Should I buy a Sapphire Glass smartwatch?

We see a lot of premium smartwatches being offered with display lens made of Sapphire crystal. Should you buy a smartwatch with sapphire glass? What are the inherent advantages and disadvantages of buying a smartwatch with Sapphire glass? Let us review some key points of the sapphire crystal glass for smartwatches.

Advantages of Sapphire Glass for smartwatches

One of the most significant advantages of having sapphire glass on the display lens is that the sapphire glass is almost scratch-proof. People who have been wearing Fenix watches with Sapphire glass for past 4 to 5 years are happy to share the feedback around sapphire crystal glass. Most long term users of Garmin Fenix Sapphire smartwatches are able to confirm that the Sapphire glass does not have any scratches on the watch. Even the rock climbers are happy to share a scratch-less period of long term ownership.

Since Sapphire is the second hardest mineral available, the scratch proof characteristic of a Sapphire smartwatch can be fully appreciated.

Disadvantages of Sapphire Glass smartwatches

There are a few disadvantages of Sapphire glass that you must be aware of. For some people, these disadvantages may not mean much. They should go ahead with Sapphire smartwatch purchases. But, for others, it would be good to at least know what are the pitfalls associated with a smartwatch that has a Sapphire display glass.

Sapphire Glass – Breaks on forceful impacts

Sapphire glass can break easily if ample force is applied to it. The glass, actually, shatters in pieces. A strong forceful impact on the Sapphire display glass may break it. Since Sapphire glass is manufactured by limited glass manufacturing companies, finding a replacement may work. But, the replacement process may not be as cost-friendly as you would expect it to be.

Remember, a Sapphire glass would not crack against normal impact or low force impact. But, a major force application may cause it to break completely. You would seldom see a Sapphire glass with cracks, it just breaks completely. Having said that, a Sapphire glass can handle bangs, smashes and scrapes very comfortably.

Sapphire Glass – Poor Readability

When you look at a Sapphire glass watch’s display, you will find it has a darker tinge or appearance. Sapphire glass has a poor readability experience for the smartwatch users. To see the readability difference between a Sapphire smartwatch and a Corning Gorilla Glass smartwatch, place both smartwatches side by side. You will notice a striking difference in readability. Sapphire glass watches are found to be duller and darker than the normal Gorilla glass smartwatches.

Why do Sapphire glass smartwatches have such poor readability? This can be explained by the higher refractive index of Sapphire crystal. A higher refractive index means that the Sapphire glass will reflect more light. Eventually, higher reflection of light from the smartwatch display lens will impair or affect visibility and readability.

Our advise is to compare a Gorilla glass smartwatch and Sapphire glass smartwatch simultaneously. That should give you a fair idea of what to expect as part of daily user experience with the smartwatch.

Cost

Sapphire crystal glass is more expensive than the mineral glass or the Corning Gorilla Glass 3, Corning Gorilla Glass DX and Corning Gorilla Glass DX+. To put matters in perspective, Garmin Fenix 7 with Corning Gorilla Glass costs $699.99 and the Sapphire solar watches costs upwards of $899.99.

If you intend to get a Sapphire glass watch, you are looking at spending $150-200 over the price of a normal watch. We are assuming that the normal smartwatch comes with mineral glass or the Corning Gorilla series glass of the third generation, Corning Gorilla Glass with DX or DX+ coating.

Who should get a smartwatch with Sapphire glass?

Inspite of a few disadvantages, Sapphire glass smartwatches are suitable for specific users. Sapphire glass smartwatches are suitable for people who are exposed to situations that could cause minor impacts on the watch screen. We feel that the following professionals or workers could enjoy a long term scratch-less period of ownership of a Sapphire smartwatch.

  • Construction workers
  • Field engineers and other Field staff
  • Hauliers
  • Rock climbers
  • Plant and Machinery engineers
  • Heavy industry workers
  • Automotive workshop staff
  • Civil engineers

There are so many professions that could pose higher than usual risks of causing scratches to a smartwatch’s display glass. The list above is indicative of what sort of activities and professions come with higher risks to a smartwatch display glass.

Should I use a screen protector instead?

Some people prefer to use a non-Sapphire smartwatch. To protect the screen, they just use a scratch resistant protection in the form of a sticker. Screen protector for the smartwatch display lens does add a reasonable level of protection for the screen. It still does not make the non-Sapphire glass smartwatch as durable as a Sapphire glass smartwatch.

Summary

Sapphire glass smartwatches are more durable and scratch resistant. The choice between a Sapphire or non-Sapphire display lens for the smartwatch is a personal one. You are spending additional money for better protection against scratches and minor impacts. At the same time, you are compromising on the readability performance on a Sapphire glass smartwatch.

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