Every generation of iPods gets a familiar but “new” set of armbands, and the late 2007 iPods aren’t any different: XtremeMac’s new SportWraps, Griffin Technology’s new Streamline for iPod nano (video), and Gecko Gear’s Nano Sports Armband are all successors to earlier products we’ve looked at; the new versions each sell for $30, and have some noteworthy differences from the ones that came before. The iPod nano versions compete against Apple’s official iPod nano Armband, which has made major strides from earlier versions, and now rates as one of the company’s best armbands ever.
Our feelings about Griffin’s Streamline are substantially similar to the ones we had for its prior iPhone and iPod touch version: the company uses an interesting combination of neoprene, hard plastic, elastic and Velcro to create a case that here is thankfully specific to only the iPod nano. It provides one hole for access to the nano’s headphone port—compatible with even oversized headphones – and another for insertion of the nano.
Hard plastic and reflective tape ring the nano’s body; two holes in the plastic let the elastic and Velcro armband pass through. Griffin’s armband is a little longer than Apple’s and XtremeMac’s, making it a potentially better choice for those with massive arms.
Streamline’s only issues are in comfort and build quality. Griffin’s plastic and neoprene enclosure does a good job of providing nano coverage, but widens it, and makes it feel less comfortable on your arm than other armbands we’ve tested.
We also noticed a number of small glue imperfections in the case’s face, which detract slightly from its looks up close, but aren’t as noticeable from a distance. Assuming they’re not fixed in production by the time you read this, they shouldn’t deter you if some of Streamline’s other features are appealing.
Are any of the armbands we’re looking at today worthy of their $30 asking prices? Yes: the SportWrap is best, followed by Streamline, and then the Gecko Nano Sports Armband. But with excellent alternatives such as Apple’s iPod nano Armband and Marware’s SportSuit Convertible out there—the latter offers a case with complete coverage, plus belt clip, handstrap, and armband—for the same price, it’s hard to see these options as being quite as superb.