Welcome to the latest edition of iDB’s ongoing Gift Ideas series, where we provide curated roundups of some of our favorite products. Throughout the year we cover and test a number of devices and accessories, so we decided to use that experience to help those searching for the perfect present. Today’s roundup is focused on Apple Watch owners.
Catalyst Waterproof Case for Apple Watch
The just-released Apple Watch Series 2 is for all intents and purposes waterproof, but if the person you’re shopping for has an original Apple Watch, a Series 1, or just wants to be extra careful, a waterproof case is still worth considering. My favorite one is made by Catalyst. I’ve actually had it on my own Apple Watch for about a year now and I love the sportier look and extra protection. It’s rated 1P-68 5ATM waterproof and MIL-SPEC 810G for drops, and everything on the watch is still useable.
Actionproof Bumper for Apple Watch
If you don’t want to do a full-blown case, but want to get some sort of protection for the expensive wearable, consider the Actionproof Bumper. It has a great-looking, sporty design and is made of high quality Laprene rubber. Plus it goes on in seconds—just remove your Apple Watch band, slip on this case, and reattach the band. That makes it perfect for folks who may not want to use this case every day, but want to be able to quickly install it when needed for activities like camping, playing sports, etc.
Tech Swiss Watch Band Portfolio
If the person you’re shopping for already has, or plans to have, multiple Apple Watch bands, then a case for their bands makes a great gift. We like this one from Tech Swiss that features a sharp-looking bonded leather exterior, with zippered closure, and slots for 10 watch bands (including larger-sized ones). The bottom line: this case will keep your bands safe from accidental damage, organized, and in great shape.
Alternative: we also like this portable organizer from Monochest with built-in charging station for $65.
Nomad Pod Portable Apple Watch Charger
The Apple Watch’s 24 hour+ battery is great, unless you plan on going away overnight or for the weekend. In that case, you’re going to need to bring your charger with you, and that’s where the Nomad Pod comes in. Inside this super portable, puck-shaped device there is a built-in 1800 mAh battery and an innovative design that lets you seamlessly and discreetly plug in your Apple Watch charger. The end result is a beautiful aluminum “pod” that you can simply set your Watch on to charge, no plugs or extra cables needed.
Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
In a similar vein, this is the TimePorter from Twelve South. It’s sort of like a portable charger and travel case all-in-one. Now there’s no built-in battery, but there is a spooling system that strategically wraps up your Apple Watch cable so that the magnetic charging surface shows through the top of the case. The end result here is a bedside charging stand and a case that can hold an Apple Watch band, USB cable, power adapter and even an international adapter. And of course since it’s Twelve South, it looks great too. This is probably one of my favorite Apple Watch accessories.
Belkin Valet Apple Watch Charge Dock and Stand
I have the Belkin PowerHouse Charge Dock and use it daily. It looks and works great, and is in my opinion the best combo Apple Watch/iPhone dock available. Unfortunately, it’s on backorder pretty much everywhere, so we went with the next best thing: the Belkin Valet Charge Dock. It features the same sleek, chrome design with weighted, polished white base and built-in magnetic Apple Watch charger (one of the only docks I’ve seen that you don’t have to provide your own charging cable).
Powerbeats3 Wireless In-Ear Headphones
Any active Apple Watch owner needs a good pair of Bluetooth headphones. A lot of people don’t know this, but you can actually pair Bluetooth headphones with your Apple Watch and use it like an iPod to listen to music without your iPhone. This makes for the perfect solution for activities like working out, going for a walk or run, and working in the yard. For a long time the Powerbeats2 have been my favorite in-ear Bluetooth headphones and from what I’ve seen, the Powerbeats3 are even better. They feature longer battery life, a better fit, and Apple’s more reliable custom W1 chip.
Alternative: At half the price, we also really like the JLab Audio Epic2 Wireless Sport Earbuds.
Nomad Modern Leather Strap for Apple Watch
Of course new bands make awesome gifts for Apple Watch owners. Sure you can go down to the Apple Store and sift through their selections, but you’re likely going to find more unique and less expensive options online. We really like the Modern Leather Strap from Nomad. Each one is built with veggie-tanned leather from the Chicago-based Horween Leather Co., and fitted with custom-designed stainless steel buckle and lugs. The end result is super impressive, and more than worth the purchase price.
Vitech Soft Silicone Apple Watch band
Looking for a less-formal, sportier band? Check out this soft silicon strap from Vitech. Its design is [obviously] inspired by the popular Nike+ band—which is exclusive to the Nike+ Apple Watch model—and it features a premium, two-tone TPU with an innovative pin-and-tuck closure. It comes in multiple colorways, for both 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches, and it includes a 12-month warranty.
Alternative: not a fan of this color/design? Check out these other great sporty bands.
Spigen Nightstand for Apple Watch
The Spigen Nightstand is one of the most useful Apple Watch accessories, despite being the least expensive. It’s a plastic dock for your Watch that was designed to work with watchOS’s beloved Nightstand Mode feature. So you just insert your [own] Apple Watch charger into the dock and set it up on a desk or nightstand, and then drop your Watch onto it. Then you’ll be able to charge your watch and have a clear, easy view of the time, date and your alarms. It’s like having a mini alarm clock next to your bed.
Be sure to check out our other gift idea roundups: