Vaja Smartphone Case, Model T65, for Palm Treo 650
Reviewed by: Howard Carson, June 2006
Published by: Vaja
Requires: Any suitable device; Vaja cases are available for a wide range of smartphone, cell phone, PDA and iPod models
MSRP: US$88.90 (includes the UltraClip belt/strap clip)
The only thing anyone really needs after purchasing a cell phone, PDA, smartphone or handheld game device is some sort of sensible carrying case capable of protecting the investment. At US$300-$400, your typical, fancy smartphone and PDA need some tender loving care. A real good case is a real good place to start. The bewildering array of metal, plastic, leather, foam and cloth cases available on store shelves is outdone only by the individual variations available for each model. It's ridiculous actually, but we live in a consumer-oriented society that demands pseudo-customization in the form of mass produced product variants. Vaja has chosen another route: form following function, combined with the use of traditional materials in evocative ways.
I know, I know . . . it's just a Treo 650 case. But what a case it is. Most people, upon opening the wonderfully classy Vaja product packaging, pick up the new case and sniff at it for a moment to assure themselves it's really leather. The reason is mainly that Vaja does a brilliantly smooth job of crafting the corners, openings and mounts. There isn't a stitch in sight because all of the seams are sewn and turned in a way which completely hides the stitching and gluing required to create almost any leather product. The result is a protective, slim case which focuses your eyes on the working parts of (in this case) the Treo 650: the screen and keyboard.
The beauty of leather is that it serves a multitude of purposes. The texture, feel and grip of leather is unbeatable as far as I'm concerned. It's an exceedingly durable material when used properly and in this case will easily outlast the Treo. Leather can be waterproofed. Leather can be cleaned. Blemishes and scratches are easily fixed. In Vaja's creative hands, leather can also be molded and fitted almost as closely and snugly as vacuum formed plastic. Leather also provides a sense of substance and quality.
I used the case for a month before remembering that I actually had to write a review about it. That's the nature of effective design—it doesn't interfere—and the Vaja T65 case just faded into the background except for those occasions on which people noticed it and commented on it. The supplied Ultra Clip belt/strap clip is heavy duty and extremely secure in use. Although some people may find the clip spring tension a bit too high, I love it. The Treo is securely attached in the Ultra Clip and the Ultra Clip is securely attached to my belt. Although the Treo releases from the clip in an instant, the assembly is solid enough to be trusted by the buffeting and tugging that occurs while riding a motorcycle at highway speeds. The clip does not pop off your belt every time you bump the thing on a chair arm as you're sitting down either.
Cons: Vaja cases are handmade and as a result, individual items may have slight variations. Strictly speaking, that's not a "Con" but it's worthy of note nonetheless. My Treo fits absolutely snugly in the T65 case, so it's not recommended for those of you who use a HotSync cradle rather than the standard HotSync cable.
Pros: Above all else, the case is lovely. The smooth turns and corners, precise sizing for the device, the small and attractive Vaja logo and absolutely clean finishing with not a stitch in sight is guaranteed to turn heads the first time people get a good look at the case. It securely protects the Treo 650 from day-to-day bumps and bangs, minor drops and so on. The belt clip and latch assembly is very strong and very easy to use. The design of the Vaja T65 case works well in a variety of carrying situations, but it's most effective on the Ultra Clip attached to a belt, shoulder strap, backpack strap and so on. Fine quality product. Highly recommended.
KSN Product Rating:
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