The reality is, Apple’s pricing strategy for its Watch Bands is pretty ludicrous. We can’t recommend paying that kind of money when there are cost-effective alternatives for nearly every style available at Amazon. After all, you came to 9to5Toys for a deal, right?
First off, let’s take a look at the pricing. Apple charges $149 for its Leather Loop band, which is available in six different colors but just the 42mm variety. The third-party option that we’re examining today retails for $23.99 plus it offers a smaller 38mm model as well. Price and availability go to the knock-off band, an easy win there.
Now to the design. One thing to get out of the way up front, Apple’s Leather Loop is made from “Quilted Venezia leather” and this third-party option is assuredly, not. There are a few characteristics that show this difference right off the top. The red leather loop that I’ve been using has a high gloss finish to it versus Apple’s decidedly matte look after extended use. I’ve had the OULUOQI loop for about two months and it’s still as shiny as the day it arrived. That’s likely due to the presence of some sort of synthetic material.
Other than its shiny exterior, the knock-off band is a dead ringer for Apple’s authentic version. The fit and finish is spectacular, particularly at the connection points on the Watch itself. This is an area of real concern if you’ve utilized any of the third-party bands on the market. Often times, the tapered edge of the band will not line up with the side correctly. This leaves you with an edge popping out or the watch’s inner channel showing. Either way, that’s a quick tip to those around you that you’re not using an official band.
We chose the Red leather loop band for this review, primarily because Apple doesn’t offer that color, making this option all the more attractive. The hue is a solid match to the rest of the mothership’s (PRODUCT)RED offerings. I’ve not had any issues with discoloring or the leather chipping or scuffing. To be straightforward, I’m very impressed with the quality of this product. I had my doubts, especially after the silicone model that I reviewed a few months ago suffered from dull edges after a few weeks of use. This band has done an excellent job of withstanding trips to the gym, outdoor activities and more.
So what’s the verdict? Ultimately, OULUOQI’s loop band isn’t going to be an exact match to Apple’s supple leather options. There is no replacing real leather with a synthetic material. The other major piece to the puzzle here is price. As I mentioned at the top, the pricing scheme for official bands is ridiculous. You could easily spend more money on accessories than the Watch itself. For $24, it’s tough to go wrong here. Amazon customers agree, leaving a collective 4.2/5 star rating. The added color options are also worth nothing if you’re not pleased with Apple’s official offerings. In short, give it a try. What’s $24 between you and your Watch?