This is how bad an $ 8 braided bracelet for the Apple Watch is


Apple’s own line of Apple Watch bands are quite expensive, but among all of them, the Braided solo buckle seems overly so. It’s $ 100 for a stretchy piece of fabric that wraps around your wrist, which is double the price of the very similar Sport Loop strap. Problem is, it looks so comfortable and hassle-free that I was willing to pay to get one.

Bargain hunters will have noticed a few alternatives to Apple Braided Solo Loop at Amazon, and almost all of them cost much less than Apple’s version. The point is, if Apple charges $ 100 and a company you’ve never heard of charges a tenth of that price for something that actually looks very similar, that’s almost certainly going to be terrible, right? Well, I found it out.

The $ 100 Apple Braided Solo Buckle Strap

The Braided Solo Loop band looks excellent and is an ideal option for everyday casual wear. Soft and stretchy, it won’t snag your arm hair or clothing, and it’s light and breathable enough to wear overnight. If it gets wet it dries up in a few moments which worried me a bit before I got one. And it takes a few seconds to take it off and put it back. It’s as easy going as the excellent Sport Loop, but with a lot more style and visual appeal. But at twice the price of the Sport Loop, it’s a serious investment.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

When you go to buy one, you will find that the process is not the same as with any other bracelet you would buy for the Apple Watch, as it is not a one size fits all. This is where the main disadvantage of the Braided Solo Loop lies. You need to measure your wrist and then select the correct size based on a chart shown to you on Apple’s website at checkout. It’s a bit intimidating as the size covers a fairly wide range. When mine arrived – a size 7, based on Apple’s recommendation – I found it not as comfortable as I really would like. It is by no means loose, but it hangs a bit. I wonder what a size 6 Braided Solo Loop band would look like, but I’m not about to spend an extra $ 100 to satisfy my curiosity.

The loose fit is perfectly acceptable for normal wear, but not for exercise, as the watch does not stay in good contact with your skin and therefore cannot take a reliable heart rate reading. I started swapping straps before training which is a bit of a pain. I forgive this because having a collection of straps and bracelets for the Apple Watch is part of the appeal, and I much prefer a strap that is too loose than so tight that it turns my hand blue.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

However, I also understand that for many, spending $ 100 on a new watch band with the risk of it not fitting properly, and then having to change it for specific activities, will not be appealing. That’s what sent me to Amazon, with a mission to find a cheaper alternative.

The Veesimi group at $ 8

Search Amazon for “braided Apple Watch strap” and you’ve got hundreds of options in a dizzying array of colors and designs. Not all of them are identical in design to the Apple version, but they’re all pretty close and almost none cost more than around $ 15. I picked one made by Veesimi, a company I’ve never heard of, and at the time of writing, it only costs $ 8 in a special half-price offer. That leaves $ 92 in my pocket compared to purchasing the Apple version.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Veesimi group is like a hybrid of the Braided Solo Loop and the Sport Loop. It’s made of a braided and stretchy material, but has a loop to adjust the fit instead of being a fixed length. It’s also a uniform shape like the sport buckle, rather than flaring at the ends to blend into the watch case like Apple’s braided solo buckle does. It is attached to metal hardware, and although I ordered a black version, it is more gray in color.

Adding a buckle to adjust the size of the band eliminates the risk of it not fitting properly, as it can be tightened for use while exercising, while still retaining the everyday portability that I expect. first drew towards the braided solo curl. Although the material will eventually come off with vigorous movements, it is best to pull the strap halfway up your arm to maintain contact with the skin, as you need to do with the Apple Braided Solo Buckle.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It seems to be done decently, too. I wore it for a week, and it looks like it was when I started out, with no signs of fraying where the material meets the strap, which seems to be a problem with this type of strap. ‘after some Amazon reviews. It’s securely attached to the material at one end, and since the material wraps around a bar on the opposite end, it doesn’t seem likely to snap quickly. However, that can change over time, but for $ 8, does anyone expect it to become a family heirloom?

Compare the two

The option to save $ 92 on any purchase is tempting, but do these two products vary so much in quality, design and style that you settle for a much inferior product? No it doesn’t seem. While I wouldn’t pay $ 100 for the Veesimi band, the official hefty price tag for the braided solo curl is hard to swallow.

What are the obvious differences? The weave of the Apple band is tighter, the material used is thicker and it is more durable. When you separate the material sideways, you can quickly see through the Veesimi tape, but not the Apple tape. It’s also a lot harder to do on the Braided Solo Loop than it is on the Veesimi, highlighting the difference in construction and materials. It’s also clear that over time the cheaper band will lose shape due to this extra stretch, while I doubt the same will be true for the stronger, tighter braided solo curl.

When you hold the two straps, the material of the fabric is obviously different. Even after a short time in the water, the Veesimi strap is more wrinkled and distorted than the braided solo buckle, so it can look considerably worse when it comes to washing the straps properly. It’s like buying a $ 10 unbranded t-shirt versus a $ 60 branded t-shirt. You would expect the more expensive version to be made from higher quality cotton and hold its shape longer after a few washes. It’s the same here, and the difference can even be seen after regular wear on your wrist too.

But when it only costs $ 8, it’s not a bad deal even if it lasts six months. The other big difference is in the design. The Veesimi band isn’t shapely at all – it’s just a line of fabric and doesn’t add anything to the look of the Apple Watch. Like the Sport Loop, in my eyes it never looks wide enough when it meets the case.

This is where the braided solo buckle really wins, as the material widens as it reaches the case, mixing the band into the watch. Cleverly, the hardware isn’t as wide as the fabric, so it hides inside the slot on the case, making the braided solo buckle look like a part of the case itself, rather than a addition. It looks fantastic, which makes the Apple Watch paired with the braided solo buckle look like a cohesive package, and not just a strap attached to a case like the Veesimi.

Which one should you buy?

If you want a stretch band for your Apple Watch and like to change bands regularly for a new look, the Veesimi or one of the many others on Amazon will do the trick. It gives you that braided solo buckle experience for a tenth the price and will almost certainly last until you tire of it and move on to the next strap. At just $ 8, it’s a ridiculously good value, and even at its full price of $ 16, it’s worth picking up.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

For longevity, the sleeker and sturdier Apple Braided Solo Buckle is probably the smartest investment, and if that will be your only strap, the Braided Solo Buckle is definitely the one to buy. Based on materials and construction, I would expect it to easily last as long as you keep your Apple Watch. Choose your color wisely and be prepared to wash it regularly, as the material is subject to dye transfer from your clothes and gets dirty quickly depending on how you wear it and the type of environment it is in.

What I will say is that if you go for the Apple Braided Solo Loop band, go to an Apple Store to try one out, or if you buy online, get two of different sizes for the purpose of return one after trying on them. I took a risk in basing my decision on Apple’s size alone, simply because I’m far from a real Apple retail store, and I slightly regret not hedging my bets by ordering a size. 6 and a size 7.

Can you buy a decent $ 100 Apple Braided Solo Loop alternative for a tenth the price? I was quite ready to laugh and say absolutely no when I first ordered both straps, but now I’m pretty happy to say, yes, if you don’t mind the idea that it doesn’t last for years, you can.

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