Review: Apex Armor Ikonik Watch Kit for iPod nano 6G
Of the watchbands we've seen for the iPod nano 6G, the conversion kit style popularized by LunaTik has turned out to be the best, with a nice compromise of protection and usability, although it really does transform the nano into a dedicated timepiece. Apex Armor has decided to introduce its own take on the style with Ikonik Watch Kit ($90), and the similarities between the two are quite clear. While Ikonik has its own style and some unique features, it's difficult to not draw comparisons between the two.
Like LunaTik, Ikonik’s core is a two-piece metal frame. The halves are held together by long bars with screws at either end. Using the included Allen wrenches, you unscrew the frame, put the iPod nano in, and screw it back up. It’s an easy enough process, but it does take some effort; don’t expect to be taking the nano in and out of the case with any regularity. The frame is much more angular than LunaTik’s, but has very similar dimensions. It leaves all of the buttons and ports exposed, and the iPod can be positioned in either direction. On three of our four review units, the machining was well done, but one was noticeably imprecise as illustrated in the pictures in this review.
The band that comes standard with Ikonik is quite different from those offered by LunaTik. Rather than silicone or metal, Apex Armor chose to use Maratac’s Mil-Series, a nylon band that we’ve seen other accessory manufacturers use in the past. It features a traditional clasp closure and is quite comfortable on the wrist. Compared to the frame, it seems a bit narrow, but that’s solely an aesthetic complaint and not one of functionality. Watch bands are a matter of personal preference—among our editorial staff, some of us favor metal or leather ones, while others really like silicone—but this one feels a bit cheaper than any of LunaTik’s. It’s not bad or ugly, it simply doesn’t feel like it’s worth more than the $80 base-price LunaTik. While Maratac offers various sizes of its bands, Ikonik seems to only be offering one length.
One aspect of Ikonik that sets it apart is its modularity. For example, you’re not stuck with just one band. Apex Armor offers a few different colors and styles of the Maratac bands, as well as two-piece silicone models. In the near future, the company will also be offering an armband accessory that works in conjunction with the nylon band. The frame itself has a few extra features too. Unlike LunaTik’s, this one allows you to still use the iPod nano’s clip, which is a very nice touch, and there are magnets built-in to the back so you can attach the device to a fridge or other magnetic surface.
The inevitable question when comparing such similarly styled cases is this: which is a better option? While there are aspects of Ikonik that we do like, it doesn’t quite stack up to LunaTik. Overall, the components feel bit cheaper, yet Apex Armor charges a few dollars more. Some of the features Apex Armor has added are pretty cool, but don’t quite raise it to the point of a general recommendation. For this reason, Ikonik earns a B- rating. It’s not a bad choice, but not our top pick either.