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Tested: Six third-party Apple Watch bands

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | Aug. 5, 2015
One of the greatest features of the Apple Watch is its band design: If you don't like the band that you ordered with your Watch, just swap it out for something new. While Apple has a ton of great-looking options, its designs can be limiting if you're not a fan of their looks, price points, or materials. Luckily, third-party Apple Watch bands have hit the market, offering more affordable leather straps, glittery sport-like bands, mixed-metal designs, and more--not just cheap $20 knock-offs of Apple's own unique bands.

bands2

One of the greatest features of the Apple Watch is its band design: If you don't like the band that you ordered with your Watch, just swap it out for something new. While Apple has a ton of great-looking options, its designs can be limiting if you're not a fan of their looks, price points, or materials. Luckily, third-party Apple Watch bands have hit the market, offering more affordable leather straps, glittery sport-like bands, mixed-metal designs, and more--not just cheap $20 knock-offs of Apple's own unique bands.

We tested six third-party bands from three different companies to find out which ones are worth pre-ordering--each of them offering something completely different from Apple's lineup. (Don't worry: No mullet watches found here.) Let's take a look. 

Case-Mate Brilliance

3 case mate brilliance

Case-Mate's Brilliance band is undeniably pretty, but is it pretty enough to warrant an $80 price tag? This sparkly leather band comes in silver and black variations for the 38mm Watch, and just silver for the 42mm Watch, and is still listed as coming soon' on Case-Mate's website.

The Brilliance band consists of two leather pieces that snap into either side of your Watch. The hardware (adapter and buckle) has a bright silver matte finish, which is sort of a mix between the stainless steel finish of the Watch and the matte aluminum finish of the Watch Sport. It doesn't match my Watch Sport casing exactly, but it doesn't look bad.

The underside of the band is silver leather, while the topside is covered in tiny silver and gunmetal beads. There are also tiny crystals scattered among the beads, but they're few and far between--and the band doesn't look nearly as posh as does the Brilliance iPhone case, which is smothered in crystals. The beads and crystals are embedded in some sort of clear, rubbery material, which cheapens the look but appears to be very secure--I didn't lose any beads or crystals while wearing the band.

The Brilliance is very comfortable and easy to fit, thanks to its soft, supple leather construction. This band looks nice but not fabulous--it looks more like a regular watch band with a little extra texture rather than the blinged-out crystal band that the name seems to suggest.

Case-Mate Sheer Glam

4 case mate sheer glam

Case-Mate's champagne-colored Sheer Glam band is another band with an iPhone case equivalent--you know, just in case you want your iPhone and Watch to match. This $35 glittery translucent band is available now for the 38mm Watch only.

 

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