Vaja i-Volution Natu Tungsten T Case Review


Product Requirements:
Palm Tungsten T

I’ve had my Tungsten T for several
months now, and have been waiting impatiently for a perfect case to use with it.
At the moment, I’m using a Digital
Express flip case
. It is a nice case, but I’ve been looking forward to
receiving a Vaja case. I’ll admit it, I
prefer Vaja cases for my PDAs. They are the ultimate in style and craftsmanship.
When Vaja told me they would be sending samples of their new i-Volution molded
case, I was excited! Although I’m not as in love with the i-Volution line as
Judie is, it’s still a Vaja and I wanted to check it out!

The Vaja i-Volution Natu case for the Tungsten T is a custom made leather
case available in seven colors: Caterina Maiz, Caterina Cognac, Caterina Pistil,
Caterina Red, Caterina Sapphire, Caterina Moro and Caterina Black. I was sent
the black leather case for review. These cases are also available with or
without a belt clip and with optional name personalization on the back.

The i-Volution line differs from Vaja’s regular offerings in that they are
cases that do not require snaps or magnetic clasps to hold the covers closed.
Instead, the cases are molded in such a way that the covers snap in place by

This particular case is unusual as it does not have cutouts for the
navigation pad and application buttons. A solid molded piece of leather (except
for the opening in the bottom) holds the Tungsten securely in place. Graphical
representations of the application buttons are printed on the leather that
covers them. To activate the buttons, you press the leather as if it wasn’t
there. It actually works pretty well. The only time I would sometimes have
trouble, would be while reading e-books. Pressing the navigation pad thru the
leather would occasionally result in double key presses. Personally, I prefer
the buttons to be exposed instead of covered. 

As mentioned, the bottom of the case is partially exposed. The area around
the hotsync connector is open so that you can use a cable to sync and charge.
Unfortunately, you can not sync / charge with the cradle while the PDA is in
this case.

The interior of the case is lined with a satin like material. There are no
business card slots or SD card slots available. The cover which lifts up like a
note pad, is sufficiently stiffened to protect the screen from everyday abuse.
The cover does not completely fold back behind the PDA. However, it does open
enough to allow for unobstructed use. When the cover is closed, the earphone
jack and voice recorder button are not covered. This allows you to listen to
MP3s and make recordings at anytime.

The back of the case has the metal belt clip post, and a reset hole cutout.
The Tungsten has to be extended for the reset hole to match with the switch on
the back of the PDA.

The Natu is a very nice case. It adds virtually no bulk to the already small
Tungsten T. It is very stylish while also being protective. I just wish it was
cradle sync-able and that the buttons were not covered in leather.

Price: $119.90

Great protection

Can’t charge / sync with cradle
No card or SD storage


Product Information

  • Stylish
  • Great protection
  • Can't charge / sync with cradle
  • No card or SD storage
{ 43 comments… add one }
  • Judie February 11, 2003, 12:00 am

    Post your comments here on the Vaja i-Volution Natu Tungsten T Case.

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • dequardo February 11, 2003, 1:54 am

    Price is not a con? Remember, not many viewers get them free.


  • Julie February 11, 2003, 1:58 am

    No, I don’t think price is a con. Do you consider the price a con if you were interested in buying a Rolex or a Porsche? Vaja cases are more expensive… that isn’t news to anyone.

  • Jjaakk February 11, 2003, 2:17 am

    Yet another Tungsten T case that is not cradle syncable.

    Are there any cases that allow the Tungsten T to be synced in the cradle?

    Even if you have to lift the cradle onto a coffee cup, like I did with my Palm Vx with hard case.

  • Julie February 11, 2003, 2:23 am

    Vaja has a leather flip case that is supposed to be sync-able. We’re going to try to get samples soon to review.

  • Jjaakk February 11, 2003, 2:27 am

    Is there a way to search through The Gadgeteer website to find cases that can be synced in the cradle (for any PDA)?

    If not, then I suggest that this might be a possible area of improvement for your site.

