Griffin’s Tempo for shuffle is one of several armbands for the second-generation (2G) iPod shuffle designed to be used during exercise. The Tempo’s 1.5-inch-wide armband is made of an elastic fabric with a soft, Velcro-like surface on the outside; at one end is a metal loop and at the other is a rubber tab with a 1.5-inch square Velcro patch. You thread the tab through the loop and then press the Velcro tab against any part of the armband. Because the entire length of the armband has this Velcro-like surface, the Tempo will fit any upper arm from 11 to 14 inches in circumference nearly perfectly. (Many of the other armbands we’ve tested use Velcro patches along the armband. If the size of your upper arm corresponds to one of these patches, you get a good fit; if you’re between patches, these armbands may not fit as securely.) You can also fit smaller arms — or even wrists — if you don’t mind looping the strap over the top of your shuffle; however, used this way, you can’t easily access your shuffle’s controls.
A plastic “buckle” on the Tempo — which you can position anywhere along the armband — holds your shuffle in place. A wide tab on the buckle slides into the shuffle’s built-in clip; once the tab is fully inserted, the shuffle snaps into a recessed area on the buckle that fits the shuffle’s clip perfectly. The controls on the front and sides of the shuffle are fully accessible. Although this arrangement doesn’t look especially sturdy, in my testing I couldn’t dislodge the shuffle from the Tempo any way other than using the official removal technique: lift the bottom edge of the shuffle up until it clears the recessed area, and then slide it off the tab.
I like how the Tempo positions the iPod shuffle vertically on your arm; most other armbands place the player horizontally. When you pull your arm across your body to look at the shuffle, this sideways orientation means that the shuffle’s control pad is in the right position with Volume Up facing “up,” Volume Down facing “down,” and so on. On the other hand, like Marware’s Sportsuit Runabout, the Tempo leaves your iPod completely exposed to the elements or to accidental damage. If you run only in dry weather, or work out in a gym where there’s little risk of banging your upper arm against the equipment, the issue of protection may not matter to you, but it’s something to think about when considering the Tempo.
One other minor complaint I have is that surface of the inside of the Tempo’s armband is actually rougher than the soft Velcro surface on the outside. Although the fabric keeps the Tempo in place well, at times it felt a bit scratchy.
Overall, although the Tempo is among the least-protective 2G shuffle armbands out there, it’s lightweight, attractive, and holds your shuffle securely during exercise.–Dan Frakes