I’ve always been sceptical of people running with their nano - afterall, running is a wonderful symbiosis of man and nature, the chance to explore your freedom in the open environment. But no, this is Pocket-lint, and our aim is to gadgetify the (un)modern world. I strapped on the X-Clip Sports Armband and trusty nano and got converted.
The X-Clip Sports Armband consists of a few component parts, namely the X-Clip and the Sports Armband. The X-Clip hard case is part of the wider range of X-Clip compatible accessories from GEAR4. The armband is a well constructed neoprene and PU-coated fabric affair. Together, quite frankly, they present possibly the best solution to carrying your nano on the run.
The X-Clip case provides a hard cover to the precious player, but you also get two film covers to prevent scratches when sliding your nano in and out of the case. Smart move. The case allows access to the top, bottom and click wheel, so you get complete control, and can dock your iPod whilst still in the case. The case comes with a lanyard, and a clip which slides onto the back for belt attachment etc. In this situation though, the case slides onto the armband.
The armband is substantial enough to support your iPod, with a footprint on your arm that provides enough contact to minimise any bounce or sliding. Being neoprene, it is has a natural elasticity, so it flexes with your arm as it moves. In our test runs, there was no sign of movement and no discomfort. In short, it was fantastic.
But wait - there's more.
In the back of the armband is a waterproof cover that you can slip over the case if it starts raining – this cover has a port in it for the wire from the headphones, so it is still funny functional.
Being a two part system cast one doubt – could the case come off the armband whilst running? In practise, no, it didn’t, but it was a minor niggle. Perhaps a button to press to slide it off would reassure paranoid users. However, because you can slide it off, you can easily grab the iPod and select a different playlist, then slip it back on again – no twisting and craning of the neck that you might find in other armband options.
As this is a sports item, the customary reflective strips add the finish touch – this might prevent you being hit by a rogue car, should you happen to be running down a country lane, in the dark, listening to Slipknot on full volume. In reality, it is probably only useful as decoration.
Finally, there is a cable clip to minimise cable bounce and swing when running. The best bet would be to use headphones designed for sport, such as the Sennheiser PMX70 headphones previously reviewed on Pocket-lint. An ideal solution for all that extra cable is to rap it around the case, then clip it with enough to deal with any arm-swing whilst running.
Overall, I was blown away. Having been a purist, I was surprised at how comfortable and natural it felt. Running on a cold day, getting those winter miles in, has never been such a pleasure. This is not only a Hot Product, but I think when combined with those Sennheiser headphones deserves top marks.