  • Julie February 11, 2003, 2:29 am

    You could us the search feature to search on the keyword SYNCABLE.

  • prismatic February 11, 2003, 3:45 am

    Originally posted by Julie
    No, I don’t think price is a con. Do you consider the price a con if you were interested in buying a Rolex or a Porsche? Vaja cases are more expensive… that isn’t news to anyone.

    Personally, I like Vaja cases very much, their fit and finish are exemplary but at $120, I think the I-volution case is extremely overpriced almost 1/3 the price of the PDA itself.

    Using your analogy above would I pay top dollar for a Porsche? Perhaps…………Would I pay 1/3 the price of a Porsche for a premium car cover? Absolutely NOT!

  • gaia February 11, 2003, 4:36 am

    a quick question: in order to extend TT, do you need to open the screen cover?

    Overall, a nice case, but (1)too pricy and (2)just not my taste. I currently use Digital Express case too, but kind of “bulky” (all relatively speaking). Is anyone here actually use covertec case (for TT)? It looks MUCH MORE “professional” to me (and syncable through cradle?)…

    My first post here… Hello neighbor Julie (I live in Indy)!!!

  • Peter K. February 11, 2003, 10:21 am

    As usual, very nice review. I’ve been drawn to this site because of your straightforward reviews and especially real-world photos of the products in action. Manufacturer’s photos can be tough to gauge since they place the product out of any context.

    I personally enjoy the reviews about the higher-end peripherals, e.g., Vaja Ivolution case. I think they’re especially important since they are more expensive – subsequently, a prospective customer like myself really likes insightful and fair testimonials.

    Alas, while I think this case is the best of the bunch for the TT in terms of approach and aesthetics, I’m going to have to lust for it. It’s way out of my budget. I guess this will have to be an object of lust.

    Hope to see more reviews of cases for the TT as they emerge.

  • Julie February 11, 2003, 2:56 pm

    Originally posted by gaia
    a quick question: in order to extend TT, do you need to open the screen cover?

    Yes, you have to open the cover before you extend the PDA.

    My first post here… Hello neighbor Julie (I live in Indy)!!! [/B]

    Hello there! πŸ™‚

  • Lucan February 11, 2003, 5:49 pm

    Originally posted by Julie
    No, I don’t think price is a con. Do you consider the price a con if you were interested in buying a Rolex or a Porsche? Vaja cases are more expensive… that isn’t news to anyone.

    You’ve gotta be joking me! :rolleyes:


  • davidrw February 11, 2003, 9:20 pm


    I have purchased three Vaja cases so far, and I have one of the T/T cases that you cannot sync on the cradle with….

    You would think that more manufacturers would clue into the fact that rechargeable PDA’s need to actually sit in a cradle (in this case provided as a part of the purchase), or plug into some other device (third party add-on) to, well, recharge.

    I guess I’m just a bit taken aback that more cases don’t allow for sitting in the charging cradle as I suspect the majority of users have one sitting on their desks.

    Oh well….

  • Ronin February 11, 2003, 10:37 pm

    I am seriously considering buying this case and I have a few questions.

    How snug is the fit? Since this is a molded case, is the fit tight or does the T|T move around in the case?

    How much play is there between the hardware buttons and the case overlay? Is any additional pressure required to get the hardware buttons to respond including the 5-way navigator? Does the overlay interfere with the operation of programs like QLaunch or TealLaunch which allow additional functionality on a press and hold of a hardware button (please keep in mind that QLaunch even allows ‘press and hold’ functions to be assigned to the navigator)?

    Can the Palm Ultra-Thin Keyboard be used with the T|T while in the case?

    I apologize for all of the questions but this is vital information for my decision.


  • Julie February 12, 2003, 2:30 am

    The fit is very snug. The T|T does not move around at all.

    The leather overlay does take additional pressure to activate the buttons. As a result, I sometimes get double button presses.

    Unfortunately, the Palm Ultra-Thin Keyboard can not be used with the T|T while in the case.

