The Apple Watch was launched about 5 years ago. It has quickly become world’s most popular smartwatch, finding its way onto more wrists than any other brand. There’s also a healthy ecosystem of watch accessory makers out there. Some make good quality products, while others can be a bit hit or miss.
3SIXT is a reputable ANZ-based company that makes “…iPhone, smartphone & tablet enhancements with style.” We managed to get our hands on some of their bands that are very similar to Apple’s most popular versions, only less expensive. Here’s how they stacked up :
3SIXT Silicone Band
This is essentially the same as Apple’s popular Sport Band. It’s made from a “high performance injection-molded liquid silicone” and feels very similar. It shares the same appearance, and can be fastened with a pin-type fastener that fits into one of a series on holes on the other end of the band.
The band is smooth to the touch and has about the same thickness as the Sport Band. It is quite durable and flexible as well.
One difference was that the band appeared to catch on something when fitting it into the anchor grooves on the watch. This was overcome with a bit of force, thankfully, and didn’t reappear when fitting the band the second time.
In terms of size, the Silicon Band is adjustable from 130mm to 180mm. Keep in mind that Apple’s Sport Band gives you both a shorter and longer strap to cater for larger wrist sizes. With 3SIXT’s version, it may not fit on larger wrists.
The 3SIXT Silicon Band is priced at $39.95 versus Apple’s $79. You’ll save some money going with 3SIXT’s version with few compromises. Apple does offer a wider range of colour choices, however. With 3SIXT, you’ll need to stick with black or white.
For the 3SIXT Silicon Band’s product page, click here.
3SIXT Nylon Weave Band
This band is made from a nylon weave and has a wrap around velcro fastener. It provides a comfortable and secure fit, and is more breathable, than the Silicon Band. It’s also quite light and sturdy, so an ideal choice for active lifestyles and working out.
We compared 3SIXT’s band to Apple’s Hyper Grape Nike Sport Loop. Both looked similar, however, we found that the Apple version was made from a slightly tighter weave. This enabled two things: the velcro’s grip is noticeably better, and it stretches more than the 3SIXT’s version. While stretchability might mean a little more comfort, the velcro grip is more important.
We’re not saying that the 3SIXT’s velcro will fall away from the band, as it too fits securely. The Apple version may last longer over time, however.
We tested the 3SIXT’s Nylon Weave band by taking it to the gym for a solid kick-boxing workout. The one-size-fits all nature of the velcro band kept the watch pressed firmly against our wrist for decent heart rate sensing. It also managed to stay in place despite the boxing glove rubbing against it.
With a lot of sweating, the breathability of the fabric is definitely more comfortable than the silicon band. Afterwards, the sweat-drenched band was rinsed with water and left to air-dry. The next day it was complexly dry and didn’t have an odour or experience any colour fade. So all up, we feel that the band definitely performed well.
Fitting the band to the Apple Watch wasn’t quite as smooth as Apple’s own version but nothing to be concerned about.
The Nylon Weave Band is available in black or grey. It costs $59.95 versus the $79 for Apple’s Hyper Grape Nike Sport Loop.