This is the third case I recently received to try with my iPhone 5 from Vaja Cases. The Leather Grip Hardshell Case for iPhone 5 is a leather-wrapped hard backcover case. It’s quite different from the Vaja flip-cover cases I recently review. (Check the related links at the bottom of the review.) This case is for the person who wants to protect the back and sides of their iPhone 5 while leaving the touchscreen completely uncovered. Let’s give it a look.
All images can be clicked for a larger view.
The Grip Hardshell is hand-made from “Argentinian Floater leather and features an embossed Caterina leather interior.” It comes in a variety of ready-to-ship colors, or you can customize your colors if they don’t have what you want. I received the black and rosso color combination. The interior leather is embossed with diagonal rows of the Vaja name and logo. You can see the big, vaguely teardrop-shaped opening for the iPhone 5′s back camera, flash, and noise-reduction microphone. The case is beautifully assembled.
Like the flip cases, the backcover has a hard shell that’s encased in the leather.
Here’s the front of the iPhone 5. You can see the edges of the case wrap up and over the chamfered edges of the metal sides. There is nothing to interfere with using the Home button, the front camera, phone earpiece, or the proximity/ambient-light sensor. You can also see large gaps in the coverage of the sides of the phone.
The SIM tray is completely covered by the Grip case. You’ll have to remove the case if you need to access the SIM. The other side has a large opening for the mute slider and the volume buttons. I can use these controls with no problems while the iPhone 5 is wearing the case.
The power/sleep switch is open and easily usable. The bottom speaker and microphone grills are uncovered, as are the Lightning and earphone ports. Even the 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter can be used with the iPhone 5 in this case.
The Grip Hardshell also comes with a protective suede pouch. Unlike the pouches with the flip-cover Vaja cases, this pouch isn’t long enough to cover the entire length of the phone. Part of the front screen and part of the back of the case are left unprotected and vulnerable to scratches when carried in your pocket or gear bag.
I am a bit disappointed in the too-short pouch, but I like the Grip Hardshell case. It does add some bulk to the svelte iPhone 5, but it also adds some “grip” to the slippery phone. You can use all the controls and connectors with ease, and the case adds some color and some protection to the phone. This simple, protective leather hardshell case is ideal for the person who doesn’t need the screen protection afforded by the Vaja flip covers and who doesn’t want to deal with a dangling front cover while using the phone. At $70, it’s in line with many other leather cases.