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Twelve South ActionSleeve 2 review: great for the fitness-focused

The ActionSleeve 2 from Twelve South

Twelve South ActionSleeve 2

4.0 / 5

Get the Apple Watch out of the way of your workouts by using the Twelve South ActionSleeve 2, a simple sleeve that places the Apple Watch on your bicep.

When wearing the Apple Watch on your wrist, it is prone to accidental button presses when doing some exercises like push-ups. The goal of the ActionSleeve 2 is, simply, to get the Apple Watch off your wrist, and out of the way.

ActionSleeve 2 Design

The design of the ActionSleeve 2 is straightforward — fabric material and a rubber Apple Watch casing. The armband wraps around your arm and is securely fastened with a hook and loop system.

The fabric is soft and the ActionSleeve 2 feels secure when tightened. Sweat and friction from moving around never make the armband uncomfortable or slide around.

Twelve South says that the armband can be washed in cold water, but they don't recommend using a dryer. We found that hand washing it in the sink, and line-drying it is sufficient to keep the funk down.

The Digital Crown and Side Button are accessible when using the ActionSleeve 2
The Digital Crown and Side Button are accessible when using the ActionSleeve 2

The Apple Watch fits into a rubber housing that is an exact fit for the most recent Apple Watch sizes. You'll have to buy a specific ActionSleeve 2 depending on whether you have the 40mm or 44mm model.

The 40mm Apple Watch model will fit arms from 9 inches to 13.4 inches around. The 44mm Apple Watch model will fit arms from 10.2 inches to 15 inches around.

Owners of the Apple Watch Series 3 or earlier will have to purchase the original ActionSleeve for compatibility.

The ActionSleeve 2 is designed so anything touching your arm is covered in fabric. The previous armband had a metal loop for the strap that rested on your arm, so we appreciate this design change.

The Digital Crown and Side Button both work when the Apple Watch is in the armband. If you wear it at the right angle, you can easily control workouts or audio playback without adjusting the armband to access controls.

Using the ActionSleeve 2

We tested the ActionSleeve 2 while performing various workouts in Apple Fitness+ or running outdoors. Overall, we preferred using this armband versus a standard Apple Watch band for multiple reasons.

The Apple Watch is still fully usable while being worn on the bicep
The Apple Watch is still fully usable while being worn on the bicep

First, the ActionSleeve 2 doesn't bounce or slide around. It lays flat and secure to your arm and doesn't become a distraction.

Second, anything that requires bending the wrist can cause accidental button presses when using a standard Apple Watch band. You'll never inadvertently summon Siri mid-push-ups by wearing an armband.

Finally, we liked the way the ActionSleeve 2 feels in use. It grips the arm tightly, but the fabric makes it comfortable and feels as if it isn't there at all.

During Fitness+ workouts, the Apple Watch data appeared on-screen fine, despite a location change. Likewise, the heart rate data seems to be accurate even though it isn't measuring from the wrist.

Another side-effect of wearing an armband versus a watch band is line of sight. With the Apple Watch high up on our arm, we found ourselves looking at it less or fidgeting with controls less than if it was worn normally.

Should you buy the ActionSleeve 2?

Make your Apple Fitness+ workouts easier with an armband
Make your Apple Fitness+ workouts easier with an armband

If you have used Apple Watch while working out or playing sports, then you've likely encountered some of the issues described above. Accidental button presses and loose wrist straps make wearing Apple Watch during workouts more of a pain than it should be.

If you work out regularly and want something to free up your wrist, the ActionSleeve 2 is a great choice. While there are cheaper options available, the build quality and materials used by Twelve South make it worth the price.

Twelve South ActionSleeve 2 Pros

  • Comfortable materials
  • Tight fit
  • Accessible controls
  • Makes working out easier with Apple Watch

Twelve South ActionSleeve 2 Cons

  • Rubber housing is stiff, can make getting Apple Watch in difficult
  • Don't machine dry!

Rating: 4 out of 5

Customers can purchase the ActionSleeve 2 from Twelve South for $39.99.