While testing the Vodafone-branded Palm Treo 750v Windows Mobile device I had the opportunity to contact two case manufacturers to try their products with this new handheld.
For the last few weeks I've been using leather cases from Proporta and Vaja. Both are made to specification for the new Vodafone Palm Treo 750v, but cover (no pun intended) different aspects of "protection".
Below you will see some close up shots of each case and I will run a list of pros and cons at the end:
Front view: Vaja (left) and Proporta (right)
Back view: Vaja (left) and Proporta (right)
Proporta: inside detail with SD card holders
Things start with the impression on arrival. The Vaja comes beautifully presented in a white box, with a set of cards showing other products from its production line, while the Proporta comes in a plastic "tube".
The main difference between these products is the size. Both will protect the Vodafone Treo 750v, but the Vaja is more adequate if you are used to carry your device in the pocket or a bag (man bag or otherwise). It's very compact, compared with Proporta's model, which is builkier, with a front cover and a magnetic clasp.
The Proporta case will appeal to you if your main requirement is "one less thing to carry". In this version it comes with a belt clip, and it will give you quick access to your device. The belt clip is an optional for the Vaja, which you have to configure when ordering the case.
Next you have to consider what kind of operation you expect. With the Proporta a Bluetooth headset is mandatory, unless you want to fiddle with the case to remove the handheld before taking or making a phone call. With the Vaja you can have a Bluetooth headset, but the device fits nicely in the case, and you can easily place and receive calls without removing it.
Next is the access to the device as a PDA. With the Vaja you have access to your device as soon as it's out of the pocket, and its design allows for single hand operation without worries. The Proporta will give you access to the device but you won't be able to use it with a single hand, unless you remove it from the case.
Proporta: access to ring switch and stylus
Vaja: access to buttons and top
Vaja: access to bottom connectors
You also need to think about some other functionality - the access to the back of your device. To use the built-in digital camera you will have to remove the Vodafone Treo 750v from the Proporta case. This is also true for the speakerphone functionality. Both are easily available with the Vaja design, which provides cutouts in the back for the camera and speakerphone.
Another consideration is the protection itself. The Proporta model protects the screen, while the Vaja won't cover it. On the other hand, the Vaja provides for excellent paddings for the corners and edges - which were affected when I dropped my test device before using the cases. With the Vaja I recommend you use a screen protector shield, and that should be enough.
If you carry a couple of mini SD cards on you for media (music, videos) then you will probably like the Proporta model, with its builtin SD card holder.
The Vaja provides a small cutout in front of the LED, perfect for you to "read" information from your device, such as new e-mail or SMS and reminders indicators. This is not available on the Proporta.
Proporta: Vodafone Treo 750v fitted
Proporta: Vodafone Treo 750v fitted (detail)
Vaja: Vodafone Treo 750v fitted (keyboard detail)
Vaja: Vodafone Treo 750v fitted (top detail)
One thing that made me worry a bit about the Proporta case is that it doesn't have a "stop" at the bottom. In a sense it's good because it provides full access to connectors at the bottom of the device, but it also made me worry about the device going straight through it. It remained securely in the case though, thanks to the clasp on each side.
Craftmanship quality is excellent on the Vaja, and very good on Proporta's model. The leather on the Vaja seems to be finer than that used on Proporta models, which feels softer.
There is a clear difference between the products in terms of prices. As I write this, the Vaja i-volution (no clip) is priced at US$90, while the Proporta Treo costs US$34.95. But before you decide on which case to use based on price only, keep in mind all the features and differences pointed out before and check what are your exact needs to protect your (not so cheap) new handheld.