Are you the proud owner of a new Apple Watch? Maybe you pulled the trigger on a or a . Whatever the case, you might think your next stop is the Apple Store, to stock up on accessories such as watch bands, charging docks and wire-free earbuds. Those accessories are definitely worth having, but the Apple Store isn't the place to get them. That's because you'll pay a steep premium for products you can get elsewhere for much less.
Let's take a look at some of those products. I've tried a few of them; others I'm including based on user reviews or other factors. Note that my use of "cheap" here isn't meant to indicate product quality, but rather price. Also note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.
Cheap Apple Watch bands
Thanks to easy-to-swap bands, the Apple Watch can quickly alter both its look and its functionality. A leather band for work. A sport band for the gym. A Milanese loop for the theatah.
Buy any of these at an Apple Store and you'll pay anywhere from $30 on up to $150. How crazy is that? Here are some examples of Apple Watch bands you can get for less -- in some cases way less.
A Milanese loop is a metal-mesh band with a magnetic closure. It's one of the easiest bands to put on (and size to your wrist), and it's also a really dressy option.
Apple charges $149 (!) for its version, but there are countless options available on Amazon in the $10-$15 range. I've linked to one of them below, but it's merely representative of what's out there. Whatever you do, don't pay Apple $149 for one.
One bummer about Milanese loops: Over time they can chew up the arm hole of coats and sweaters. So if you want a dressy look without that problem, or you just don't like the feel of metal on your wrist, look to a leather band.
Like this one: Fullmosa (via Amazon) sells a wide assortment of calf-leather Apple Watch Bands, most of them priced at $10-$15. You can choose from about a dozen different colors, many with one or two buckle color options as well.
Again, this is just one product of dozens. I chose it because the 1,100-plus user reviews average out to around 4.4 stars.
The Apple Watch's stock sport band is fine, but I always liked the look of the Nike version -- the one with all the holes. Turns out you can get one for as little as $5, in your choice of color combinations. And the options don't end there; just search Amazon for "Apple Watch silicone band" or "sport band" and you'll find a generous assortment -- many of them priced at $15 or less.
Check out more.
Cheap Apple Watch chargers
Traveling with an Apple Watch can be a hassle because you have to recharge it pretty much daily. That means unplugging the charger from whatever nightstand setup is in place, then hoping it doesn't get lost along the way.
A better bet: Pack a portable charger. Not a portable stand, mind you, one that uses the stock Apple charger, but a rechargeable power bank with its own Apple Watch magnetic charging module.
Granted, this can be something of a hassle as well, as you'll probably have to recharge the charger after a few uses. But leave it behind in the hotel room, plugged into your laptop or any other USB port, and it'll be good to go by evening.
As with choosing a power bank for your phone, the higher the battery capacity, the more charges you'll get. But before settling on a Belkin or Griffin charger from the Apple Store and spending at least $60, check out some of the other options.
Unless you're looking for something smaller, like a keychain-friendly charger, this is the one to buy. It's a 5,000-mAh power bank, so already much longer-lasting than most Apple Watch chargers. It sits in a dock that doubles as a Watch stand. When you head out on a trip, just grab the battery and go. Oh, and it has a standard USB port, too, so it can charge your phone or another mobile device.
About as compact and keychain-friendly as portable Apple Watch chargers get, this little disc packs a 900-mAh battery -- good for probably one or two recharges, depending on how low your Watch battery is. The only wrinkle: It doesn't automatically stop charging when the latter is topped off, so you might have to be a bit strategic about how and when you recharge.
Here are more.
Cheap Apple Watch headphones
One of the Apple Watch's best tricks (if you have a Series 3 or 4, that is) is onboard storage for music and podcasts. Of course, to take advantage of that, you'll need a pair of wireless headphones.
Like maybe AirPods? No question, those are a good match for your Apple Watch. They're also a $159 match, so no thank you. I'd definitely start by perusing CNET's roundup of the best sports headphones, which includes my top pick for runners, the AfterShokz Trekz Air.
But those are pricey, too, and we're here to talk (nay, listen) cheap. So check out these affordable Bluetooth earphones that can pair perfectly well with your Watch.
With a sturdy feel that belies its crazy-low price tag, the SoundBuds Slim offers good sound, convenient magnetic 'buds and a carrying case.
One of my Cheapskate Best Deals of 2018, the BlitzWolf wire-free earbuds offer good sound, smart design and a nearly unbeatable price. (There's currently a 20%-off coupon on the product page, which brings the regular $50 price down to $40.)
OK, those are my picks for inexpensive -- but still great -- Apple Watch accessories. What would you add to this list?
Originally published earlier this year. Updated to reflect new products, prices and availability.
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