Friday, August 8, 2003
The Vaja 931 Custom Leather Case for the iPaq 1900 Series
Posted by Crystal Eitle in "HARDWARE" @ 12:00 PM
The Vaja 931 case fits the bill perfectly. I recently had the opportunity to examine one of these cases in person, and I can say that it more than lives up to Vaja's reputation for style and quality.
Everything about this case is top-notch. Having owned a similar case by a different manufacturer, I can really appreciate the care and craftsmanship that went into the Vaja case. The first thing I noticed was the case's form. The edges of the main cutout area sit flat and flush against the edges of the Pocket PC screen, without bulging or gaping outwards. It truly looks custom-made. Then there are the little details, like the evenness of the stitching, or the way every edge is nicely finished.<!>
Now on to what really sets this case apart from others: style. The 931 case features a two-tone design. Most of the case is made up of one color and there is a contrasting color inset. The case Vaja sent me for review is a classy-looking taupe with a rich red inset. It's retro-cool in a strikingly beautiful way, like a bowling shoe or a Vespa scooter. And people respond to its looks; people ask questions about my Pocket PC when it's in its Vaja case, allowing me to practice some Pocket PC evangelism (always a bonus). The style goes right down to the details, too. The openings for the SD card slots and credit card slot are in the shape of an elegant wavy line; it's little details like this that make this case such a pleasure to enjoy.
There are a couple issues with the case. One is that the Vitelino leather is somewhat delicate and a little prone to scratches and scuffs. Vaja warns as much on their site, where they say "The Vitelinos, are one of our high quality finest leathers, but it is worth mentioning that the previously detailed treatment of Vitelino leather makes it rather delicate for daily use. Thus, it is more recommended to suit businessmen or women who need to combine elegance and comfort." However, they also give leather care tips. A little Meltonian shoe polish will diminish the appearance of any scratches or scuffs (however, if you do resort to this, it also means your case will temporarily smell like shoe polish instead of that delightful Vaja leather smell. This is only very temporary, however). The taupe portion of the case also has an unfortunate tendency to pick up dirt. I notice that Vaja is no longer offering taupe as a color choice for this case; perhaps that's why.
Which brings me to my only other minor suggestion. The 931 is advertised as a custom case, and there is a wide range of color options. However, I'd like to see the color choices be truly customizable, with the customer being given a choice of leather colors and the ability to pair whichever two colors he or she pleases.
Overall, though, I would definitely recommend this case. It looks like HP may continue the 1900 form factor for a while, which makes the 931 case a good investment. Additionally, I consider it to be one of the few cases with enough style to be worthy of adorning the cutest Pocket PC ever to hit the market.