From even before the Apple Watch made its commercial debut, designers have been preparing accessories. Considering that Apple already offers numerous casing, band, and watch face customization options for its wearable, it would appear that the Watch presents fewer opportunities for accessory makers than the California-based company’s other mobile products. That being said, nothing gets the creative juices flowing like the prospect of a new and lucrative Apple product accessory market.
With the Apple Watch now on the market and details and specifications having been available even earlier, many third-party manufacturers have started to show off some of the first Watch accessories. And just like Apple’s other mobile devices have inspired some bizarre gadgets, the Watch has already led to the creation of a few questionable accessories, as well as several that may actually prove useful.
Here are 15 of some of the best and worst Apple Watch accessories that we have come across. While our opinion of these accessories is based on personal taste, we generally gave higher rankings to products that enhanced or added to the Watch’s capabilities, rather than simply providing an altered appearance. Using this highly unscientific method, we have ranked the following 15 Apple Watch accessories, starting with the worst and moving toward the best.
15. Pad and Quill’s Roll Up Kit
As a wearable, the Apple Watch is designed to be worn. Duh, right? That aspect of the Watch makes the debut of several travel cases for the device a bit baffling, to say the least. However, for the Watch owner who feels the need to store their device in a special case while on the go, both WaterField and Pad and Quill are offering similarly priced Apple Watch travel cases. Pad and Quill’s Roll Up Kit for Apple Watch is handcrafted from “Full Grain American leather” and will set you back $49.99.
14. WaterField’s Time Travel Case
WaterField’s Time Travel Case for Apple Watch is available in either leather or “ballistic nylon” and costs $49.00. While both cases seem equally pointless to us, we gave WaterField’s accessory a slightly better ranking for its “timely” pun name.
13. WaterField’s WatchPad
Apple has claimed the Watch has an “all-day battery life” of 18 hours on a full charge. This means that most users will likely charge their devices overnight as they sleep. But wait, you’re not going to just leave your Apple Watch lying on the hard surface of your bedside table are you? You’ll sleep better knowing that your Watch is comfortably resting on the luxurious WatchPad from Waterfield. The 8-by-4.75 inch rectangular piece of leather costs $17 and is available in three colors.
12. The Composure Dock
One of the Watch technologies that Apple has highlighted was the device’s MagSafe inductive charging system that allows users to quickly attach the charger without worrying about alignment. While third-party manufacturers haven’t discovered a way to improve Apple’s charging technology, they have found several ways to make it more expensive. If you’re concerned about leaving your Apple Watch ungraciously sprawled on its side while it charges, you may want to purchase one of the many Watch stands/charging docks being offered by third-party accessory makers.
The stands we found came in a wide range of prices, from the $49 aluminum HEDock stand charging dock, to the $68 walnut-covered Composure charging dock. All of these products are essentially a piece of equipment with a round hole in the shape of the Watch charger. Since the Composure charging dock is currently one of the most expensive one that we found on the market and resembles a simple block of wood, we have chosen to highlight it on our list.
11. DODOcase’s Charging Stand
Among vertical watch stands, DODOcase’s Charging Stand appears to be one of the most expensive ones with a preorder price of $98.95 and a regular MSRP of $99.95. To be fair, it is difficult to quantify the aesthetic value that some users may derive from some of these admittedly well-crafted Watch stands and charging docks. Still, in our opinion, these types of accessories appear to be only slightly less pointless than a Watch travel case or “WatchPad.”
10. Var CyClip
Although some Apple Watch owners may find this accessory appealing, we ultimately decided that the Var CyClip was not a very sensible Watch accessory. As noted on the Var CyClip website, this product is “the world’s first handlebar adapter for the Apple Watch.” However, just like it didn’t make sense to us to wrap your Watch in a travel case when you’re on the go, it seems a bit strange to move a wearable from an easily visible place on your wrist to the handlebars of your bike.
While the Var CyClip may put the Watch in a slightly better viewing position while riding, it doesn’t seem like a good idea for bike riders to try peering at a tiny watch screen on their handlebars. If a bike rider needs a handlebar-mounted mobile device for navigation, the iPhone seems like a much better option since its screen is actually large enough to be seen without hunching over.
Additionally, if a rider wants to use the Watch for turn-by-turn directions on their bike, they would actually be better off leaving the device on their wrist in order to feel the haptic turn prompts. Using the Watch’s haptic direction prompts would be less distracting than trying to listen for directions or read a map on a 42 or 38 millimeter screen while riding a bike. Finally, if you’re riding a bike for exercise, it should be noted that strapping your Watch to the handlebars of your bike deprives you of some of the device’s fitness-tracking features, such as its heart rate sensor. The Var CyClip is coming soon, but the price is currently unknown.
