jkOTR review: Vaja Balance case for Zune


If you’ve ever searched for a stylish mobile device case, you undoubtedly know the name Vaja. Vaja designs and crafts some of the most beautiful leather cases that not only look good, but they protect your mobile mojo on the go. When I bought my Zune, I didn’t even give a thought about a case, given that there weren’t too many accessories at launch. Sure enough, Vaja had Zune cases right after the Zune launch and they were kind enough to send me a Balance model. Included in the package was the case and three screen protectors; simply remove the blue plastic (shown right) and you have a perfectly clear protector (shown left).

In typical Vaja fashion, the case is well designed and simply gorgeous. I’m not a belt-clipper, so I asked Vaja to omit that option for me. I like a clean and simple look that allows me to fully use my device, so the Balance case was a good option. Here you can see that the screen protector fits between the Zune and the case:


I still have access to all of the hardware buttons on the Zune; the front buttons are directly available thanks to the cut-out on the screen protector, while the hold button, headphone jack and synch port are usable thanks to openings directly in the case:



I’ll try to head off one question before someone even poses it: does the screen protector reduce the screen clarity or add any additional glare? The answer to both is: no, not in my experience. The clear plastic is perfectly clear and I see no more (nor any less) glare from the protector than from the direct Zune screen. You be the judge with these two pics:



Aside from the goofball with the old glasses in the above video, you can see that the screen looks pretty clear. In fact, I can almost read the WaWa label on my coffee.

Vaja offers the Zune Balance case at a starting price of $50, with customizations bumping up the price from there. There are over 1,000 possible custom combos based on color, clip and more, so you’re bound to find a case to your liking. If you prefer a more protective case, Vaja also offers the Classic model which provides more leather to lovingly wrap around your Zune; you can also get a flip cover on the Classic. For now, I’m thrilled with the Balance: it offers the perfect "balance" of form, function and fashion for my Zune.