  • paniti February 12, 2003, 4:28 am

    hi julie
    thanks for a great review. seems like this vaja case is pretty awesome (despite the price). i just had three questions: easy is it to take it in and out of the case to hot sync it?
    2. how much more bulk does the metal knob for the clip add to the case? (i’m trying to decide between getting one with or one without a clip, i previously had a vaja case for the sony clie and if i didn’t have the case hanging on my belt and had the case in my pocket that metal knob was extremely annoying.)
    3. was double pressing a big issue (how often, say out of ten presses does it occur?)
    thank you so much.

  • Julie February 12, 2003, 2:15 pm

    It’s not hard to take the T|T out of the case to sync/charge, it’s just annoying.

    If the belt clip stud on another case bothered you, then this one will too. It sticks out about 1/8th of an inch.

    I only really notice the double key press issue while I’m reading ebooks. It sometimes skips a page when I am paging down.

  • Chronos February 12, 2003, 4:17 pm

    Originally posted by Lucan
    [B]You’ve gotta be joking me! :rolleyes:

    Lucan [/B]

    This topic is relative, obviously. I don’t mind paying $5000 for a watch, $75,000 for a car, and $600,000 for a house, so I don’t mind paying $120 to protect my PDA. BTW, my PDA may have cost $500, but the data in it is priceless. Yes, I will pay to keep that data protected. It is worth it, to me. Another relative statement.;)

  • prismatic February 12, 2003, 5:40 pm

    Originally posted by Chronos
    I don’t mind paying $5000 for a watch, $75,000 for a car, and $600,000 for a house, so I don’t mind paying $120 to protect my PDA. BTW, my PDA may have cost $500, but the data in it is priceless. Yes, I will pay to keep that data protected. It is worth it, to me. Another relative statement.;)

    Maybe Vaja can use that as their sales slogan……….Vaja I-volution for the man/ woman in your lifte that has everything. BTW……Did I mention you could have paid $335 for that $500 PDA here:

    Just a couple of quick questions for you chronos:

    I am housebroken, have had all my shots, charming, easy to get along with, Did I mention I was handy with electronic gadgets? I will consider being adopted

    If adoption is out of the question, I have a reverse chrome muffler bearing that works with that Tungsten T and I-volution case you have there, did I mention the looks, they are to die for:p

    If all else fails please reply with your real name address and telephone number, most recent bank statement and don’t forget to attach a .jpg map of your place to your email:x 😑 😎

    ……………………………….hope you don’t mind the kidding!!!


  • davidrw February 12, 2003, 7:02 pm


    I think that any review should include a comment about the relative merits of any “accessory” to be used with a handheld device including a judgement about the “price” of the item and the value the user might expect to receive.

    A couple of years ago there was a case for the Palm V series that was a basic leather flip cover. The big deal was that it was platinum and diamond encrusted and cost a TON o’ money. The price was, in this case, pretty much an issue as the relative value (in terms of protection or functionality) was minimal in relation to the amount required to acquire this gadget. It is NOT always true that high cost = high value.

    In my experience with Vaja they design and build very nice cases that for the cost deliver the value that I am looking for. Not everyone NEEDS a hand-tooled leather case made of (insert voice of Richardo) “rich Corinthian leather…” in which to house their PDA.

    Just my $0.02 worth (adjusted for inflation or devaluation)


  • Chronos February 12, 2003, 7:07 pm

    Originally posted by prismatic
    [B]Maybe Vaja can use that as their sales slogan……….Vaja I-volution for the man/ woman in your lifte that has everything. BTW……Did I mention you could have paid $335 for that $500 PDA here:

    ……………………………….hope you don’t mind the kidding!!!

    Regards [/B]

    Not at all- it’s deserved. Woke up on the wrong side of the bed this am. Sorry!

    Hey- if the muffler thingy is shiny, maybe we can make a deal! πŸ˜‰

    Just trying to say its all relative; the protection provided by this type of case is important enough for me to drop $120, as my baby holds all my important data.

