Review: PureGear PureMove Armband for iPhone 5/5c/5s
Coming in at a surprisingly high price, PureGear's PureMove Armband ($50) is compatible with not only the iPhone 5/5s, but also iPhone 5c. Unlike most iPhone armbands, this one doesn’t use a pocket to hold the handset, nor does it have a clear window over the display. Instead, it relies on a foam-lined plastic shell. This makes it incompatible with other cases, as most armbands are. Two sizes are available — S/M or M/L — and each comes with a plastic clip for wrapping up earbuds.
The core of the armband is the shell — it’s thicker than cases of the style usually are, and it leaves the top and bottom edges of the iPhone exposed. It’s augmented by a grid-patterned sheet of foam on the inside, and five rows of the same foam on the back. We’re not quite sure what purpose the inner foam serves, as a case that’s strapped to your arm likely won’t be hitting the ground. But it’s not a bad thing to have. It’s nice to see volume button protection built into the case, although the shape of the material lends itself to better tactility on the 5c than the 5 or 5s. The lack of any sort of screen or port protection means there’s potential for sweat to get into the handset and, in a worst-case scenario, cause damage.
Extending out from either side of the shell are hard rubber wings, through which the band is strung. PureGear bills its band as a “moisture-wicking, washable band that’s antibacterial and odor-free.” The S/M-sized band is designed for arms 7” to 10.5” in diameter, and the larger M/L size is designed for 9.5” to 14”-diameter arms. Each band adjusts using Velcro, and features reflective segments to help keep runners protected.
PureMove is a pretty nice armband, but the $50 price tag just isn’t justifiable. With cases that are subjected to being dropped and other hazards, it’s important to have a reasonable level of protection. When it comes to armbands, a comfortable fit and a firm grip on the phone are the important things, with liquid protection up there too. PureMove fits the first two criteria, but misses on the third. We’d prefer something like Belkin’s Ease-Fit Armband at a $30 lower price, even though it means we have to touch through a plastic film, or SwitchEasy’s Move as a more premium option that offers much more protection. That’s why PureMove comes in at a B-, earning a limited recommendation. It’s well built, but the price is way off.