Review: Apple iPod nano Armband (4th Generation)
When Apple released the third-generation version of its iPod nano Armband, there was much rejoicing around the iLounge offices: nothing special first- and second-generation versions of the Armband had given way to a much-improved, more protective design. Rather than leaving the nano fully exposed to the elements like its predecessors, the third-generation version fully enclosed the iPod inside a protective fabric enclosure with a see-through screen and touch-through clear Click Wheel shield, preserving the perforated, breathable armband design that we'd liked in prior versions.
Thankfully, the fourth-generation version of the iPod nano Armband ($29) takes cues from its immediate predecessor, rather than the earlier versions. Once again, there’s a synthetic fabric covering most of the device’s body, clear plastic on the screen, and matte plastic on the Click Wheel, collectively covering all of the nano except for hints of its bottom corners. Unlike the second-generation version but like its successor, a Velcro bottom tab lets you use your nano with the Nike + iPod Sport Kit Receiver, as well. Fans of non-Apple earphones will want to expand the tab a little to make room to connect their oversized plugs, as well.
The same adjustable, perforated, and breathable band for your biceps is included, measuring a short 16.5 inches in length. Though competing nano armbands are typically a little longer, supporting larger arms, Apple’s is fine for the vast majority of male and female users, and comfortable; the soft material, perforations, and slightly under 1.5” width make it very easy to wear.
All of these elements are great, but there are a couple of small issues: with the original iPod nano 1.0 software, we found that the Click Wheel’s sensitivity wasn’t very good inside the Armband, making scrolling really difficult without extra pressure on the surface. A subsequent 1.0.2 software release appears to have improved the scrolling, however, making the Armband totally fine.
Another small issue for some users will be the coloration. Though we like the light gray color, Apple’s design remains pretty much the brightest one out there, standing out more than the dark and colored versions that have appeared for other nano models. If you’re looking for something that increases your visibility at night, this is an especially good choice, but if you need other color options or want to show off the color of your nano, you might want to look elsewhere.
Overall, Apple’s iPod nano Armband (4th Generation) merits the same high recommendation that its immediate predecessor received. We’re pleased to see the company creating accessories that do more than just meet the bare minimum standards of acceptability for the price; this Armband’s versatility, looks, and comfort will be hard to definitively beat.