1. drmoze's Avatar
    I admit I'm a sucker for the gorgeous Vaja leather cases since I got one for my old Sony NW-HD5 music player a few years back. My gf is still using her Vaja Pearl case after 2+ years. The Vaja leather cases have a Borg-like integration with the electronic devices they cover, and my new 8900 case is no exception.

    I purchased the Vaja Balance case (with no clip option) from the Vaja website (Vaja - Leather Products). These are custom-made cases and mine arrived (from Argentina) 2.5 weeks after placing my order. I got the green gables color, which is a bit darker/greyish and a more subtle green than their website pic. I love the color. (Sorry for not posting a pic yet;you can visit the website and I will update with a pic when I can.)

    The Balance case is a play-through case with a front cutout for the screen and keyboard. The case fits like a snug glove, and becomes one with the 8900. (I have a full-body BSE skin on my 8900, and it fits in the case perfectly.) Some comments on the case itself, before I get to the fit and functionality:

    Vaja uses high-quality, thin leather with a fine, subtle grain. There are cutouts for the side volume rocker, micro-usb charging port, and both function keys. There's a thin screened cutout for the front speaker, and a small cutout on the top right with a cloudy plastic insert for the LED indicator. There's also a tiny screened cutout on the bottom edge, left side, and I don't even know what the hole under there is for. (Is that the mic?) The camera lens/flash on back are enclosed by an elongated oval cutout as well. None of these cutouts have exposed stitching--just smooth, turned-in leather edges. Very clean and neat.

    The back of the case is a stiff flat surface that matches the outside silhouette of the 8900. The sides and bottom of the case are stitched to this back along the edges with tight, neat stitches that are dyed to match the leather. Very subtle and neat. The bottom corners of the case are open, and the top of the sides end symmetrically where the right-side headphone jack is. (This is so you can grasp the upper corners of the 8900 and pull it out of the case.)

    The inside of the case front and sides is covered with a thin fabric, and the inside of the stiff back is covered with leather embossed with "Vaja" in a repeating diagonal pattern. Even the edges and finish on the inside of the case are neat and flawless, with no exposed rough edges. Oh yeah--and the leather smells great!

    Now for how it works. The 8900 slides in smoothly and snugly. Right away, the distinction between case and blackberry becomes blurred, as they form a symbiotic whole. The front is really nice--the cutout around the screen widens slightly around the keyboard area. Again, the edges are all thin and smooth, allowing full screen visibility and access to the endmost keys with no problem. This clean edge finish of the Vaja cases is one of my favorite aspects--it really is beautiful. There is also a uniform sliver of chrome visible around the edges of the keyboard.

    The cutouts on the side buttons are perfectly placed. You may need to use the tip or edge of your finger to press them through the cutouts, but the buttons don't feel too obstructed--just about enough to help avoid accidental presses. The top front of the case follows the contour of the 8900, so it's a bit lower than the downward sloping top of the 8900.

    The interesting part of this case is the stiff back panel. The edges are smooth and hard, with stitching along the upper/lower surfaces but not the edge itself. The edges of the back actually stick out a tiny bit from the softer sides because the sides slope inward a bit (following the side contour of the 8900). But the back panel has the same outline as the overall 8900 perimeter, so it doesn't extend beyond the phone itself. What I found is that this makes the 8900 much easier to grip no matter how you hold it, with this smooth edge of the back panel providing a little ledge that is comfortable to hold from all angles. (Even when I occasionally do a bit of one-handed typing with a bit of a thumb stretch!)

    Overall, the Vaja case feels like a part of the 8900. It is very comfortable, doesn't make the 8900 feel bulky at all, and is the most elegant case I've seen. Check it out!
    Last edited by drmoze; 04-12-09 at 10:00 PM.
    04-07-09 02:56 PM
  2. Lightninrod's Avatar
    Excellent review! Thank you and I'm looking forward to your pics of the case.

    I don't have a BB yet but I have been desiring a Storm since last Nov. In addition, I've become enamored of the Vaja cases. I want one almost as much as I want a Storm.

    I just had a possible negative thought about them though. What about the normal heat created by using your BB? Does the leather make the device any hotter?

    Congrats on your new Vaja!
    04-07-09 08:56 PM
  3. drmoze's Avatar
    I don't think the case would make the BB run dangerously hotter. No possible ventilation spots are blocked either.

    BTW, I did see a decent video review of a Vaja Storm case on youtube. It was a white case with the flip cover. Easy to find with a search.Looked nice too!
    04-07-09 09:22 PM
  4. Lightninrod's Avatar
    I've seen the video. One of the reasons for my obsession.
    04-08-09 11:57 AM
  5. karaz's Avatar

    BTW, I did see a decent video review of a Vaja Storm case on youtube. It was a white case with the flip cover. Easy to find with a search.Looked nice too!
    I can't seem to find this video searching vaja + storm, vaja + blackberry, etc. but i'm not very good with the youtube lol. could you (or anyone) post a link pretty please? thanks!
    04-08-09 01:07 PM
  6. BLAZE X's Avatar
    Good review..
    04-08-09 05:55 PM
  7. walkingrock's Avatar
    Excellent review! Thank you and I'm looking forward to your pics of the case.

    I don't have a BB yet but I have been desiring a Storm since last Nov. In addition, I've become enamored of the Vaja cases. I want one almost as much as I want a Storm.

    I just had a possible negative thought about them though. What about the normal heat created by using your BB? Does the leather make the device any hotter?

    Congrats on your new Vaja!
    I have not noticed any additional heat. I did notice that my phone heated up some in the OEM silicone case (black with the white design on the back).
    04-11-09 10:06 PM
  8. drmoze's Avatar
    As a follow up, I am finding that I REALLY like the design of this case, with the protruding edge of the stitched back panel. It makes gripping the 8900 much easier and more reliable with one or 2 hands, in all sorts of positions. When I was using the 8900 by itself (just a BSE full-body skin), it felt kind of slippery with the curved edges all around. Now it sits securely in my hand, but still feels small and light, and looks a whole lot better!
    04-19-09 12:56 PM
  9. Tlynnsmith's Avatar
    The 8900 slides in smoothly and snugly. Right away, the distinction between case and blackberry becomes blurred, as they form a symbiotic whole.
    That whole statement was great. You almost made me get out the credit card.
    04-19-09 04:01 PM
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