Posted on February 11, 2019
After several hours of research, I finally made my selection of the best smartphone armbands among more than twenty models available at the moment.
My favorite is the Quad Lock: an original system that deserves in my opinion to be rewarded, despite some unavoidable restrictions. You will understand: it is a mechanism associated with a hull on which a fixation allows to hang it on the cuff. Farewell the cover that must be perfectly adapted to your phone to be effective, you directly clip your phone on your arm!
You will also find at the end of this article a shopping guide to see more clearly and make the best choice not only for your smartphone, but also for your use.
The best cheap smartphone armbands
For a minimal budget, you will already find plenty of choices, so how to sort? Here are some models that stand out at 10 euros maximum.
i2 Gear: the best cheap
Plastic touch not expected for Iphone
When looking for a cheap smartphone armband, I assume that the expectations are not very high. The Gear i2 armband takes first place in this selection because it does not just ensure the minimum, it also offers some useful features at a bargain price.
This 15 cm by 8 cuff is suitable for Samsung Galaxy S7 to 9 smartphones, as well as Google Pixel 2 (or other phones of this size).
Attention, it is planned to accommodate them without protective shell. If you have one, the phone may have trouble entering, especially for the largest!
The armband itself has a circumference of up to 38 centimeters. For thicker arms, an extension is sold separately. This armband is not the most elastic of the selection, so make sure before purchase that it can suit your body.
But the material, a mixture of lycra and neoprene, is soft and comfortable to use, antiperspirant, with a manufacturing that seems durable and quality. Until then, all this is satisfactory, but quite basic.
The touch plastic works properly, even if the buttons that require direct contact with the skin, as on the latest iPhone, can not be activated through the plastic.
It's pocket side that I appreciate some additions. First, it is antiperspirant, like most models of course, but has as a bonus a moisture-proof closure system, to prevent infiltration or fogging.
I also note with pleasure the presence of a storage pocket that can hold some papers, money or keys. Very handy if you go out running for example!
The variety of connectivity has not been forgotten, since access is provided for your cables in the center, left and right, unlike armbands limited to a single configuration.
Finally, a reflective band goes around the protection of the screen, to add to your visibility in case of night out.
An armband so very complete for this price!
Gear Beast Sports: the cheapest
Compatible with many smartphones
This second armband can accommodate smartphones from 15.3 to 8.8 centimeters, still without protective shell.
As its dimensions indicate, it is intended for Galaxy S8 and other LG G6, and can of course accommodate most iPhones. For larger models, such as the Galaxy S Plus range, the manufacturer offers other products.
I was struck immediately by the large size of the cover. This is an advantage since it allows to hold most phones. But any medal has its reverse: on some models, the cover will be just too big, and the side buttons will not be usable, at least not easily.
In addition, the touch screen protection, quite thick, protects the phone well, but has a reactivity sometimes a little random. And this protection does not provide access to the iPhone button. Headphone access, thankfully, obviously answer this.
The cuff neoprene is sweat-resistant, but not waterproof, so sweat can cause condensation in the pouch. So be careful!
However, I appreciate the "anti-pinch" loop of the cuff, planned for an arm circumference of 20 to 50 centimeters. Although tight, it is ideal for medium-sized arms, but the thicker arms can be a little embarrassed to the entournures.
In summary, there is an entry-level armband that does what is asked: be affordable, accommodate most smartphone models, but not much more.
I recommend that you check the compatibility of your smartphone. Once done, no reason to disappoint you!
Kalenji: to keep the hull
For smartphones with protection
This Kalenji armband is planned, this time, for smartphones with their protective shell, the following models or equivalent: Samsung Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy S9.
The dimensions of the pouch are 15.9 cm by 9. Important note: if the manufacturer announces compatibility with the latest iPhone models (iPhone X, iPhone 8, etc.), the expected access for headphones do not match : they are located only on the sides, the central access is too narrow for the Apple Lightning connector. A flat of size!
Even if it is not waterproof, the bag takes advantage of a zip closure system (like a freezer bag) to prevent moisture from entering and forming condensation, a solution a little "system D" which works, but without being extraordinary either …
The arm circumference of the armband is 18 to 44 centimeters. You can also wear it at the wrist, with a surplus strap management system caused by this minimal adjustment.
Again, it's tight and adjusted, the cuff does not move, but it also means that the thicker arms will have a little trouble supporting this armband. Similarly if you want to wear the armband over a garment, it can be difficult.
