Case Study: Vaja vs. Crystal

Last summer when I bought my E61i I knew it would need protection against the rigors of everyday use. So I spared no expense and ordered a custom-made handcrafted leather case from Vaja, based on the company’s excellent reputation and some pretty alluring photos. It’s a shame I didn’t read this first.

As this first photo (kind of) shows, the Vaja’s hard, plastic screen protector has gotten so scratched up after only a few months use that it’s interfering with the readability of my Nokia’s screen. This, combined with the growing realization that one’s mobile should best be hidden from view (instead of gaudily hanging from one’s belt or messenger bag for all to see) got me thinking about something better.

As I live only a few short blocks away from Toronto’s Chinatown I often seen these cheap, “crystal” hard plastic cases for phones — nobody in town seems to stock them for the E61i, but I found a dealer on eBay who offers them so cheap that I ordered two. And as you can see here, they look awesome!

I realize that I’m contributing to global warming by supporting non-recyclable plastic made in some third-world sweatshop, but at least I didn’t kill a cow! The hard plastic is not only more durable than the Vaja screen protector, but I swear there’s some kind of ultra-violet coating on it — my screen has never seemed so vibrant and sharp!

Another benefit is that all four corners of my Nokia are protected in case of a fall, though I’ve heard from other crystal case users that the two halves of the case usually shatter apart upon impact, so you’ll want to make sure you catch your phone on the first bounce!

All in all, for $2 CAD plus shipping you can’t really go wrong with one of these babies, unless your mobile has moving parts (i.e. it’s a clamshell or slider), though apparently you can buy crystal cases for those too…

By Andrew

Mobile phones, Linux and copyright reform. Those go together, right?


  1. AC:

    I wonder if you can clean up the Vaja plastic with a DVD repair kit? Not an ideal solution, but you could stilluse the Vaja case for those formal occasions.


  2. Tsk tsk, Ed… What could be more formal than fine crystal?


    Seriously, I did try some of this gunk, also bought from eBay on a previous occasion:

    But it did nothing, either because it only works on a glass surface or maybe because it’s a big, fat scam!

  3. I’m using a crystal case too and I’m quite happy with it. My E61i looks practically brand new up to now thanks to it. 🙂

  4. I saw some crystal shield with plastic add for keys, but you got to be sure that they “lay down” properly… The owner of that kind of shield said that is easier to use it with plastic on it, to write message etc… Are you sure that crystal shield really protect your phone or its some shiny thing to show off more? What about silicon ones… I have heard for invisible shield too, someone could tell something more about that…

  5. You can read more about invisibleSHIELD here — seems to me it’s best suited to fend off scratches while your device is in pocket.

    Silicon would be a step up from that but I still think a hard plastic case offers the best protection. The idea is that the case gives its life for your handset when it falls out of hand. Believe me, I’ve seen it — and it works!

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