Review by Kelly Keltner
Griffin’s Sport Armband for iPhone ($30) — a product name that fills my head with visions of iPhones running around the track (“Go, go, little 3GS! You can do it! You’re not too old!”) — allows you to get up and go without worrying about your iPhone. It’s a decent attempt at making workout clothing for the iPhone, but just as with those just-a-bit-too-tight yoga pants, there are a few bulges that might cause a few sideways looks in the gym.
For the most part, it does what it says on the tin. There’s not too many ways to go wrong with one of these things, but overall, Griffin managed to avoid most of the common pitfalls of an armband. The non-skid fabric on the interior of the armband doesn’t scratch or irritate and, most importantly, doesn’t slide once you get into the hot and heavy of your workout.
Accessing my iPhone’s controls was easy enough, and there’s a small port for connecting your earphones, obviously, and the Velcro band fits easily around your arm and “clasps” securely. The little key slot is a nice touch for when you’re working out in pocketless togs.
Here’s where those “ooh, girl” bulges come in. The armband’s design includes a needless flap that hangs over the top of the phone, yet also manages to stick up like a bad cowlick. This was my biggest issue with this armband. While placing it on your arm and stretching it out a bit does seem to tighten it down somewhat, it never fully sits flat against the phone. This may not be an issue for some, but if you’re even the slightest OCD about these things, it’s going to irritate you.
Furthermore, it covers up the iPhone’s status bar. Granted, you may not need to see how much battery remains during your workout, but it’s a needless piece of fabric that does nothing more than to display Adidas’ brand name. If you pull back the flap, you can see just how perfect this armband could have been without this extra piece of fabric. Having tested other sports armbands made by Griffin without this design element, I can only imagine that the need to display Adidas’ brand name trumped the overall design and functionality of the armband.
Speaking of Adidas, the armband’s sales copy explains that the armband “works with Adidas miCoach mobile app.” The truth is, however, that there’s no functionality within the armband that would require this armband be used over any other with the app. Unless, of course, you just desperately need to have “Adidas” written all over the armband to feel at one with the app, then by all means: knock yourself out.
Overall, the armband is functional and does what it needs to do. It’s not perfect and does suffer slightly from a few design flaws, making it neither one of the best I’ve seen, nor the worst. It will keep your iPhone safe and snug during your workout, though, and perhaps that’s good enough for most.