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What is MIL-STD-810H? Explaining the testing standard used for the Apple Watch Ultra

If you’re after a rugged piece of tech, you may have come across the military standard ‘MIL-STD-810H’. But what is it and what does it mean for your devices? 

Read on for everything you need to know about MIL-STD-810H, including what it is, what tests it requires and what devices meet the military-level durability standard. 

What is MIL-STD-810H? 

MIL-STD-810 is a US military standard that ensures equipment can withstand the specific conditions and environmental stresses it may face throughout its lifetime. This is done by replicating the effects those environments will have on the product. 

Though MIL-STD-810 was originally developed in the 1950s for testing military equipment, the standard has since expanded to cover consumer tech in order to demonstrate the durability of devices like rugged phones and smartwatches. 

MIL-STD-810H is the most recently revised version of the standard, replacing MIL-STD-810G. MIL-STD-810H was published in 2019. 

What are the MIL-STD-810H tests? 

The tests required to determine if a product meets MIL-STD-810H standards include how the device holds up in high and low temperatures: rain, wind, humidity, fungus, rust, sand and dust, explosive atmospheres, shock, gunfire vibration and more – basically any environmental factor or condition it could potentially face when used by the US military. 

However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean the product is indestructible.

It’s also worth noting that in order to use the MIL-STD-810H label on consumer devices, companies don’t technically need to be verified by any one agency. That means you’re better off reading into what specific tests a brand has undertaken when testing that device than taking these durability claims at face value. 

What devices are MIL-STD-810H certified? 

These days, a good number of smartphones, smartwatches and laptops claim to fit MIL-STD-810H standards. 

These include the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro smartwatch, the Galaxy XCover 6 Pro smartphone and the HP ZBook Create G7 laptop, to name a few products we’ve reviewed.

The most recent addition to the list of MIL-STD-810H-certified products is the Apple Watch Ultra. This is the company’s first rugged smartwatch designed for adventurers and divers, meaning durability is a must.

According to Apple, the Ultra has been tested against subsections for altitude, high temperature, low temperature, temperature shock, immersion, freeze/thaw, shock, and vibration to receive this label.

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