I think most of us will agree that despite the $250 price tag, the Sony PlayStation Portable has become a very popular handheld gaming device. The PSP costs about $100 more than the Nintendo DS, which seems to take it out of the realm of a kid’s play thing, and puts it into the hands of us bigger kids: adults with disposable income. PSP accessories appear to be a booming business. There are chargers, speakers, screen covers, and cases. Like most high end devices, we want to protect them from scratches and everyday wear and tear. But how much disposable cash will adult PSP owners part with to protect their “toy” in style? Do they have enough to pay within $70 of the device’s original cost? Are they nuts for even considering it?
For those of us in the PDA community, the name Vaja goes hand in hand with quality and luxury. Now hardcore gamers can join the club with the i-Volution Leather Suit for the Sony PSP. This all leather play-through case is the snazziest one for the PSP that I’ve seen to date. If we just want to judge it solely on beauty, it wins hands down. But with a price tag of $180 (without personalization or a custom logo), this case better be great. Is it? I’ll give you a tour, then you can be the judge.
This case is available in 29 solid color versions, or 15 combination color versions. I received the Black and Red combo version for review. Like many times before, the first thing that hit me as soon as I opened the box, was the overwhelming scent of leather. Yum! Next was the feel of the smooth leather.
Vaja has outdone themselves with this case design. It is quite innovative. The bottom shell of the case splits into a top layer and bottom layer. The PSP slides between and gets snapped in place by two metal snaps. When in place, the PSP is not going to fall out of this case as the leather has been expertly molded to fit the exact shape of the PSP body.
The leather that makes up the top part of the ‘holster’ is flexible, yet rigid. There is one cutout that allows for full access to all of the buttons on the face of the gaming device. The bottom portion of the case is also rigid and slightly padded.
The screen cover part of the i-Volution is very stiff… almost like a quality guitar case. Inside are 3 Memory-stick Duo slots. These slots look like they might be spring loaded, but they are not. As such, it is somewhat difficult to remove the cards once they are in the slots.
A cool feature of the cover is the ability to fold it under the main portion of the case to act as a stand. In this orientation, you could watch a movie on the PSP while resting it on your desk.
When the cover is closed, the PSP is almost entirely protected by leather. The only parts of the PSP left exposed are the shoulder buttons, lanyard attachment point, and Memory-stick Duo slot cover.
The i-Volution is a play-through case. By all rights, you really shouldn’t have a need to remove it from the case once it is snapped in. The cover hangs down below your hands while holding the PSP. This allows for comfortable game play.
The cover also can be folded out of the way so that you can easily swap game discs.
As far as design and aesthetics, the Vaja i-Volution case has no rivals. This thing is just plain gorgeous. It’s made extremely well, and feels comfortable to hold while playing games. The only real problem with this case is the price. Paying $180 to protect a $250 device seems crazy when you could buy the $12 Brando Aero case and use the other $168 on games. Of course there are going to be people that will buy this case because for them it’s all about style. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with that… If you have the cash, it’s yours to spend as you see fit. For me, I would save the $$’s and spend it on games instead. But that’s just me. Which type of person are you? Are you one of those people that will buy one?