Battle Test: Belkin SportsCommand

I first encountered the Belkin SportsCommand at Digital Life about a month ago and I was intrigued by its design. There are a lot of Bluetooth iPod controllers out there, but none that can stand up to the demands of serious athletics. I do a lot of cross country mountain biking, and over the years I’ve searched for a product of precisely this caliber.After using the SportsCommand for about a week, I feel that it is a simple yet excellent product that is ideal for anyone who participates in endurance sports.

The problem for me in regards to cycling with an iPod is that I live in Louisiana. It rains here almost daily, and most of my rides are through slop. It’s difficult to ride with my iPod in my backpack because then I can’t control it effectively, but given the conditions, I’m too paranoid to ride with it strapped to my side. Belkin’s SportsCommand is an ideal resolution to this dilemma.

What sets this system apart from other Bluetooth iPod controllers is that it’s made from the formidable ElekTex fabric, a wonder material that meshes durability with technological functionality. The fabric gives users the ability to control their DAPs via fabric integrated buttons.

I’ve logged over 100-miles with the SportsCommand, it’s been splashed with mud and water and it’s taken all sorts of physical beatings. Throughout all, however, the controller has maintained its functionality without the slightest complaint.

With the SportsCommand strapped comfortably to my arm, I was able to stow my iPod safely within my CamelBak and still maintain some control over it. With the lack of an LCD, it can be a bit difficult finding particular tracks, but creating decent enough playlist, would resolve this problem. Plus the ability to pause is great for when you’re bombing down a path and you feel the need to actually listen to your surroundings.

The system includes the ElekTex controller (powered by a 3V battery), a Bluetooth transmitter that attaches to your iPod, an arm band and a carabiner for attaching the controller directly to a belt or backpack loop. Simply plug the transmitter into your iPod and it works. That’s it. No configuration. Nothing. Anyone could use it.

I will say though, that the transmitter consumes a noticeable amount of iPod power. The battery life of my exercise Nano was significantly reduced, but if you can remember to plug your iPod in after a workout, this shouldn’t present much of an issue.

All-in-all though, the Belkin SportsCommand is one of the most effective products I’ve encountered. It doesn’t confuse itself with unneeded features, it simply performs one task to an exemplary degree. As far as iPod controllers are concerned this is the best one out there. Due to SportsCommand’s incredible durability and the fact that it can be attached to basically anything, its versatility is peerless amongst its competition—I’d recommend it to anyone. Consider this one Best Bytes approved.

The Belkin SportsCommand works with all generation iPods. It will be available later this month for a $79.99 MSRP.