Apple has a new Apple Braided Soloband for the Apple Watch. This is precisely tailored and is elastic. In this review you can read our experiences with the Braided solo band!
Apple Braided Solo Strap tested
Earlier you could read our review of the regular Solobandje , the standard one made of silicone rubber. But Apple also has a more luxurious version that costs twice as much: the Braided Solo Loop (‘Braided solo band’ in Dutch). It is made from recycled material and costs 99 euros. You can choose from five colors and we have already put it on our wrist.
Apple Solobandje in short
- Available in 2 sizes (40mm and 44mm), each in 9 different sizes
- Available in 5 colors
- Elastic and made of soft silicone rubber
- No clasp or buckle
- Price: € 99 each
Dimensions of the Braided Solobandje
Sizing is quite a hassle with these Solo bands. We already said something about this in our previous review of the Solobandje. It is quite difficult ( pun intended ) to find the right size and it is best to go to the Apple Store to fit. Pay particular attention to how it feels for you and not so much what the employees say. You know best whether you prefer to wear a little tighter or more spacious. According to Apple, the Braided Solo Strap doesn’t stretch over time, so you don’t have to buy it extra tight.
I have tested the Braided Soloband in sizes 3, 5 and 7. After testing a few different sizes, I now know that size 5 suits me best. So I tested with straps that were both too tight and too loose. If your ideal size is not in stock, I would rather choose a size too large (so in my case size 6) and not a size too small (size 4).
Or better yet: just wait until your ideal size is in stock, because this Apple Watch band is too expensive to buy just like that.
As if releasing bands with very specific sizes weren’t confusing enough, Apple has created even more confusion in the entire communications surrounding it. For example, this band would not be suitable for the Apple Watch Series 3 and earlier, but that is nonsense. It seems more likely that Apple does not dare to guarantee the exact size. Although there is hardly any guarantee , because the entire measurement and finding the exact size is still a matter of trying and feeling.
So you really don’t have to buy an Apple Watch Series 6 if you want this strap. They can also be purchased separately.
You can read more about wrist sizes of Apple Watch bands in our tip.
Appearance of the Apple Braided Soloband
This watch strap is made of 100% recycled polyester, which, according to Apple, contains 16,000 fibers. Thin silicone wires are woven into the strap to make it sturdy yet stretchable. We tested the green variant a bit longer and it gave the impression of cotton canvas (also because of the color). The texture is a bit rougher than the silicone band, but still feels nice. Apple speaks of a 300D texture, whatever that may be. The strap is sweat and water resistant and can be washed in the washing machine if it stains. I wouldn’t do warmer than 30 degrees.
Because this band gets dirty faster than the smooth silicone and fluoroelastomer bands, Apple has probably chosen not to release light colors. You can choose from:
- Charcoal (dark gray)
- Inverness green (khaki green, see photo)
- Atlantic blue (medium blue, see photo)
- Punch pink (salmon pink)
- (PRODUCT) RED (red)
Lovers of black may be disappointed that the so-called ‘black’ strap is not deep black, but the name ‘charcoal’ already indicates that you can expect dark gray. The colors gray, green, blue and pink are available immediately, while the red version is expected later this autumn. Not all models are in stock, by the way. You have the best chance if you have a non-common size, such as 40mm in size 1/2/3/8/9 or 44mm in size 4/5/11/12. Furthermore, the blue variant seems to be the most popular, because it has the longest delivery time together with the red variant. Compared to the regular Soloband, the colors white and ginger yellow are missing.
This Braided Soloband looks a bit more dressy and is therefore more suitable to wear in the office, for example. At the end is a silver-colored metal connection, which disappears completely when you click the band onto your watch. This makes the strap easy to combine with a blue, red or gold Apple Watch . However, some people complain that you can see a hole on the sides, as if you had inserted a 40mm strap into a 44mm watch case. I don’t find that disturbing myself; you can only see it when you look very closely and it is a characteristic of this band.
