What purpose does your smartwatch serve? These days, smartwatches are more than the timepiece devices we came to know about. From answering calls, checking emails, and sending quick SMS to listening to music, the smartwatches of today must also cater to one’s intense activities. Thus, the need for tough and rugged smartwatches arises, and the world does not run out of options. With their features, it is undeniable that these wearables would be one of the mainstays in the future.
In this article, we will go over some of the tough and rugged smartwatches and what makes them appealing. In the end, we want to leave the decision to you on whether this fleet of smartwatches passes or not.
Also read: 13 Best Budget Smartwatches to Get Now
Toughest and Most Rugged Smartwatches in 2022
Nowadays, smartwatches are the perfect companion for just about any physical activity as much as any professional engagement. And with the flurry of activities, smartwatches tend to get worn out. But say no more because here are our 14 picks for the toughest and most rugged smartwatches in 2022.
The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar watch exhibits a hybrid look, combining a rugged and sleek finish. Right off the bat, this watch’s main strength lies in the longevity of use you can get out of this wearable. Not only does it have an impressive battery life, but we also get the Power Glass solar charging lens and custom power manager modes aimed at giving this watch extra battery life when used outside.
Its display is also uncompromising; its 1.3-inch display allows for better viewing when training for an extended period. This wide glass screen is perfect for other features that this wearable sports including the following:
- TOPO maps
- Ski maps for 2,000 worldwide ski resorts
- Multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo) support and built-in sensors for 3-axis compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter
- Support for Garmin Pay contactless payments (not all countries and payment networks are eligible)
- Music storage with premium streaming service options from third-party providers
- Smart notifications (when paired with a compatible smartphone)
Finally, we recommend this watch due to its rugged exterior. The watch’s bezels are made from stainless steel or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated titanium while its case material is made from fiber-reinforced polymer with a metal rear cover. All in all, you’ll never feel ripped off with the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar.
The second on our list is the TicWatch Pro 2020 Bluetooth smartwatch. This watch will take you to a distance with its functionalities that can be paired on either Android or iOS devices. This is reinforced by its powerful battery life span—the watch can run up to 30 days in one single charge depending on your use.
The watch also has two user modes: Essential Mode and Smart Mode. The latter results in lesser battery life span considering the way it uses battery juice to power the functions it covers.
Looking at the way the developer built this wearable, users would get a tough and durable exterior from this watch. The watch is made of carbon fiber reinforced with high-strength nylon, which comes together to build the exterior of the watch. The straps are made from two materials as well to ensure comfortability. The outer layer is made from genuine Italian leather, while the inner layer is made from silicone that does not irritate the skin.
The TicWatch Pro checks other boxes one needs from a rugged smartwatch including the following:
- GPS tracker
- Heart-rate monitor
- Step counter
- Calories burned counter
- Speed & cadence monitor
The Galaxy Watch 3 isn’t necessarily a rugged smartwatch — well, not so much on the exterior. The exterior is essentially made from stainless steel welded together to produce a durable wearable with a sleek finish. The use of stainless steel for the exterior essentially makes the rotating bezel of the watch and can be used for app navigation.
The watch comes in two options: 45mm or 41mm. Regardless of the option, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 has an excellent battery life span that will surely keep you up and about for more than one day. In addition, the watch can get a boost from a paired Galaxy smartphone powered by the Wireless PowerShare technology.
Despite the stainless steel material and bigger display in contrast to the Galaxy Watch 2, the Galaxy Watch 3 is comfortable to the wrist and lightweight. The bigger screen is also comfortable for the eyes, especially when viewing under direct sunlight.
If you want to be updated and monitored on your daily activities, this smartwatch might just be for you. Since the Fitbit Charge 3, there have been a couple of new features added to the Fitbit Charge 4.
This smartwatch now has a built-in GPS; you don’t need to have your phone nearby to upload data on running or cycling apps like Strava and such. With the GPS on, Fitbit says the watch can run for up to five hours of GPS on a single battery charge. This watch is also swim-proof and can be taken down by up to 50 meters, which is unlike previous Charge versions that are only water-resistant.
It is designed for casual use and fitness tracking. There is also an option to switch bands.
Below are some of the added features on the Fitbit Charge 4:
- Fitbit Pay Support
- Sleep Score Metrics
- Spotify Controls
- Active Zone Minutes
- Active Heart Rate Zones
- Weather Widget
- Agenda Widget
- More Clock/Watch Faces
The SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak is a decent rugged smartwatch that has accurate GPS tracking capability, heart rate, and altitude tracking. It is also waterproof with a 10ATM rating. Making it rugged and durable is the steel bezel with a polyamide case. SUUNTO claims this watch can perform for up to 200 hours with a one-minute accuracy, making it a competitive watch in terms of battery life.