The touch screen protector is relatively effective, even if it is not the most reactive of the selection …
So we're dealing with a smartphone sports armband that does the job well for its price, especially since it allows you to get your phone with its hull.
If you are looking for something more upscale, you will probably need to adjust your budget accordingly.
The best mid-range smartphone armbands
Upmarket allows you to enjoy a better quality of course, but also to find products adapted to specific needs and models, and sometimes some welcome accessories.
Tune Belt: the best mid-range
Good general quality
I now offer a little cuff handy for small models of iPhones, that is to say, the size of an iPhone 5S.
The cover is intended to accommodate them with large protective hulls, such as those of the brand Otterbox. The manufacturer also has other products for larger models (for you to take a look at your smartphone model).
Here, the neoprene cuff has an original hook and loop system that promises more security, flexibility and reliability over the long term.
The only drawback of this armband is that at 22 centimeters of minimum arm circumference, it may be too big for users with the thinnest arms. For the opposite case of a cuff too tight, the manufacturer offers, as often, an extension to buy separately.
The pouch is not waterproof, but offers good protection, in addition to its resistance to perspiration. Access to the touch keyboard is effective, even if the transparent plastic still does not allow access to the Touch ID button (a recurring defect for this kind of product).
We would like a nice little improvement on the side of the pouch, namely: a scratch flap around which you can wrap the excess cable of your headphones, rather than let them flounder in the air.
Overall, this armband justifies the move upmarket, with a more complete finish than in the lower categories.
If you have one of the compatible models, do not hesitate, it does a good job, finding a rare balance between protection of the phone, access to settings, and of course moderate price, even if we are no longer in the 'entry level.
The best high-end smartphone armbands
In high-end, we find the best armbands of course, perfectly adjusted to the expected phones, and the perfect tactile responsiveness … but also some more original systems!
Quad Lock: the best high-end
No protection proposed
I do not resist the temptation to bookmark the model Quad Lock, to reward the originality and audacity of the brand (here the version for iPhone 6 and 6S). Quad Lock is a special locking system, designed to be used only with the protective shells of the same brand.
Here, no cover in which to slide your phone: you only wear an armband, on which a mechanism can accommodate your smartphone, thanks to the attachment on the back of the protective shell. A small movement to lock the two objects, and it's good: your phone is secure and remains fully accessible, whether the screen, side buttons or cable ports.
No transparent plastic that is not very responsive to touch, no silent Touch ID, no unsuitable access to your cable … In short, well thought out!
Side phone, I was afraid that the hull does a big bump difficult to support outside sports sessions, but everything is fine, we note just a slight bulge, inevitable, at the level of fixation.
The armband, nylon and lycra, announces 17 to 38 centimeters in waist, so as usual, watch out for thick arms or clothes.
This cuff is compatible with all Quad Lock cases, and is easily adjusted with one hand, which is rather rare and valuable, if you need to adjust it during the activity.
I still have to mention the few obvious disadvantages: with such a system, your phone is not protected from bad weather, falls or shocks. But with the presence of the shell and a protective glass on the screen, you can easily fix it. Just avoid going out in the rain!
The price will seem a little high for a system with these restrictions, but its originality and practicality justify it to me.
Belkin Sport-Fit: finally a Touch ID!
The Belkin Sport-Fit Armband is a high quality product designed specifically for the 6 Plus to 8 Plus iPhones with their hull.
This compatibility is an even more important element than usual since we finally find here a model to access the Touch ID button! Which, if you have not followed, requires direct access to the skin, so impossible with screen protectors, even tactile.
The plastic protection has a round cut at the button. Of course, it also means that the cover is not waterproof …
As often made of neoprene and lycra, the fabric strap is well expandable, versatile and easily adjustable. It allows easy adjustment to all types of arms. On the other hand, the pouch itself has a certain rigidity which will affect especially the thinnest arms.
Tactile access is efficient, and connections for headphones are easily accessible.
Detail that I always appreciate, a small extra slot in the back of the pocket allows, without being qualified as a real pocket, to put away some fine objects (papers, credit card, flat key). The essential in case of sporting output so!
All this comes at a price a bit high for a standard armband, 30 euros at the time I write these lines, but it's usually the ransom of quality.
