When I began doing Couch to 5K again (something I need to do yet again tomorrow because I let too much time pass between runs) I needed a way to carry my iPhone. After all, during a run my phone is not only my music source but it is also my “trainer”… Walk 10 minutes, run half a mile, slow, fast etc. When I did the program the first time I had an iPhone 4S that fit into my iPhone 4 armband. Now that I’m using an iPhone 5 that armband no longer worked. So I went in search of a different solution.
My LifeProof frē was the obvious choice for protecting my iPhone from potential drops. The case, which we reviewed in December, is thinner and lighter than the offering for the iPhone 4S but still provides tons of protection. For my first few runs I held the LifeProof-encased iPhone. I hated carrying the phone in my hand however, so I went in search of a better solution.
That’s when it occurred to me that I might want to check out LifeProof’s armband. There had been an armband for the iPhone 4S LifeProof case, but it was big and bulky. Were the new armband to be similarly bulky, I would keep searching, but since the fre case was thinner and lighter I hoped the same was true for the iPhone 5 armband. Thankfully it was.
The company was kind enough to send one for review, and I’ve been using it since.
As previously noted, the first iteration of the armband was designed for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S and it was heavy, rigid plastic. It was protective, but it was a serious piece of hardware and, as a result, wasn’t all to comfortable. When I pulled out the armband for the iPhone 5, I thought it had the same design. I was disappointed. Then I took a closer look and was pleased to discover that while the new armband is bulky, it is actually lighter and more comfortable than the previous one. The company describes the armband this way-
Strap on your iPhone 5 and hit the road, pool, gym, surf, slopes, courts, track or trail. The Armband keeps your iPhone 5 within arm’s reach – literally. You get full access to your GPS, camera, performance trackers, training apps, music and communications.
The portion that holds the iPhone in place is still rigid plastic. The phone locks in and is securely held but, at the same time, it is also simple to remove.
Far softer than the previous generation, the portion that comes into contact with your arm is made from thick, padded neoprene.
The strap is wide and, as such, comfortable. It is completely adjustable to one’s specific arm.(There is enough material that one could even strapped it on their leg although I’m not sure why you would want to do that.)
The armband comes in a number of pieces. It takes a few minutes to get the connector in place and at the right length for your individual arm. From there you can either tuck the extra material away or cut it to length. Leaving the extra means it will be adjustable down the road but also means there will be a bit of additional strap flapping around. Cutting it to size locks you in to a degree from the perspective of size, but it also makes for a more comfortable experience when actually using the armband.
Once you set up the armband so it’s the proper fit, you can quickly and easily attach the phone and armband to your arm. The LifeProof fre-encased phone clips right into the case with a simple snap.
Because the inside part of phone holder is made from soft material, it sits on your arm nicely cushion. It might appear that the LifeProof frē and armband are big, bulky and heavy but, while the first two are true, the latter really is not the case. I am actually shocked at just how comfortable it is to wear. Now I can easily run handsfree and, thanks to Siri, I can also control my phone without removing the phone from its holder on my arm.
In all, the LifeProof frē and ArmBand are a winning combination. The case protects the precious communication device from dust, drops, water and much more. The armband lets me go handsfree. And Siri makes the entire package work together in a rather impressive manner.
At $49.99 for the armband and $79.99 for the case, this isn’t the cheapest way to protect your iPhone; for anyone who wants the best protection and convenience for their iPhone 5, it is currently the best solution I have seen. When I want to take my iPhone in the water, this is the case I trust. When I want to go for a run, this is the case and armband combination I use. You can check out the LifeProof fre for iPhone 5 and all the accessories here.
MSRP: iPhone 5 frē- $79.99, Armband- $49.99
What I Like: Amazing protection and a surprisingly comfortable arm band; Totally adjustable for the best fit and comfort
What Needs Improvement: Accessories can add up; You’ll need to put the arm band together
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample