Review: LunaTik Lynk Watch Kit for iPod nano 6G
LunaTik has a problem. The division of Chicago-based design house Minimal makes the coolest iPod nano watchbands on the planet -- the first ones we'd pick for actually wearing Apple's sixth-generation nano out in public -- and it has expanded from one impressive design to three, each at a different price point. But the prices are getting higher. And with Lynk ($130-$140), its latest model, LunaTik hopes that you'll be willing to pony up as much for the wristband as you would for the iPod nano itself. That's as crazy as the company's name, but then Lynk isn't your ordinary iPod accessory, either.
Lynk is an evolution of the original LunaTik watch kit, which is to say that its core is a two-piece aluminum frame that wraps around the iPod nano’s own body, exposing only the front glass, two of the sides, and the back clip, which is almost flush with the frame’s back. Thanks to large front and side bezels, this design has the advantage of protecting most of the nano from accidental bumps, though it doesn’t provide any screen, port, or button coverage. The silver version shown here sells for $130, or the cost of an 8GB iPod nano, while a black version goes for $140, between the prices of the 8GB and 16GB models.
From a design perspective, Lynk’s single most significant disadvantage is the nano’s inability to be detached quickly from the frame; the company’s TikTok provides comparatively easy and convenient access to the nano for this purpose, while Lynk requires you to use twin ratchet tools to open and close the frame’s screws. Like LunaTik, Lynx is effectively committing you to use your nano only when it’s on your wrist or otherwise sitting in the wristband, so you’ll need to be comfortable with the idea of running headphone or Dock Connector cables to it—and all but giving up on using it with certain docking accessories, including universal iPod docks. This really is a conversion kit, not just an occasional accessory.
What’s new in Lynk is the watchband, and though it comes at a steep premium over LunaTik’s, it definitely looks nice. Each link has the same type of matte aluminum front and sides as you’d expect from most of Apple’s products, apart from the nanos themselves, which are now polished apart from the two sides that Lynk’s frame exposes—these match the band’s and frame’s finish. It’s a little surprising that Lynk is lighter than would initially be expected, thanks to its use of rubber inserts inside the band: the rubber pieces significantly reduce the amount of metal inside the links, and join them together to flex safely on your wrist. LunaTik includes a set of spare links in the package so that you can make the band bigger if necessary, and a paper clip to remove the small metal pins that can shorten or extend the band. All but one of the links looked perfect on all sides, and then, that one was only modestly off.
To be clear, we loved the way that Lynk felt straight out of the package. The wristband fit our wrists perfectly without any need for adjustment, and regardless of how light it felt without a nano inside, the weight was just right when everything was assembled. Considering all the metal it does contain, we were surprised at how little fatigue or discomfort it caused during normal use—none—and found it just as comfortable as the less expensive LunaTik, thanks to the rubber lining. There’s even a spring-loaded butterfly closure on the band to lock the two sides in place, and it works perfectly; just like its predecessors, Lynx was clearly developed by people who understand proper watch design. It takes the iPod nano past “marginally wearable” into “definitely wearable and actually sort of cool” territory.
But the price tag is a show stopper. It’s no secret that most developers essentially stopped producing iPod nano cases when the iPods’ prices dropped to the $149 level, and the few that remained—most recently including watch bands from an increasing number of companies—haven’t tried to match or exceed the cost of a nano itself. At some price point, probably below this one, it just makes more sense to buy a standalone watch. The original LunaTik was pushing the edge of affordability, and delivers a very similar experience for a lot less. But if you’re absolutely, positively sure that you need to wear the nano on your wrist with a metal band, we wouldn’t dissuade you from choosing Lynk. It’s well-made, very attractively designed, and impressively comfortable, just overly expensive; the latter factor is the primary reason for our limited recommendation.