Allow me to preface this review by saying that, as a Blackberry user, Iâ€™m not really much of a case guy. For me, the case/holsterâ€™s social stigma, general aesthetic unpleasantness and the fact that my svelte 8700 slides into my pocket without becoming a bulky mass in my pants outweighs any protection/battery life extension benefits. But when Vaja sent us some of their slick looking RIO51 cases to try out, we were eager to see if they could reconcile fashion with functionality.
I have to start by saying that these are definitely some sexy cases. Both the plain Vitelino and combined Aniline models are so cool looking that theyâ€™ll instantly turn the average server admin into a trendy L.A. socialite ready for a night on the town (almost). Question to the people at Vaja, however: why send us the gaudy â€˜golden ochreâ€™ and â€˜purple plumeriaâ€™ Aniline case when you have so many better color schemes (personal preference: black with â€˜latteâ€™ colored floater)? Thankfully, one of the main benefits to Vajaâ€™s cases is their customibility. For each case model, you can choose your color scheme, lining and clip-on type, and personalized text or logos â€“ for a price. Personalizing your case in any significant way will likely push the starting price of $75 USD to at least a $100.
The cases are made of sturdy leather that looks tough enough to handle some abuse while still maintaining their elegant style. When you slide in your BlackBerry, youâ€™ll notice that it fits nice and snug, as well as an annoying design flaw. The leather casing somewhat limits your access to the scroll wheel, but this is a minor thing that stops bothering you after 15 minutes of getting used to it. However, there is inexplicably no space cut out on either side for the cancel or convenience buttons at all, being replaced instead with thinner pieces of marked leather to indicate where the buttons lie underneath. Although the leather will prevent wear and tear on your precious Blackberry buttons, I found it to be inconsistent and frustrating. Pressing these buttons now requires a lot more force to ensure that you get the desired result, and I never became comfortable using them.
If you can get past this flaw, Vajaâ€™s case becomes a sturdy and sexy (albeit expensive) option for your 8700 Blackberry. Although Iâ€™m still not convinced that a case is necessary, Iâ€™d recommend the RIO51 to anyone looking for high quality leather protection that doesn’t mind givin’ ‘er on the cancel button.
For more info on Vaja cases, visit their website: