Vaja iVod DJ iPod Case Review

July 20, 2005

Vaja iVod DJI love Vaja cases.

To me, the Vaja is typically the premier case for any portable device I own. Unfortunately, they’re priced that way too, but that doesn’t make them any less worth it.

Naturally, when I got the new iPod 60, I needed a new Vaja case (since my old 3G case wouldn’t work with a clickwheel iPod). I couldn’t resist going with the new iVod DJ — it’s just entirely too sexy.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite all it’s cracked up to be.

To really understand a Vaja case, you’ve got to handle one. The outside is a soft, supple padded leather, yet it’s formed into a tough “shell” that protects the device.

In the iVod series cases for the iPods, the unit slides in from the top, and the display is covered with a crystal clear hard plastic lense. As a result, this protects the entire unit, with the exception of the clickwheel, and the very top.

Having the top open is a good thing, however — it lets you mount any of the common “top-mount” accessories, such as an iTrip or an AirClick without having to take your iPod out of the case.

You can’t charge your iPod in the dock with the case on, but there is a hole in the bottom of the case that will allow you to plug the charging cable directly in.

The iVod DJ case goes a slight step further, and covers the clickwheel itself with a thin black plastic disk. The center (select button) is padded with leather to match the rest of the case. Since some bright designer decided to also “groove” the clickwheel disk, the effect is very much like a little teeny vinyl record — it’s brilliant to look at, high tech and retro at the same time, while adding protection for the clickwheel.

Unfortunately, that’s where the problem is, at least in my case.

I had read several reviews of the iVod DJ case on some of the major iPod sites, and all of them had indicated that you could operate the touch-sensitive part of the clickwheel just fine in the iVod DJ case — at least none of them had indicated any problem.

My results are a little different.

There is definately a difference when using the iPod in the case. At first, I was barely able to make the clickwheel scroll when I wanted it to — it took enough additional pressure that I was as likely to click a button as I was to scroll the wheel.

I e-mailed Vaja and asked them about this, and they indicated that this was a common question, and “as soon as I got used to it, it would be fine.”

Ahem. If it’s that common a question, why don’t any of the other reviews talk about it? Did they actually use the thing?

In any event, I gave it several weeks, and indeed, I’m getting quite a bit better at using it. It’s also possible that it’s beginning to develop a bit more flexibility over time. At this point, I can use it okay with the case on, albeit still not as easily as when it’s off, but enough to be fine.

This is not a major issue, but if you’re going to spend the money on one of these cases, you should know it’s there.

Which brings us to the money question. As mentioned above, Vaja cases are not cheap. If you want anything other than a boring stock single color, you’ll want to spend the few extra bucks (and an extra 20 – 30 days) to order a custom case.

You can select from a vast number of color combinations (one color for the front, and a second for the back, which also becomes the color of the “select” button.) In my case, I went for a crimson red front, with a dark chocolate brown for the back of the case and the select button. It’s colorful, a little different than most I’ve seen, and I like it.

Once you’ve selected the color, you’ll get an opportunity to add personalization (name or logo) and a post on the back to work with a belt clip. I skipped all of this.

When all of that is selected, you’re given a final price, and a lead time. My case ran just over $100 (including shipping), with a lead time of 20 days.

The ordering process is (as with most everything Vaja) a class act. I received acknowledgement e-mails at the time of the order, and a final e-mail with tracking information for shipping. Shipping (from Buenos Aires — all Vaja cases are handcrafted in Argentina) was via Fed-Ex, and it arrived in 3 days (after some odd Fed-Ex delay; it was originally slated to arrive in 2). The case arrived attractively packaged in a colorful Vaja slipcover box

All in all, I’m still very happy with it — I love the looks of the iVod DJ case. I do wish, however, that my expectations would have been set differently on the clickwheel cover. If there was a warning somewhere that there is a bit of a learning/break-in process, I’d have probably been much happier from the outset.

Link to VajaCases

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7 Responses to “Vaja iVod DJ iPod Case Review”

  1. Eric Balch on August 10th, 2005 2:09 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this!!! I bought mine and just got it today — for me the click wheel wouldn’t scroll at all. I never thought about pressing harder 😉 Anyway, that works OK. I bet it gets better over time because some of the material wears and also molds into place.

    At any rate it was quite annoying that is seems those reviews posted on iPod sites were written by people that mearly seemed to have read Vaja’s copy and not actually laid hands on and used one of these.

    All that aside. I love it! The smell, look, and feel is awesome!. I also bought one of their dollar wallets Very sweet!

  2. Chuck Lawson on August 11th, 2005 6:13 pm

    I’ve been tempted to try one of their wallets myself…

    Here’s another tip on using the scroll wheel with the DJ case — I’ve noticed recently that the further to the outside of the wheel I press, the more accurately the scroll wheel seems to track…

  3. Phil on September 7th, 2005 1:36 pm

    What if you affix thin sheets of rubber to the inside of the DJ wheel to increase the grip on the click wheel. I don’t own the case but am interested.

  4. Chuck Lawson on September 8th, 2005 9:59 am

    It’d be interesting to try, but I’m not sure if it would increase or decrease the sensitivity…

  5. Ryan on September 21st, 2005 11:31 am

    It’s a mixed bag, that sexy little vinyl thing. On the one hand, I’ve always felt the ipod wheel was a bit too sensitive, too responsive – but now – in order to scroll through the hundreds of artists on my ipod – say if I’m at a party & DJ’ing with it – I’d do best to take it out of it’s case. It’s a bit frustrating, but since I ordered custom colors on the leather – which look great – I won’t be able to return or exchange it…

    Has your experience with the click-wheel cover gotten any better? Please? I sure hope so!

  6. Robert Trama on October 13th, 2005 10:42 pm

    Just received my iVod DJ case. Looks great, feels great but I must say the vinyl click wheel cover is a bit of a bummer. I’ve thought about removing it but not sure how to go about it and it will probably look strange to have a black leather case with a light gray click wheel. I think they need to rethink the vinyl material and use a different material. Some sort of fabric would probably work better but would need to be replaced frequently.

  7. og217 on June 7th, 2010 4:39 am

    Vaja is a ridiculous company to deal with. They require 25 days to “assemble” the ipod case. In my case, it’s been 2 months. Then, they FedExes it to me. Supposedly. When I finally got in touch with FedEx, they demanded that I pay a ton of fees, come in person to their office to pick it up, and fill out a million forms. It took over 2 hours, and cost more then $40. why? Because Vaja didn’t pay for the shipping, even though they charged me. And the case itself? Worthless, comes in some cheap, gay-pride box and really nothing special. Buy a nice $25 case from the apple store. At least you’ll know who you are dealing with, and how to return it if you do not like it.

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