I have been an advocate of the wearable market within my own life, even though market trends would indicate otherwise as of late. Recently, some wearable companies have gone under; Many would say that at the present time, The Apple Watch has created its own category and largely became a device which is to rival others such as Fitbit, although not quite in the same category as these other devices currently are. As an example, the Apple Watch acts more as an “iPhone-only companion” whereas Fitbit generally works better on Android, where the platform suffers from less restricted functionalities to developers.
The Apple Watch also features interchangeable bands, which Apple originally used as a fashion tactic for buying their super-expensive manufactured bands. The cheapest one on the list is their $49 USD nylon woven band Something which I purchased just this past weekend, from Amazon for $27, almost half the price. This price difference is even more noticeable for bands which are made of metal, such as the Milanese Loop, made of a fine mesh material which can allow your skin to breathe. Here, Amazon sells one for $18 USD, far cheaper than Apple’s $149 priceTag for the same thing.
I know some will disagree with me here. You will say that Apple’s bands work better and are designed in line with the product, whereas these 3rd-party ones are manufactured in who-knows conditions. This could be the case, but the costs alone justify the exploration of aftermarket bands. The two of the ones I listed above are band I have personally used and switch between during my week and depending on the circumstances of where I’m going. The Nylon loop is very sporty and can secure the watch better than the magnet which holds the loop band in place. This makes the metal band more of a night-time or comfortable wear, while the woven one is for exercising and is even waterproof. I also have experimented with a Metal link band as well which is on sale for $30. This one was more of a challenge to set up, and you’ll shortly find out just why.
Apple Watch bands: The basics
There are two parts to an Apple Watch band. Each of these connects into either side of the watch’s body, and each piece securely slides in and out of a slot which also has a pin to clip it in place until the band is released. To release the band, you will have to push down near the center and along with the push action, slide the band either up or down (depending on how the watch and respective band piece is oriented to you.) The band will slide out perhaps with some force- if you have challenges related to dexterity, this could be a bit difficult. Nevertheless, you can also try by moving the watch body itself around the band.
Reinserting the band can sometimes be a challenge. This is because there is a proper orientation for the port; Inserting the band upside down will either cause it to “get stuck” or simply move through the slot and come out the other side. Neither is good, but don’t worry, the worst that will happen is the scratching of the inside frame of the watch. That sounds bad, but you never have this area exposed or see it under the band anyway.
Once both sides of the bands slide into place, you should not be able to slide them more than a quarter inch in either direction. The adapters are made of metal, so I also recommend placing it straight through the back of the slot, not at an angle.
- Some bands, such as the one with links, will require the use of a fitting tool – where you have to manually remove them by inserting it and pushing out the pin which holds the link in place. I found this a bit difficult without some sighted assistance, but the band itself should provide you with the proper tool in the box to do this.
- Bands which first came out from 3rd-parties in 2015 (such as the link bracelet listed above) also require that you assemble the adapter on to the band. This process is also not well detailed out there, but will use one of those super tiny screwdrivers – perhaps included in the packaging. The two screws slide into the center of each “arm” of the band, and you will have to connect the two arms to get the center screw to properly fit in to place. This was perhaps the hardest part of some 3rd-party bands – so we recommend that you verify the adapter is attached before buying a band, rather than having to need manual assembly.
- If you have smaller wrists or super thick and boney ones, using both the woven and mesh bracelet is ideal. This is because adjusting them won’t require different sized bands, and they really can adjust to the widest circumference of wrists. The link bracelet can be a bit of a trouble, though leather bands may work well as long as you can get a proper fitted hole in the band for your wrist, if not available.
- Keep in mind not all bands are waterproof. Leather would not stand water well, though metal bands are generally fine.
With the some of the band, exploring the proper clasping and orientation is essential. This is because for some, such as the woven band, there are three plastic loops through which the longer band strap goes; You must first place the band in one of the knotched holes and then pull it through the second ring. Other bands, such as the metal link bracelet withe butterfly clasp will require that the clasp point inwards, not outward toward your wrist. These queues are ones you should be able to understand after realizing which wear and fit is comfortable for you. I think getting to know how your Apple Watch band works is just as personal as wearing and changing out.
Remember that all bands are compatible with all Apple Watch seeries. A band from 2015 will still work in a Series 2 watch. What you do need to pay attention to are the MM size of your watch (38 or 42) and whether the color of your band matches the body of your watch. A Space grey body would go well with a grey, black, or perhaps silver band, but not so well with white or another brighter color. The product review pages will often state which watch people used it with so you can get a feel for this by reading them.
With the right products and combination of understanding your own personal likes, you too can enjoy a life advertised by that fancy Apple Watch App of changing your bands out… For a fraction of the price Apple would want you to pay.