Read our experiences with the Soloband for the Apple Watch here. This is a new type of strap without clasp that raises many questions. In this review we try to answer them all.
Apple Soloband tested: these are our experiences
Apple has released a new type of watch strap for the Apple Watch. The Apple Solo Loop (Solobandje in Dutch). This strap is made of flexible silicone rubber instead of the fluoroelastomer, which is what normal sports straps are made of. However, the main feature is that the Soloband is elastic and consists of one piece. There is no closure and the strap must therefore fit exactly. In this review we tell our experiences after extensive testing of this Solo band.
Apple Solobandje in short
- Available in 2 sizes (40mm and 44mm), each in 9 different sizes
- Available in 7 colors
- Elastic and made of soft silicone rubber
- No clasp or buckle
- Price: € 49 each
Tip: if you are planning to buy the blue Apple Watch Series 6 , we recommend going for dark navy blue, because it looks great! It is also available in a normal sports tire.
Why an Apple Solo Band?
We obviously bought this Soloband to be able to review it, but you may wonder why you as a user would want such a Soloband. Or why Apple is marketing such a watch strap at all? Apple has not given a real reason, but we can imagine a number of situations in which this band will come in handy. For example, with an Apple Watch for children: if there is no closure, they are less likely to lose it. It might also be helpful if you want to wear your Apple Watch at night so you don’t get hurt on a buckle.
And finally it could also just be a design issue: developing such a one-piece bracelet turned out to be possible and Apple is now responding to that. Almost all manufacturers of wearables, including Fitbit , now also have a sports band in the same design where you put the end of the band through a hole. With the Solo band, Apple can sell new models again, and even if it sounds simple: with new colors and designs, Apple users can usually be persuaded to buy something new again.
Appearance of the Apple Solo Band
The Apple Solo band is made of silicone rubber and looks the same as the existing sports bands. Only there is no closure. When unpacking you immediately notice that this strap is thinner and more flexible than you are used to. There is also a hollow on the inside, so that the material does not continuously adhere to your skin.
The material is elastic and can be stretched up to twice its original length. You put your hand through it, so that the strap fits snugly around your wrist. That also brings us straight to the next point: how do you make sure it fits properly?
Dimensions of the Apple Solobandje
Apple releases this strap in 18 different sizes for each color: 9x in the 40mm format and 9x in the 44mm format. It is quite difficult which size you choose. With the online fitting help that you can print you can see which size suits you. Make sure you set the printer to 100% for A4, otherwise you will have the wrong size. When printing directly from Safari , I got a print that was at 93% and that yielded a size 9. When I printed again, but now at 100% and checked with a bank card that the print was the correct size, I came up with size 6-7.
When in doubt, it is best to choose a size smaller, because the strap must fit properly. In the Apple Store, the employee glanced at the sports band I was wearing at the time and came up with a size 5 and 7. I thought size 7 was a bit too wide. After trying the different sizes I would personally choose size 6.
Still, I’ve been wearing a size 8 for the past few days. That was the only size, along with size 2, that was still in stock in the Apple Store and we obviously needed a review sample quickly. A slightly larger size is fine, but if you want to wear it for a longer period of time, it is better to choose one that fits snugly around your wrist. The employee in the Apple Store indicated that I can change my strap at a later time if the correct size is in stock, without having to exchange the entire Apple Watch.
Another question we have been asked a few times is whether these bands are also suitable for the Apple Watch Series 3 and earlier. Apple says about compatibility that you must have an Apple Watch Series 4 or newer. But that’s nonsense: it also fits the earlier models. You just have to pay more attention to the dimensions, because it is tailored to the slightly larger watch cases of 40mm / 44mm. It may therefore be that you have to take a size larger for the 38mm / 42mm watch cases. If you are in doubt, it is best to try on a shop (or order two sizes and return the wrong size).
Solo band or braided Solo band?
In addition to this Soloband, Apple also brings a new braided Soloband on the market, which we will review later. There are a few 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.
Most people will choose the regular Solo Loop first, because the Braided solo band is a lot more expensive.
Apple Soloband in use
In terms of wearing comfort, we did not notice that much difference with the normal sports band. The strap is slightly lighter than the normal sports strap, although we hardly noticed it while wearing it.
There are, however, a few practical advantages. Because there is no closure, you cannot easily lose this strap. Due to the lack of a buckle, you won’t get scratches on your MacBook or on the table, if you like to have your wrist supported.
But there are also a few drawbacks. Due to the precisely fitting format, the range has become a lot more obscure and the moment comes sooner when you can no longer use the strap. If you’re going to lose a lot of weight, gain a few pounds, or give your Apple Watch to a family member, you may need to buy new straps. Second-hand sales are also a bit more difficult, because the buyer just needs to be your size. Previously it was enough to know if someone had 40mm or 44mm. Of course you can add a universal strap from your own collection, but that’s not true with the packaging.
If you take the Apple Watch off daily, this strap is less pleasant, because you always have to squeeze your hand through the narrow opening. It is not really complicated, but we can imagine that it is not so easy in sweaty situations. Also, stretching the band feels a bit scary: you have to exert quite a bit of force and we are a bit worried that nothing will break on the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch could also shoot out of your hand while you are pulling the elastic.
Maybe Apple introduced this band because of its sleep functions. The smooth design with no protrusions prevents the strap from getting hurt while sleeping. After a night with the band it feels a bit sweaty at the place of the band. In that case I would rather opt for a textile strap, such as the Sport Loop.
Because of the simple design, we would also have liked Apple to offer this band a little cheaper, for example for € 39. But Apple seems to have set its sights on using unit prices for straps: $ 49 for the normal straps and $ 99 for the slightly more luxurious ones (plus slightly higher prices for link bracelet, Hermès and the like). Perhaps the material of these Solobands is more high-tech than you see at first glance, but for regular users it will not immediately radiate a value of € 49.
Conclusion Apple Soloband review
The Apple Soloband is a great solution if your band is looking for something simple. It is the most minimalist Apple Watch band that Apple has released to date. At the same time, we do not yet see many advantages over the normal sports band. Due to the dimensions you have to pay more attention to whether the strap fits properly and it is less easy to exchange your straps with roommates or friends. Selling second-hand is a hassle due to the wide variety of sizes. Taking and taking off is less smooth. In short: a strap of which you definitely want to have one in your collection because of the novelty, but which we will not buy new every season.