Review: iFrogz Motion Armband for iPod nano
iFrogz has made some of the best iPod cases we've seen for younger users -- between its toddler-ready Tadpole cases, its tween- and teen-friendly Wrapz and its recent speaker-packed AudioWrapz for iPod nano, the company clearly knows how to make accessories that appeal to kids and young adults. Its latest two products, the Motion Armband for iPod nano ($25) and Silicone Wrapz for iPod classic ($20), follow that trend with designs that skew young but work well.
Taking after earlier products such as Marware’s Sportsuit Convertible, the Motion Armband combines three total parts: a protective black neoprene and clear plastic case, a detachable clear hard plastic belt clip, and an also detachable soft Velcro and fabric armband. You can attach the four-position, ratcheting clip to the case and wear it on your belt, or attach the clip to the case, and then to the armband, mounting it on your arm. Without the clip or band, the case can be tossed into your pocket or a bag.
The good news here is that Motion is less expensive than Sportsuit Convertible, offers similar build quality, and almost the same amount of protection. Both companies’ neoprene cases cover all of the nano’s face, back, top, and sides, while exposing its headphone port; Motion also exposes the Hold switch. Both have belt clips and armbands. And Motion is $5 less expensive. Its clear face and neoprene design provide virtually the same level of iPod nano interaction—read: complete—as the Sportsuit, with only slight clipping of the nano’s screen by the case’s stitched-in clear protector.
However, Sportsuit Convertible’s the better design overall. Marware also includes a hand strap attachment, and all three of its other components are better than iFrogz’, with a sleeker case, a softer, nicer armband, and a sharper belt clip. Perhaps intending Motion only for younger users, Motion’s Velcro and elastic armband is on the very small side, measuring only 13 inches to the 17” of Apple’s and Marware’s iPod nano armbands, and it’s commensurately less likely to fit male users with average- to above-average sized biceps. It’s a tight fit on an average-sized man’s arm when at its maximum expansion, and doesn’t have the soft neoprene of Marware’s design, or the perforation of Apple’s. Nike + iPod Sport Kit users should also note that the case isn’t designed to accommodate that accessory, though it can be attached to the iPod’s bottom if the case is left open and worn upside down—a less than ideal, but workable scenario.
Still, Motion is a smarter buy for the dollar than Griffin’s Streamline, Gecko’s Sports Armband, and others we’ve seen. With the exception of its limited range of arm fits, everything else it does, it does well. The ratcheting belt clip offers a little versatility missing from even Marware’s offering, and the quality, detachable case differentiates Motion from most other iPod nano armbands, including even Incase’s Sports Armband. For this price, the only reasons it isn’t right for everyone are the length of the armband and its approach to Nike compatibility; consider it if these aren’t factors you find important.