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Along with the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple debuted the Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop bands. We've been wearing them and here are our impressions, as well as a look at each of the colors.
Both the Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop have a one-piece design. Rather than a two-part design, like the classic Sports Band, these two are one long loop. As such, they are required to be available in a variety of sizes — nine to be exact.
Apple makes a free sizing guide available through its website for you to print at home. Just print, trim, and wrap it around your wrist and it will tell you what size band you should order.
In my case, I got right between a seven and an eight. I ordered an eight and if I ordered again, I'd probably opt for the seven. The eight was fine, but borderline loose. Oxygen reading and ECG readings would benefit from a slightly snugger fit.
If you go into an Apple Store — assuming its open — Apple has sizing guides available there as well.
As the cheaper option, most users will likely opt for the Solo Loop over the Braided Solo Loop, as it costs $49 and is available in seven colors. The (PRODUCT)RED version was not available at launch, so we picked up the remaining colors.
Once we opened it, we were surprised how flexible the band was. It was very soft and stretchy, reaching more than double its original size at full extension.
The back of the band has a slight channel that should aid airflow and prevent sweat buildup. It's quite similar to the Sports Band.
Apple says the band is made of liquid silicone and its elasticity is key to its function. It stretches to go onto your wrist and keeps your watch fairly snug against your wrist while still remaining quite comfortable.
In our experience, the new Solo Loop is more comfortable than the standard Sports Band.
The Solo Loop is available in Pink Citrus, Deep Navy, Cyprus Green, Ginger, Black, and White. We aren't sure if we have a favorite, but the Deep Navy is a solid contender for that new blue aluminum Apple Watch Series 6.
Braided Solo Loop
The Braided Solo Loop is a bit pricier at $99, with four colors of the woven band available to buy at launch. It comes in Atlantic Blue, Inverness Green, Charcoal Black, Pink Punch, and a still unavailable (PRODUCT)RED.
These bands are made of recycled yarn interwoven with silicone threads to make it almost as stretchy as Solo Loops, but with a classier look.
These have metal caps on either end for the lugs, which are inserted into the Apple Watch. These fit well but at angles, the silver metal can be slightly visible, which is a negative if you have a Graphite stainless steel or Space Grey Apple Watch.
The silver is just too obvious and detracts from the dark aesthetic, even if it is minor.
Active users may prefer the Solo Loop to the Braided Solo Loop since the yarn is likely to hold onto sweat easier. We see no reason this band cant be rinse and washed, but the liquid silicone is probably a better workout material.
There are fewer colors of the Braided Solo Loop. Again we were particular to the Blue which looked great with our Space Black Series 5, and the green was also a handsome option for us.
The Charcoal was just about all the way black, despite the name implying a bit of grey.
Both of these new styles of band are welcomed, and the Braided Solo Loop is what we opted for when getting our new Apple Watch. It only runs you $50 more than the base price of the Apple Watch, which is better than buying an Apple Watch with yet another Sport Band and shelling out the extra $99 for the Braided Solo Loop.
One note though is these have a slightly tapered lug to them which makes them only compatible with the redesigned Apple Watch, meaning it will fit the Series 4, Series 5, and Series 6, but not the Series 3 and earlier.