Review: Apple iPod mini Lanyard
Pros: An easy, secure, and reasonably attractive way to turn your iPod mini into a necklace.
Cons: Some will find iPod mini’s weight uncomfortable as a necklace; typical premium Apple pricing.
There may be a reason we didn’t hear too much about Apple Computer’s new iPod mini Lanyard ($19) before it was released this week: it’s about as nichey as iPod accessories get. We’ve seen belt clips, arm bands, and stand-alone cases for every iPod, and now we’re seeing necklaces. Perhaps too many of them.
We say “perhaps” because iLounge’s editors had a split of opinions on the utility of the iPod shuffle’s packed-in lanyard, and the heavier iPods haven’t exactly inspired demand for necklaces before now. Rivet’s metal and leather Mini iGrab with Lanyard was one of the first iPod mini lanyard solutions we’d seen, and has subsequently been joined by STM’s mini Cocoon and certain cases from Capdase. But of these products, only Apple’s new iPod mini Lanyard is designed to be a lanyard and nothing else. Rivet’s Mini iGrab (iLounge rating: B) was also compatible with other Rivet accessories that could mount your iPod mini in a car, on your belt, or on a bag; the others mostly earned their ratings because they were full-featured cases.
The iPod mini Lanyard starts with a white and gray plastic clip that attaches to the bottom of an iPod mini with pressure - it latches into the sides of the mini’s Dock Connector port and vaguely reinforces its grip with plastic pegs that slide into the mini’s generally unused bottom side holes. A thin rubber ring provides a slight buffer between the clip and the iPod mini’s bottom surface, so that two hard plastic surfaces don’t touch while the mini hangs upside down from your neck. Thankfully, even in this gravity-defying orientation, they’re unlikely to detach from one another. Releasing the clip requires you to push simultaneously on two buttons at the mount’s center, hidden underneath the non-detachable lanyard necklace.
Apple’s fabric lanyard is different from the one that comes with every iPod shuffle: it’s still made from fabric, but it’s a little bit longer, flat instead of rounded, and gray instead of white. There are two pieces of white plastic on the necklace - one at its end as a cap, and one in the center as a “slider.” Apple’s instructions explain that you “move the slider to adjust the length,” and the slider uses pressure to hold generally in the same place once you’ve moved it. If you move the slider far down the necklace, you can wear your iPod mini as a choker, or move it upwards to decrease the amount of dangling rope between you and the iPod’s bottom. The only consequence is that you’ll have a nub of fabric sticking out of the back of your neck where the slider rests.
While the lanyard’s gray color doesn’t precisely color match any of the iPod minis - even the silver one - it looks good enough with each. Similarly, the white plastic bottom is a fine extension of the mostly white plastic bottom of the mini, and matches the color of its Click Wheel. It’s not as slick a design as Apple’s Armbands or other accessories, but it’s not bad by any means. The futuristic metal necklace and leather enclosure from Rivet’s Mini iGrab were noticeably flashier, though as between the two offerings opinions will clearly differ on which is the more appropriate fashion accessory.
The biggest issue we had with the iPod mini Lanyard is its utility. We wore it with our iPod minis and didn’t find any mini especially enjoyable to carry around as a necklace, unlike the comparatively weightless iPod shuffle lanyard that still divided our editors. While the iPod mini isn’t fatiguingly heavy, it’s still better suited to a pocket, bag, or armband than a necklace in our opinion. And again, unlike the Mini iGrab and the cases we mentioned above, there’s nothing else you can do with Apple’s product if it doesn’t suit you as a necklace.
Though we were on the cusp of a C+ rating on this one, our overall rating of the iPod mini Lanyard with a B- reflects our feeling that this is a well-made, reasonably attractive product that will only be appealing to a very narrow audience. It’s not recommendable to most of our readers, but if you’ve been looking for a way to necksessorize your iPod mini, this is one of the cheapest ways you can do it; the $19 price is a lot for a simple necklace, but only Capdase’s offerings do the same for less. For that reason, if we were looking for an iPod mini necklace, we’d be more inclined to spend the same money on one of Capdase’s more useful offerings, but truthfully, we weren’t, and we’d be surprised if you were, either.