Review: Vaja Lucy Clutch XL for iPhone 5
It's not every day that we cover what appear to be pure fashion accessories, but Vaja's Lucy Clutch XL ($240) includes smartphone functionality, specifying support for the iPhone 5. Like many of the company's products, it can be customized with a huge number of color combinations -- there are 24 exterior shades and 10 interior colors to pick from. The six-inch by four-inch clutch is an inch thick, and made of premium leather, with a wrist strap that attaches to a metal D-ring. Open up the zipper and you'll find six credit card slots; three on either side.
In the middle of the clutch is a pocket for your iPhone with a pair of mesh-covered openings at either end to allow the sound of the ringer to travel through. Even when the case is zippered shut, the audio travels well. Lucy Clutch XL can accommodate an iPhone 5 inside most standard cases, as well as previous-generation bare or encased iPhones. There aren’t any other pockets, although you’ll be able to keep some small items in the areas between the slots and the phone. Loose change, folded bills, and perhaps a lipstick tube could fit inside, but that’s about it; there’s not enough space for unfolded currency, no dedicated change pocket, nor adequate room for a makeup kit. Think of Lucy Clutch XL as an iPhone-sized wallet with a little extra room on each side.
We solicited opinions on Lucy from a handful of fashion-conscious women, and they all agreed that while Vaja’s leather is nice, the clutch likely wouldn’t fit their needs: it’s too short on room for the cash, coins, makeup, and pens people often carry around. Additionally, the price is brutally high: comparable options from Coach and Michael Kors can be had for around half the price, and come with designer brand names and quality guarantees that Vaja simply can’t match. One person summed up Lucy Clutch XL as something a man might choose as a gift for a woman, but not something a women would pick for herself.
Vaja’s concept here isn’t necessarily a bad one, but it misses on too many levels to recommend. For a lower price, you can pick up a clutch that will beat Lucy in terms of practicality and brand recognition, with comparable materials and possibly better design. While we appreciate the overall workmanship in Lucy Clutch XL, Vaja still doesn’t have the brand cachet with women to charge this sort of money for a so-so iPhone-ready wallet. Our strong feeling is that the pricing needs to come down, and the functionality needs to be improved before something like this will be worth considering.