What you need to know
- Apple's Braided Solo Loop band sells for $99.
- People have found fake versions on Ali-Express for just $5.
- Except, they aren't braided. They're stamped silicone.
Here's your Tuesday Public Service Announcement – don't buy knock-off Braided Solo Loop bands for your Apple Watch. Especially from Ali-Express and doubly-especially without doing your homework. As one growing Reddit thread shows, it can be a risky business. A number of people ordered bands only to find out that they aren't braided at all.
They're silicone bands with braided patterns stamped on them.
Yup. Pretty much.
I'm not going to link out to the band because I don't want anyone to accidentally buy it, but it seems the seller has now altered the description to mention that they're really silicone and not even slightly braided.
There are more examples in the thread of people buying similar bands, again from Ali-Express, that turned out to be just as bad.
Sure, some of you might say that these hapless buyers should have known that they wouldn't get anything even close to legit for $5. And you're probably right. But eBay has been a great source of cheap bands in the past so I'm not sure I'd rule out something similar on Ali-Express.
Just, maybe, don't buy ones that look like they're made of car tires.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.