    And BTW, those deals didn’t come out until well AFTER I bought my PDA. Such is life for an early, early adopter.:p

  • prismatic February 13, 2003, 1:14 am

    Originally posted by Chronos
    Not at all- it’s deserved. Woke up on the wrong side of the bed this am. Sorry!

    Chronos you’re my kind of people, An attitude and a sense of humor!

  • Chronos February 13, 2003, 5:44 pm

    Originally posted by prismatic
    Chronos you’re my kind of people, An attitude and a sense of humor!

    πŸ˜‰ Back at ya’!

  • Lucan February 13, 2003, 6:01 pm


    That’s funny stuff! Maybe we can make a deal and be twins.

    We can call Chronos “Daddy Warbucks”!!


    I did not take your post as harsh or with attitude.

    If I had lots of money (Bill Gates money), I would not mind paying $500 for the case. But “minding” has nothing to do with it being a “con”.

    I believe you can find a case that potects your pda just as well, if not better, and cost much less than Vaja.


  • prismatic February 14, 2003, 1:44 am

    How about a “FREE” case as an alternative to that “$120” I-volution case? Just pay $6.95 shipping and handling, use coupon code “freecase”. Follow this link to see the selection of free cases available:

    Mini Review Follows:

    Sturdy case available in a variety of colors and patterns, has two compartments for ID’s and credit cards as well as a compartment for for your cash. A compact zippered case with a heavy heavy duty pull made by Incipio, PDA attaches to case with velcro.

    Case too compact to load Tungsten T, ID’s, credit cards and cash which is the purpose of slim wallet case. No problem with just the pda.

    This is by no means my favorite palm case, it may serve well as an interim case or as a backup.

    This is no Vaja case, but did I mention it was “Free”?

  • Matt February 14, 2003, 3:37 am

    I wonder when this case would make it to market.I have a Vaja and love it to death the best case I have ever had for my M515. I just wish the price would come down. Going to have to wait for a sale on this one. Its funny to look a Vaja site and there pricing. If you have noticed the most popular pdas and the newest released pdas have the highest prices.
    Boy the TT must be a hot seller by the looks of this cases price!!;)

  • Jerry February 14, 2003, 4:26 am

    I have this case for my TT and it is great!! Sits in the cradle with the case on and the price is right.

  • Matt February 14, 2003, 4:32 am

    I will have to check it out , thanks for the tip. I kind of like the idea of the Vaja better because its stiffer. Julie, is the I-volution case hard leather threw the whole thing or is it metal covered in leather?

  • Julie February 14, 2003, 12:56 pm

    It is just a stiffened leather. Not leather over metal.

  • aj1 February 14, 2003, 5:40 pm

    I find your site very useful & informative – liked the proporta review.

    I need some help regarding screen protectors – can anyone suggest a screen protector that does not take anything away from the awesome tungsten screen ?

    I came across “Brando” screen protectors, but a reviewier mentioned that they reduced the brightness & clarity of the tungsten display (to such an extent that he removed it)

    Are there any alternatives ?

    thanx, aj

  • Judie February 14, 2003, 6:20 pm

    Yes, for the clearest protection, try the G2.

    It’s avaiable at

    Judie :0)

  • aj1 February 17, 2003, 12:30 am

    thanx judie ! have ordered the G2 protectors, waiting for them to arrive πŸ™‚

  • Judie February 17, 2003, 5:58 pm

    I just said that, Matt πŸ˜‰

    Let’s get the conversation back on topic – this is the Vaja i-Volution Natu case forum, not a screen protector forum.

    Judie :0)

  • Matt February 18, 2003, 2:01 am

    what are you talking about? This isn’t the first post to get of topic.You still haven’t answered my PM.:wow:

  • Judie February 18, 2003, 3:06 am

    Do you mean the same e-mail you sent Julie?

    What I was talking about was the post that you did right before mine where you asked if I thought the G2 was the clearest protection (right after I said that I did). What happened to that post?


