Company: Speck Products
Compatible: iPod shuffle
Speck Products SkinTight Armband for iPod shuffle
Pros: An attractive black iPod shuffle armband that’s less expensive than Apple’s official one, including a nice iPod shuffle case and a plastic clip with cord management.
Cons: Single “male” Velcro pad came off of our review sample on first use, rendering armband useless.
In the past, we’ve been very vocal supporters of Speck’s SkinTight Armbands for various iPod models, preferring them on pricing and features to Apple’s official Armbands. But a quality control problem with the latest version, SkinTight Armband for iPod shuffle ($24.95), hobbled our desire to rate this one as highly.
Unlike Apple, Speck includes a full iPod case with every armband, and uses a plastic clipping system that holds the encased iPod in place. Speck’s fully transparent clips include simple integrated cord managers that you can wind your iPod’s headphones around as much or as little as you prefer, and its black vulcanized neoprene armbands are embossed with the company’s name. The armbands fit virtually any arm size without a problem, and look really good doing it.
It’s not just any old iPod case you get with this Armband - the iPod shuffle version of SkinTight (iLounge rating: B+) is independently one of the nicest ones we’ve seen. For full details, read the linked review, but suffice to say that its only major failing as a pack-in here is that there’s a hole for the rear power switch, which can easily let moisture in when you’re working out. Given that Speck sells them for $19.95 independently, it would generally be a no-brainer to just buy the Armband for $5 more and get the case in the process.
The major problem we had with the Armband was in construction. It uses one male Velcro pad and five female Velcro pads to hold closed around your arm. Unlike the other Speck armbands we’ve tested, however, the male Velcro pad was loose when we got it, then fell off the very first time we tried to use it, rendering the entire armband useless. This was especially unusual because all of the other pads felt so firmly attached, but it wasn’t something we could ignore.
It’s also worth a brief note that the clip is sized only to hold an iPod inside of a case, which isn’t a problem as far as we’re concerned, but it’s a decision that differentiates this design from Apple’s official iPod shuffle Armband (iLounge rating: B+). Speck’s Armband is also several dollars lower in price than Apple’s, a welcome sight that would have boosted the product’s rating further if there hadn’t been a Velcro problem.
We’re willing to re-evaluate the SkinTight Armband for iPod shuffle again if a version without this issue is produced, but under our Policy on Defective Accessories, we’re obliged to give this a D- rating for defective, and wait on a fixed version to materialize.