capsule review

Marware Sportsuit Relay

At a Glance
  • Marware Sportsuit Relay

Marware's Sportsuit Relay for first- (1G) and second-generation (2G) iPod nanos is a neoprene case aimed towards runners, specifically those using the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. To complete the set, Marware also throws in their Sportsuit Sensor+, which lets you attach the Nike+iPod sensor to any pair of shoes.

With the exception of additional space at the bottom of the case to accommodate the Sport Kit receiver (which connects to the bottom of an iPod nano), the Sporsuit Relay is virtually identical to Marware's Sportsuit Runabout. Like the Runabout, the Relay is a black neoprene case with a built-in Velcro wristband (the package also includes a Velcro extension to convert the wristband into an armband). To insert the nano, you slip it in through a slot in the back of the Relay and pull the bottom of the case over the Sport Kit receiver. A clear-plastic window makes up most of the front of the case; through it you can see your nano's screen and access all the Click Wheel controls. As with other Sportsuits, there's an outline on the top that shows you where the hold switch is and a small hole at the bottom to plug in your headphones. The included Sportsuit Sensor+ is a handy accessory: just slide the Nike+iPod sensor into the Sensor+ and then thread the Sensor+'s Velcro flap through your shoe's laces; you've saved yourself the trouble (and cost) of getting an expensive pair of Nike+ shoes.

As with its sibling, the Runabout, the Relay is great for running. The wristband and armband are sturdy and mostly comfortable, though I did find that the plastic buckle on the strap occasionally pinches. The inclusion of the Sensor+ for the Sport Kit sensor is a nice touch, since it normally costs $10 separately from Marware. You have to pull the bottom of the case open -- and, of course, remove the Sport Kit receiver -- to sync your iPod with Apple's dock-connector cable, but that's only a minor bother. My biggest gripe with the entire Sportsuit line remains the difficulty of using your iPod's hold switch. The little outline on the case material just isn't enough to let you use the switch reliably. This may not be a big deal when you're running, but it's something I'd like to see addressed.

Overall, if you've been looking for a good case to use in conjunction with the Sport Kit, and you especially want the flexibility of using a wristband versus an armband, the Sportsuit Relay is an excellent offering; just plan on not using your iPod's hold switch.
--Dan Moren

At a Glance
  • Marware Sportsuit Relay

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