Naturally, I have used stopwatch apps extensively on the go in recent years. Doing so, I quickly noticed that a stopwatch app such as mine isn’t the only thing that’s needed to replace an old-school, handheld stopwatch — no matter how good the app is. I really don’t have enough hands to reserve one of them exclusively to hold a smartphone. How am I supposed to take notes or demonstrate something with just one hand? On top, sports timing usually involves walking around in outdoor environments or, as in my case, at a pool. I really don’t want to drop my precious smartphone, let alone right into the pool. What to do?

There is an easy solution for this: A neckband that attaches to my iPhone in a way similar to that of a regular stopwatch. Actually, I would hope for a solution that is better than the average stopwatch has to offer. How so? Look at the sample stopwatches that our homepage also shows:

The stopwatches are small and both ends of the neckband are attached fairly in the center. As such the watch body/band is prone to getting tangled up either in itself or in other stopwatches’ neckbands. The typical coach usually carries at least two. If the bands would be attached further to the outside of the watch (and the stopwatches were slightly wider at the top) there would be no more tangling-up. Smartphones are wider. So, a great neckband should attach to the bottom corners of a smartphone. That way, I can pick up the smartphone blindly with one hand and know that I am holding my stop watch app perfectly for the next split right away.

Handsfree use of productivity apps on a smartphone is such a widespread need and the observation above is so obvious. So, there must be lots of affordable solutions for it out there. Right, Amazon?

Starting last year already, I have done a lot of searching for a way to hang a smartphone around my neck in the same (or an even better way) than traditional stopwatches. I have yet to find a good solution, ideally one that is also affordable. First problem: Smartphones rarely have a loop, hook or other means to attach even a simple strap. 5th-generation iPod touch devices, which for many productivity apps can replace an iPhone, did have a loop. However, Apple dropped this for the 6th-generation, and iPhone devices and most other smartphones don’t even feature this minor enhancement. Furthermore, the iPod touch loop was meant for a wrist strap, which isn’t any good for hands-free use. Attaching a neckband that is suitable for the single attachment point, comes with the entangling problem mentioned above. So, overall an un-solution.

Long story short: I dropped my preference for a waterproof solution for the time being. Then I looked into my own do-it-yourself solutions for a case with neck strap and the desired, double-attached lanyard. This is the result: A cheap, smartphone neck strap lanyard case. I tried it on a 6th-generation iPod touch that I wanted to give to coaches to try out the Herotime stopwatch. It works great.

The other solutions and products I considered in the process I’ll discuss some other time; included, amongst others:

  • A kit to screw a loop on a smartphone to attach a simple lanyard;
  • Various waterproof cases, mostly quite high-priced, with a loop;
  • Waterproof lanyard covers with a single attachment point;
  • Intelligent wrist strap solutions (not ideal, but sill better than nothing);
  • And some others.

I also had to look into separate straps, or lanyard, to complement some of the cases. So, more about this later.

Found this interesting? Still missing something or have a crucial question? Let me know.