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Now fix the armband
on November 16, 2012
Cue: U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
For the purpose of this review, I am calling the compartment that holds the iPod Nano itself the "holder," while the strap will be referred to as the "armband." I have tested the i-Blason product, as well as offerings from Belkin, Ionic, and Griffin. In comparison, the i-Blason's holder is superior to the others, in that (1) now redesigned, the holder does fit the new iPod Nano very nicely; (2) it feels rubberized so the iPod fits snugly; (3) the exterior controls to the iPod can be easily manipulated through the holder; and (4)the opening for the headphone jack is in the bottom of the holder, and aligns nicely with the receiver in the Nano itself. The Ionic, Belkin, and Griffin offerings all position the hole for the headphone jack in the lower back of the holder, which requires a bit of manuevering and stretching to align with the receiver in the iPod.
And regarding the final point above, there is also an opening in the bottom of the holder for the power cord, so you don't have to remove the Nano from the holder for recharging as you do with the other manufacturer's products. A very nice plus.
However, what's with the armband? i-Blason provides the only armband of the four tested that doesn't stretch. The armband consists of a material almost like vinyl with velcro stitched to the bank. When you get hot and begin to sweat - especially if you are wearing a shirt with no sleeves - the armband begins to slip off the arm, forcing you to yank it tighter. It's not a good design at all. Plus, the armband is not very long, and males with average to larger biceps will find it very constricting. I can't imagine a sports armband that doesn't stretch, but this may be just a strongly ingrained personal preference.
Thankfully, the armband is not stitched to the holder, and can be removed. My solution was to take a stretchable armband for an old iPod 6th generation Nano sports armband produced by a different manufacturer (that also wasn't stitched to the holder) and use it instead of the unsuitable one provided by i-Blason. Now - finally - I have hybrid product that holds the iPod Nano securely as well as a stretchable armband that stays in place, and is long enough to wear over a running jacket.
In my opinion only, each of the four manufacturers named above have sacrificed quality in order to reduce manufacturing costs, either through very poor design, or the provision of unsuitable (too short, don't stretch) armbands. I am hoping that another manufacturer will emerge that will provide a quality product, for which - I believe - most people would be willing to pay. I certainly would.