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Vaja Cases

The Price:
  • $62
The Pros:
  • Stylish
  • Well made
  • Good number of option

The Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Mediocre button access

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Vaja Clié N610 Case Review
By Rod Dunn
1/31/2002


Vaja Clié N610C Overview
The Vaja Clié N610 Case is a leather case specially designed for the N610 model and its unique jog dial/back button placement. This case is available with some design options, including options for color and belt clip.

Looks
I think any review of a Vaja case should begin with its looks. The Vaja cases in general have a reputation of being very stylish, and this one is no different. Vaja recently came out with the "hourglass" accent look. This particular case was black except for red sections on each side in the shape of a partial moon, and the black shape in the middle is in the shape of an hourglass.

This is probably a high-risk, high-reward type of look; some will love it and some will hate it. During the time I had the case to review, I asked almost everyone to give me their first impressions. Some absolutely loved it and thought it looked stylish, while others compared it to bowling shoes or a purse. It definitely has sort of a retro look.

The good news about the Vaja cases is that there are many different options for the styling. While all cases from this particular model will have the hourglass-shaped leather pieces, it is also available in all brown or all black, and the solid color cases would definitely draw less attention.

Ignoring the color for a moment, the case just looks and feels classy. There’s nothing like the look and feel of high-quality leather. And the case just feels well put together. I can’t imagine any Vaja owner having their case fall apart on them.

Functionality
After you get done ogling over it’s looks, it’s time to actually get down to what you get a case for, which is to hold and protect your PDA. For the most part the Vaja case also performs well in this area. They have made many design decisions in trying to make sure that the Clié is fully functional while inside the case. I’ll go through these one by one.

Vaja Clié N610C

I think the feature that most Clié owners need access to on a consistent basis is the jog dial / back button area. The Vaja case does allow access to these buttons, but this is one area that they should have spent some more time on in the design process. The shape of the Clié makes access to these buttons while in a case fairly hard, since the sides of the Clié taper in going from front to back. The jog dial and back buttons are located on the part of the side that is set back. Because of this and because Vaja cut the case to have an opening as small as possible, using these buttons can be frustrating. You can touch the jog dial, but barely, so sometimes you whiff when trying to spin it. Pushing the jog dial or back button in is also hard, since you’re pushing both the button and the leather around it. I would have rather seen them make a bigger opening, or even better, have the side of the case be fully open until a little below the back button. This would have provided almost the same protection while still allowing proper access to these buttons.

The top of the Clié, which contains the stylus port, IR, and Memory Stick slot, is fully available when the case is open. When the case is closed, all of these slots are completely covered, so you don’t have to worry about the loose Clié stylus or Memory Stick flying out when you’re not looking.

Vaja Clié N610C The opening for the power button has many of the same issues as the jog dial/back button openings; the opening is too close to the same size as the button to provide very good access. However, this wasn’t as big of a deal for me on the power button, since you turn off the Clié a lot less often than you use the jog dial and you can just press down hard to do the trick.

The case also has two other very convenient openings. The first is for the HotSync/power connector. If you have purchased a separate travel sync/charge cable for the N610C, it fits on the connector easily without having to remove the case. However, you can not sync the Clié in its cradle or use it with a keyboard with the case on.

Sliding the Clié out of this case wasn’t a huge deal, though it was a bit of a tight fit. I would imagine that this would improve over time as the leather got broken in.

The second useful opening is a small circle in the back that allows access to the reset button. While my reset button was not perfectly aligned in the hole, it was covered by the hole and provided access without a problem.

Vaja also added some very functional slots to the padded case cover. There are two credit-card sized slots in the cover, in front of a small pocket. I was able to easily fit a credit card and business cards into the two slots. The fit was a bit tight, but this is probably a good thing since you wouldn’t want your credit card falling out too easily. The small pocket behind these slots is billed by Vaja as a money slot, though I don’t think you could fit too much money in there, and any money would need to be folded. This would be a very convenient spot to store some extra change, a key, or even some memory sticks.

Vaja Clié N610C The last feature of this case is the "ultra" clip. You can order the case with or without the clip. Since I’m usually the kind of guy who carries my Clié in my front pants pocket, I wasn’t real excited about receiving a case with a clip. However, I’ve warmed up to the clip a lot while testing it out. First, it has a different design than some similar cell phone clips that I’ve used in the past. They changed the design of the post that the clip connects to so that it is impossible to get the clip on or off while the clip is pointed in the same direction of the case. For idiots like me, they should maybe include some documentation about this. I was trying to force the clip on, convinced it was broken, before my wife suggested that I try turning the clip sideways, where it slipped on with ease. Doh!!

Because of this design, it is much easier to attach/detach the clip that the other clips I’ve tried because they didn’t have to worry about the case accidentally coming off the clip when the bottom of the case hit something, such as when you sat down. With the clip off, the post is surprisingly discrete. I really couldn’t feel it when sliding the case into my pocket. It’s like having the best of both worlds; the clip is available when you need it, and not intrusive when you don’t.

Protection
I think this case would provide adequate protection against almost any kinds of bumps that the Clié would take. As I mentioned, the cover does have some small amount of padding in it, so I would feel that my screen was very safe while inside this case.

Conclusion
If you can afford it, you can’t beat the Vaja case for a stylish case that offers adequate protection and almost all Clie functionality at the same time.

Article Comments

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Vaja

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/31/2002 3:38:32 PM #
How do you pronounce Vaja?

RE: Vaja
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/31/2002 3:54:24 PM #
Vacha.