If you are considering buying this watch, you may purchase the SUUNTO HR Belt for HR tracking. If HR tracking is not something of your consideration, then you will save money by just going with the watch sans the HR belt.
Regardless of your choice, the Ambit3 Peak has the makings of a good purchase.
The Polar M600 Sports Watch is one of the rugged smartwatches on our list that veers away from the conventional and traditional round-shape design. It runs Wear OS, giving it the power that anyone could want and need out of a smartwatch. That includes some of the best Wear OS apps for fitness. And if you think all features a sports watch should have can’t be present in one watch, think again.
The Polar M600 watch comes equipped with GPS, Glonass, a heart rate monitor, and four gigabytes storage for maps. We also like how the Glonass and GPS are quite accurate when it comes to monitoring. This watch is also IPX6 water-resistant, making it a rugged smartwatch that can sustain submersion. Plus, in terms of display, it is durable thanks to the Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
Casio’s G-Shock Move Pro GSWH1000-1 is the first Casio watch that runs Wear OS. This gives Casio the ability to run the watch with more functionality than its previous G-Shock products.
In terms of display, much of G-Shock designs tend to lean towards durability. It is quite distinct with the blocks, textures, and design all cohesively put together to protect the watch’s display and buttons. While the watch’s bezel is made from metal, the buttons are made from aluminum. The straps of the watch earned a mixed reaction; it’s not uncomfortable and it is long to fit any type of wrist. However, it is not soft to the touch, making it not the most comfortable as well.
The heart rate monitoring and GPS are pretty impressive in this watch. Data syncing is cohesive with the Strava app as well.
However, in terms of other capabilities like battery life and functionality, the Move Pro GSWH1000-1 pales in comparison to Apple Watch or SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch. It does not have good battery life, and we don’t think anyone would be up for that. If for anything, the cool features we outlined above do give the traditional G-Shock watch new functionalities, which make it a decent rugged smartwatch.
The G-Shock Move GBD-H1000 is a very outdoor-focused watch and will be the first among the G-Shock fleet to have a built-in wrist-based optical heart rate sensor. Casio also equipped this watch with the VO2 Max training status and recovery time features under its hood. Casio is moving into the fitness and sports scene and released this watch as its entry point.
It has the signature G-Shock design, but it comes slightly bulkier than others. Others may dig the design fit while others may have a different take. But don’t let the bulkiness of the watch fool you; the design is intended for extreme durability. That is because the watch is shock-resistant and vibration-resistant.
Under its steel and plastic hood, it is loaded with the heart rate sensor, barometric altimeter, compass, temperature, and three-axis accelerometer. It also has a decent battery life of 14 hours when used with the average GPS reception. There is an option to increase the battery life by 18 hours but it reduces the accuracy of the monitors.
At first glance, the Amazfit T-Rex does give off a very G-Shock-ish look. If and if you are not familiar with G-Shock, you’d know the look is a very heavy-duty rugged smartwatch. The user interface in this watch is very smooth and easy; it is responsive to the touch.
This watch is best for fitness enthusiasts because of its accurate and robust heart rate sensor and monitor. The sleep monitor gives off pretty decent data in contrast to the SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch Active.
In terms of display, it gives good graphics with the 1.3-inch full AMOLED display. The straps are okay. They are soft and some would wish they’re a little bit firmer. But in contrast to the G-Shock Move Pro, this one feels more comfortable to the touch. Now, this makes this watch comfortable on the wrist. The watch is very sturdy, which is a testament to its durability.
Finally, in terms of battery life, the watch can last up to seven days without charge under normal and average smartwatch use. In comparison, a single charge of the SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch Active will only last two days max before it requires another recharge.
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 comes in two versions: the 40mm and 45mm watches. Aside from the difference in sizes, both watches are virtually the same. The Vivoactive 4 is a decent smartwatch and is marketed for those who maintain an active lifestyle. That is because it is equipped with Pulse oximeters, often called SpO2 sensors that monitor your blood oxygen levels.
It’s quite obvious from the outside that the Vivoactive 4 is not sturdy-looking and gives off a more sleek look. However, its durability is quite commendable. That is because it comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, making it scratch-resistant. Its exterior is made up of stainless steel with fiber polymer reinforcement.
