If you’ve been looking for a more rugged band for your Apple Watch, then you should give UAG’s new NATO band some consideration. We were sent a review unit, and after a week of testing, it’s definitely a much sturdier alternative to the standard rubber band that ships with all models of the Apple Watch.
UAG’s NATO bands are made for both sizes of the Apple Watch, so you don’t need to worry about buying the proper size, which is a nice change when compared to how Apple’s own bands are sold. They’re constructed with double-layer super-strength nylon, and stainless steel lugs and buckles, which when combined make the band feel quite rugged and super tough. The nylon straps are extremely durable feeling to the touch and while you’re wearing them, they do feel as if it would take a superhero to rip it off of my wrist.
The style of the band is pretty clean too, so they aren’t flashy. You can get grey or olive green colored bands, and both look fresh on your wrist. The grey straps are definitely a better fit for most of your clothing options due to how neutral they look, but the olive green variety also offers up a strong look. The UAG logo is stitched onto the band, but it doesn’t really take away from the visual appeal of the NATO bands.
While the NATO bands feel sturdy and strong while on your wrist, they do offer a few issues over standard Apple bands. Putting the watch on with these bands is a bit more clunky than the standard rubber band, but no more difficult than most watches that employ a ringlet fastening system. If you work out, or just sweat a lot, the nylon band acts as a sponge for your sweat, so the bands can get soaked and will remain that way for a while until they air dry. Finally, and this will be a bigger issue for people with smaller wrists, but the strap tends to leave a fair amount of itself hanging out of the third ring, which can extend all the way up to the Watch’s face if someone needs to tighten the band fully.
These issues are rather minor, but I wanted to bring them up, because the leftover strap issue was a problem for my wife while she was helping me test the bands. Her wrist is small enough that she needed to fully tighten the band, so the leftover piece of the strap created a bit of an eye sore as it was left dangling out of the final ringlet.
While the NATO acts as a sweat sponge and may not be ideal for people with small wrists, it’s still an overall solid third-party Apple Watch band. They retail for $49.99, and can be purchased through Amazon.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”