Model: iVolution Top SP
Price: $80 (+ shipping)
Compatible: iPhone 3G
Vaja iVolution Top SP for iPhone 3G
As we're now dealing with a huge influx of hundreds of cases and other accessories, we've opted to issue abbreviated reviews of a number of late case arrivals for the iPhone 3G -- ones that are substantially similar to cases we've previously reviewed. This review looks at Vaja's iVolution Top SP for iPhone 3G ($80), the highly-similar sequel to the Top SP Holster for iPhone.
Now using a shortened name, the Top SP is a flip-style case—one with a front flap that needs to be opened to use the iPhone’s screen—that’s distinctive because of both its high-quality leather, and the fact that you can choose the colors of both the body and the stripe that runs through the center of the front side. There are 38 color choices, and the base case doesn’t include a belt clip or other customization; you can add a clip for $5, and text ($10) or graphic ($30) customization if you prefer. Vaja also sells a version for $70 that lacks the central front stripe.
The differences between last year’s version and this one come down solely to tailoring. A little bit more of the iPhone 3G’s top and rear surfaces are protected this time by contrast with the prior one’s, though you’re still exposing both of the device’s top corners and its side controls at all times. Similarly, a bit of the iPhone 3G’s chrome bezel continues to shine through the front of the case, as do the bottom speaker and microphone ports.
Normally, this sort of lack of advancement in any way over a prior version would subject a case to the risk of a lower rating; however, competing flip-style cases haven’t gone anywhere in the last year, either, leaving Top SP roughly the same as its predecessor—the expensive king of a not-so-hot hill. We continue to think that flip cases are amongst the worst-suited to an iPhone thanks to the way they obscure the device’s screen, then flop down when it’s in use. But some people like this design nevertheless, so if you’re looking for a very classy, highly customizable flip case, and you’re willing to pay a premium for it, this should be at the top of your list.