Review: Speck Products iSport
Pros: Protective, comfortable, allows for an uninterrupted workout.
Cons: Not easy to access iPod while exercising.
Anytime you have a product that is portable, you have the desire to use it while exercising. The iPod is no exception. With a built-in 20 minute skip protection feature, running or biking with the iPod seems like a feasible option. (I wouldn’t swim with it) However, I have read in forums, and have heard first hand that sometimes exercising with the iPod can be difficult: A guy who weight lifts with his iPod mentioned that he has no place to put his iPod with both hands occupied. A biker complains about the armband holder, feeling unsafe. A colleague who is an avid runner complains that after 20 minutes, his iPod crashes.
The new iSport from Speck Products attempts to satisfy all of these issues. According to the Speck website, the iSport “allows you to enjoy your iPod whenever and wherever you exercise. The iSport has been carefully designed to meet the rugged requirements of long distance runners as well as the casual exerciser. The built-in safety light features an attention getting flashing pattern to help increase your visibility. Zippered pouches allows for easy storage of credit cards, money, and ID and a separate pouch for keys.” The iSport is made of very durable molded foam and includes an adjustable strap to wear around your waist. The side of the iSport that touches your body is mesh which allows greater “breathability” and thus more comfort. The compartment for your iPod is nice and snug and fits all generations of iPods. It also features a pull-tab that allows for easier removal from the iSport. The iSport is now available from Speck Products at a price of $44.95.
Admittedly, I am not one who participates in anything that could possibly be categorized as rugged. So I asked my colleague (an avid runner) to put it through its paces. So how does it perform? Here’s what my colleague had to say:
What difficulties were you having while running with your iPod?
Prior to using the iSport I was running with a neoprene belt that I used to run with my CD player. I put my iPod into the belt and it seemed to work fine, for 20 minutes. The problem I was encountering was the 20-minute skip protection that the iPod promoted. I run about 5 miles four or five times a week which takes me about 40 - 45 minutes. Inevitably what would happen with the belt that I used was that my iPod would crash 21 minutes into my run. This would kill my workout because I would lose a lot of momentum. Sometimes I would stop and reset my iPod to continue my run. Other times I would just continue without music (while figuring out how to store by earbuds, etc.). I then started running without the belt and holding my iPod in my hand. This worked well, and my iPod never crashed, yet it was a nuisance to have to hold my iPod for 45 minutes or so. Not an ideal solution.
How was the comfort of the iSport?
When I first put the iSport on, I felt as though I was putting on a Bat Belt. This thing looked enormous and I wasn’t sure it would be comfortable. I slowly slipped my iPod into the protective pouch and the strapped it around my waist. My iPod was in place on my back. I used my remote control device because once the iPod was on my back there was no changing my music selection. I was able to clip the remote onto the strap at my waist which was convenient. Once the iSport was on it was very comfortable - despite its appearance, and made for a full 45 minute, skip-free run. I was psyched that I found a belt that didn’t let my iPod crash and allowed me to run hands-free.
How safe did you feel your iPod was while running with the iSport?
Very secure. I had no qualms at all with my iPod in the iSport. I was a little afraid of scratching (I know, I shouldn’t worry about cosmetics), but everything fit nice and neatly, and snugly. The side holders are a nice feature where I can stash my house keys and ID. Also, I can store my earbuds in the side pocket when I’m not using the belt.
Is there anything you would change about it?
The iSport has worked well for me. If I could change anything it would probably be more with my remote than with the iSport. I would like to have the ability to change playlists/artists/albums from my remote rather than stopping and having to remove my iPod from the belt and changing my selection. Overall, the iSport has worked really well for me for running. I’m psyched to be using it!
The iSport is a well-made exercise waist pack for your iPod. If you workout and want to listen to listen to your iPod go and get yourself one.
Gregory Ng, Contributing Editor, is a lover of music, gadgets, and all things Apple. Put all of them together and you get the iPod, his true love. In his free time he runs an internet radio station, Fresh Cuts From The AudioBarn.