Review: Vaja i-Volution Grip with Hook for iPod nano 3G
Only three months after the iPod touch's release, there are lots of fabric and leather case options out there, so we're moving through another collection of nine options today to help you acquaint yourself with the great, good, and nothing special offerings. Four of the nine cases also come in versions for other iPod models, which we detail briefly alongside them. This review is for the Vaja i-Volution Grip with Hook for iPod nano 3G.
Rare are Vaja cases that we just don’t like at all, but the company’s new i-Volution Holster for iPod touch and i-Volution Grip with Hook for iPod nano 3G are those cases. Both are sold for $55 and up—a lot of money by iPod case standards—but don’t deliver value nearly befitting their price tags. Using a similarly minimalist approach to coverage, Vaja’s new i-Volution Holster for iPod touch continues the approach of the prior i-Volution Holster for iPhone, offering your choice of a simple semi-hard rear shell wrapped in leather, either with or without a metal nub sticking out for attachment to an optional $4 plastic belt clip. Once again, your choice of 38 Caterina leather colors is offered, with the colors evident here on iPod touch’s sides and back, not on its face, top, or bottom.
For the same price, the iPod nano version, called the i-Volution Grip with Hook for iPod nano 3G, offers the same design in a smaller, nano-ready size with three small flourishes. Most substantially, a dangling lobster claw-style hook is found at the bottom; secondly, the rear leather is slightly contoured alongside a metal Vaja logo, and finally, two more color options are available for a total of 40. As with the Holster, customization is available in the form of text that can be lightly engraved in the case’s back at an additional cost of $10.
That these cases only add a little color to their respective iPods would be a mild way of stating the reality here: for $55, you’re not even getting a real iPod touch case, just an overpriced way of covering its back. The polished metal coverage isn’t complete, but it’s close: the iPod touch’s top surface is fully exposed, as is the nano’s, and small parts of the bottom corners are also exposed. Both cases are fully accessory and headphone-friendly, but they’re basically also not present on the face, top, bottom, and other parts of the iPods’ sides; the Grip with Hook interferes with headphone and other accessories only if the hook is directly underneath the Click Wheel.
It is worth one note that neither of these cases delivers the nicely contoured back of the iPhone version, which at least felt like Vaja had made an effort to accent Apple’s curves with some nice touches of its own. Rather, they feel like they were rapidly slapped together, left relatively flat and open, and rushed out for sale. Skeptics might guess that this design, which happened to emerge very early in Vaja’s iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod nano case life cycles, is now the company’s “let’s just get something out there” offering for new Apple devices. Simple to make, barely protective, and yet capable of being customized and selling for high prices, these cases are bad enough by Vaja’s classic standards that we’d take the very rare step of suggesting their near-term discontinuation. We have loved Vaja’s impressively thoughtful designs, but these just strike us as beneath the Argentine company, and iPod users in general.