Having already reviewed many great iPod armbands, today we’re briefly looking at several that didn’t impress us as much: PDO’s Sporteers for iPod nano, classic, touch and iPhone ($25 each), Grantwood Technology’s Tuneband for iPod nano ($20), and Case Logic’s True Sport Armbands for iPod nano, iPod classic, and iPod touch ($30 each). Each of these armbands has one novel feature that we really liked, as well as something that we really didn’t like.
Case Logic’s True Sport Armbands take a very different approach from the Sporteers and Tuneband. On one hand, it’s obvious that the company spent considerable time actually designing these armbands, as the different materials have been neatly tailored and there are a couple of nice little differentiators in the two versions. One is for the third-generation iPod nano, and the other is made to fit both the iPod classic and iPod touch; each of these versions have almost entirely gray bodies with small hints of black and yellow. Behind each iPod holder is a pocket for cash or keys, and the interior of each armband has padded bumps to help stabilize the iPod on your arm without exposing its entire back surface area to sweat. Case Logic also offers True Sport in three accent colors, with thin stripes alongside the iPod holder accenting the band in silver, blue, or pink.
Unfortunately, the True Sport designs have a couple of glaring issues. First is their iPod face protection, which uses matte finished plastic rather than glossy, transparent plastic—a choice that substantially inhibits your ability to see what’s on the iPod’s screen. iPod touch icons become indistinct, as does text on each of the iPod screens, and fidgeting with the case may be necessary depending on how light is reflecting off of the front surface. Apple used this sort of finish only to cover the Click Wheel of the iPod nano on its own case; the effect on a screen is nowhere near as positive. Additionally, each of the cases has a better bottom headphone port opening than PDO’s Sporteers, but they also have completely open top surfaces, and the touch version can’t be worn upside down without a risk that the iPod will slip out. Case Logic’s 16” armbands are also on the very short side, long enough for small- and medium-sized biceps, but not bigger ones.
We find it hard to get excited about any of these armbands given how excellent past offerings from Apple, Marware, and Nike have been; none of these would be on our list of strong recommendations. PDO’s Sporteers are the closest to good—we’d give them a limited recommendation to users who don’t mind paying par prices for generic designs—while Case Logic’s True Sport and Grantwood’s Tuneband rate lower in the merely passable category. Ideally, should subsequent versions of these armbands be released, it would help for their vendors to pay even more attention to both usability and protection.
Company and Price
Company: Case Logic
Model: True Sport nano, classic/touch
Compatible: iPod classic, nano, touch