Ah, one last thing: many users have reported a very strong plastic smell for this product, probably related to the materials used. Although it fades with time and washes, it is a warning that can be of value to the most sensitive people at the olfactory level!
The products of my selection on offer at the moment
The choice of your smartphone sports armband may be more important than it first appears.
Nobody likes to waste time adjusting his armband, to feel his phone wandering in an ill-fitting pocket, or having trouble accessing the settings (sound, change of music …).
So to avoid all this, let's see how to choose the armband that suits you best!
The little bag
As you understand, the pouch that will host your phone is a crucial part of the armband. That's why I'm going to dwell on it a bit more.
The first criterion is the size of the wallet that will host your phone.
They are all provided with a more or less wide range of compatibility. Some are exclusively for one model, others are more versatile, and some are universal.
Of course, the more a wallet is compatible with a high number of smartphones, the less its dimensions, its accessories and its functionalities will be perfectly adjusted to your phone, specifically. This means, for example, that the cover may be a bit too big, making some buttons difficult to use.
On the other hand, a universal armband should not pose any problem in terms of access to the telephone connection ports.
So do not be fooled, if your smartphone is not in the list of compatible phones, abstain … or get out your double decimetre!
This transparent face is most often made of plastic compatible with touch keyboards, to strum on his phone without the need to take it out. If this is not the case, do not even think about buying the armband!
But not all models are equal in this area. The finest plastics are generally the best at this level, but their effectiveness also depends on the compatibility of the phone, since a perfectly adjusted phone will be more responsive.
Importantly, the buttons that require direct contact with the skin, like the "home" button of the latest iPhone generations, do not work through the plastic, even the touch screen. To be able to use them, it will be necessary to direct you towards armbands especially envisaged in this direction, with an opening at the level of the button.
I talked a lot about the "phone" part, and now I'm going to talk about the "armband" part. That is the strap that surrounds your arm.
The size of the armband
Brace manufacturers generally accompany the description of their products with the minimum and maximum arm circumference to which they are adapted. These data are purely indicative and may be inaccurate.
Do not hesitate to consult tests and user opinions: the degree of elasticity, adjustment, adaptation to thin arms or thick are often part of the first returns mentioned.
For larger arms (or to wear armbands over layers of clothing), some brands offer strap extensions, usually sold separately.
The armbands are almost all neoprene, with elements in lycra. This ensures elasticity and antiperspirant character. Essential for physical activities!
All sports armbands generally provide this feature, but check all the same …
The cover design can provide more or less effective protection for your phone. Some armbands are reinforced at the corners for example, to protect against shocks in the event of a fall. Another very important protection criterion is sealing.
To be honest, almost no sports armband guarantees the seal, since they must provide openings to let the cables. However, with the democratization of bluetooth headphones, evolution is coming …
But even on armbands with openings, the degrees of protection against moisture vary. The best armbands can be closed with systems that avoid infiltration and condensation that sometimes obscure the transparent face of the pouch.
The compatibility of the cuff with your smartphone is the basis, of course. And it can sometimes be complicated!
So do not hesitate to scour the test sites and consumer reviews, which are often a real mine of information (make sure that the comments relate exactly to the model that interests you).
Access to connectivity
All smartphones do not have their ports (headphones, charging …) located in the same place. Make sure that the armband you choose offers the necessary access for your model. It would be a shame to want to go out running in music, and to realize that the armband prevents you from plugging your headphones!
This point is particularly crucial for the latest generation of iPhone, with the disappearance of the jack, replaced by the central Lightning plug, which does not have the same format (flattened) as the jack (round). This format change can even be problematic for pockets that are supposed to be universal.
Some armbands are intended to accommodate smartphones with a protective shell, others without. For my part, I always protect my phones with a shell, so I find it important to choose a suitable cuff.
Otherwise I should always be removing and putting back the hull. Laborious and annoying!
If this is not the case (or if you do not mind), obviously choose the size version of the bare phone.
Finally, some armbands are accompanied by additional features and accessories, to improve comfort or ease of use. It's up to you to judge their interest according to your usage.
For example, I'm a fan of extra little pockets, as you may have noticed if you've read the selection. Indeed, to go out to do sports, it is still very practical to be able to take his papers, a little money, the key to his house …
Another handy accessory is a place to store or wrap the excess cable of the headphones.
That's it, I gave you all my tips for choosing the best smartphone sports armband. So, on your marks … ready … it's up to you!