When the sixth generation of the iPod nano was released in the fall of 2010, Steve Jobs joked that it was so small that it could be worn as a watch. Apparently dozens of companies decided to create watchbands that could be used to turn the nano into a watch – albeit a rather large watch. HEX, a division of August Accessories, a 21-year company known for its design, development, and execution of innovative accessories, created a watchband that not only turns the iPod nano into a watch, it also protects your nano. HEX sent The Gadgeteer a sample of their Watch Band for iPod nano Gen 6 for a review.
The HEX watchband is made of silicone. It comes in eight opaque colors and in clear (translucent). I asked for and received the clear band. Other colors available are: black, white, blue, orange, green, red, gray, and pink.
It seems that many watchbands for the nano utilize the clip to attach the iPod to the strap. This arrangement leaves your iPod nano open to being scratched and banged up. The HEX Watch Band protects your nano by encasing it in a silicone shell. The silicone is flexible enough that you can easily insert the nano into the casing.
I wanted the translucent band because the nano is completely encased. I got the red nano, and I wanted the pretty color to show through. If I’d thought about the difficulty of photographing a clear item, I might have chosen a different color. :) Be aware that there is no screen protection with this watchband.
The HEX Watch Band uses a traditional buckle closure. The buckle and pin are clear plastic on the translucent band. This band is very long; I measured it at 10-3/8” long, from tip to tip. The casing for the nano is about 3/8” thick, and the band itself is about 1/8” thick. This may not be the ideal watch for the person who prefers a dainty watch. However, it is a good choice to hold and protect your nano while you’re moving around or exercising.
The exterior of the band is embossed with a pattern of small raised circles. This pattern seems designed to emulate grainy leather. The interior of the band is embossed with a diagonal pattern of the word “HEX”. This pattern helps keep the silicone band from feeling like it’s glued to your skin. It also prevents your wrist from getting sweaty.
This band is long enough and has enough adjustment holes so most people should have no problem wearing the band. Based on my measurements, the HEX Watch Band adjusts from about a 6” interior circumference in the tightest position to about 8.5” interior circumference in the loosest position.
The sleep/wake button, volume buttons, and headphone jack are accessible while the nano is in the watch casing. The buttons are raised, so you can find them easily by touch. The volume buttons have raised + and – signs on them, but I can’t feel those markings well enough to know which is volume up and down simply by touch. They are a nice visual cue so you can adjust the volume without accidentally deafening yourself, though.
The headphone jack is protected by a little flap that is held in place by a silicone plug. The flap has a long “hinge,” and it can be moved out of the way when you want to plug in some headphones.
You can wear the HEX Watch Band on either wrist, but you will probably want to orient the headphone jack to the “shoulder side” of your wrist. A headphone cord attached at your ears and your wrist and flapping free in the middle could get easily snagged and be a safety hazard. If you run the headphone cord under your sleeve and up to your ears, the cord won’t flop around.
You won’t be able to recharge the iPod nano while it is in the HEX Watch Band case. Luckily, the nano pops in and out of the case very easily. There’s even a hole on the back of the band where you can insert your finger and help push the nano out of the silicone casing.
The silicone doesn’t seem to be a lint magnet like some silicone products I’ve used in the past. The nano and the HEX Watch Band do work well as a watch, but it is a big watch. People with tiny wrists may feel overwhelmed wearing such a big watch all day long. I like that the silicone case protects the nano while you’re wearing it as a watch. I have a bad habit of smacking my hand against furniture and doorways, so my nano would be a mess in no time if it weren’t protected. Just be aware that the protection does come at a small price: you won’t be able to see the color of your nano while it’s in the HEX Watch Band. Even the clear band obscures the color.
I think the HEX Watch Band for iPod nano Gen 6 is a good product for people who want to exercise wearing their nano, but who don’t trust the clip to hold securely to their clothing or to a band around their wrist. It also makes a secure watchband if you just want a watch that can also serve as a music player and radio.