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Old 11-04-2004, 06:00 PM
Suhit Gupta
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Default Vaja IR-21 iRiver iHP-140 Case Review


Product Category: Accessories
Manufacturer: Vaja Leather Products
Where to buy: Vaja online store
Price: $49.90

  • Sexy design;
  • Wonderful smell;
  • Professional look;
  • Genuine leather;
  • Comfortable feel.
  • Belt clip models are sold separately (mine came without);
  • No access to optical ports.
I have two other cases that I got from iRiver directly and I wasn't impressed with either. This was my first Vaja case and I wasn't sure what to expect, but it fits the iRiver really well, and is quite convenient to use, not to mention that it is extremely slick looking. I would definitely recommend it.

What’s in the Box

Figure 1: The Box.

Figure 2: What you get inside.

The packaging is excellent, not at all comparable to the horrible molded plastic casing that the iRiver iHP 140 itself came in. The packing reminds me of something Apple would send. And of course, as soon as you open it, you can immediately smell that awesome aroma of real leather. There is a manual, a small how-to that tells you what not to do with your case, and a booklet of other Vaja products. Very nicely done, I am impressed.

The IR-21

Figure 3: The Vaja IR21 and the iRiver iHP-140 side-by-side.

The IR21 is a beautiful case made from genuine leather, and you can tell right away by the look, feel, and smell. It is extremely light and is available in a multitude of colors. It is available in embossed and non-embossed forms, with or without a belt clip. My review case is all black, which goes quite well with the color of the iRiver iHP. What I like most is the extremely clear pastic that covers the display. One often finds that the display covers are dirty or scratched; that is not the case here.

Figure 4: A snug fit, but it looks good.

The case fits snugly over the iRiver and protects the device quite well. The case does not at all feel slippery.

Figure 5: Left view of the iRiver + case.

The left side of the case has a large opening to accomodate the microphone as well as the record button (that activates the microphone).

Figure 6: Right view of the iRiver + case.

The right side has a perforation for the Hold button and another large opening (like the left side) for the play/pause, stop and A/B buttons. I am glad there aren't individual perforations because that can often make those buttons hard to operate as they get too recessed.

Figure 7: Back view, the clasp and the perforations for USB and power.

There is a button on the back of the case that clips the case close. It fits perfectly so I did not have to struggle with the MP3 player or the case. The jog dial is perfectly accessible and so are the audio outputs on the top and the charge & USB slots at the bottom. Very nicely done.

Compared To...

Figure 8: The competition.

So I got two cases from iRiver directly when I bought the audio player. You see them pictured here (the one on the left if Vaja's). You can tell from the wonderful shine on the Vaja case the difference in quality of the three cases. iRiver sells cases in two colors as far as I can tell, brown and black.

Figure 9: All three cases lined up with the player.

Neither of the iRiver cases are very flattering in looks and the clear part of the case is not very clear thus making the display hard to read. The Vaja has no such problem. Also, you might be able to tell that the iRiver cases look slightly smaller than the Vaja case. That is because they are a little too tight, so it was not only a challenge to get the iHP-140 in there but a major pain trying to take it our without destroying my device.

Figure 10: Left view of all the cases.

The brown iRiver case has an opening on the left like that of the Vaja but the black case only has a slot for the record button. There are three small perforations for the microphone but I find that there is a slight audio quality drop when recording using the black iRiver case. The brown iRiver case and the Vaja case do not suffer from this.

Figure 11: Right view of all the cases.

Similar setup with the right hand side. The black iRiver case makes it hard to operate the buttons on the iHP 140, especially if I try and fiddle with the buttons when the device is in my pocket.

So the brown iRiver case is about the same as the Vaja case; however they spoil it by using Velcro as the closing mechanism instead of a button or a clasp. The black iRiver case uses a button, but like I mentioned above, has other problems. The Vaja case does it right.


Figure 12: Holding the device with the case.

As you may have been able to tell by now, I really like the Vaja IR21. The professional look and feel make the case extremely usable and the snug fit reassures me that my audio player will be safe from any further scratches.
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