This month, my girlfriend gifted me an Apple Watch Series 3 (with LTE) as a late birthday gift.
She got me a 42mm Nike+ model in space gray with a black Sport Loop. I’ve been wearing it a few weeks now after using a stainless steel original Apple Watch since May 2015, and I like it very much. The aluminum is super lightweight and the space gray color looks sharp. And despite much consternation from people on Twitter, the red dot on the Digital Crown doesn’t bother me one bit. In practice, I don’t notice it unless I look down at my watch or when I take it off at night to charge. In fact, it makes for a nice accent against the watch’s dark case.
I’ll write a full review of my new Apple Watch in the coming weeks, but for now, the one aspect of it that has stood out to me the most is the aforementioned Sport Loop band. It is a great band—it looks good, feels good, and most importantly for me, it’s highly accessible. Your mileage may vary, but for me, the Sport Loop has quickly become my favorite band; I love it.
Of course comfort and style matter—Apple Watch is as much about fashion as it is function—but what sets the Sport Loop apart in my opinion is its accessibility. The accessibility of Apple Watch bands is I think an underrated aspect of the experience. If a band is hard to get on and off, it sullies the overall view of the device because the bands are tough to manipulate. If you can’t get the watch on, you can’t use it. Hence, for someone like me who has fine-motor delays, how a band works functionally is just as important, if not more so, than how it looks aesthetically. “Can I get this on?” is a crucial question.
From an accessibility perspective, what makes the Sport Loop shine is the “hook-and-loop” fastening mechanism. Getting the Apple Watch on and off is effortless, at least for me. There are no pins to deal with, like on the Sport or nylon bands—all you do is pull the band so it’s as tight as you want and simply press it against the other side to close. Although I’ve grown adept at getting my Sport and nylon bands on my wrist successfully, there’s a fluidity to using the Sport Loop that my other bands can’t match. And it’s all due to the Velcro, which is a highly accessible material. Its appeal is further boosted by the fact this Velcro is the nicest I’ve ever seen. Velcro is decidedly more utilitarian than elegant, but Apple made it both.
I’ve long maintained Apple’s most accessible bands are the Loop varieties that use magnets for fastening. The Sport Loop with its Velcro joins this group. While needs and tolerances vary, in general I would say if you’re someone who has fine-motor delays, any of the Loop bands are a terrific choice. The Sport Loop in particular is easy to put on, lightweight, and stylish for anyone who leads an active lifestyle. I’m even thinking about wearing my black Sport Loop to a family wedding in SoCal this weekend.