Good question BTW ;-)

RE: Vaja
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/31/2002 6:36:17 PM #
I thought it was like "Vaha"

RE: Vaja
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/31/2002 7:59:05 PM #
Yes, it is pronounced "Vaha" with a strong "h". I am from Argentina, where these cases are made. ;-)

RE: Vaja
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/1/2002 3:55:28 AM #
Its french so its pronounced "VAHWAH!"

ALAS Sony has Discontinued the N610C

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/31/2002 3:49:15 PM #
Maybe you should start reviewing a case for the T615C so that by the time the review comes out and the case is readily available people will have time to buy it before the T615c is replaced buy yet another formfactor and the sony-cycle starts all over again.

RE: ALAS Sony has Discontinued the N610C
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/31/2002 3:56:03 PM #
L O L

But kinda sad though . . .

RE: ALAS Sony has Discontinued the N610C
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/31/2002 4:07:56 PM #
There are still a lot of 610's out there, and companies will continue to create accessories for them for a while longer. - nar

RE: ALAS Sony has Discontinued the N610C
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/31/2002 4:40:06 PM #
So what! Mine is pretty new, only a few weeks. I've been using Palm products for many years, starting with the 500k model. I was in CompUSA a couple of weeks ago to look for something, and noticed that the 610 was on sale for $250, knowing a good deal when I see one.... It's a nice replacement for my Vx. I know that this is not related to the Case review, but... However I did buy a E&B slipper that is very nice.


Belt Clip Protrusion

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/31/2002 4:35:47 PM #
Damn, I ordered a case without the Belt Clip, assuming that the Belt Clip would annoy me if I slipped it in my pocket.

Is it really that discrete?

Do the clip on the case and the bracket for your belt feel sturdy? I've had two cell phone brackets break on me, and one belt clip. Not pretty. Would you trust the clip with your $400 PDA?

RE: Belt Clip Protrusion
rldunn @ 1/31/2002 4:43:10 PM #
I'm the actual reviewer; they made a typo and put Kezza. The post for the belt clip sticks out about 4mm. I was actually very surprised at how little I noticed it in my pocket, but YMMV. You can see in the 2nd pic down that it doesn't stick out a whole lot farther than the case snap.

As for it's sturdiness, I would say that it's very sturdy. I can't imagine what you would have to do to break this one. The actual clip is still plastic, but it feels very thick and compact. I would feel very confident with it holding my $400 PDA.

Rod
Ed @ 1/31/2002 7:01:44 PM #
> I'm the actual reviewer

Rod, I am so sorry. I have changed the article to credit it to you. It was a crazy day.

---
News Editor

RE: Belt Clip Protrusion
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/31/2002 9:07:07 PM #
>> Would you trust the clip with your $400 PDA?

I would, but not with a case from Vaja... at least not any more. I bought a Vaja case with a belt clip for my Visor Prism. Then one day (after about 8 months of daily use) I pulled it out of the clip and the little metal stub came with it. Fortunately my handheld wasn't damaged, but it could have been ugly.

I had a belt clip case from E&B cases that I used on my Visor Deluxe for well over a year with no problems and I'm now using another belt clip case from E&B cases for my Prism. I don't like the case quite as well as the Vaja case, but if it's not going to fall off my hip, I'll get over it.

RE: Belt Clip Protrusion
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/1/2002 8:40:05 AM #
Some of the early (and mid) Vaja's had this problem. I bought one for my Prism and had the clip come out 3 months later. I requested a replacement (which I received the day after I sent my email, dang good turnaround!) and THAT clip broke within 3 months as well. The problem with it was that the clip actually separated from the case, as they were using a dinky plastic attachment to keep the metal clip secure (dunno how that's supposed to make sense).

Instead of getting ANOTHER replacement (and having that clip break in 3 mos) I simply superglued a mobile phone belt clip to the inside of the case and it worked fine.

NOW I'm using a Vaja Prism/Cell case (the one for the VisorPhone), and this thing feels solid as a rock. Honestly, with the old cases you could feel the clip "wobble" within a week or so of daily use. I've now had THIS case since October, and it's still as stiff as it was when it arrived. I'm not sure if this is a factor if JUST the Prism/Cell case (perhaps the design lends itself better to a more secure clip) or if they've improved their entire line.

Vaja case mods

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/31/2002 4:42:48 PM #
I found it more or less impossible to use the back button and jog dial on my N760 with a Vaja case, and Vaja support was not very responsive on this issue. I ended up going to a local shoe store, and got the owner to cut out the side opening wider. Now it works fine, but Vaja really ought to have taken care of this before the case ever got to me.

RE: Vaja case mods
rldunn @ 1/31/2002 4:48:41 PM #
I would agree with this. I'm not even using the case anymore due to this very issue, because I use the jogdial/back button so much. I've heard of many people with these cases that have taken a leather punch to it to widen the holes. I think for the amount of money these cases cost, you shouldn't have to do that kind of modification. However, if you did, you would have almost the perfect case.

RE: Vaja case mods
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/1/2002 4:32:55 PM #
Did the same thing to my eb slipper case for my 710c.

VAJA's New Belt Clip Option

beaubennett @ 5/12/2002 8:20:31 PM #
Just FYI, VAJA began offering our new Ultra Clip as an option.

http://web.vajacases.com/Ultra/Ultra.html

The Ultra Clip has eliminated their previous issues with belt clips, or the old sewn-in tab. The Ultra Clip is designed for high security, high value devices.

The Clip Company
Device Portability Experts
Visit us on the web at:
www.theclip.com

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