Are third-party Apple Watch Ultra bands any good?

Three Apple Watch Ultra models on stand

Jason Henner/ZDNET

Like it or hate it – and the jury seems pretty divided on this – but that new Alpine Loop Band’s orange Apple Watch Ultra It is very striking and wonderfully distinctive.

Thus, it won’t be long before third-party copies start selling in the usual places.

I had quite a few questions about these bands that I decided to take a look at myself, so I ordered three different ones Alpine orange ringStyled bands from three different vendors. The belts were priced between $15 and $24.

reconsidering: I put the Apple Watch Ultra in Tough Mudder. Here’s how it survived

My first surprise was that the three teams were the same. The packs differed slightly, but the bands were identical to each other.

The colour, texture, finish of the metal parts, they are all the same. This leads me to believe that they all came from one source originally.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that these bands are small. I ordered medium-sized bands (I wear a large band, but sent a spare medium band), and the Apple strap is about 25mm or 1 inch larger than the clone. I was struggling to get an Apple Watch Ultra with a medium strap on my wrist, but with this watch I didn’t get a chance.

Two very similar bars, one of them shorter.

Clone an Apple Watch Ultra band (top) next to the original Apple Watch Ultra band (bottom). Both are medium in size, but the reproduction is much smaller.

Adrian Kingsley Hughes / ZDNET

Then there is the color.

The annular portion of the band appears to be identical in color to the Apple band, but the main portion of the band is deeper, more red than orange. In fact, upon closer examination, it looks like a weave of red and white threads.

Clone strap on top of the Apple strap, showing the color difference.

The colors are not correct anywhere, with the cloned (front) stripe being a much darker red.

Adrian Kingsley Hughes / ZDNET

At a glance, the copy may pass as an original mountain ring, but a closer look will easily dispel that idea.

Fit and finish of the metal parts is very good. It’s nowhere as good as ending parts in the original Apple Alpine Loop, but it’s not bad at all. However, the hook is magnetic, which means it’s definitely not titanium, the end parts are brighter and polished, and while it’s not magnetic, it’s not titanium either. I suspect it’s made of stainless steel, but probably not.

Alpine loop and clone bands, hooks comparison.

The metal parts on the cloned strap are different from those on the original Apple bracelet, and the hook does not match the terminal bits.

Adrian Kingsley Hughes / ZDNET

While I wasn’t expecting titanium parts, it’s worth noting that two of the three straps I purchased specifically mentioned the titanium G hook in the listing.

Alpine loop and clone bands, hooks comparison.

The metal parts in the clones are definitely not titanium!

Adrian Kingsley Hughes / ZDNET

Now, so far, these teams don’t feel bad. I mean the original Alpine Loop range is $99 and the price is between a quarter and a sixth of that price.

The cloning strap fits well with the Apple Watch as well. The fit is not as tight as the original belt, but it is more than acceptable.

Apple Watch on the side, with a coarser strap attached to the right.

Fit and end of the original Apple Watch strap (left) compared to the copy (right).

Adrian Kingsley Hughes / ZDNET

what are you expecting.

But then I looked at the belt itself.

I noticed that the ends were sticky, and they fell apart with a little encouragement. Even in the short term, this adhesive will not hold up to water or sweat well. Under the tab there was an ugly looking stitching that held the collar together.

Peel off the end of the strap that should be glued down.

This adhesive is very poor quality and is not made to last.

Adrian Kingsley Hughes / ZDNET

The good thing here is that when the adhesive wears off (not a “if” case), the stitches will prevent your Apple Watch from falling off your wrist. But the sewing quality isn’t great either, so how long this will last is up for debate.

Rule

I wanted to like this first crop of Apple Watch Ultra Alpine Loop clones, but given the poor quality of the strap, I can’t really recommend it. Sure, if you want a belt that will last a few weeks and are happy to toss it in the container when it starts to fall apart, that’s okay.

But your watch strap falling apart is one thing – if the adhesive and stitches both come loose, you could lose Apple Watchwhich is quite another thing.

I also have concerns about the metal parts. If you are allergic to metals like nickel, I would be wary of using a clone belt like the one I checked, because one thing is for sure, those parts are NOT titanium.

So my advice is to either wait for better copies to come to market, or to spray them on a scale Original Apple Alpine Loop Band.

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