The new Apple Watch Ultra is billed as the “most rugged and capable Apple Watch yet,” and what better way to probe this claim than with a durability test? It’s barely been a weekend since the smartwatch was released in the US on Friday, and YouTube channel TechRax has already subjected it to a right beating – and the Ultra took it surprisingly well.
In this video, we’re treated to a quick unboxing of the Ultra’s rather ornate packaging before going straight to a simple drop test, at what looks like chest height. The host explained that the first Apple Watch he tested cracked immediately after dropping, but aside from some minor scratches and chips on the titanium case, the Ultra took the fall like a champ.
The watch was then thrown into a jar of nails and shaken repeatedly, again with no ill effects save for a light dusting of nail rust. Clearly not satisfied, the host then broke out a sledgehammer and proceeded to pound the front of the Ultra. Amazingly, he cracked the table before the Ultra showed the first obvious sign of damage – the screen went blank and did not respond to any taps or button presses. But the sapphire crystal remained intact.
Another couple of hits finally broke the glass; the host then flipped the Ultra around and whacked the back of the case, shattering the heart rate sensor. Of course, this isn’t a realistic simulation of the kind of abuse most users will subject the watch to, but it’s an impressive showing all the same.
Previously, TechRax tested the iPhone 14 Pro‘s Crash Detection, which the Apple Watch Ultra also has. This function uses a new high-g-force accelerometer and an upgraded gyroscope to sense if you’ve been in a car accident and ring emergency services. The host placed the phone in a remote-controlled Mercury Grand Marquis that was then smashed into a row of other cars – and unsurprisingly, the feature worked.
To recap, the Apple Watch Ultra is designed to meet the needs of more extreme athletes and adventurers, coming with a larger 49mm titanium case that protects the flat sapphire crystal screen. It also has a customisable Action button that can be used, among other things, to activate a new 86-decibel siren. Dual-frequency GPS helps ensure better accuracy around tall buildings.
Apple has also doubled the water resistance to 100 metres, making it suitable for recreational dives (rated at up to 40 metres). Also doubled is the battery life, now a claimed 36 hours, or 60 hours with an upcoming optimisation setting. The Apple Watch Ultra is priced at RM3,799 for the sole cellular model, though Malaysian availability has not been divulged; we’ll report back with more information once we get it.