Vaja iPAQ + PC Sleeve Case Review


Product Requirements: 
Compaq iPAQ with PC Card Sleeve

I am the first to acknowledge that adding the PC Card Sleeve to the normally
svelte iPAQ creates a PDA with brick-like properties. 

But, I have a confession to make…

While it seems like the rest of the world is complaining about the weight and
thickness of that combo, I actually like the heft and feel of it in my hand.
Weird, I know – but I also have some valid reasons to use this combo: I like the
convenience of being able to access my 2 GB DataPak at any time, I like the
security of the backup battery located in the PC Sleeve, I also like the fact
that when I am in an area that allows it – I can use my Omnisky service by
inserting the Sierra AirCard.

Since the PC Sleeve is now my preferred method of adding expandability to my
iPAQ (at least until the even larger CYPAQ
comes out), I was anxious to find a case that would not only protect this combo,
but would also look "like a million bucks."

I believe that I may have found it.

The Vaja
iPAQ + PC Sleeve Case
is custom fitted, made of Argentinean leather, and
fits the PC Sleeve combo like a glove. It adds very little bulk to an already portly
combo – and feels good in my hand when I am carrying it.

I was presented with the Black Embossed Alligator Case, without a belt clip –
which is my preferred type of case – as I carry my iPAQ in a gear bag. Right
away, I was impressed with the Vaja’s slick feel of the smooth grained leather
on the back side, coupled with the textured leather making up the front of the


Made along the same vein as the other Vaja
PDA flip-top cases available, the #807 – as this case is designated on the Vaja
site – is a study of efficient design and beauty. 

The #807 is essentially made of a long piece of leather that becomes the back
and "flip-top front" to the case. A fitted form is attached to the
inside-back of that strip, which cradles the iPAQ perfectly.

The flip-top is slightly padded, and has an ABS plastic insert to add
stiffness and protection to the screen. This should protect the iPAQ from most
sudden dings and knocks. This case is certainly not crushproof, however.

The opening for the screen and button area is perfectly centered, and does
not hamper your ability to access any of the hot buttons.

There are two slit pockets for Credit Cards or ID, and there is a deeper
pocket behind them to hold another card or cash.

There is a perfectly centered hole over the headphone jack, and when the case
is closed it makes for convenient listening, to Mp3s or Audio-Books.

At the very end of the flip lid is a tab that snaps to the back of the case.
During the first few days that you use the #807, it’s a tight fit to get the
snap connected and to keep it connected – but it will loosen up as you use it,
and allow the snap to stay secure.

The fitted form that holds your iPAQ combo is lined in some type of synthetic
nylon type material. The benefit to this method is that it will add strength to
this part of the case, and keep it from stretching or perhaps tearing over time.

To insert the iPAQ combo, you simply slide it in through the top of the
opened case. All of your buttons, stylus silo,  infrared port, PC sleeve
openings, etc. are left free and accessible. 


The inside of the Vaja – touching the back of your PC Sleeve is a tan
nubuck-like material, that is soft and protective. The Vaja Credo is embossed in
this area.

The bottom of the Vaja has aligned cutouts for charging, syncing, and

One important thing to note about this case, is that it is NOT made to
sync in the cradle. While I’m not saying that you won’t be able to force
it to do this, I am just letting you know that it was not made with this
intention. Not only will you scuff the Vaja’s leather as it d-r-a-g-s
into the sides of your desk-top cradle; it is also very difficult to get a good
connection. Obviously I tried it, and I certainly don’t recommend it. I just
wanted to see if it was possible, so I could let you know.

As much as I like this case, there are things about it that will make it
undesirable for certain users. First of all, if you have a PC card that sticks
up from the sleeve more than just a few millimeters, the Vaja may not close for
you. As I said before, I have the Sierra AirCard, and the DataPak, both of these
cards fit just fine.

The other issue, is that if you like to leave the antennae inserted in your
Wireless Card (provided that your wireless card fits in the first place) – you
will either have to make a special cutout for it (which I don’t recommend doing
yourself), or you will have to insert the antennae only when the case is

Be advised that there really isn’t a space to store your antennae inside this
case when it is not inserted. You can slide it down inside the deeper
pocket in the lid –  however, depending on the shape and bulk of your
antennae, I would have to worry that it might damage your screen if the lid were
pressed in the right areas.

