There have been a multitude of companies introducing bands to turn the iPod nano into a wristwatch, and The Gadgeteer has reviewed some of them. The 4iTorq band from 4iConcepts differs from the pack because it’s a metal band instead of the typical cloth, plastic, or leather strap. Let’s give it a closer look.
Note: I received a pre-production bracelet without the retail packaging.
The 4iTorq is made of stainless steel with a shiny finish. It’s rigid, but it can be adjusted just a bit by squeezing. It has a vaguely “D” shape, so it’s flatter on the places that lay on the top and back of your wrist. I’ve worn metal bangle bracelets before, and I find a flattened shape much more comfortable than the more traditional round shape.
Like many metal bangle bracelets, there’s an opening in the band to make it possible to slip it over your wrist or hand but keep a snug fit against the wrist. Unlike traditional bracelets, this opening is on the top corner instead of the middle bottom of the bracelet. I’m not sure why they put the opening here. I would prefer the traditional placement because it would make the top look sleeker.
The top of the bracelet is flat and has two nips cut into the sides of the bracelet. This is where you clip on your iPod nano. One cut is deeper, and that’s where the hinged side of the nano fits. I always make sure that the open side of the nano is centered in the other indentation and that the clip is closed completely for security.
Because of the clip, the 4iTorq metal band isn’t perfectly centered under the nano. It’s not horribly off-center, and you may not even notice it or care about it if you do notice. I noticed because I gave it a very careful inspection for this review.
When attached to the 4iTorq, the sleep/wake and volume buttons face the wrist opening on the bracelet. That’s a good visual cue where to find these buttons if you’re wearing the nano while you walk or exercise. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s why they put the opening on the top instead of the bottom. A continuous band of metal wouldn’t help you find the controls quickly.
There’s a set of instructions and a video online that show you how to wear and use the bracelet, but it’s pretty straightforward. They instruct you to attach the nano first, then you put the side of your wrist in the opening and “twist” the bracelet onto your arm. I prefer to put the bracelet on first, then attach the iPod. I’ve found the nano’s clip opens up a bit while I’m putting the bracelet on my wrist. I’ve found it’s very easy to clip the nano on after putting on the bracelet, even though I’m using my non-dominant left hand to attach it. I’ve also squeezed the bracelet closed so it fits tighter on my wrist, so I’ve found it’s more comfortable to fold my thumb under and slide the bracelet down my hand onto my wrist. I guess there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
Just like with many of these watch bands, instructions recommend running the headphones cord under a sleeve to control its movement while you’re wearing the nano. Instead of taking the headphone plug directly to the jack on the nano, the 4iConcepts instructions also showed that you should wrap the cord through the bracelet’s wrist opening, under the bracelet, then around to the jack. This will prevent strain on the cable at the plug if you catch the headphone cable on something.
As you can see in the top picture, my red nano with the black watch face looks very elegant with the shiny metal 4iTorq band. It looks like a large bracelet when the clock face isn’t displayed.
Of course, the iPod controls are easy to reach and use while you’re wearing the nano on the bracelet.
As I mentioned, I received a pre-production piece. The bracelet I received is 1-1/8” wide. I measured the interior from metal edge to metal edge; the metal length is 6-3/8”. When I “close the circle,” the interior circumference is about 7-3/8”.
Before I squeezed it to fit my wrist tighter, we all tried it on. We found it was loose on my daughter’s arm; it slipped down onto her hand. It fit my larger wrist better than Rachel’s, but there was room to spare, and it felt a little “floppy” on my wrist. It fit my husband’s wrist closely, but he said it wasn’t uncomfortably snug.
4iConcepts now offers the 4iTorq in three sizes. Small fits most women, medium would be for women with larger wrists and men with smaller wrists, and large would work best for most men. Based on how the bracelet fit us, I’d guess Rachel would need the small, I’d probably use the medium, and Butch would use the large.
The 4iTorq bracelet is a nice alternative to the other nano watchbands on the market. It looks elegant with the nano, and stainless steel coordinates with every iPod nano color (except perhaps the orange?). Since I assume you picked out a particular color because you like it, you might like that it doesn’t obscure the color of your nano. It works as a simple watchband and as a means of wearing the nano for listening to music when you don’t want to clip it to your clothing. And at $49.95, it’s cheaper than some of the plastic watchbands for nano.