Review: Vakaadoo Domino iVak case for Video iPod 5G

by James Bain May 11, 2007

Some time ago, my iPod bit dirt off-warranty and I had to do a spot of phone and mail tag with my credit card company to get their very very backup extended replacement warranty honored.

As soon as the familiar brown box from Apple arrived with my replacement iPod in it, I pulled out my iVak and slapped the baby smooth iPod into it, with a screen protector, before taking another breath.

When I first got the original Video iPod, I was a little harsh or rough with it for a little while before I found a case, and it had been carrying around a number of dings and scratches as a result. While there exist many good products (and some excellent) for removing these age marks, it’s better not to start with the marks to begin with, so right from the beginning of its life with me this new-to-me iPod was immediately encased.

There are many schools of thought on cases. Some are for looks, some are for convenience, some are for protection. We could draw a triangle of these three points and graph out the footprint of each case I’ve ever reviewed. I have some that are very high on the protection and convenience sides, bullet proof in two meters of water, and I have other cases that are gorgeous, usable, but might be damaged by a stiff wind or a ferocious butterfly. And, yes, I have seen some that are so unusable that they’d be out-performed by a quick wrap of cling film and a strip or two of duct tape.

As a pocket case, the Vakaadoo Domino iVak case for Video iPod 5G is really quite impressive. Its material is good and it’s got a slim line that adds only a few millimeters to the case dimension. The screen is completely covered and with the addition of a front screen shield, your iPod is only open at the top for the hold switch and headphone port and at the bottom for the sync cable. Presently only available in Black and White, which matches the iPod colors, it’s a good stealth case and really is quite unobtrusive. Which is a good thing generally, if you like the iPod look. I do and I think this is a novel way to let the Apple design shine through. Because of this, and the quality of the manufacture and design, I’d rate it very high in the looks department.

Now, convenience is relative to the user, but in most of my day-to-day use, I either strap on my iPod or drop it into a pocket. As such, I want to be able to get to my controls quickly and easily, and need to get it in front of my eyes easily, either off my belt or out of my pocket with a minimum of fuss.

I don’t use docks, so I can’t attest to this case’s dock fit. I do, however, use a variety of cables, for sync and power and peripherals. I had no problem connecting any Apple-branded devices, but some third-party cables whose plugs are just a bit wider and bulkier than the Apple standard size did not fit. Frustrating, maddening, but in most cases I’ve opted to stay with the iVak and make do without these other devices. It does very well on convenience.

If you’re the sort of person who wants to protect your iPod, and protect it well, but you don’t want a whole lot of excess, Vakaadoo’s offerings are definitely worth looking at seriously. The cases do get scratched up a bit if you put them in your pocket with your keys and such, but it’s the case that’s getting scratched, not the iPod. The most delicate part of the case is the screen, but it’s definitely not as delicate as your usual iPod screen, so that’s good. The lacquer-finish plastic of these cases is very durable and it scratches a lot less than some clear plastic cases I’ve carted around as well. One thing to be aware of, however, is that these cases snap on firmly and you’ll want to be sure to keep the plastic key card that ships with your case. At first it may not seem important, but it really is the best thing I’ve found to unsnap the case and free my device for those occasions where something more bullet- or water-proof is needed. Keep the card! A dime works as well, but chews at the plastic a bit so is to be avoided. It does very well on protection.

If someone asked me right now what case I’d buy if I wasn’t allowed to buy any other case, it’d probably be the iVak. It’s a great all-around design, which rates very highly in all three of our case axises. It’s tough, it looks nice, it doesn’t bulk up your iPod, and it is compatible with most sensibly designed iPod peripherals I’ve tried. To give it a score, I’d give it an 85%, no, make that a 90%! It’s the best all-around case I’ve used to date, no exceptions.


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