Having upgraded to the iPhone 5 soon after release I found my choice of accessories to be quite restricted. In order to run with my iPhone I had to source an iphone 5 compatible armband as soon as possible. Back in September I had no choice at all but at least there was one model in stock – the Belkin Ease-Fitt Armband.
I bought it, but have never been entirely happy with it. It’s comfortable enough but it doesn’t cosset my phone quite as securely as I’d like. There is a slit at the top of the armband for me to feed the iphone through but it remains open to the elements. It takes a firm shove to ensure the phone reaches the bottom of the case but nothing prevents the phone from riding up and escaping onto the trail. I have to say I’ve never run sufficiently vigorously to send my phone flying out of the armband but that is not to say that it couldn’t happen and with its open-top aspect its not a case for use in a downpour.
I’ve been sent a few more armbands to try out recently and I’m pleased to say that I have found a couple more that I like.
Gadgetcase.co.uk have a few iPhone 5 specific armbands available now and I was sent samples the Elite Motion and the Reflect Armband, both of which are pitched at the value end of the market. At £5.90 its hard not to be a little impressed.
Out of the two the Reflect iPhone 5 Armband is far superior. It doesn’t look particularly classy but it holds the iPhone 5 securely and includes a flap to fully encase the gadget. The slot gapes a little but that is flattened out when you attach it to your arm.
The Elite Motion Armband is worth avoiding. The phone doesn’t seem to sit happily at all and the flap is odd and insecure. I think I’ve been sent a prototype rather than the final product so I will assume that they now ship with headphone ports but unless they’ve dramatically altered the slot design I would suggest you consider the Reflect instead.
I was also sent two non iPhone 5 specific armbands and strangely they have become my armbands of choice with the other 3 relegated to the discarded gadget drawer.
These are now approaching the deluxe end of the market at £19.99 and £24.99 respectively but you can see and feel the step up in quality. They both include additional velcro loops to secure the flapping headphone cable and where the Tune Belt includes a fully enclosed flap to cover the phone, the Armpocket is totally enclosed within a zipped pocket.
The Armpocket is almost my out and out favourite but sometimes you just don’t need such a big armband. I have been scared out of my wits on a couple of occasions after running on the treadmill with the Armpocket – I run by the open patio doors, usually in the dark and usually with Zombies!Run playing over the headphones. I have twice felt the blood drain out of me when the phone jiggled within the massive armband and left me fearing for imminent Zombie attack. If you don’t pad the pocket out with sweets etc it can be a bit loose for running.
The Tune Belt is a little smaller but still bigger than absolutely necessary for the iPhone 5. Its super comfortable and doesn’t jiggle like the Armpocket. It isn’t fully sealed and the fabric looks as though it would absorb rain water so I think I would restrict this to fair weather or indoor running.
I’m still undecided between the latter two models. I’ll probably keep them both. The Armpocket is substantial and fully encapsulates my iPhone, as well as an assortment of other fripperies that you may wish to carry with you on your run. As such it is perfect for long out door runs where you may need to stash a supply of jelly beans and emergency taxi cash and where you want to feel prepared for sudden downpours. The Tunebelt is comfortable, stylish and the perfect companion for gym use – just don’t take it out in the rain.