  • Matt February 18, 2003, 3:09 am

    off topic, I will PM you.

  • Ronin February 21, 2003, 3:40 pm

    I note in examining the pictures of the case that, on the front, there is a slight gap between the part of the case the covers the screen and flips up and the fix portion that covers the buttons. It also appears from the photos that this gap is not uniform, in that, there appears to be less of a gap on the right side then the left.

    Is this gap significant? Does it detract from the overall feel and look of the case? Am I correct that it is not uniform across the width of the T|T?

  • Julie February 21, 2003, 5:13 pm

    The gap is there. It’s very small though and regardless to the pictures, is uniform all the way across the front. It’s a non issue and isn’t noticable to me.

  • Ronin February 22, 2003, 1:46 pm

    Thanks for the information. I’ve got one on order.

  • plainsong March 6, 2003, 1:10 am

    I usually always get Vaja (heh, I’m now paying the price – we know why in another forum πŸ˜‰ ), but three things prevent me from getting this i-volution.

    1 – That gap in the picture. What’s the good of making a case that completely encloses the Tungsten if they can’t even get the front cover to fit without having a gap that would effect you if the Tungsten fell? It’s also different from their photos where there is no gap in the front. That bothers me.

    2 – They can’t make a case that completely closes, yet they leave the buttons completely covered? That doesn’t make sense…

    3 – Given the first snafu, and how it makes the second point seem strange, then cost does become an issue. If the case was flawless, then it’d be worth the money, but it’s not.

    Does anyone else here have the i-Volution? Is the gap a recurring feature?

  • deuro_mcfile March 28, 2003, 6:03 pm

    hi guys,

    I want to know which would be better?

    the pocket solutions T|T Cover up or the Proporta Aluminum?


  • M@rtin May 8, 2003, 1:37 am

    I so want one of these cases, but every time I get to the final checkout page on the Vaja site I come to my senses πŸ™‚ Given that I got a good deal on my Tungsten, I’d be paying nearly 50% of the cost just for a case…

    The trouble is that I’m spoiled by my I-volution case for my NR70V – I got it off ebay for a more sensible price, and I love the way that fits, it’s like a case that’s barely there. I’m sure Vaja would do more business if they brought their prices down a touch, or had promotions from time to time (other than the prerelease one).

    If anyone wants to sell one of these I’ll take it off your hands for a good price πŸ˜‰

  • M@rtin May 21, 2003, 8:58 pm

    Well thanks to the recent Vaja promotion I finally took the plunge and ordered a blue/black custom model. It arrived quicker than I thought, taking only 12 days from the order date, and that’s shipping to the UK.

    Initial thoughts are that it’s worth the expense πŸ™‚ The leather is very high quality, although I do notice that the grain of the black leather is coarser than the blue, which makes a nice contrast but I prefer the finer grain. If I had gone for the standard black case I think I would’ve felt misled if it didn’t look like the pics from Julie’s review and more like the ones on another site –

    The reason I like this case is that I hate the feel of anything “bulking up” my cool gadgets, and this is the thinnest and most invisible case I’ve used, including the proporta aluminium case. The fit and finish are perfect, and I don’t have the gap mentioned earlier – from the review pictures which show this, it could be that the cover wasn’t pushed down properly, as the cover could move up or down a fraction once it’s closed.

    One thing not mentioned in the review is that the cover tries to spring back to the front once it’s opened, which means that it wll obscure the screen if you use the Tungsten with the graffiti area closed. Once open, the extra height will hold the cover open. I guess this could change with use, if the cover hinge had more “give”, but could be a nuisance at first.

    Finally, the jury’s still out on the covered buttons issue… the application buttons are fine, but the navigator will take some getting used to. It’s only a minor thing to me, but again it could be a problem if you play games with the navpad.

    Overall I’m happy with it, and it will be the one case that I keep! The runners up were the Palm hard case, Proporta aluminium and Krusell multidapt (leather), which all had their good points but in the end weren’t quite my cup of tea πŸ™‚

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