9. Mega Tiny Corporation’s screen protectors
Perhaps more than any other type of mobile device, wrist-worn wearables will be susceptible to bumps and scratches. For this reason, we believe the screen protectors made by the paradoxically named Mega Tiny Corporation may be one of the more useful Watch accessories that we have seen so far, especially for Apple Watch Sport model owners. Since the Watch Sport model uses strengthened Ion-X glass for its display instead of the more scratch-resistant sapphire crystal found on the Watch and Watch Edition models, the screen protector could help protect its display from getting damaged.
The screen protectors are also supposed to help displays resist shattering and repel fingerprints, so Watch and Watch Edition model owners may find this product useful as well. The Mega Tiny Corporation’s screen protectors are available in both the 42 millimeter and the 38 millimeter screen sizes for $6.99 each through Amazon.
8. Casetify’s custom bands
Since the Apple Watch is as much a fashion accessory as it is a tech gadget, it is likely that many people will want to further customize their devices with bands that are not offered by Apple. Custom smartphone case maker Casetify and Kickstarter-funded startup Click have both come up with interesting solutions to meet the inevitable demand for alternative bands for the Apple Watch. Besides offering several readymade Apple Watch band designs, Casetify also enables customers to create one-of-a-kind designs by uploading their own photos, which are then printed on custom bands. Casetify’s bands start at $50.
7. SevenSixteen’s Click band adapter
SevenSixteen’s Click watch band adapter will also provide customers with alternative bands, but through a completely different method. The patent-pending Click watch band adapter will allow any standard 22-millimeter watch band to be attached to the Apple Watch. This product enables Watch owners to personalize their devices with unofficial Watch bands that may be cheaper than the ones sold by Apple, or with favorite bands from watches they already own. SevenSixteen has already surpassed its $30,000 Kickstarter crowdfunding goal to reach $216,436 and the company plans to start shipping the Click watch band adapter in late May.
6. X-Doria’s Defense Edge
Since the Watch is a wrist-worn device, there’s a pretty good chance that it will eventually be subjected to the elements or accidental impacts just through everyday usage. For this reason, we believe that bumpers and waterproof housings are some of the best accessories you can buy for the Watch. There are several companies have already unveiled various different types of protective accessories for the Watch. Mobile device accessory maker X-Doria makes a stylish metal bumper for the Watch called the Defense Edge that retails for $29.99.
5. ActionProof’s THE BUMPER
On the other end of the materials spectrum, ActionProof has plans to offer a rubber Watch bumper that is appropriately named THE BUMPER. The company was funded with crowdfunding through Indiegogo and early supporters will get a pink version of THE BUMPER for $20. Normal pre-orders are $35.
4. Designed by Many’s BANDED housings
For users that want additional protection from the elements beyond the Watch’s standard water resistance rating of IPX7, there are also several companies that make protective housings for the Watch. Product design company Designed by Many’s upcoming BANDED housings made from leather and aluminum will provide extra protection from impact.
3. LUNATIK’s EPIK kit
Mobile device accessory maker LUNATIK has announced plans for the EPIK Apple Watch kit, a rugged housing that will provide “an added layer of dust and water ingress protection,” as well as extra protection from bumps and scratches. Although it’s unknown how much the EPIK kit will cost, the company noted that it will soon commence crowdfunding for the accessory on Kickstarter.
2. Nomad’s Pod
Although the Apple Watch has an all-day battery life of 18 hours based on a typical usage scenario, it should be noted that some usage scenarios will drain the battery much sooner. For example, Apple revealed that three hours of phone call usage will exhaust a fully charged Apple Watch battery. While most Watch owners probably won’t talk on their devices for three hours a day, there will likely be many users that exceed the typical usage scenario. For this reason, we think products geared at extending the device’s battery life are some of the best Watch accessories you can buy.
Nomad’s Pod is a portable 1800 mAh capacity battery pack that will provide up to four full charges for the Apple Watch. This could let you go days without seeing a wall outlet and still not have to worry about having your Watch run out of juice. The Nomad can also charge other USB-powered devices and even includes the USB Type-C standard that Apple used in its all-new MacBook model. According to Nomad’s website, the Pod costs $59.99 and will start shipping on June 15.
1. Reserve Strap
While the Reserve Strap is still in the prototyping phase, it may offer a more elegant solution for Watch owners that want a little extra battery life but don’t want to lug around an extra battery for charging. The Reserve Strap features a band embedded with small batteries and an inductive charging cradle to boost the Watch’s standard battery life. According to the company’s presentation video, the Reserve Strap will “extend the battery life of the Apple Watch by up to 125%.” Although the company doesn’t have a firm release date or final price point yet, customers can preorder the Reserve Strap through the company’s website for $249.99.
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