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Review: XtremeMac’s Sportwrap for iPhone/iPod

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xtrememacsportbandNow that the weather is warming up, I have decided to (reluctantly) put down the cheeseballs, and start exercising again. I haven’t really been running since last November and a lot has changed since then. First of all, I am ridiculously out of shape. But more importantly, and relevant to this article, is the fact that I have become so reliant on my iPhone over the past few months that I gave my former “workout” iPod to my kids to use. This generosity meant my iPhone was now going to have to serve as my workout jukebox of choice, and that meant I needed a new jogging armband designed to fit it.

XtremeMac’s Sportwrap for iPhone and iPod is a well-designed, comfortable, and extremely versatile armband carrier that can actually hold not only the iPhone and the iPod touch, but also the iPod classic, and iPod 4G & 5G. Perhaps a bit of my love affair with this armband stems from the frustrations caused by my previous armband. It was designed back in the stone age by a company that shall remain nameless, and it had a lot of problems. First, it was designed for an older model iPod, so the headphone hole was in the middle of the band, which caused me to have to punch my own hole when I got a 5G iPod a month later. Second, the arm strap was ridiculously short. I am by no means a huge guy with giant arms, but at 6′ 3″ I could barely make contact with the edges of the band. The company shipped a velcro “extender” with the unit for “freaks” like me, but it was clunky and uncomfortable, lacking the padding of the regular band. Finally, while I was able to cram m iPhone into it, the plastic sheathing covering the face of the iPhone blocked all finger sensing, rendering the touch controls useless.
xtrememacsportband
Above: It’s nice to know if my arms every got this big I could still use the Sportwrap. Not that that will ever happen…

XtremeMac’s Sportwrap addresses all these issues. First, the armband is of a reasonable length, and stays on my arm securely. Second, XtremeMac punched holes in all 4 corners of the band, making it compatible with every full-sized iPod/iPhone made in the last 3 years or so. And third, and most importantly for iPhone/touch users, it has a clear, play-through mask which allows you to control the iPhone without removing it. Despite its light weight, the case and band are extremely well made and durable, and by far the most comfortable I have tested so far.

Issues

My only gripe with the band after about 3 weeks of use is that there is no cord management to speak of. For an iPod or iPod touch user this isn’t a huge problem, as you can put your headphones on “backwards” if you’d like, and have the cord run up your back. I’m not a huge fan of the sensation of the cord slapping against my back, but it’s better than having it flop around in front of me. The problem is for iPhone users, there is a microphone/controller that I’d prefer to have access to so I could skip/pause songs. If there was a system to manage the cord and shorten it a bit, keeping the headphones/mic in front of me, but reigned in, that would be ideal. As it stands though, I almost never make calls while running, but once in a blue moon I do get a call from the Bride of Macenstein asking me to pick something up on my way back, and I DO find I need to pause or skip tracks while running.
xtrememacsportband
Conclusion

XtremeMac’s Sportwrap is my new favorite piece of exercise gear. It is lightweight, comfortable, washable, and can be used not only with the iPhone and pretty much every iPod I own. The band is long enough to handle even the most juiced-up baseball player, yet my wife could also use it comfortably as well. My only gripe is lack of a cord management clip/compartment, but otherwise I highly recommend this band for those working out with full-sized iPods and iPhones.

xtrememacsportband

Price: $29.99

Pros: Comfortable, works with all full-sized iPods and iPhone, full touch control access, washable, good length armband

Cons: No cord management to reign in the headphones

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