I've been living with a new Vaja case for my Zire 72s for a few months now, and felt it was a good time to do a review. While I've had a wide variety of cases for my Palm handheld devices over the years, from leather to metal to plastic — I'm pretty firmly in the leather case camp for my PDA.
The case itself was a custom build from Vaja, given as a gift from a friend. I chose the PA91 Sync-able Flip-Top for Zire 72, featuring embossed Vitelino arangio leather inside and out. I omitted padding on the flip cover for a slimmer profile, added 2 SD slots, and no clip, as I tend to carry my Zire in a pocket or my Cafe Bag.
I've been a Vaja case fan ever since my wife and I owned them for our Handspring Visors in the late 1990s and Cliés in the early 2000s. We loved the heavy, well-crafted leather back then, and I can still see the same high quality workmanship and design approach in place on our new cases. In general, Vaja cases are one of the best available for a PDA.
Workmanship, Fit & Finish
The quality of construction is top-notch, as was expected of a Vaja case. Good fit, even stitching, and glossy embossed leather finish were right on the money. The color, Vitelino arangio, was at first a bit of a surprise to me (I'd forgotten I'd ordered such an orangey-tan color) but as I've lived with the color, I've actually grown quite fond of the unique, warm orange hue.
I've noticed that embossed leather is a bit toucher about scratches than the normal style of leather on previous Vaja cases. I've already accumulated a few scuffs on the front flap, I think from dropping the Zire and case into my Cafe Bag and other bags, and maybe even from change in my pants pocket. I can't blame Vaja for this, though in the future I'd probably order standard, rather than embossed leather.
I love the design of this case! The flip-top is hinged far down the backside, allowing shots from the built-in camera, and all of the important ports and buttons are well-accomodated for. Even the headphone jack hole is large enough to deal with the right-angle 1/8" jack of my Koss Porta-Pros. I appreciate the magnetic closure. It keeps the design clean, is easy to open, yet secures the flap in transit.
My one beef with the case design: the direction of the SD card slots. They face inward, toward the top of the Zire. For a normal SD card, it's no problem — but the Palm WiFi SD card's freakishly long length when placed in either slot, prevents the case from closing. Now, the Palm WiFi SD card is quite long, but the Covertec TE case, works perfectly, because it has SD slots facing away from the Zire. My solution: carry the WiFi card in the business card pouch.
Having access to the sync and power ports works well for my usage, as I often plug in for charging or syncing at my workstation. The Covertec has a flap and magnetic clasp which had to be un-hinged to charge or sync, so being able to leave the flap on the Vaja closed is quite convenient in comparison.
In the few months I've been using the Vaja Zire 72 case, I've been very happy with nearly every aspect of the quality and design. Other than a few minor issues: the SD slot orientation when used with the WiFi SD card and the scuff-prone embossed leather surface, this Vaja PA91 is a winner. The design is top notch and quality are consistent with what I expect from Vaja products.
I've felt confident recommending Vaja to anyone looking for high quality PDA case. My experiences with this latest Zire 72 case have only strengthened that confidence.