With the advent of the diminutive iPod nano, armbands for the iPod have become increasingly popular. The XtremeMac SportWrap is a neoprene case and armband for both first- (1G) and second-generation (2G) iPod nanos that lets you strap your iPod to your arm for that daily jog or trip to the gym.
The SportWrap is comprised of two parts: the case and the armband. The case, made of neoprene, attaches to the armband via a rubber plastic loop which can double as a belt loop. The nano is inserted at the top of the case; a Velcro-fastened neoprene flap is pulled over the top to secure it. The only opening in the case is for the headphone jack at the bottom: the Click Wheel and screen are accessible through clear, flexible-plastic windows. Neither the hold switch or dock-connector port are available when the nano is in the case. The adjustable armband also uses Velcro to secure itself and features a plastic cable wrap for taking up the slack in your headphone cord.
Since the armband is made of neoprene instead of elastic, it may seem less flexible, but it ends up being easier to get a comfortable fit. The cable wrap is a nice addition, but its placement may be less than optimal for those who prefer to run with the armband on their right arm.
The lack of accessibility to the hold switch and dock-connector port is a disappointment. Although I personally don’t use my nano’s hold switch while running, I do use the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, which attaches to the dock-connector port; it doesn’t work with the SportWrap. I also found that though the SportWrap claims to accommodate both generations of iPod nano, the sample I had fit the first-generation nano much better. The screen, Click Wheel, and headphone jack were all perfectly lined up for the first-generation nano, whereas the second-generation nano requires a bit of finessing to fit correctly.
Overall, the SportWrap has its share of pros and cons. Those who want the ability to use the Nike+iPod kit or access their iPod’s hold switch should look elsewhere, and second-generation nano owners can probably find a better fitting case. That said, the SportWrap is comfortable and will protect your iPod well in most running conditions. –Dan Moren