my belt before.”

    Marry me! wink

    I do not like all of Vaja’s designs, sometimes I also doubt that certain item should be encased. Yet I do own an iVolution case for my iPod, and I am highly tempted to buy another one should I upgrade my iPod. They are stunning.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Jan 06, 2007 Posts: 371
  • What devices would you not encase?

    Not challenging you, just wondering.

    iVolution Suit, as a clamshell as opposed to a slip in case, is incredible.


    James Bain had this to say on Jan 06, 2007 Posts: 33
  • I would struggle with the iPod nano, as it seems quite sturdy on its own. A friend told me that he regularly has it in the same pocket as his keys, and there isn’t even a mark on the screen (yes, I’ll settle for “yet” wink ). Also, with cellphones I rarely see the point. A wrapping or pouch can add bulk to the point of the device no longer being pocketable and may limit access. Unless you plan to store it on your belt, that is… *g* On the other hand, I have lots of sympathy for the need to clad ones gadgets in leather. I own a phantastic 3rd partry leather wrap for my Newton 2100 (the MarWare C.E.O. for those in the know), a superbly sensual experience. Yet I stopped using it as it meant more bulk, ergo less room in the bag, more weight, and another layer of “unpeeling” the device before being able to use it.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Jan 07, 2007 Posts: 371
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