Review: Vaja i-Volution with Hook for Apple iPod nano 2nd Gen
Pros: A high-end leather case available in forty color choices. Easy to use, good-looking, durable metal hook that is large enough to clip to belts, bags and purses. Provides full front protection for the nano’s face, Click Wheel and screen.
Cons: Extremely soft leather that shows minor scratches and indentations. Limited to no protection for the nano’s top, bottom, corners and backside. Price tag is relatively high in comparison with other nano cases that offer more protection.
Picture a women wearing a backless gown. While modest front fabric ensures that her essentials are covered, the lure of a backless gown is to daringly leave the backside completely exposed. Vaja’s new i-Volution with Hook ($45) is the backless gown of luxury leather cases, keeping an iPod nano’s front essentials—the screen and Click Wheel–-covered, while daringly leaving the nano’s backside completely exposed.
The backless design is a new innovation for the i-Volution family. Not fully classifiable as a case, although marketed as one, the i-Volution is made of beautiful, high-class, and soft Catarina leather, wrapped without padding around a hard shell. This is the single biggest selling point of the design, and augmented by a hook-–a thick, polished metal clip—permanently attached at the base for easy on-the-go storage. While available in 40 unique color choices, which can be previewed on Vaja’s web site, it is worth noting that the actual case we received for testing was a brighter color of orange than what was depicted. This wasn’t a bad thing, but worth noting anyway.
As previously mentioned, the i-Volution is a backless case, but in addition to providing no backside protection, the i-Volution also lacks protection for the nano’s Hold switch, Dock Connector, headphone port, and four corners, something consumers will need to take into consideration before making a purchase. Of course, the flip side of the coin is that the face of the nano is well protected. A choice of two removable film inserts—one for the screen alone, one for the screen and Click Wheel—provides a protective barrier for these openings while thicker leather covers the nano’s face and sides.
While the bottom Dock Connector and headphone port were left uncovered by the i-Volution, we found that the built-in clip actually prevents the nano from docking with speaker systems and the iPod Dock. Users will have to remove the nano from the i-Volution altogether to be able to use those external devices. Additionally, we found that the i-Volution is meant to snap on and off the nano, since sliding the i-Volution over the nano will result in pulling, and in some cases, even tearing of the soft interior leather.
While the price tag of $45 might seem shocking by comparison to other nano cases on the market, i-Volution with Hook isn’t that expensive when compared to other iPod cases from Vaja, which can sell for $340 or more with add-ons. But then, Vaja does offer other nano cases that are more protective than the i-Volution, such as the Vaja Classic, which starts at around $40. This isn’t a great deal, per se, but it’s about par for Vaja’s course these days.
Just as an evening gown is suitable for a special night out on the town, it is not, practically speaking, your best choice for every day attire. The same logic applies to the latest Vaja i-Volution. While it is a premium luxury case, and suitable for light to modest use, you’ll need to decide for yourself whether the case’s good looks outweigh its lack of protection for certain occasions, or whether you’re better off with one all-purpose case that does more for the same price or less.