Review: Grantwood Technology Tuneband for iPod nano
Having already reviewed many great iPod armbands, today we're briefly looking at several that didn't impress us as much: PDO's Sporteers for iPod nano, classic, touch and iPhone ($25 each), Grantwood Technology's Tuneband for iPod nano ($20), and Case Logic's True Sport Armbands for iPod nano, iPod classic, and iPod touch ($30 each). Each of these armbands has one novel feature that we really liked, as well as something that we really didn't like.
We’d initially hesitate to put Grantwood’s nano-only Tuneband in the same category of these other armbands because it doesn’t look as if it is even an original design. It uses the same cheap rubber case and detachable elastic-slash-Velcro armband concept we see every year from Asian OEMs, with little attention paid to protecting the back of the nano, which sees the Velcro surface rubbed against its polished metal thanks to the way that the armband weaves into two holes on the case. There’s another oddity here, too: this is the first case we’ve seen in years that expects you to cut your own protective front film from a sheet found in the package. From component to component, this is a design that we legitimately dislike, moderated by only three factors.
First is Grantwood’s selection of colors. You can pick from one of eight, including black, gray, navy blue, neon green, pink, purple, red, and teal blue, which is four or five colors more than you’ll see offered by the company’s most aggressive rivals. In each configuration, the case’s color changes, but the black armband remains the same. Second is the fact that you can use the case separately from the armband. And third is the pricing: Grantwood lists the case at $20, but sells it for under $13. This is aggressive by iPod nano armband standards, owing to the fact that the armband is clearly an inexpensive rebadged OEM product.
None of these factors makes Tuneband a good armband, but they bring its rating up from what it otherwise would have been. In addition to the elastic armband, which at 14.5” in length is even shorter than Case Logic’s and best for small-sized biceps, the cheap-feeling case, the do-it-yourself film cover, and the fully open bottom are all steps below most of the armbands out there; Tuneband’s only advantage for workout purposes is its compatibility with the Nike + iPod Sport Kit. It was designed to be used with the company’s Shoe Pouch, a Nike+ sneaker alternative that holds the Nike + iPod Sport Kit’s Sensor.
We find it hard to get excited about any of these armbands given how excellent past offerings from Apple, Marware, and Nike have been; none of these would be on our list of strong recommendations. PDO’s Sporteers are the closest to good—we’d give them a limited recommendation to users who don’t mind paying par prices for generic designs—while Case Logic’s True Sport and Grantwood’s Tuneband rate lower in the merely passable category. Ideally, should subsequent versions of these armbands be released, it would help for their vendors to pay even more attention to both usability and protection.