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Is Monoprice's $5.28 PS Vita case a steal?

Looking for a new case for your Sony PS Vita? As usual, check out Monoprice for a bargain.

The Brushed Aluminum case for the Sony PS Vita starts at $5.28 from Monoprice (click to enlarge). David Carnoy/CNET

If you've shopped around for a case for your PlayStation Vita, you probably know that they can get pretty pricey. In fact, I recently wrote about WaterField Designs' Vita cases, which are sweet but retail for upward of $50.

Shifting gears, I decided to go the budget route and checked out Monoprice's $5.28 Brushed Aluminum Clamshell case in silver (alas, that price doesn't include shipping, which brings the total up to $7.82).

The verdict?

Very solid. It looks good, is pretty lightweight, and seems quite protective. The only downside is that after you put the case on, some of the buttons end up being a little recessed (the Start button, for example).

But that's not a big deal. Note: I'm not sure why Monoprice calls it the Clamshell case because it doesn't open and shut -- once the Vita's enclosed in the case it stays in the case.

This case comes in a few different colors and for some colors the price jumps to a whopping $7 and change.

Monoprice also has a $4.25 slim rubber Vita case called the TPU PlayStation Vita case that I tested out. That case is also decent for the price, but it isn't as quite form-fitting as it should be; the top border section doesn't quite sit flush against the front of the Vita. A small annoyance, but not a total dealbreaker.

The back of the Clamshell case shown in a purple finish that costs about $2 more (click to enlarge). Monoprice