Review: Vaja iVod/i-Volution Rasta and iVod Crystal
Model: iVod Rasta, iVod Crystal
Price: $90-110+ (Rasta), $340+ (Crystal)
Compatible: iPod 4G
Pros: Company’s top-of-line puffed leather cases for 4G iPods, with top-quality leather, slick, iPod-fitting design, and beautiful color options - limited here by the Rasta or crystal patterns you choose. iVod Crystal version uses Swarovski crystals and includes hand strap, plus its own carrying case for protection. Each case includes a beautiful, gift-quality box.
Cons: Features that are optional here are included with other cases; even at base prices, much, much more expensive than competing cases that are identical or near-identical in 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 iVod/i-Volution Rasta ($90-110) and Crystal ($340) versions.
As Vaja’s iVod cases go, the two versions of Rasta are now the second- and third-most expensive iPod cases available, and there’s a good reason for this. In addition to all of the other features we’ve come to expect - puffed leather front, integrated clear screen protection, and premium leather everywhere else, Vaja does something else with Rasta that we’ve never seen before: it at least triple-dyes the front of each $90 case, with a quadruple-dyed version selling for $110. The rear of each version is black, green, or white, while the front is red, yellow, and green striped - the more expensive one puts the stripes on the bottom left corner against a white or black background, while the $90 version coats the entire front with the stripes.
Our earlier reviews of iVod cases have covered all of the other specifics on Rasta’s design, so we won’t repeat them here; it suffices to say that both of these versions of Rasta are semi-affordable luxuries - nichey, but impressively executed. Other than lower prices, which we imagine would be a long shot, our only wishes would be for different color options - the three- or four-color process would go amazingly well with the colors of various flags, for example - and, as we’ve said before, the mandatory inclusion of Vaja’s Wheel Protector, which is excellent, but still a $6 option here. For the prices, it wouldn’t be too hard to throw in. We continue to think that enhanced top protection would be a good addition, as well.
The only Vaja case that costs more than Rasta is Vaja’s iVod Crystal, which has embedded Swarovski crystals and sells for $340.00. What makes iVod Crystal most amazing is that it actually includes its own case - a color-matched leather bag that holds the iVod and iPod inside to protect the crystals against damage. You can pick from six designs - white front with blue crystals and a light blue back, medal bronze (a mustard browni color) with “white” (clear) crystals, black with white crystals, light blue with white crystals, light pink with white crystals, and white with a red back and red crystals.
Our review unit was the black leather one with white crystals, and was made from Vitelino leather - Vaja’s best. There’s no doubt that it was impressive - though small, the crystals were numerous, and gave the case an eye-popping “wow” factor. The rear handstrap - exclusive to Crystal - was also beautiful, and every bit the perfect compliment - a belt clip would have been ridiculous on this design. And the included leather bag was gorgeous.
You can guess one of our issues - the price. This isn’t a case made for everyone, and by our rating standards, it’s the perfect case made for its niche - a wealthy woman, either purchased for herself or given as a gift. It was great to look at the case for a couple of days, but when it had to go back, we didn’t mind - it wasn’t a case we’d use, just one we would show as a trophy. For people who want that sort of trophy, it’s beautiful, and some may think that it’s worth its 5-times premium over the already expensive standard Vaja case.
The other issue is less obvious - Crystal doesn’t include a Wheel Protector, which for some reason continues to be an option on all Vaja cases. The Wheel Protector is too good not to include with all iVod series cases, particularly at their high prices, and here, it’s especially funny to see Vaja’s checkout screen list the Protector as a $6 add-on for a $340 case. To potential customers - go ahead, live a little, add it on. To Vaja: for $340, we think you could have tossed it in.
Our view on both of these cases is that they’re beautiful, desireable, and exceedingly well-made, but at some point the prices do become enough of an impediment to purchases that we think the simpler, lower-cost versions are better overall. That’s the case with both of these designs - you’ll need to have a specific reason to prefer one of them and a willingness to part with quite a bit of cash to make it happen. We applaud Vaja for continuing to innovate with its designs, but just wish more people could afford them, and that fewer of the features other companies include for free were pricey “options” here.