Compaq iPAQ (without expansion sleeves)
Vaja (located in Argentina) creates some of the nicest quality leather PDA cases available. They have done it again
with their iPAQ Sync-able case. This all leather padded case comes in a
variety of colors: Brown Buffalo Skin/Brown Leather, Black Plain Leather/Black
Plain Leather, Black Ostrich/Black Leather, Brown Grain Leather/Brown Leather,
Cognac Ostrich/Dark Tan Leather, Dark Tan Leather/Dark Tan Leather, Black Grain
Leather/Black Leather, Dark Green Grain Leather/Dark Tan Leather, and Tan
Ostrich/Black Plain Leather. The case that I’ll be reviewing is the Brown
Buffalo Skin with Brown Leather with belt clip. This case comes in both a belt
clip and non-belt clip version.
The belt clip version of this case uses a metal stud to lock into the belt
clip. The stud sticks out of the case less than .25in (.64cm). The belt clip
allows the case to swivel 360 degrees on the clip. This makes the case more
comfortable to wear while you are sitting because you can turn the case sideways
on your belt.
The iPAQ slides into and out of the case easily and fits it like a glove. The
PDA is almost entirely enclosed in leather. Only the top two corners and some of
the bottom of the PDA are exposed.
The cover and back of the case are padded. The cover also has an ABS plastic
insert that gives added protection to the screen when closed. The cover does not
use snaps or Velcro to hold it closed. Instead, it uses magnets that have been
sewn into the leather (you can not see them). On the inside of the cover there
are three card pockets. Two are regular sized card slots with one larger slot
behind them. Because the cover uses magnets to hold it closed, you should NOT
use credit cards with magnetic strips in the card slots. Doing so will probably
ruin the card.
The main cut out for the case allows you total access to the screen and all
the buttons. The leather is pretty thick around the application button area
which makes accessing the two outside buttons a little awkward. For everyday
use, this is no real problem, but if you play games that use these two outside
buttons, you might have some trouble.
There are also cut outs for the microphone, light sensor, battery charger LED
and power button. The leather is also thick in this area too which makes
pressing the power button difficult. Right handed people might find this more
annoying that lefties like me though. If you use your right thumb to turn the
iPAQ on, then you’ll probably have some trouble. I usually use my left thumb
which is easier.
The case also has a cutout for the voice recorder button. This makes it very
easy to use this feature while the PDA is in the case. The bottom of the case is
cutout to allow for syncing with the iPAQ cradle. The AC adapter port, serial
port and reset switch are also exposed.
This case allows you to sync with your PC without removing the PDA from the
case. I found that the case needs a good ‘breaking in’ period before syncing is
easy. You’ll need to press the PDA firmly into the cradle. When I first started
using the case, I had a real hard time getting syncing and battery charging to
work. After a week or so of inserting and removing the PDA from the cradle, it
started working pretty well. I still continue to have problems once in awhile
though. If the iPAQ cradle didn’t have that plastic post for the AC adapter
port, I think it would be much easier to use.
So, if you are thinkng about buying this case specifically so that you can
sync without removing it, be warned that you will probably have to work with the
case in order to get it to work. If you want this case because it is made
extremely well, looks great, and feels great, then it’s for you.
Price: $69.90 ($67.90 without belt clip)
Can sync and charge while in the case
Three card slots
Pressing the power button is difficult
Case requires a ‘breaking in’ period