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This is the Apple Watch Ultra's worst feature

When Apple made its most rugged smartwatch, it overlooked one thing.
apple-watch-ultra
Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Apple makes some iconic products. The iPod. The iPhone. The Mac. The iPad. The Apple Watch. Even white earphones, that was Apple.

The Apple Watch Ultra is the latest in a long line of products that have a classic look.

The chunky titanium. The all-you-can-eat complications. That orange band.

Yeah, about that orange band.

Review: I put the Apple Watch Ultra through a Tough Mudder

There's no doubt that the international orange (yes, international orange is a thing) Alpine Loop band and highlights on the Apple Watch Ultra stand out, and make quite a statement.

I mean, look at this action shot by Apple.

Apple Watch Ultra with the international orange band in action

Apple Watch Ultra with the international orange band in action

Apple

Problem is, that band doesn't stay looking good for long. 

I've had my Apple Watch Ultra for two months, and been wearing it pretty much 24/7. And yes, I like it. A lot.

But while the watch itself is flawless -- not a scratch or chip on the case or the display -- the band looks rough.

Lots of grime has embedded itself in the weave of the band

Lots of grime has embedded itself in the weave of the band

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

It becomes really noticeable when you compare parts of the band that are exposed to the elements with parts that aren't.

The parts exposed to the dirty, grimy world look really bad compared to the parts that aren't

The parts exposed to the dirty, grimy world look really bad compared to the parts that aren't

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

I can hear you now -- "Why don't you wash it?"

Sorry to disappoint you, but I already thought of that, and these photos are of a freshly washed band.

Also: Why the Apple Watch Ultra is my favorite Apple product in years

Seems like the grime is embedded into the weave of the band. 

Deeply embedded.

The good news is that I can easily replace the band. Apple makes quite a few.

For $99.

I've tried the Ocean band, and while that seems to be more grime-resistant than the Alpine Loop, I find it a bit sweaty. Maybe the Trail Loop band is the one need, but I'm not that keen on bands that use hook-and-loop (think Velcro) because over time it degrades.

Perhaps a green Alpine Loop would hide the grime better.

Maybe just like the Apple Watch, these bands are also consumables that need to be thrown away periodically. 

Or maybe the dirt just adds character.

Oh, and you might be thinking that there are better third-party Apple Watch Ultra bands out there. 

No, they're a lot worse. 

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