Review: Vaja iVolution Sleeve with Leather Handles (and Vaja Euro Wallet)

by James Bain Aug 24, 2007

Who do you trust with your money? Well, with every purchase you make, you’re making that choice, right? That’s why I like to review an array and range of products, some of which really don’t fit into most people’s idea of impulse purchases.

Right now, and for some time now, my favourite electronics focused leather goods come from Vaja.

I’ve reviewed a Video iPod case,  a Nano 2G sleeve, and their Motorola RAZR cellphone case previously and was pleased to have a chance to look at their iVolution Sleeve for MacBook Pro.

Firstly, the great fun of ordering from Vaja is their interactive customization. From a variety of models and options, you can change your colours and options on a device case on the fly and get a very reasonable and accurate representation of the eventual product on-screen right away. So, if you’re wondering about a colour choice or something, you can see it right away.

Looking at all the colours the iVolution sleeve was available in, I chose “Rosso” and liked the look. My wife thought it looked pink but I was sure “rosso” meant red and to my near colour-blind eyes it looked fine. Well, I must be more attuned to judging screen colours than she because the case did arrive in all its black and red splendour and looks quite spiffy.

To get it out of the way, Vaja has the best custom leather stuff I’ve handled. Each item is, because of the volume of possibilities, made up as you order it and you receive it with that new leather smell that I’ve always liked. Quality finish and dyeing, I’ve never had problems with colour matches or dye bleeding off. This is leather and high quality, so you’ll not want to use any of their things in the sandbox or while rock climbing. Think of your best pair of shoes and where you’d feel safe wearing those, and you’ve got a good guide of the environment for any similar high-end accessory.

Because of its price and quality, I’d class the iVolution MacBook Pro sleeve as a boutique bag. I’ve done some inadvertent window shopping recently at some pretty expensive shops ($1200 for a pair of off the rack trousers!) and have seen the leather goods they all have. They tend to be black, they tend to be shiny, they tend to have logos on them, and they tend to be maybe $1000 for a laptop bag and I’m not sure why. I think if I were to be the sort of person shopping those places regularly, for $1200 trousers and such, I’d just have one of my entourage carry my laptop for me. Come to think of it, I’d probably have them use it for me as well. “Google “bog butter,” for me, Nigel! I *must* know!”

Anyhow, you can spend as much money as you want (though not necessarily need) and not get a product as good as anything Vaja has.

The iVolution sleeve is, as I said, competitive in quality and style to these boutique bags ( and superior in many ways). It is designed for absolute minimalists. There is room for your MacBook Pro—and it is well protected—and nothing else. Not even a pad of paper. You would use this for taking your laptop to some place where you were sure you would only need to use it for less than a battery charge (or have multiple power adapters like I do). A brief meeting, for example, or something like that. But you will do that in style. Take a look at some of the pictures of this bag. It is truly amazing. I love the way the contrasting colour works. I love the way the bag zips up tight as a glove. I love the fact that it has a very well thought out padding system. This product is a great presentation.

Good, consistent quality. Great looks and style. Very substantial protection. And that new leather smell, which goes away, eventually, but still….

I give the iVolution Sleeve a 90%. My only beef is that I’d love a way to carry a power adapter with it too, but then it wouldn’t be a sleeve, it’d be something else. And I *can* live with this. If you are looking for a very distinctive and gorgeous laptop sleeve, this is it. No need to hang around the boutiques looking for something. I’ve saved you the time and done the shopping for you.

Now, as a related note, I started by asking who you would trust your money with. Funny enough, in and amongst a lot of other leather goods (check their site for sure—lots there) Vaja makes leather wallets. I have a very distinctive preference in wallets. I must have two sections for bills and paper. I must have a small change pocket to keep the coins from shredding my iPod. And I must have room for a reasonable amount of plastic cardage. I don’t have a tonne of credit cards and the like, but I have some, and I don’t like wallets that assume I have no more than three.

The Vaja Euro wallet meets all those expectations and more. There are three flap-sides for a total of nine or so cards (you could double up), and one of these has a clear plastic face so you can show an ID card quickly. It’s Euro-style, so I guess that means it can carry those big wide pound notes and things. The leather is typically awesome, as it is on all Vaja products, and the colour customizable. I’ve carried this Euro wallet non-stop for a couple of months now and once it breaks in, to the amount of money you carry, to the average amount of change and cards and so forth, it comfortably shapes itself to accommodate. And still looks great. I almost like spending money now, since the wallet looks so good. Very well thought out. Very practical. And definitely something, if you’re already placing an order with Vaja for something else, you might want to add on. You won’t regret it. I’ve gone through so many different wallets over the years that I’m always frustrated trying to find one I like that works when the old one gets worn out (it happens, but not frequently). I’m glad I found the Vaja Euro and I’m torn between just hoping they keep making these in ten years or so when I might be looking to replace this one, of just buying the extra one now.

The Euro wallet gets 95%. I can’t imagine not using this, and life without it would be a pale and feeble shell, a mockery of all joy and happiness. The only way it could get a higher rating would be if they included a wad of 100 Euro notes in each wallet, for the same cost. It’s that good.


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