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Apple Watch Ultra through a Tough Mudder: Here’s how it held up

Zednet put the Watch Ultra through the worst endurance testing because Apple claims it is their most durable and capable smartwatch to date. Here’s how it fared after 15,000 meters, 10,000 volts, and 30 obstacles.

The new Watch Ultra, according to Apple, is its most durable and functional smartwatch to date. Naturally, they were intrigued by the company’s entry into the specialized but crucial market and purchased.

However, the purpose of this evaluation is not to determine whether the Apple Watch Ultra can withstand an usual jog in the park. Instead, According to them, “Why not subject it to the ultimate durability test?” for a watch that is so rich in durability and fitness features.

An icy lake filled with terrifying “Electric Eels” and mountains of mud-packed barricades are just two of the brutal trials you must overcome during the annual Tough Mudder 15K event. You must also jump, climb, swim, duck, and dive through a series of other vicious obstacles. For an Ultra wristwatch, it’s an ultra-level marathon.

After everything was said and done, I still struggle to climb stairs, and wounds and bruises all over my body throb relentlessly. You should keep reading to learn how the Apple Watch has fared.

Apple Watch Ultra Specification

Display 49mm 410×502 LTPO OLED sapphire glass touchscreen
MaterialsTitanium casing and three band options
DurabilityIP6X dust resistance and 100 meters of water resistance
ConnectivityLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, ANT+, muilti-band and dual frequency GNSS
SensorsOptical HR, barometer, compass, altimeter, Pulse Ox, skin and water temperature, depth gauge
BatteryUp to 36 hours
Dimensions49 x 44 x 14.4mm, 61.3g
Environmental Features100% recycled tungsten in the Taptic Engine, 100% recycled rare earth elements in all magnets, Arsenic-free display glass, Mercury-, BFR-, PVC-, and beryllium-free, 100% recycled tin in the SiP, Energy efficient, Responsible packaging
Bluetooth 5.3

Apple Watch Ultra Design

The Apple Watch Ultra sports a ceramic rear plate and a titanium case with a flat sapphire crystal glass display. That will result in a tough and reliable smartwatch. The digital crown, which protrudes from the right side of the watch, is now bigger than before. It is a brand-new feature of the Apple Watch that is also crucial to the tactile feel and feedback of the buttons.

An additional Action button on the left can be customized to do the desired action. They were able to use the watch without taking off their gloves while running the Tough Mudder. When colder temperatures, rainy conditions, and other environmental elements are present, this level of access and control is crucial.

Two new speakers that were integrated into the watch’s frame kept me informed of mile splits throughout the 15K. (Fortunately, I never had to put the siren feature to the test.) However, after a few severe falls while leaping over deep mud pits, I did get a warning, but I was always able to dismiss it and let the Apple Watch know that I was fine.

It was actually fantastic to watch this function in action, even if I never intended to. I’ve never had the fall detection go off before, but these jumps as well as landings were pretty hard.

During the 15K, They followed set schedule. The Apple Watch’s display was first locked due to the intensity of activity and wrist movement. According to his words, When I did need to use it, I would push the Digital Crown to unlock the display and drain any water from the watch. Occasionally, I would mistap and unintentionally end an exercise, but I would put that down to the Apple Watch only being a few days old at the time.

The MIL-STD 810H-certified Apple Watch Ultra has a 100-meter water resistant rating and IP6X dust resistance. During the 15K, I tested the first two durability characteristics, but I only submerged about five feet. Nevertheless, the feedback I’ve read from other journalists about their experiences wearing the wearable while scuba diving has been largely good.

Apple Watch Ultra vs. Tough Mudder 15K

The 30 challenges of the Tough Mudder 15K go by such names as Ladder to Hell, Electric Eel, Lumberjacked, and Mud Mile. Muddy ditches, dark culverts, cold water, 10,000 volts of electricity, team exercises, and many other challenges are among these challenges. In essence, it puts a lot of strain on the body.

