PDA Case Review Roundup: Cases for the HP
iPAQ 5000 Series: Vaja, Piel Frama, E&B, Proporta and CASESonline
Vaja Flip Top Leather Case for iPAQ plus
standard CF Sleeve
Vaja has become the Mercedes of PDA cases.
You can read our general review of several of their cases
for other PDAs here. They use
top quality leather and each case has the story of Vaja cases
stamped into the interior back section of the case, giving
you that sense of old world charm and class.The case sells
for $54.90 without a belt clip and to $58.90 US with a belt
clip. You can order it with customizations such as embossing,
different card slot configurations, matching interior leather
lining and different colors for an additional fee. It takes
about 20 days for your case to be made, while the standard
model is usually ready to go.
We received standard
black case without an Ultra Clip belt clip for review.
Like all Vaja cases, it has a metal Vaja emblem on the
front flap and the Vaja story embossed inside the case.
The front flap has an attractive embossed pebbled leather
texture, and the sides and back of the case are finely-grained
smooth leather. The sides and "flippable" portion
are made of very flexible leather making it easy to get
the iPAQ in and out, and easy to open and close the case.
The back panel leather is still and supporting, and the
front flip has a rigid insert and padding to protect your
The case has a snap closure. Inside the flip
cover you'll find two credit card slots, two SD card slots
and a larger area behind these slots where you can store
paper money, receipts or business cards.
The Vaja case has a cut out for the WiFi antenna
and volume up/down rocker button. The top of the iPAQ is
unobscured when the case is open so the speaker, power button,
LEDs and SD slot are exposed. The case has a cut out for
the headphone jack so you'll be able to listen to MP3s while
the iPAQ is in its case. The reset button is also easy to
get to, as are the front buttons. You can sync via cable
but not cradle while the iPAQ is in its case.
This is a very well made case that looks very
classy. Not many manufacturers make cases for sleeved iPAQs,
and this is one of the nicest available. The leather is soft
where it should be and rigid where it should be, and the
case wears very well over the course of time.
Piel Frama is always on my short list for leather
PDA cases. Located in Spain, a country that's well known
for leather-making, Piel Frama offers a wide selection of
cases for many PDAs and mobile phones. You can read our general
review of many of their cases for other PDAs here.
We received their crocodile leather model for
review, which sells for 90 Euros (~$99 US). The case is also
available in ostrich for the same price or cow skin leather
for 60 Euros (~$67 US). The crocodile case is available in
black, while the ostrich is tan. The cow skin case is available
in black, tan and black and tan. The case is finished in
crocodile with cow skin leather sides and cow skin inside.
The crocodile finish looks elegant and has a tasteful sheen
and the cow skin leather is of excellent quality and is tightly
grained and aromatic. The case has a rear magnetic closure
that works very well, and has a removable belt clip. I love
their magnetic closure: no velcro noise, and no fiddling
to align a snap! The stitching matches the case color and
is finely done.
The case's cover and back are reasonably rigid,
offering good protection for your iPAQ. The case is contour-cut,
following the iPAQ's curved lines. Since it's a flip case,
all top-mounted items such as the power button, SD card slot,
speaker and LEDs are easily accessible. The front of the
case is quite open, and it doesn't get in the way of the
buttons or sync port (you'll still need to remove the iPAQ
from the case if you wish to sync using the cradle rather
than a cable).
There's a cut out for the WiFi antenna, and
headphone jack, reset button, bottom mic port and the volume
Inside the flip cover there are 2 SD card slots,
2 credit card slots and a larger slot that can hold money,
receipts and etcetera. The flip has enough play so that the
cards won't be pressed against your iPAQ's screen, unless
you squeeze it into a tight pocket.
This is one of my favorite iPAQ cases, and
I use it daily on my 5555. It looks absolutely gorgeous!
The case adds relatively little bulk while providing good
protection and easy access to the buttons and ports. Piel
Frama also makes cases for the iPAQ with CF sleeve, PCMCIA
sleeve, GPRS sleeve and even for the iPAQ with extended battery.
In face, they are the only maker I'm aware of that makes
a case for the iPAQ with the extended battery.
