I made a huge mistake Apple Watch

I made a huge mistake Apple Watch

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

I had my Apple Watch Series 7 for a little less than a year.

This is the fourth Apple Watch I own. But this time I decided to do something different.

Encouraged by Apple’s promotional material for the Apple Watch Series 7 and the robustness of the screen, I decided against putting it in a case.

I mean, take a look at this promotional video. Apple has really made a big deal out of the durability of the display.

Now, it is important for you to know that Apple uses two different materials for the display. Ion-X glass is used on aluminum models, and sapphire is used on stainless steel models (and on titanium Apple Watch Ultra).

Also: I Put Apple Watch Ultra in a Tough Mudder: Here’s How It Held Up

Since the aluminum models are the least expensive, they are probably the most common models.

And this is the model I’ve been wearing for 11 months.

So how durable is Ion-X glass?

In my experience, not very.

This is what my display looks like:

Stripes, stripes, stripes!

Stripes, stripes, stripes!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Yes, these are scratches.

Many of them.

The aluminum casing also took a number of beatings.

While most of these scratches are cosmetic, the one across the middle of the screen is deep and I can feel it when touching the screen.

Also: Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Series 7: How to choose

This scratch running through the middle is deep!

This scratch running through the middle is deep!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Now, a bit of context. This Apple Watch was worn pretty much 24/7 for 11 months, I only took it off to charge it.

Where I’ve been, this watch has been.

I’m also not too careful with things. That said, I don’t go out of my way to damage things either. But I spend quite a bit of time outdoors and with my hands inside engine bays and PCs. And throughout it all, this screen is in a prime position to get knocked and scratched.

The Nike Velcro strap also took a beating. He looks a bit rough from where he gets caught up in things (undergrowth is especially bad for him). I tend to apply a flame or a dab of crazy glue to any loops of frayed material to seal it and keep the strap from coming undone.

The bracelet looks quite worn too

The bracelet also looks quite worn.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Another issue is the Velcro itself. At first it was quite strong, but after a year it has now weakened to the point of accidentally coming undone. Even cleaning small Velcro hooks with a needle no longer helps.

Velcro is now worn to the point where it is no longer reliable

The velcro is now worn to the point where it is no longer reliable.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

OK, you bought an Apple Watch and you don’t want it to look like mine after a year. What should you do?

What I used to do – and probably will do from now on – is put it in a case. Yes, we put our smartphones in cases, so why not our connected watches?

The case I’ve had the most luck with is the Spigen Rugged Armor.

It’s a sleeve that wraps around the Apple Watch, encasing it in a layer of flexible, shock-absorbing TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane). Raised bezels around the screen provide extra protection without the need for a screen protector.

All of my previous Apple Watches have been in a Spigen case from day one, and that has done a lot to protect them from damage.

Spigen Rugged Armor

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

And the pouch has cutouts for buttons and speakers, so you don’t lose any functionality while using it.

I recommend removing your watch from the case to clean it from time to time, as dirt can build up which has caused a button to stick in the past (which I loosened by cleaning the watch with water warm and soapy).

The Spigen Rugged Armor The case for the Watch Series 8/SE2/7/6/SE/5/4 45mm/44mm is available in five colors – black, navy blue, olive green, rose gold and white – and fits the Apple Watch like a glove!

The case offers a high degree of protection for the screen

The case offers a high degree of protection for the screen.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

If you want your Apple Watch to stay like new for longer, I highly recommend this case.

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