Marware’s Sportsuit Convertible for iPod classic attempts to be the do-all, be-all of iPod sport cases. Your iPod slips into a slim neoprene skin to protect it from scratches and minor impacts, with a clear, flexible-plastic layer covering the iPod’s screen and controls. The iPhone’s headphone jack and Ring/Silent switch are easily accessible on the top, and at the bottom of the case is a flap that can be folded back for access to the dock-connector port.
But the heart of the Sportsuit’s unique appeal is what’s on the back of the skin: the Multidapt, a plastic connector for attaching it to one of the many available straps and clips designed for pocketless mobility. The Sportsuit package comes with a basic plastic belt clip and an armband, but you can also buy more accessories from Marware–a dashboard mount for your car, a handlebar mount for bikes, a leather swivel belt clip, and a ratchet-locking belt clip. The accessories slide onto the clip base and snap in place; to remove it, you use your headphone’s plug to push a button through a little hole on the clip, which unlocks the accessory.
The included hard-shell lid for the Sportsuit is a clever, sturdy way to protect your ‘Pod from harder impacts. A plastic flap slips over the Multidapt clip on the back of the case and is secured in place when you connect one of the accessories. But connecting an accessory when the lid is attached is a strenuous endeavor. Because the flap adds an extra layer to the back of the skin, you have to apply a lot of downward pressure the accessory to align the two clips. (It took me nearly five minutes to get it right on my first try, although the process did get easier the more times I did it.) The lid has a little band on its inner corner that fastens it to the main case; when you want to access the iPod’s controls, you can easily detach the band and swing the lid open. On the front of the lid is also a convenient flexible pocket for those small items sportsmen need to carry when they’re being sporty.
But the Sportsuit’s biggest weakness is its armband. The Velcro that straps it to your arm is a small vertical strip that needs to attach to one of the small horizontal strips along its length. I had a hard time making it tight enough so it wouldn’t slide down my arm–and even when I thought I had it, the band seemed to loosen as my muscles expanded and contracted. While running, the Sportsuit bounced and jiggled and eventually slid further and further down my arm. Another annoyance: When I attempted to tighten the strap, my skin kept getting caught in the strap’s D-ring clip; which, may I say, was quite unpleasant. It may work better–but still not great–for individuals with arms larger than mine–I am, after all, a relatively slim 20-year-old, though I do exercise regularly. But not all of us are fit to compete in World’s Strongest Man, and that’s something to consider if you aren’t an Olympic shotputter.
The skin, its Multidapt connector, and the various attachable accessories make the Sportsuit an interesting and unique product. But the armband is a potential deal-breaker.