The slim, custom-fitted,
Slipper black leather case from E&B Cases is attractive,
provides good protection and is convenient to use. Constructed
in fine Napa cowhide leather, the Slipper case feels soft
in your hands and rigid on the edges thanks to re-enforced
inserts. Your iPAQ can be easily slid in and out of the
case and once inside, the unit feels very secure. The case
is a flip cover model with a small magnetic closure that
is strong enough to keep the cover shut securely.
You will find cutouts
for all ports, making them accessible while the unit is
placed inside the case. The volume rocker, headphone jack
and the reset button are very easy to get to. Since it’s
a flip cover case, top-mounted items such as the the speaker,
power button, LEDs and SD card and stylus are exposed when
you open the flip cover. There is a cutout on the top of
the case for the antenna. There's a cut out for the sync
port on the bottom, and you can sync via a cable but not
cradle when the unit is in the case.
On the front of the
unit, the Slipper case covers only about half inch around
the iPAQ, leaving the screen fully exposed and all the
front buttons naked. The flip cover has two business card
slots and two SD card slots inside a long pocket (to prevent
the cards from touching the screen. E&B Cases suggests
that you do not store credit cards in this case since there
is a magnetic strip.
The Slipper leather case adds very
little bulk to your iPAQ. It feels comfortably in your
hands and it looks professional in fine black leather with
a small stylish E&B badge on the cover. The leather
feels very soft and easy to work with, yet the rigid inserts
provide good protection for both the screen and the unit
itself. The case sells for $36.95, and $39.95 with a belt
If you're in the market for a hard case that
will help your iPAQ survive bangs and whacks, the Proporta
case is a great choice. Made of aluminum, the case is rigid
yet lightweight (1.7 ounces) and adds very little bulk to
your PDA. The interior of the case is lined with neoprene
so the iPAQ won't be scratched. The iPAQ snaps snuggly into
the case, firmly anchoring against the sleeve connector cut
out and it will definitely stay in place.
The case's edges are nicely machined and smooth
so they won't cause you any pain on contact, and the hinges
are sturdy and operate easily. The case closes via a compression
clip on the right side, and the front door has a gentle bevel
cut that leaves the speaker, power and LEDs exposed. The
sync connector cut out allows you to sync or charge the iPAQ
via cable, but not cradle. The top left side of the case
has a cut out for the volume up/down rocker, and the reset
hole and mic are exposed on the bottom for easy access.
An extremely sturdy case that will offer a
great deal of protection while adding very little weight
and bulk. It sells for $39.95 US.
CASESonline is an HP partner, and they make
the lovely leather case included with the iPAQ 5500 series
models. Their selection of iPAQ cases is simply amazing,
offering 10 different case designs that are each available
in quite a few styles (leather finishes and colors). Whatever
your needs and tastes may be, chances are they have a case
to suit. Their cases are well-crafted, stylish and custom
designed to fit each iPAQ model.
Deluxe Case, Madison Avenue Edition $64.75
The Deluxe case is available in no less that 11 different styles, each
of which is available in several colors. We received the Madison Avenue
model in tan, which is made of leather that has a smooth, glossy finish
that looks top quality and luxurious. The Deluxe model isn't intended
to be a slim case (CASESonline also makes slim cases). Rather it's
a full-featured model that has a refillable paper notepad that mounts
facing the iPAQ screen, and a wallet which closes with a separate snap
(see middle photo, right). The wallet has a section for paper money,
slots for three credit cards, two SD cards and a compartment suitable
for your driver's license under a plastic window.
Both the cover and back sections are reinforced
and are quite rigid, and they also have padding. The iPAQ
slides into the case and is held in place by a molded leather
surround. It truly fits like a glove and the PDA will stay
firmly in place. A stylus holder sits to the left of the
iPAQ. The case is held closed by a tab closure, and the inner
wallet has an additional snap closure.
There are cut outs for the headphone jack,
reset hole and sync port on the bottom. The top area is cut
down so as to not obscure the speaker, LEDs and power button.
You can connect the PDA to a sync cable but not cradle while
in the case. The top of the iPAQ is exposed, so you'll have
no problem getting to the SD slot and stylus.
This case is a strong contender! It has a very
high quality look, a molded surround that holds the iPAQ
firmly in place and plenty of protection. If you're looking
for a wallet + PDA case combo, this is a strong contender.
It's functional, well made and looks very classy. If you're
interested in slimmer cases, do check out their other offerings.