Review: Vaja Classic AP96 Studded Leather Case for 4G iPod
Pros: A unique leather case for thicker 4G iPods, complete with metal studs and a matching arm strap. Available in 14 colors, and with some customization options. Reasonably protective.
Cons: Extremely expensive with nichey looks; a substantially cheaper but similar option is available from another competitor, offering broader iPod compatibility and more protection.
We’re catching up today on a number of case accessories for discontinued iPods, and for that reason presenting shorter than normal reviews. This review covers Vaja’s Classic AP96 for 4G iPods ($75).
Vaja cases elicit lots of reactions from iLounge editors and readers, but the one they virtually never elicit is chuckles. Classic AP96 is the freaky exception to that rule. Described as a Studded Leather Case, its front has 12 metal studs and its sides have two studs each, intermixed with three metal snaps. You choose from one of three sizes of included leather straps - 48 inches long to around 56 inches long - each with matching studs running across one of its sides. Three matching snaps on each side of the strap attach to the AP96’s sides, threading through metal O-rings at AP96’s top corners if you want the added stability. Additional straps can be purchased for $15 a piece.
AP96 does a pretty good, but not great job of protecting your iPod. Besides the generally beneficial holes (one for the 4G iPod’s headphone port, a small one for the Dock Connector, and a big one for the Click Wheel), there are unnecessary ones at each of the iPod’s corners. Otherwise, it’s covered inside. A flap at top with two snaps lets you easily insert and remove an iPod, providing nice top coverage at the same time. The big surprise is that Vaja doesn’t sell it with or offer its excellent Wheel Protector as an option; all you can add to this one is an extra strap, engraving ($10), or embossing ($30).
Is the case really freaky? Well, women will be able to get away with it. Guys who really like shiny leather and studs will be able to get away with it. But the reason it’s gotten so many chuckles here is the fact that it looks like bondage gear - the sort of accessory many people would not be caught dead wearing. Sure, it provides acceptable iPod protection, and yes, like other Vaja cases, it’s available in many colors - here, 14. Our black version just looked way too much like something you’d see at a Halloween party, and further solidified its nichey status by fitting only larger, 40GB and 60GB 4G iPods - not the most popular models. If the design appeals to your tastes, and the $75 base price doesn’t scare you off, give it a look. If you need a similar but cheaper option, consider the darker metal-clad versions of DLO’s Relaxed Leather Cases (iLounge rating: B).