The Apple Watch Ultra and Galaxy Watch 5 are tough. But the Garmin Fenix 7 is tougher

Three premium smartwatches face the ultimate toughness test. Spoiler: Garmin wins

Garmin Fenix 7X
(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

When it comes to the best smartwatches, toughness is a key factor: you don't want your expensive smartwatch to come a cropper if you accidentally bang, scrape or drop it. That's why many premium smartwatches use sapphire glass for extra protection, but as it turns out some sapphire is tougher than others.

When YouTuber Jerry Rigs Everything (opens in new tab) put three premium smartwatches – the Apple Watch Ultra, the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Garmin Fenix 7 – to the ultimate test, they all performed impressively. But the Garmin did best. As the Bruce Springsteen song goes, it's tougher than the rest.

Why you want sapphire on your face

It's incredibly easy to bump your watch face by accident: I've smashed my Apple Watch in the past, and my current one has got a great big scar across it. With normal glass that scrape would have been another smash, but the tougher glass in more recent Apple Watches means they can handle a lot more damage. That matters because unlike with phones, cases aren't great for smartwatches: they make them look much bulkier and in my experience, a bit like giant children's toys.

In JerryRigEverything's tests he subjects the three watches to the kind of treatment they're unlikely to experience in real life, and even then they stand up to it very well. It's only when Jerry reaches for his most serious phone-scrapers that the displays start to display damage, with the Fenix standing up best to the onslaught.

I've included the video below so you can see for yourself. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).