I have an ongoing issue when I run. I carry my Droid both because it tracks my runs for me but also because I am an early morning runner and feel better having my phone with me. The problem, as you may know, is that the Droid is not a small phone. It’s uncomfortable to carry in my hand and you don’t want to know how uncomfortable it is to run with a Droid bouncing around in your pants pocket. Let’s just say it leads to some odd looking bruises on your leg. In any case, I’m always on the hunt for the perfect hands-free system. I tried a Belkin iPod Touch case, but it was a pain to wrestle the Droid in and out of it. So when NXE offered me the chance to review the ActiveSleeve, I jumped at the chance!
Moisture-wicking, Breathable Comfort — High-end, breathable material stretches to fit any arm size/shape with extreme comfort. Moisture-wicking technology keeps your device safe from perspiration while you exercise
Cushioned Pillow Pocket — Perforated foam-mesh lines the inside of the device pocket to keep your screen safe and provide added protection
Freedom — Ergonomic & Simplistic. Slip-on sleeve design stretches over arm and allows for free range of motion while staying where you want it to without hassle. A simple Velcro closure with textured grip tab allows quick access to device, as well as blind access when sleeve is worn under clothing.
Universal Device Compatibility — Sleeve pocket can adapt to most mobile phones and portable music player. Vertical Velcro strip allows closure flap to cinch down and securely hold device in place, even during the most active training.
Unlimited Possibilities — From running to cycling , the gym to the driving range, fresh powder atop the mountains in Nagano to the sun-kissed sand on the beaches of Hermosa, and everywhere in-between. The ActiveSLEEVE™ is limitless in its uses, and more importantly, it doesn’t limit YOU, the Athlete.
So how did it work out in reality?
First, I will say that NXE is right on about the universal compatibility. The ActiveSleeve fit my Droid perfectly, and there was enough room to get it in and out of the sleeve without anything being too tight or too loose. Once I practiced sliding the Droid in and out once with the sleeve on my arm, I could easily do it one-handed while running, very helpful if I needed to check on how far along I was in the run. With my old Belkin system, I had to unhook it from my arm to access my phone, and threading a velcro strap on and off was not something I am coordinated enough to do while moving.
Speaking of straps and things, the NXE forgoes the velcro strap that many armbands have in favor of a slip on style. The tough part here is figuring out what size fits your bicep. NXE sent me several sizes, and I determined that the large was the most comfortable fit for me; snug but not too tight. It felt great, right up until I slid my Droid in and went for a run.
That’s where I had some issues, and it’s important to separate the problems caused by the ActiveSleeve versus the Droid. The ActiveSleeve issue was mainly that it bunches easily. It’s fairly unstructured, which is nice and comfortable, but it tended to bunch with too much arm movement. Part of this was also because my Droid is a really, really, heavy phone, and unfortunately its weight contributed to the bunching factor. The Droid bounced a great deal in the ActiveSleeve, and at one point almost dragged itself down to my forearm with all the movement. With a lighter item the ActiveSleeve doesn’t move nearly as much, so if you don’t have an exceptionally hefty phone this shouldn’t be an issue. It also only became a major problem after around 45 minutes of running; on a shorter run the constant slide down/adjust up wasn’t as irritating, but once I was getting tired it became more annoying. So if you’re doing weightlifting, or biking, or running in a shorter spurt you won’t notice it nearly as much.
(ActiveSleeve holding a Larabar and a ClifShot packet)
You can use the ActiveSleeve for more than just a phone, though. It’s the perfect size to hold a few energy gel packets, or if you’re weird like me, a homemade energy mix in a mini-shampoo bottle. Since these are far lighter, there’s less bouncing, plus it’s far cleaner and easier than pinning gels to the inside of your shorts or storing them in your sports bra! Even if gels aren’t your thing, the nice thing about the universal nature of the ActiveSleeve is that it effectively gives you an extra pocket that you can access on the go…so if you need to transport anything small, whether it’s gels, half an energy bar, medication, etc., you can keep it handy and know it’s safe.
So the ActiveSleeve wasn’t my ideal system, but it’s very, very good for a universal sleeve. It’s clearly built with quality in mind; everything from the stitching to the material is perfect. There’s no loose edges, and the only irritant I found was the inside tag, which kept working its way out. A quick snip and that would become a non-issue. Beyond that, my only other nitpicks are that there’s no easy way to run headphones if you’re using a wired set, and no keyholder or keyring hole. The headphone issue isn’t a big deal if you don’t mind the headphones poking out from behind the flap, and the keyring issue is one that can be fixed with a safety pin if you really need your spare key on your armband.
The true proof the ActiveSleeve is a great piece of gear, though, is that I plan to use it in my upcoming half-marathon this April. It will be perfect for storing a commercial gel and a shampoo bottle with my homemade goop, keeping them at my fingertips but out of the way until I need them!
The NXE ActiveSleeve is a great choice if you’re looking for an armband style carrier for your phone, mp3 player, energy gels, etc. If you have an extra heavy phone it might be a bit of a pain, but for lighter devices it’s awesome. And in fact, the fine folks at NXE want you to experience just how great the ActiveSleeve is, and we have several to give away.
GIVEAWAY: We’re giving away one small, one medium, and one XL set of sleeves. All you need to do is leave a comment telling us what athletic activity you plan to use the ActiveSleeve for, and what you want to store in it, along with what size sleeve you want to win. Use the instructions below to check the size you need:
- (SLEEVE SIZE): (BICEP CIRCUMFERENCE IN INCHES)S: 7″-10″, M: 9″-13″, L: 11″-16″, XL: 15″-18″
NXE ActiveSleeves can be purchased for $29.99, and each package contains two sleeves, one black and one white.
What I liked:
Two sleeves in one pack is a great value; very well built; soft insides keep your device from getting scratched; material is cool and comfortable against your skin, even after prolonged exercise.
What I didn’t like:
Tended to be a bit slippery with my Droid in it; tag slides out as you move; no extra holes for a spare key.