Vaja iVod DJ iPod Case Review
July 20, 2005
I 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.