Review: MP3Band-It for iPod shuffle
Pros: Simple iPod shuffle armband design, available in two different thicknesses. Easily adjusted.
Cons: Thinner of two versions (1-inch) not comfortable in our testing; thicker version better but still not as good as best armbands we’ve tested. Limited shuffle protection; shuffle will bounce around on single pivot point when inside unless inserted flat with rest of band.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve assembled a collection of several new and different armbands for the iPod shuffle - competitors to Apple’s already-released official, pricey iPod shuffle Armband (iLounge rating: B+) and DLO’s Action Jacket for iPod shuffle (iLounge rating: A-). The shuffle’s small size has made it easy for armband makers to come up with inexpensive and legitimately different options from the bands we’ve seen for larger iPods and iPod minis, though the specific band that’s right for you will depend as much on personal taste as anything else.
The simplest of the armband options we’ve tested for the iPod shuffle is also the simplest iPod armband we’ve ever seen: MP3Band-It ($16.99) is a professional-looking but effortless design that integrates black elastic, Velcro, and plastic into a resizeable band. You can choose from two thicknesses - 1-inch or 1.5-inch - and the shuffle is held in place by an external loop in the elastic.
We won’t mince words: despite its resizeability, we found the 1-inch MP3Band-It to be uncomfortable, cutting in to the arm when appropriately tightened. Like many of the shuffle arm bands we’ve seen, it provides very limited protection for the shuffle, exposing its top and bottom pretty substantially.
However, the 1.5-inch version was considerably better on comfort, and though this version still isn’t as comfortable on the arm as Apple’s softer neoprene product - by a small bit - it provides at least as firm a grip, and may impress men more than Apple’s with its dark looks. It adds an additional half-inch of coverage for the iPod shuffle’s body, too - not much, but more than the smaller MP3Band-It.
The simplicity of MP3Band-It’s design has costs and benefits. Its iPod shuffle-holding loop is attached to the rest of the band at only one pivot point, and requires adjustment to lay flat without wobbling. On the flip side, the resizeable elastic and Velcro system, while very familiar, does work to accommodate larger arms better than, say, iMojo’s shuffle Sweats (iLounge rating: A-), though it’s not as comfortable.
At $16.99, the MP3Band-It isn’t a great deal in the absolute sense of the words, but it isn’t a bad one, given that Apple and XtremeMac are selling options for $30. We’d recommend the 1.5-inch version if you’re going to get one of these, but wouldn’t recommend the 1-inch version at all.