Price: $50 + $70 (Each)
Compatible: iPod nano 6G
Hex Vision Leather and Vision Metal Watch Band for iPod nano 6G
The big problem with most of the watch bands for the iPod nano 6G is that they just don't look that nice; we haven't seen many that actually look worthy of wearing in public. We've shared our thoughts on many of them -- as well as the overall concept -- in the past. Hex's Vision Leather ($50) and Vision Metal ($70) bands are a different story: both use high-quality materials and actually make the nano look like a real leather- or metal-banded watch. The company uses what it calls "Clip-In, Clip-Out" functionality to secure the iPod, and it works well.
The outward-facing material of Vision Leather is dimpled, real cowhide, and is available in white, black, or red—it’s nice looking material. There are nine holes on the lower portion of the band, allowing for easy size adjustment. Changing the length of Vision Metal is more difficult by comparison, and may actually require a professional’s help. The band is made of 12 stainless steel links, with a locking clasp joining them in the middle. Hex includes three additional links in Metal’s package, so a jeweler or watch repair shop can adjust it to the appropriate size by adding or removing links as with any other similarly-banded watch. We like the look and feel of this model more than Vision Leather, as it’s heavy and substantial, though offset by the higher price. Hex offers it in silver and gun metal.
Both models use the Clip-In, Clip-Out System to hold the iPod nano, which means that they use the same square stainless steel plate. One end has a 0.5” by 1.5” opening that the iPod’s clip fits through, while the other side has a much smaller hole just large enough to hold the foot at the end of the clip. Once in place, the iPod nano isn’t going to come out unless you want it to; the fit is really quite secure. Because there is no sort of frame around the edge, the volume buttons, Sleep/Wake button, Dock Connector port, and headphone port remain totally usable, but the body is exposed to the elements. When it comes time to separate the nano, simply pushing on the hinged-end of the clip pops it out of place and allows it to slide out—with a little bit more grinding noise than we would otherwise want to hear.
We’ll admit that we wanted to love the idea of using the iPod nano 6G as a watch, but after we tried it, it just wasn’t for us. With Hex’s bands, you’ll be spending a minimum of almost $200 for a watch that doesn’t even do its job terribly well. For those who still like the concept, though, Vision Leather and Vision Metal are among the nicest-looking and most functional options we have seen. The Clip-In, Clip-Out plate is an effective way of securing the device, and the fact that nothing is blocked is appreciated. Our feelings on the overall concept aside, we offer a general recommendation for these bands. We sincerely hope that the seventh-generation iPod nano model offers improved watch capabilities, as the right form factor, more clock faces, and wireless support would make them worth wearing in the future.