Everybody's heard Jobs tell the story of an Apple board member who saw the new Nano with the clock app and wanted to wear it as a wrist watch. Forget that he probably already had a perfectly good iPhone in his pocket and two clock displays in his BMW.
That's not the point really. Today, a watch is much more of a statement of fashion than a necessity for being on time.
And what greater fashion statement is there for an Apple-lover than strapping on a slick square of multi-touch goodness that is the 6th generation iPod Nano?
So today we put to test 3 models of iPod Nano watch cases from two different manufacturers:
1: A stainless steel model called 'The Paradox
' which is just ending it their Kickstarter campaign
(on Thurs. June 2!),
2: The aluminum 'Lunatik
3: The plastic 'TikTok
' from MINIMAL founder Scott Wilson
We received a prototype model of The Paradox and were told that the design is pretty refined but they're testing material finishes and anodized colors like black in shiny and sandblasted versions. Also, the band pictured will probably not be the final product. Still, what we did see was very promising.
What you get in The Paradox is a fully-encased Nano enclosure (except for the face) that should offer the very best protection of the 3 designs we tested. We really were impressed by the exterior buttons and a very cool flip-out dock connector cover.
The Paradox is a really cool design - definitely the most conventional looking watch of the bunch. We can't fully comment on the strap since this is a prototype but we can say that the strap is not as wide as the LunaTik or TikTok. When you look at the proportions, this leaves The Paradox with a slightly larger case and slightly thinner strap. Seriously though, if you'd like to see this thing get to market AT ALL, hit their Kickstarter page and make a Pledge
The best comparison is between The Paradox and the LunaTik. The LunaTik people have an excellent video showing how the case comes apart to install the Nano LunaTik Instructions, Assembly & Tips on Vimeo
so we won't go into much detail here. It's a little more trouble than the two screw back-removal of The Paradox but really, both of these options aren't going to give you very quick access to the Nano. So if that's something that's important to you, then read on for the TikTok.
The LunaTik is "forged from aerospace grade aluminum then machined via CNC and hand-crafted into its final form." Nice. There is that seam down the middle but it actually adds to the industrial look. Fit and finish are fantastic. The Nano slides in so tightly that you'll want to be sure there's no sand or other grit that could scratch the edges as you assemble or disassemble it. It's that tight. Sometimes I had a little trouble getting the halves to match perfectly (like in the picture) but the instructional video says to just push the pieces opposite ways... easier for them.
For protecting the Nano, The LunaTik is right in the middle. The dock connector and buttons are recessed but exposed.
As for comfort, the band is extraordinary. Very thick, very comfortable texture and the little nub that holds the slack end of the band is an unexpectedly cool touch. Overall, It's an elegant looking presentation that you could expect from a watch costing upwards of $200.
Just as elegant, is the TikTok. If you want quick, pop-out access to your Nano, then this is your case. It offers the least protection of the three but all you have to do is flex the case while pulling on the edges of the Nano and it's out. The plastic material looks a lot like metal and flexes just right. The mount is pretty ingenious and I don't see how the Nano could come out accidentally.
This case boasts something the other two cannot: headphone plug access. Neither The Paradox nor the LunaTik will allow as wide a range of headphone plugs. Stock iPod earbuds work just fine with all three but once you move up to something with a thicker plug (such as Shure e2's), you can't plug them in unless you have the TikTok. But please, just don't.
Do what you want, but I'm just going to say it - if you wear headphones plugged into a Nano watch you're going to get beat up.
So can you wear an iPod Nano on your wrist daily as a practical means of telling time, or even just as a fashion statement?
Immediately you'll resign yourself to a few things:
1) a Nano watch will NOT be water resistant
2) a Nano watch will get banged up depending on the protection the case offers
3) a Nano watch only shows the time 1.5 seconds after you press the wake button (LED watch fanatics couldn't care less)
4) this will be a large watch but you won't really care
5) random women in elevators will notice your cool watch
6) random women in elevators will notice that you're a total geek for wearing a Nano as a watch
You may be surprised at how big the Nano is once you get it inside a watch case. Not ridiculously big, but based on tests with my average sized arm and a friend's, the encased Nano is nearly the full width of our wrists. And I would say both of us are about medium-size guys around 170 lbs.
The Paradox seems the bulkier of the three - which isn't surprising since it offers surround protection. For my wrist, it's just a bit much. Nearly the same with the LunaTik, however it's a 'flashy big' in the style of big fashion watches from Fossil and Diesel (the Diesel above is a pretty thick watch already). The case I kept going back to and wearing each day was the TikTok. I really like how it shows off the Nano's color BUT I dread the day that I smack it accidentally in a doorway or something and damage the iPod.
The Paradox will run $79, while the LunaTik runs $79.95 and the TikTok is $39.95. AND we have a GIVEAWAY! Comment below and tell us what you think of these and we'll send out a LunaTik and a TikTok each to a random commenter! We'll also be sending a Paradox to a random commenter once they go into production, assuming the project gets funded.
Total of 3 items to give away!
Review by Larry Wiezycki. Larry works in TV and media production as part of an Investigative Team for a consumer advocacy law firm, James-Hoyer. He’s received 4 Emmy awards and has been an avid iOS and OS X user for years.