For those of you that are wondering about how much extra bulk the Vaja will
or won’t add to your iPAQ, here is a chart for comparison:

  Height Width Thickness
Naked iPAQ w/PC Sleeve 5.17" (131.30mm) 3.41" (86.70mm) 1.33" (33.82mm)
Vaja iPAQ + PC Sleeve Case 5.315" (135mm) 3.46" (88mm) 1.70" (43.24mm)
Rhodiana iPAQ +
PC Sleeve Case
5.5" (139.65mm) 3.69" (93.63mm) 1.9" (48.26mm)

Here are some pictures, to add reference to the size-in-hand:


While the embossed design on the leather of the case that I received 
looks more like lizard, than alligator, to me – that was the only thing I found
about the Vaja that caused me to raise my eyebrows. Otherwise – it has become my
case of choice – my everyday driver, if you will.. 

Price: $62.90, $64.90 with belt clip
Color Combinations Available: Black Embossed Ostrich, Cognac
Embossed Ostrich, Black Embossed Alligator, Dark Tan Leather, Black Grain
Leather, and Green Grain Leather


Expertly made, with a custom fit
Access to all ports and openings
Does not add much bulk to the iPAQ PC Sleeve combo

Some PCMCIA Cards may not fit properly – if they stick up too far
from the PC Sleeve
Most Wireless PC Card’s antennae can’t stay on card when case is closed, and
there is no good place to store them in the case
Must remove to hot-sync


Product Information

  • Expertly made, with a custom fit
  • Access to all ports and openings
  • Does not add much bulk to the iPAQ PC Sleeve combo
  • Some PCMCIA Cards may not fit properly - if they stick up too far
  • from the PC Sleeve
  • Most Wireless PC Card's antennae can't stay on card when case is closed, and
  • there is no good place to store them in the case
  • Must remove to hot-sync
Posted in: Windows Phone
{ 3 comments… add one }
  • greg May 3, 2003, 4:40 am

    My screen also started going dim in the same fashion, it was a Palm Vx. The battery life was always fine, but the screen kept on getting dimmer and dimmer until I eventually had to toss the unit because I couldn’t read it even by squinting anymore.
    When it started happening I did a lot of research and found a lot of different people complaining about another screen problem, the infamous digitizer misalignment. I found dozens of message board threads just dedicated to this problem as well as four separate programs to work around it by resetting the digitizer on every bootup, I thought it was a weird issue…nobody had a good solution or an explanation of what was happening, so I emailed Palm about the digitizer issue just to see what the official story was, and they literally told me they’d never heard of the issue! Check it out:
    <quote> Palm, Inc. is unaware if any such issues with the screen not responding
    well specifically as regards the Palm Vx handheld.

    The issue that you are experiencing might be due to the presence of
    certain third-party applications or due to corrupt databases on the Palm
    handheld. The presence of third-party software or corrupt databases on
    the Palm handheld usually causes an issue with the working of the Palm OS.</quote>
    I was like, what the $#@#$#@, this is a problem that is widely reported with numerous hackish workarounds and Palm technical support is pretending they’ve never heard of it? This is clearly either drastically incompetent or (I assumed) tremendously dishonest!! I figure anyone with that kind of attitude isn’t going to correct their problems, they’ll just keep lying about them.

    So, I figure that’s what happened with the screen fade, rather than fixing the trouble they just lie about it and pretend they’ve never heard about it and try to gouge you on service fees. I bet if they did an honest accounting we’d find that the number of palms with this specific display problem is huge, and they make people go through the gymnastics just to try to reduce the warranty services for the hardware fault.

    It’s a real pity though, PalmOS beat out WinCE in my book any day, and there’s no sexier palm than the Tungsten. *sigh*

    I really love this website btw – THANKS!

    – Greg

  • contempt May 4, 2003, 12:13 am

    And yet another reason why the Sony Clies are superior to the Palms. Have yet to hear from NX owners on any problems. Plus we now have CF Card support!

  • Judie May 4, 2003, 4:12 am


    Sony may have better quality control than Palm (and even that is subjective , as I have had more than one CLIE come with dust under the screen – from the factory), but Sony’s customer service is definitely not going to win any awards with me. They have yet to redeem themselves with me for the CLIE 710C which would not work with XP (unles you paid $50 for the upgrade).

    …and another thing: the only reason CLIEs with “wireless” slots even have the ability to support CF cards is because of wonderful developers out there that are not affiliated with Sony. If it were up to Sony, you would never have had that option.

    That is not to say that the CLIE is not a great PDA…it is. But Sony, the company, is certainly not blameless or superior to Palm.

    <stepping now soapbox my off>
    Judie :0)

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