I think that it’s safe to say that most of the gadget geeks that read this site will automatically think of one company when a person mentions the words leather and luxury in the same sentence. That company is Vaja. But did you all know that Vaja wasn’t the first company to bring opulent PDA / gadget cases to market? Before Vaja, there was a company in Italy called Ondata. Ondata later turned into Orbino. While not as prolific as Vaja, Orbino cases mix old world craftsmanship with a touch of industrial design.
A week or so ago, I opened a package to find a small Red box with the words Orbino and Italy stamped on the lid. My heart quickened just a little, because I knew something special was waiting to be discovered inside.
Under the lid, Black velvet kept the prize a secret for just a bit longer. Ah, there it is, the Orbino Cambio iPod video leather case.
Under the case lay a signed certificate of authenticity from the artisan that hand crafted this piece.
The Cambio is made specifically for the 30, 60 and 80GB versions of the Apple iPod Video. It is available in Black calfskin, Brown embossed crocodile, Brown saddle leather and Cognac hand-stained leather. I was sent the Brown saddle leather version to review.
The leather used to construct this case is thick and rigid. Edges are hand burnished and lacquered with 4 coats of special protective polish. The end result is a shiny smooth rounded edge.
The case is made up of two pieces of leather that are hand stitched together using high tensile woven waxed thread. I haven’t had the case long enough to judge the strength of the thread, but it appears to be rugged enough to withstand most day to day abuse.
The most eye catching feature of the Cambio is the click-wheel frame finished in Palladium. Palladium is a precious metal of the Platinum family. Mounted with four micro screws, this polished frame gives this old world styled case a slight industrial flare that I really like.
With the iPod in place, access to the click-wheel and display is not hindered. Although the metal frame is thick and is raised above the face of the iPod, I didn’t have any problems pressing the buttons or scrolling through lists.
The leather around the display cutout doesn’t quite lay flat. I’m sure with prolonged use and wear, this will not be a problem.
On the bottom of the Cambio, there is a cutout for the charge / dock connector. It’s suffice to say that you will not be able to fit your iPod into an iPod dock while it is inside this case… But using a cable will not be a problem.
The Cambio does use thick leather, so there will be added bulk. Just a small price to pay if you want your iPod to look this good. A naked iPod video (60gb version) weighs in at 5oz. With the Cambio, that goes up to 7oz.
Included with the case are 2 clear Durashield screen protector plastic inserts. It is recommended that you place the insert over the face of the iPod while it is in the case. I found that it is very difficult to insert / remove the iPod from the Cambio when you use the inserts. The case is already a very snug fit, but when you use the insert, you really have to wrestle to remove it. Also the inserts make it really difficult to use the click-wheel. I think the main reason why it is suggested that the inserts be used is because the metal click-wheel frame wraps around to the inside of the case. Orbino might be afraid that the face of the iPod will scrape against this metal and scratch. I’ll admit that I was worried about this myself, but upon close inspection I could see that my particular case is constructed in such a way that the metal frame does not touch the face of the iPod.
Also included with the Cambio is a spring belt clip. Also finished in Palladium, this clip doubles as a desk stand.
One side of the clip slides into the leather slot on the back of the case. A hole in the slot lines up with a hole in the clip, so that you can secure it with a small thumb screw. It’s important to note that there isn’t a stop for the screw, so don’t tighten it too far or it might protrude through the leather.
I wouldn’t recommend using this clip on your belt. It isn’t strong enough in my opinion to trust its grip.
As a table stand, the clip raises the iPod to a comfortable viewing angle for watching videos.
I really love the style of this case. The workmanship that has gone into it is very apparent. It actually takes 1 craftsman half a day to create one of these. So when you consider that and the quality materials that it is composed of, the price tag really seems more than fair.