The ceramic bezel around the Huawei Watch GT gives this rugged smartwatch its macho finish. This material in its composition is six times stronger than stainless steel. This is a capable fitness watch equipped with waterproof capabilities, a heart rate monitor, GPS, and training apps for just about any physical pursuits a user enjoys.
All of those are on a perfect view, thanks to the 1.3-inch display, 454px by 454px AMOLED screen, and can last up to two weeks in one single charge. On top of those features, the watch is Bluetooth connection-enabled making display notifications for phone calls, SMS, and alarms for reminders possible.
It is worth mentioning that the Huawei Watch GT classic is not suitable for any water activity because of the leather straps.
We echo what others dub Garmin Fenix 5X as a top-tier rugged smartwatch. It is tough and rugged because of the design that combines functionality and a design that works for an active lifestyle. Its tough and rugged looks come in 42mm, 47mm, and 51mm. What makes this watch so powerful is its GPS, which has the built-in Garmin European Mapping feature.
The forged durable steel case is perfectly crafted to ensure that each version would fit any wrist. No matter the activity, you can expect the Garmin Fenix is shock-proof, thanks to the fiber-reinforced polymer case. On top of that, it has a good water-resistant rating
What makes the Garmin Fenix 5X durable, aside from its exterior, is the interior. It has a battery life that can sustain a 20-hour shift even with the GPS turned on. To add content, it can withstand 12 days just in smartwatch mode.
If stocks on Amazon run out, you can buy directly from Garmin.
The Garmin Fenix 6 design resembles that of a more traditional timepiece. It does look the same as its predecessor, the Garmin Fenix 5X; not with the strong steel case. That leaves the question of whether the Fenix fleet is durable. The answer is plain and simple. Garmin produced the Fenix fleet to be marketed as a durable rugged smartwatch with its steel bezel, solid metal rear cover, and an option of a durable sapphire display.
This design feature gives the Fenix fleet an edge compared to some top-tier smartwatches in the market like the Apple Watch Series 6. The metal bezel and solid rear cover of the Fenix fleet erase doubts on external damages if the watch is dropped. Plus, the Fenix 6 is waterproof by up to 100 meters, whereas the Apple Watch Series 6 is waterproof by just about 50 meters down.
Finally, the Garmin Fenix 6 may not have an edge when it comes to display, but don’t let that discourage you. That only means that it consumes less battery compared to those rugged smartwatches that offer robust displays but have less power on them.
In this smartwatch update for Fitbit Versa, cool new features have been added. That includes new display features, an OLED screen, and a microphone. At a glance, nothing has changed in terms of the overall look of the watch. But a closer inspection would show where and how it differs from the previous Fitbit Versa smartwatch.
The Fitbit Versa 2 now comes with a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and an aluminum casing. These changes in its material composition give the Versa 2 a slick and stylish finish that is uncompromising of its durability and functionality. On top of that, this version of the Fitbit watch is slightly bigger in contrast to its previous version.
This watch is extremely battery-saver efficient, thanks to the OLED screen. Plus, the screen gives more vivid colors on the 1.4-inch display that houses 300x300px resolution.
Qualities to Look for in a Rugged Smartwatch
Rugged smartwatches are in the market because there are some of us who want to have the features of a smartwatch and the nature of a military-grade watch. So, what qualities must you look for if you are considering buying a rugged smartwatch?
The answer to this question is straightforward. A rugged smartwatch must look and feel… rugged. This type of watch veers away from the modern looks that smartwatch manufacturers are leaning towards — sleek, flashy, and are often skinny. Tough smartwatches require the designs and features that will both pass for someone who maintains a professional and active lifestyle. That being said, a rugged and tough smartwatch requires GPS capabilities, heart rate monitors, and long battery life. It should also be able to endure extreme conditions such as water submersion and dust exposure.
Finally, it also pays to check whether the smartwatch is compatible with a smartphone and has a dedicated app.
It is easy for any to take a smartwatch as a want and not a need; an expensive luxury that not everyone can afford. However, more and more manufacturers are now coming up with a smartwatch that has top-tier features but would be sold for a much lesser price. And that is because we can’t veer away from the fact that the future is going to be timed by smartwatches.
The Garmin smartwatches are one of those rugged smartwatches that fall under that category. Of course, there are still other factors to consider such as battery life, which goes between the Fenix 6 and Apple Watch Series 6. At the end of the day, it boils down to two things: your budget and what you need the watch for.