Although this band is sweat resistant, you would probably prefer one of the sports bands while exercising, as they are easier to rinse off. The textile of this strap retains more moisture.
Apple Braided Soloband in use
Since this strap has no clasp, you have to put your hand through it to wear. That has to be done daily, because with a battery life of 18 hours you will still have to charge almost daily. Especially if you start wearing the Apple Watch to bed from now on because of the new sleep functions in watchOS 7 .
In terms of wearing comfort, it is very different from the Solo silicone rubber strap. The texture is a bit rougher, so it really has to fit this strap well in terms of fit. If the material shifts over your skin, it can cause friction.
Incidentally, it is not the case that the band is so rough that it scratches your MacBook . Also with this strap, the lack of the closure can be an advantage, if you like to rest your wrist on the table or your trackpad. We have (unfortunately) already seen pictures of people who got caught with the strap somewhere, causing a loop and the wickerwork is no longer so beautiful. Those who are handy can solve it in no time with a crochet hook or something similar.
The wearing comfort with this braided band is very pleasant. Not only did I notice this myself, but I also hear it from other users. Polyester may not be the most premium material (Primark and H & M’s cheap clothes are often made of polyester as well) but this strap certainly doesn’t feel cheap. It’s actually pretty clever how Apple managed to make it: the braid ends in the metal connector, where there’s little room for finishing. Even with hard stretching, no thread will come loose. Although we can of course not judge how this is after a few months of use. The material can start to show pilling and fluff and some threads can become messier.
I find the price a bit shocking with this band. It makes sense that it would be slightly more expensive to make than the regular sports and silicone straps, but to ask for double the price right away, we think it is a bit disproportionate. That doesn’t really invite you to buy more than one. For € 200 you can almost buy an Apple Watch (namely the Series 3). You can decide for yourself whether two pieces of fabric are worth as much as a technically complicated device as a Series 3 , but we would have preferred a price in between, for example 70 euros. Apple seems to have opted for standard prices: € 49 for the regular € bands and € 99 for the slightly more luxurious.
Which Apple Braided Soloband?
Maybe you are in doubt between these two bands: will it be the normal Solo band or the Braided Solo band? The braided version is clearly more expensive, but is also more unique and striking. I would rather opt for the braided version, because it really gives me a different type of strap.
However, if you are concerned with the practical aspect of a strap without a buckle, then the normal Solo strap will suit you better. This one looks very similar to the normal sports band, so you don’t really impress with it (as far as you would like). It looks like a simple and unobtrusive strap. This model may also be more convenient for children, although you will have to buy a larger strap every six months for children who are growing. Not handy either.
These are the main differences:
- The braided version is considerably more expensive: 99 euros versus 49 euros.
- The braided version is available in only 5 colors. No yellow and white, probably because this gets dirty too quickly.
- The braided version is made from recycled materials and feels like textile. Therefore, it will breathe a little better. But it can also get dirty a little faster.
- From the reactions so far, we notice that people think that the braided version feels a bit more pleasant. But this will be personal.
Maybe because I’m Dutch, but I think € 99 for a simple textile strap is really too exaggerated. Leather straps require a lot of (manual?) Stitching and leather processing, but this strap seems to come straight out of a computer-controlled machine, that’s how evenly the braiding is. Nicely made, but € 99 is a bit of a swallow. I’m afraid it will stay with one strap… which is a shame, because I would like to have a few other colors besides the blue one. However, my wallet says no.
Conclusion Apple Braided Soloband
The Apple Braided Soloband has a completely different look and is really worth adding to your collection. It is precisely because of the braided material that this looks very different. The braid also goes well with Apple’s choice to make this strap without a clasp. It wears well and it looks nice.
Unfortunately, I won’t be buying that much of it and that simply has to do with the price. One is still nice, but for € 99 you are not going to fill your shopping basket with all your favorite colors. I will not buy much of the normal Silicone Soloband, but that is because in terms of appearance it resembles the regular sports band too much, so that it adds less.