Renowned Argentinian leather case maker Vaja has got a track record for creating top-notch leather cases exclusively for the best smartphones and tablets on the market, with only minor tweaks and improvements along the way. The company rarely deviates from its classic offerings and usually adapts its famous case designs to every new device. And although that may seem somewhat boring and repetitive which it may be to repeating customers, Vaja's long-standing series of cases have proven themselves to be compelling luxury offerings we tend to recommend. And so today we're going to be taking a look at Vaja's Agenda case for the Samsung Galaxy S4, a premium handmade leather folio-style flip case. The Agenda case for the Galaxy S4 is one of the poshest leather cases around. It's like taking your Galaxy S4 on an expensive date, and you're paying buddy. What have we got to say about it? Find out after the break!
Like Vaja's Top Flip case we reviewed for the iPhone 5/S, the Agenda is presented inside a protective suede leather slip-pouch. With any Vaja case, the first thing that jumps at you is the fresh leather scent that explodes when you first open up the box. A telltale sign that high-quality leather was used in the making of this case which really comes to no surprise. Vaja is one of our favorite leather case manufacturers that uses some of the best leather available to craft its protective and stylish cases. When you're spending $90, in this case on the Agenda case, you expect an indulging experience. That's exactly what you get, and it starts from the first moment you unbox it.
Usually Vaja cases have a different colored interior that's always lined with embossed smooth leather. Our particular Agenda case is known as the Black & Red flavor, and there are 4 other color combinations available to choose from that are in stock and ready to ship. But if you feel like picking a color that isn't available from those 4 options, for $110 you can customize both the exterior and the interior of your Agenda case with a slew of 49 different available leather color options.
Once the Galaxy S4 is nestled inside the Agenda's hugging embrace, the fit is as ever snug and secure. Under all of that leather lies a rigid polycarbonate frame that not only ensures the device it lovingly encases is fully protected, but it also gives the Agenda its sturdy from factor and assuring fit. Surprisingly, the Agenda hasn't got Vaja's "talk-through" earpiece cutout in the front cover which is found on the Top Flip case. It enables you to talk on the phone with the cover closed much like Samsung's own Flip Cover.
Nonetheless, we tried talking with the cover closed and we could actually hear clear audio coming out of the Galaxy S4's earpiece. Although it may not sound as good as it does with the talk-through earpiece feature, one could still hold a conversation with the front cover closed. So if you're coming from using the Flip Cover, it may not be such a bad idea. As we mentioned before, it definitely feels more pleasant when you're putting supple leather up against your ear instead of plastic.
In order to secure its front cover flap, the Agenda features a magnetic closure tab that wraps over the right edge of the case as it secures the cover up against the Galaxy S4. While not as impressive or as clean as Vaja's concealed magnetic closure system found on the Top Flip case we've reviewed, it does get the job done just as well. As nice as it is, prefer the innovative capsule-like magnetic closure system and streamlined design of the Top Flip compared to the Agenda's unsophisticated closure tab which really just feels like an extra piece that somewhat also ruins the ease of use and overall aesthetics of the Agenda case.
Taking a look behind the case we see that magnetic closure tab poking off to the side as well as the camera and flash cutout. Covering the Galaxy S4's back-facing speaker is the Agenda's speaker cutout which has been fitted with a metal mesh grille, a nice touch. In typical Vaja fashion, towards the bottom edge is the company's signature brushed metal accent with a laser engraved logo. It's worth noting that we haven't experienced any issues when using the camera with flash at the night.
The Agenda offers a great deal of protection with its full back and front coverage. But if you look at the top and bottom areas, the Agenda leaves those areas exposed. On one side this means you'll be able to charge your Galaxy S4 even when the front cover is shut unlike the Top Flip case for the iPhone, as well as plug in a pair of headphones. But it also leaves room for potential damage in the event of a drop when the flap is open. While it's true that the top and bottom edges around the Galaxy S4's bezel are more vulnerable to impacts, the Agenda does keep them flush against the perimeter of the case when closed just like the Top Flip case as well as Vaja's handful of Galaxy S4 flip-style cases.
The Agenda offers unrestricted access to the Galaxy S4's ports, microphones and IR blaster at all times and even when the flap is closed.
Even the sleep/wake button can be accessed at all times. Conversely, the volume buttons can only be access when every the cover is open.
If you're familiar with Samsung's Flip Covers, the Agenda functions in a similar way. It opens up like a book while the front cover flips to the left granting you access to the touchscreen. You can flip the cover behind the case if you want to use your Galaxy S4 one-handed. Unlike the Top Flip case which has a cover that flips down, the Agenda's cover is a little more easier to work with if you're right handed as it simply hangs off to the left side. The cover does sit flush against the back of the case making it more manageable to use. Flip-style cases aren't for everyone though.
With the flap folded back, using the Agenda case isn't the most comfortable position to be using the Galaxy S4 in - especially if you dislike flip-style cases, but otherwise it isn't any less comfortable than using any other flip case for that matter. The more you use it, the better it gets as the leather loosens up and flexes much more easily. Having used many types of flip cases before, I quite like using Vaja's Agenda and Top Flip cases. But then again, it's really comes down to personal preference. And if there was ever a doubt about tactile grip, that elephant-like leather texture does more than enough to make sure you have all the grip you can ask for.
However, what bothers me with how the Agenda is designed to encase the Galaxy S4 is that it's front flap cover doesn't completely cover the Galaxy S4's screen leaving some of its bezel exposed between where the Agenda's cover meets with the side edges of the case. While fortunately this doesn't have any affect how well the Agenda protects the device, it's only a minor aesthetic nuisance worth mentioning. We haven't noticed any of this when we reviewed Vaja's Top Flip case for the iPhone which had a front cover that seamlessly sat flush with the rest of the case leaving no exposed areas around the iPhone's display and bezel. Other than that the Agenda gets points for having a luxurious, full-grain Argentinian Floater leather and a sophisticated look.
Vaja hasn't put the same effort into innovating its Galaxy S4 cases as it did in making its iPhone 5 and 5S cases, but with that being said, we think the Agenda is still a really good option if you're looking to bath in luxury with premium quality leather and an elegant looking flip-style case. In a way, the Agenda is the upscale flip cover Samsung never offered its customers, however it still lacks refinement in the way it function as a flip cover case having used Vaja's top-notch Top Flip case for the iPhone. If you're looking for around the clock protection done so in a highly executive manner, Vaja's Agenda is worthy of our general approval. But if litte things bother you, the Agenda's minute yet bezel-revealing flap cover gap will make you second guess your $90 - $110 purchase.