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How tough is the Apple Watch 7?

Well, let me put it like this, it's tough, but it could be tougher.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

"So, just how tough is the Apple Watch?"

I've been asked this a lot.

I've owned the Apple Watch Series 7 since its release back in mid-October 2021. I've been wearing mine daily since that time, only taking it off for charging, if I'm doing something particularly oily or dirty, or there's a chance I'm going to smash a kettlebell into it.

Other than that, it's been on my wrist continuously for the last eight and a half months. That's eight and a half months of swimming, gardening, doing mechanical tinkering, using power tools, being feral in the outdoors, and much more.

So, how's it handled almost 24/7 exposure to, well, me?

Let's put it like this -- it's picked up a few scars.

The Apple Watch Series 7 is the first Apple Watch where I decided to not put it into a protective case. Before that, I'd been using a Spigen Rugged Armor case, and while it doesn't have a screen protector, the raised lip around the edge gave the screen a lot of additional protection.

Or so it seems.

Because my current watch, even after less than a year of use, is looking worse than Apple Watches that I've worn for two years.

While it remains functional, the display has a deep scratch running horizontally across the display. I'm not sure how I did it -- maybe a rock, or maybe it caught on something while I had my hands down in an engine bay -- but something got it.

Yeah, it's pretty scratched!

Yeah, it's pretty scratched!

And it's deep enough that I can feel it with a fingernail, and even feel it when using the display.

This isn't the only scratch, it's just the worst one. The display has a myriad of smaller scratches all over it.

There are also a few dings on the case. Nothing major, but it's far from pristine.

It's pretty beat up.

That said, I'm not disappointed. I'm actually quite impressed.

This Apple Watch has seen a lot of abuse, and yet it works perfectly. I continue to use it in water daily, and its water resistance is clearly still good.

This watch is up there with the likes of a Casio G-Shock for the amount of abuse it can take.

My advice is that if you're worried about keeping your Apple Watch looking like new, get a case of it. I recommend the Spigen Rugged Armor, or, if you want something that covers the display, the Spigen Ultra Hybrid.

They're both under $20 and offer great protection.

If you choose to keep your Apple Watch in a case, remove it from the case every few months for a cleaning. I omitted to do this once and the button stuck down and had to be worked free by putting the watch into warm water.

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