Also 5 levels higher and a consumable item, which means that over the course of even a single level it would cost more gold, require a minor action every combat (minor actions often being useful to rangers at the beginnings of combat), only applies to one weapon, etc. It's certainly a more effective option if you ignore those restrictions however.
Also stacks with a bracer item, and if you don't have IAoP to hedge out all competition in every secondary slot, they're still looking pretty darn good compared to nothing.
Arrows are consumable items. Encounter or daily items are also "consumable items" they just recharge for free. So what if it costs more gold if it is making your encounters more successful? That's the whole point of the game isn't it? What else are you going to spend your gold on? Sure, they are probably expensive for a lower level character, but by the time you get to level 8 or so, 100g isn't that big of an expense for an additional +2 over a fourteen round encounter. Of course that's all game play style. People are willing to pay 5,000 gold to upgrade to a +2 weapon, well, 5,000 gold will buy a whopping pile of whetstones. I'm not "ignoring" any restrictions, I'm making a cost/benefit analysis.
I had earlier made the point that there were two reasons people banned items. The first was that an item was "broken." I stated, and will state again, that if a +2 damage item "breaks" the game at level 8, the game is broken by definition. You're talking about adding a MAXIMUM of 4 damage to round when fighting enemies with hundreds of hit points. If a +2 item truly "breaks" the game, then the game is inherently broken to begin with.
It is the SECOND reason that items are banned that are the real issue here, and that reason is "everyone takes it because it is manifestly the only reasonable choice for your character." I believe I said it would amount to party malfeasance to not take it since nothing else was remotely as useful.
So all this arguing about how it's so much more powerful than the other items at that level is just silly. IT'S NOT BROKEN. THAT'S NOT THE PROBLEM. The problem is that ALL THE OTHER STUFF IS VIRTUALLY USELESS IN COMPARISON. There's no compelling reason that every other arm slot item should be so pathetic in comparison. Not if the IAoP don't break the game. Since they DON'T break the game, then that means the other stuff is crap.
I think that's a pretty obvious statement.
Compared to other items in other slots, it is manifestly not overpowered. Cloaks of distortion give +5 to AC on ranged attacks more than 5 squares away. Gauntlets of blood give a +2 to bloodied targets. Bloodclaw weapons can give up to a +6 damage per hit.
They are MANIFESTLY NOT BROKEN. All the other armslot items are simply crap.
Or, to make the negative argument, if they ARE broken, then so is just about every other decent item in the game.