Speck Products SkinTight iPod Mini Armband Review


Product Requirements:
Mini iPod


The IPod mini certainly is a functional work of art. It looks, feels, and
plays well. In my mind, there is no device out there that can rival its clean
lines and the minimalist design. The mini has the same functionality as the IPod
sans the extra physical and hard drive size. The small size of the mini makes it
very suitable for listening to music on the go. This could be walking, running,
working out or even traveling.

Apple provides an armband as an optional accessory (for about $30) which
allows the mini to be used for strenuous physical activities. However, it does
not offer any protection for the mini. It is essentially a plain armband with a
clip on it. This might be fine for users who do not participate in strenuous
physical activity, but for the rest (majority) the lack of protection eliminates
a lot of the usefulness initially provided by the armband

Speck Products to the rescue ….. Again

When I reviewed the Speck Products
SkinTight case, I said it would be perfect
for usage in the gym if it had a supplied (or optional) clip or armband. Well I
guess they must have heard me (or the numerous discerning mini owners) and their
answer was the SkinTight armband. The Speck Products SkinTight Armband is
essentially an armband bundled with a SkinTight case (or skin). The clip on the
armband is wide enough to fit the mini with the skin on (which is expected after
all it is their product) and thus offers protection to the mini when it is
clipped on. I suspect this armband might work with skins made by other companies
because of the width of its clip.


I am not going to discuss the design or the functionality of the skin as it
has already been reviewed in detail. Instead, I am going to focus on the armband
with the skin taking a back seat.

The armband is grey in color with black circular Velcro patches evenly spaced
throughout its entire length. The armband is made of black neoprene (just like
Apple’s offering) but there is a grey rubber strip affixed on each side hence the
grey appearance of the armband. The contrast between the grey armband and the
black Velcro patches makes the case not too visually appealing. Compared with
the optional armband supplied by Apple which has a very plain yet appealing
design, the SkinTight’s design looks somewhat clumsy and uncoordinated. I think
that they could have either made the armband black or just made the Velcro
patches form continuous strip instead of individual circles. The only reason I
can come up with for the color mismatch is that they wanted to differentiate
their product from the Apple’s offering.

The plastic clip that holds the mini is translucent and it has an opening for
the band to pass through. There is a small metal buckle which secures the band
to the opening using 4 small screws. On the back of the plastic clip (and also
on the armband) there is a Speck Products logo. The plastic clip looks very
cool, unfortunately it scratches very easily which shows due to its
transparency. The plastic clip although a nice touch fails to completely draw
away attention from the armband’s visual design shortcomings.

Finally, the grey rubber that is affixed on each side of the black neoprene
seems like it would tear easily. While examining the Velcro patches, I noticed
that there were little tears on the grey rubber surrounding some the patches. I
believe they happened because the patches were attached using glue. This raises
another sore point simply because glue wears out after a long period of time.
Despite this minor nitpick, I highly doubt the glue will be wearing out any time

In spite of the minor design issues, the SkinTight’s armband design has a lot
of functionality which will be discussed in the next section.


After initially being taken aback by the design of the armband, I decided to
test its functionality. As you probably already know, there is a wide spectrum
of mini owners with different shapes and sizes. I believe that an armband should
be able to accommodate people with different sized arms. I personally have
bigger arms and in the past have had problems with some armbands for different
devices. This however was not the case with the SkinTight armband. It fits and
feels very well and there was still a lot of allowance for people with much
bigger arms (and smaller arms). The grey rubber strips that are affixed on the
underlying neoprene helps to make the armband feel comfortable even when
you put it on tightly. On the flipside I decided to let a coworker with very
small arms try the armband and it fit perfectly well. The reason the armband
will fit a wide range of people is because of the presence of the Velcro circles
evenly spaced around its circumference These circles make more economical
use of Velcro simply because they occupy less area than a continuous strip while
offering the same (or slightly) less flexibility in terms of fit. On the
downside, even though the Velcro circles feel sturdy enough, I cannot help but
think that they would start falling apart with continuous use.

The plastic clip that holds the mini has some functionality built in to go
with its good looks. There are small plastic tabs on each side and they have two
functions. The first being to give a surface that allows users to remove the
mini from the clip. The second function is as a clip for the headphones cord
that effectively reduces cord interference during armband usage. However, if you
are not using the apple headphones, chances are your headphones cord might be
too thin (or thick) for the tabs. I personally use Sony EX-71sl headphones and
they work okay with the tabs. I think a good reason for having two tabs is that
really long headphones can be clipped on one tab and then run over to the other
side and clipped to the second tab thus shortening the length of the cord. This
works a lot better than wrapping your excess cord around the mini.

Overall, apart from the plastic tabs and the wide range of fit, every other
aspect of the SkinTight armband’s functionality is just like the optional
armband offered by Apple (or any other armband). It works wells for walking,
running, jumping (I should know because I jump rope) working out or any other
physical activity.

Final Thoughts:

The Speck Products SkinTight Armband is a decent product that functions
especially well. Although the design might not be eye catching, it functions
superbly and does a good job of protecting the mini during active use. This
product will be a good alternative to Apple’s offering simply because you get 2
products for the price of one; The skin and the armband. Even if you are not
using the armband, you can still use the supplied case to protect your mini
during daily use. Furthermore, if you subtract the actual cost of the skin
($19.95) you are only paying $10 for the armband which is a very good value.

Overall, I believe the SkinTight Armband is a good product simply because it
provides protection for the mini in addition to performing its function as an
armband. Brushing aside some minor design shortcomings, I believe it offers
excellent value for the mini. I recommend it to any user who wants to use their
mini actively and or wants a decent case for everyday use


Price: $29.95


Offers protection for the mini
Good value
Good functionality

Unappealing design traits


Product Information

  • Offers protection for the mini
  • Good value
  • Good functionality
  • Unappealing design traits
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Julie September 3, 2004, 2:32 am

    Post your comments here on the Speck Products SkinTight iPod Mini Armband Review.


    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • wondertwinzz September 3, 2004, 4:16 am

    Oooeey, that band is beyond ugly. Why would an iPod user (who ostensibly cares about form and function, but especially form) accessorize his or her sleek-looking iPod with that tacky thing?

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