capsule review

Vaja Classic Top

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At a Glance
  • Vaja Classic Top

For those whose iPod demands nothing less than luxurious leather, Vaja is there to help you out. Their Classic Top case for the second-generation iPod nano is a leather flipcase, individually handcrafted from your choice of Vitelino or Aniline leather in dozens of different colors. The result is a slick case that's compact and good looking, but not for the frugal.

From the outside of the flipcase, you have access to your iPod's hold switch at the top and its headphone jack at the bottom. Everything else on the nano is concealed. If you flip the front open -- it's secured with magnets sewn into the leather -- you'll find a "harness" for the nano with an opening for its Click Wheel, a small plastic window for its screen, and an open bottom where you slide the nano in. Getting the nano in is a snap, but in my tests it was reluctant to leave its comfy sheath, requiring a tug-o-war of pushing and pulling to extricate it. This might change in time as the leather breaks in, but it's definitely a snug fit, and the iPod is unlikely to slide out accidentally.

From a protection standpoint, the case is definitely solid. The only parts of the nano that are exposed are a bit of the bottom sides; you grip these to pull the nano out of the case. The corner with the headphone jack is perhaps the most exposed of all, but there's little danger of it receiving any significant damage. I appreciate that even in a leather flip case where the screen is usually hidden, Vaja still bothered to put in a protective window for the iPod's screen; it's a thoughtful touch. On the accessibility side, the case is simple to use. You can flip it open with one hand relatively easily and work all of the nano's functions, and it's slim enough to fit into your pocket or purse.

The one downside to Vaja's case is the cost. Since every case is handcrafted, you use their online site to customize the options: what kind of leather, what colors (you can pick two, one for the exterior, one for the interior), personalize it with text or an image, and, if desired, opt for one of two belt clips (the model I reviewed had neither, so I couldn't test them). Adding a clip or personalizing the case will cost you though: the range for cases starts at $40 and ends just shy of $100. And since each one is made individually, you'll have to wait 10 days to get your case.

If you can spare the time and the expense, the Vaja Classic Top is a very nice case, and certainly an excellent complement for even the snazziest dresser.
--Dan Moren

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At a Glance
  • Vaja Classic Top

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