Bottom line: ZAGG's Braided Watch Band is comfortable to wear and looks great. It comes in multiple color options and costs half as much as Apple's Braided Solo Loop.
Made with a flexible nylon material made with recycled materials
Comfortable to wear all-day
Looks just like an Apple Braided Solo Loop
Multiple colors and sizes
Not as many sizes as Apple Braided Solo Loop
Not the same colors as Apple
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When it comes to the Apple Watch, there are plenty of ways to customize it besides just changing the watch face. One of the best ways to make the Apple Watch yours is simply changing the watch band itself.
There are plenty of great Apple Watch bands, including Apple's first-party bands. I usually prefer Apple's bands because I know they're high quality and won't cause any issues with my sensitive skin. However, I know they're pricey, so I can't always get every single one I like. This is especially true for the Braided Solo Loop, which is a whopping $99 a pop and constantly brings new colors.
But if you've been itching to get a Braided Solo Loop for less, then ZAGG has a great alternative that you should take a look at.
ZAGG Braided Watch Band: Price and availability
You can purchase the ZAGG Braided Watch Band from Amazon and direct from the ZAGG website. While ZAGG is a brand that you may come across at big-box retailers like Best Buy, it does not appear to be online at such retailers at the moment, though this may change later on. The ZAGG Braided Watch Band costs $50 at both Amazon and ZAGG and comes in four colors: Storm (various shades of whites, grays, and blacks), Navy Blue, Forest Green, and Wine. In addition, it is available for 41mm-40mm-38mm, and 45mm-44mm-42mm Apple Watch sizes and comes in small, medium, and large wrist sizes. So whether you have an older model or the latest Apple Watch Series 7, ZAGG covers you on all fronts.
ZAGG Braided Watch Band: Almost as good as Apple's own Braided Solo Loop
The ZAGG Braided Watch Band is made with a flexible recycled nylon material that feels very similar to Apple's own Braided Solo Loop, which is made with stretchable recycled yarn and silicone threads. It even looks like Apple's version, so it's a pretty good dupe. However, the band can be considered sporty and sophisticated no matter what color you get. Mine is the Forest Green color, and I love the rich, deep green hue.
Since the ZAGG Braided Watch Band is a single-piece band like the Braided Solo Loop, you'll insert both ends of the band into the two slots on your Apple Watch. The flexible nylon material has a good bit of stretch, making it easy to slip it on and off your wrist. Of course, because you are stretching it repeatedly, I expect it to get a little looser over time. Because of this, you should definitely make sure to get the proper size so that if it stretches out after a while, it won't be too loose.
I've been wearing the ZAGG Braided Watch Band for the past few weeks, and it's become one of my favorite Apple Watch bands. The nylon material is not irritating to my sensitive skin, and it's very comfortable to wear all day, even when I'm sweating from a workout (or the gross summer heat). And because of the snug fit (I'm wearing a medium), it stays in place and does not move around.
The price point is one of the best things about the ZAGG Braided Watch Band. It undercuts Apple's Solo Braided Loop price point by half. Though I don't change my Apple Watch band as much as I do my iPhone 13 Pro case, I still like to have a large variety of options to choose from when I do. Also, since the ZAGG Braided Watch Band is much more affordable, it's easier to pick up a few different colors than Apple's. And for many people, that $50 difference in price is a big deal.
ZAGG Braided Watch Band: You get what you pay for
Though I've been enjoying the ZAGG Braided Watch Band as my daily watch band for the past few weeks, it isn't perfect. I've noticed some fraying in the threads on mine, specifically at the end, where the connector is. I assume this is due to the constant stretching to remove and put it on, so it's a little concerning. However, the fit is still very snug, which I like.
My issue with Apple's Braided Solo Loop was that it stretched out over time, and I could never get it to shrink back. So it ended up looser than I like, though I never had an issue with any threads fraying. So far, the ZAGG Braided Watch Band does not have the stretched-out problem, but the frayed thread is a definite point of concern. But it only appears at the end, closest to the Apple Watch itself, so the rest of the band looks fine.
The ZAGG Braided Watch Band also only has three sizes, which may be limiting compared to the nine different sizes offered by Apple. And, of course, while ZAGG offers four fantastic colors for the Braided Watch Band, they don't have the same seasonal options Apple has.
ZAGG Braided Watch Band: Competition
The most obvious competitor for the ZAGG Braided Watch Band is Apple's Braided Solo Loop, which I've mentioned several times. The Braided Solo Loop comes in a larger variety of colors, including fun seasonal ones, limited edition colors, and more sizes to accommodate every wrist size. It also appears more durable in the long run, though it tends to stretch out easier too, so it's a trade-off. But, of course, the price tag of $99 isn't for everyone.
And if the $50 price of the ZAGG Braided Watch Band is too high for you, then there are plenty of knockoff braided nylon Apple Watch bands on retailers like Amazon too. However, the quality of those can be hit or miss, but for a fraction of both ZAGG and Apple's bands, you could get more for your buck if you want a variety of bands to match your daily outfit.
ZAGG Braided Watch Band: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You like Apple's Braided Solo Loop aesthetic
- You don't want to pay $100 for a watch band
- You want a comfortable Apple Watch band
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You prefer silicone or leather watch bands
- You don't like the Braided Solo Loop look
- You're concerned about durability
If you've been wanting an Apple Braided Solo Loop band for your current Apple Watch but didn't want to cough up the $99 for it, then ZAGG Braided Watch Band is a great alternative to consider. It looks and feels like Apple's band, but it's half the cost. It's flexible, stretchy, and comfortable enough for all-day wear, even if you sweat from workout sessions or the summer heat. When you have the right size, it stays in place, won't budge, and feels like it doesn't stretch out as much. Plus, the colors available look good with any outfit and work for sporty or even sophisticated looks.
Of course, the ZAGG Braided Watch Band is not perfect, either. You're paying half the cost, which some may consider lesser quality. My band seems to have some frayed threads on the ends closest to the watch, which may raise concerns about long-term durability. You also have fewer color options to choose from, and there are only three sizes compared to the nine from Apple.
Still, if you want the Braided Solo Loop look for less, then the ZAGG Braided Watch Band is an overall good product.
Bottom line: The ZAGG Braided Watch Band is an excellent affordable alternative to the Apple Braided Solo Loop, but it isn't without some flaws.
Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.
The $50 Zagg band is more like an Amazon generic knock-off brands that usually cost $15 for two bands than the Apple one. I've purchased those and a few of the Apple $100 ones to compare and it's not even close. The Apple band braiding on connectors spreads out and looks much nicer.
The generic band goes straight in and is much easier to manufacture and feels cheaper. It also tends to curl up for no reason. The Apple band connector to the watch is metal and very precise. Comes in smoothly and shows braiding all the way to the watch itself.
The generic connector is plastic and not even finished well. It has visible seams from the injection molding and shows this plastic on the watch when you're wearing it. It's not even remotely aesthetically pleasing. The Apple sizing is precise, you get exactly what you need to fit perfectly.
The generic sizes are S, M, LG, etc, and correlate to an Apple size but if your wrist is smaller or bigger, it won't fix nicely. Overall for the $15 price for two, it's not bad.
If you pay $100 for Apple, you get Apple quality but at probably twice the price it's actually worth. If Zagg did an exact duplicate at $50 it would be a great deal, but since it's really competing with the generic ones, it's heavily overpriced for no good reason.
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