Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gear Closet: Armpocket Flash Smartphone Armband for Runners

Still looking for a last minute gift for the runner in your life? Than you may want to consider the new Flash armband from Armpocket, a protective case designed for larger smartphones that comes with a couple of nice extra features that are sure to be appreciated both by you, and the person who uses the armband.

As a daily runner, I like to listen to music and podcasts throughout my workouts. That means taking my smartphone or mp3 player with me when I hit the road. The problem is, I recently purchased a new iPhone 6, which is much larger than its predecessors. Finding an armband case for the phone has been a bit of a struggle, as there aren't many designed specifically for Apple's new devices. I know that there will soon be plenty of options to choose from as more companies release new options, but at the moment there are few good choices for the iPhone 6 or it's even bigger sibling, the 6 Plus.

The Armpocket Flash was built with larger smartphones in mind however, and it has absolutely no problems accommodating the new iPhone, even if it wasn't made specifically for that device. In fact, there is so much room inside that it actually doesn't fit my iPhone quite as snugly as I'd like. For the most part, this isn't a big issue, but  trying to use the phone through the touch-sensitive protective covering can sometimes be an exercise in futility. Since the touch screen window doesn't fit tightly agains the phone, it doesn't register taps and swipes as cleanly as I'd like. On more than one occasion, I've actually had to take the phone out of the case to get it to do what I wanted. That defeats the purpose of using a case in the first place, and was a source of frustration while testing this product. My advice is to set up your music and fitness apps ahead of time, and slide your phone back into the case before you get moving.

That one annoyance aside, I actually found that I really like the Flash. It is obviously a very large armband, but considering the size of popular smartphones these days, it has to be. Despite its size however, the Flash fits very comfortably on my arm, and stays locked in place even on more vigorous runs. While you will be well aware of the large armband you're wearing, it really doesn't impact your workout in any way.

As you would expect from a product like this one, it features a nice audio access port for headphones which can accommodate nearly any device that you put inside. The armband is also made out of sweat and water resistant materials that ensure your device stays well protected from moisture at all times as well. Interior compartments allow you to carry a key, ID, and other small items with you when you hit the trail, and the memory foam cushioning molds the case to your arm quite nicely.

Of course, a lot of these features are just what you'd expect out of a good armband built for frequent runners. But the Flash has another feature that helps to set it apart from the competition, while also providing a bit of extra safety if you find yourself out after dark. Armpocket has integrated a set of red LED lights into the side of the case which aid in visibility out on the road. These lights have three modes that allow them to stay on constantly, or blink at two different speeds. Blinking red lights on a dark street will certainly catch the attention of drivers, helping to make them more aware that you are passing by, something that I'm sure we can all appreciate.

The addition of the LED lights to the Flash means that this product is not machine washable. If you get as sweaty as I do when running in the warmer months, that could be a potential problem. Immersing the armband in water will probably kill the circuits that operate the light, so you'll have to be careful when cleaning this product by hand.

The Armpocket Flash feels incredibly solid and durable in your hand, and it seems like a product that will last for a long time. I've been using it for several weeks, and it it still looks like it came right out of the package. It also does a great job of protecting its expensive cargo too, as my iPhone 6 has always come out of the case clean and dry, without an ounce of moisture seeping into the interior.

With a price tag of $49.95, the Flash is competitively priced with similar product, while also incorporating the LED lighting system. This makes it a very good product for the avid runner who will appreciate everything the case brings to the table. If you're in the market for an armband running case designed for larger smartphone, this is a very good option. While I wish that it fit my iPhone 6 a bit more snugly, I truly appreciate the extra storage and the LED lights that provide extra visibility on evening runs. I think the runner on your holiday shopping list will agree.

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