Let’s examine some of the settings and circumstances that the Apple Watch Ultra encountered:

Trail running

Despite being marketed as a 15K, my final mileage was approximately 8.5 miles on the COROS Vertix 2 and Apple Watch Ultra that I wore (or 13.68K). The GPS tracking was excellent for both watches despite the run taking place in both grassland and densely forested regions. Precision Start is a new function on the Apple Watch Ultra that ought to be more prevalent on other versions. Before beginning any countdowns, you may use this straightforward tool to make sure that a GPS fix has been applied to your run.

A wall climber

While climbing over walls, the White Ocean band was flexible and comfortable enough to prevent any binding or pain. Even better, there were no signs of damage from rubbing against rocks or other sharp edges.


I encountered various barriers that required me to crawl on my hands and knees through dirt, water, and rocks. One was a room filled with a menthol vapour so potent it made my eyes water. I was certain that the Apple Watch Ultra would be scratched all over by the pebbles and mud, yet all that was visible on the display and sides were a few very light dings in the front corner.

Water submersion

There were numerous water-filled obstructions, some of which contained ice-cold water, yet the Apple Watch Ultra’s self-cleaning technology performed flawlessly. The speakers sounded, vibrated, and shaken out any water that leaked into the wearable with a press-and-hold on the Digital Crown.

When I dove in, visibility was minimal to nonexistent because the majority of the water events in the race were dyed. As a result, I was unable to test (or observe) any of the Apple Watch Ultra’s water depth functions. In one obstacle, my GoPro actually flew off my head, and I had to dive for more than 30 seconds while keeping my eyes closed to get it back. Thank goodness the GoPro and Apple Watch Ultra were still working.

swinging in the air

I expected that when grabbing and swinging on various kinds of monkey bars, similar to when climbing a wall, the watch would have an impact on my wrist. Usually, if your hands are tilted when wearing a rugged-style watch, the thicker hardware can pierce your skin. Despite the fact that I slipped several times while navigating the difficulties, my grip and strength were more to blame than the watch.

Electric shock

I wasn’t looking forward to crawling in the water while 10,000 volts of hanging cables shocked me, and the charges surely rocked me. Thankfully, the shock therapy didn’t seem to have any impact on the Apple Watch Ultra, which continued to monitor my heart rate even while it was spiking in both directions. Perhaps Apple is keeping us in the dark about a shock-resistance component?

Heart rate monitoring

Throughout the event, the Apple Watch Ultra monitored my heart rate and, in comparison to the COROS Vertix 2, averaged 3-5 bpm greater. The Apple Watch was obviously trustworthy enough to follow my progress during the 15K and should hold up well in less stressful situations, although I did not have a chest monitor to compare the measurements with.

Ocean band

The white Ocean band was caked in mud by the time I finished the 15K (see before and after below), and I had to use a probe to remove it all from the band’s holes. Even so, the band performed considerably better in general than I had expected, and after using it for this occasion and wearing it about, I would order this style once more, even if I wasn’t diving.

GPS sports watches versus the Apple Watch Ultra

With the Ultra, Apple is obviously vying for the rugged sports watch market, but I don’t believe it’s quite there yet. GPS sports watches are just as durable as the Apple Watch Ultra for less money, last for weeks instead of days, offer a wealth of metrics accessible to track while working out, have offline mapping so you can use them for route navigation.

The absence of web-based or desktop access to the Apple Watch data is another area where I think the Apple Watch Ultra falls short when compared to GPS sports watches made for athletes. Although you can export the data into a third-party app, Garmin, Polar, and COROS all have good websites where you can explore the data in depth, make and sync training programs, and build reports to help you train and improve in your activity—from practically any device.

Pros And Cons of Apple Watch Ultra

49mm large and good displayCostly at $799
Built to lastFor smaller wrists, too big
Additional buttons, and two speakersLack of offline mapping
Fantastic battery lifeLimited athlete metrics
Tracking cell service integrated 


Apple Watch ultra is really rugged sports watch. The Ultra is certainly Apple’s attempt to get into the rugged sports watch market, but I don’t think it’s quite there yet. GPS sports watches are just as durable as the Apple Watch Ultra for less money, last for weeks instead of days, contain a tonne of metrics you can track while working out, come with offline maps so you can use them for route guiding.

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