The Apple Watch Ultra is Apple’s first real stab at the Adventure Watch. It features a durable design, a massive 49mm display, a movement button, and a host of outdoor sporting features to make the watch feel at home on the wrist of a runner, hiker or ironman. With a battery life of up to 60 hours, it also has endurance – something it’s missing in Best Apple Watch In the previous few years.
However, at $799 / £849 / AU$1,299, it’s also the most expensive Apple Watch on the market, and on the most expensive end of things when compared to some best running hours Around. In essence, it is still a file Apple Watch Series 8 Runs on watchOS 9, has all kinds of health tracking and can be used to communicate. But if you want to know how the Apple Watch 8 compares against the Apple Watch Ultra, our Apple Watch Ultra review in progress goes beyond the main differences.
Apple Watch Ultra review: Price and release date
The Apple Watch Ultra costs $799 / £849 / AU$1,299. It is a unique model with cellular support. In other words, cellular connectivity isn’t optional as with the Apple Watch 8, which starts at $399 (AU$649) for the GPS-only version.
The Apple Watch Ultra was released on September 23, and it’s available from Apple and third-party retailers like Amazon. You probably won’t find any Apple Watch deals on this new smartwatch, but if you know how to trade an Apple Watch, you might be able to get a credit on an old device and put it in the Apple Watch Ultra.
Apple Watch Ultra review in progress: Design and display
Turns out, good things don’t just come in small packages. The first thing you’ll notice about the Apple Watch Ultra is its size – it’s huge on the wrist, and it measures 49mm. It is much larger than 41mm and 45mm displays Apple Watch Series 8Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your personal preferences. I found the Ultra to be bulky on my wrist – the lugs were only narrower than my wrist itself, but it didn’t feel heavy, and I quickly got used to it. (Then again, I also like to wear chunky watches, like the Garmin Fenix 7.) If you have particularly skinny wrists, I’ll try before buying.
The screen brightness is 2,000 nits, which is twice as bright as the screen on the Apple Watch Series 8. It looks beautiful and is easy to read, even in direct sunlight. Additionally, in workout modes, the larger screen allows for seven data fields, instead of six.
Apple also made the Ultra more durable and better able to handle the bumps and drops that come with outdoor sports. The frame is made of titanium, with a lip around the screen to add more protection. The screen is made of sapphire glass, and the watch features an increased water resistance of up to 100 metres.
The Digital Crown is larger and has deeper groves, blending in with the side button in a raised edge on the right side of the device. This should make the buttons easier to use while wearing gloves. On the left side of the Apple Watch Ultra is an additional action button that can be programmed as a quick release for a specific purpose.
Above the new button is a visible speaker grille, which serves two purposes: 1) improves the sound quality of phone calls, even in windy conditions and 2) triggers an emergency siren of 86 decibels, allowing the beep to be heard up to 180 meters away. I haven’t been to a location remote enough to test this yet, but I will over the next few days. In principle, it is a great feature, and it should be deployed in all Apple Watches.
During testing, I liked the action button just as much as I thought. I programmed the action button to take me directly to the workout function on my Apple Watch. If I wanted, the button could take me directly to my outdoor runs, but since I often use my Apple Watch to track my dog’s walk, swim, and bike ride, I chose to go through the full list of exercise modes. I also used the button while running to pause the activity – I found pressing the action button and side button while running much easier than swiping on the screen, or trying to tap both the edge and the side button at the same time.
The Ultra is available in three different bands to suit the activity of your choice – the Trail Loop is the thinnest Apple Watch band yet, and it’s designed for endurance athletes and runners. The Alpine Loop belt features two built-in layers and a G-hook, designed for explorers, and an Ocean Loop, you guessed it, designed for watersports and diving.
During initial testing, I used the Alpine Loop and found it comfortable and quick to dry, but hard to adjust. I’m also in the second smallest episode, and I don’t have particularly skinny wrists. As a runner, I’m sure the Trail Loop will be more to my taste, so I’ll report back as soon as I get the chance to test.
Apple Watch Ultra review in progress: Features
Like the Apple Watch Series 8, the Apple Watch Ultra has a skin temperature sensor and fault detection, but there are a host of other features designed to make the watch more adventurous-friendly.
Let’s start with the revamped Compass app, which makes the Apple Watch Ultra a more capable navigation accessory. Allows you to save specific coordinates or markers when you are somewhere you want to flag. There is also a backtracking feature that helps you track your steps, for example, if you get lost.
Apple has added dual-frequency GPS to the watch, integrating L1 and L5 algorithms. Apple says this allows the Ultra to “deliver the most accurate GPS of any Apple Watch to date,” according to the company.
The Ultra also has smart features like Precision Start, which allows you to bypass a 3… 2… 1 countdown sequence when an activity is started, and wait until you know the watch has found a GPS signal. During testing, I liked this feature—it’s nothing new in the world of the best Garmin watches, but it does make the Ultra a more reliable watch that you can wear on your wrist on race day.
Along with all of the watchOS 9 features coming to watchOS 9-supported devices, the Apple Watch Ultra has an exclusive Wayfinder watch face that packs all the external complexities associated with sports into one face. The face can be fully customized, and when you rotate the crown, the face turns red, for better visibility in the dark.
There is also a new diving app called Depth, which I haven’t had a chance to test yet. The watch has a new depth app that can automatically measure your diving while you’re swimming, and you can go twice as deep in the water as you can with a standard Apple Watch (rating = WR100). Apple is working with Huish Outdoors to turn the Apple Watch Ultra into a diving computer on the wrist. stature, but wonderful.
Apple Watch Ultra review in progress: Battery life
With everything turned on, the Ultra has a battery life of up to 12 hours. In Apple’s new Low Power mode, the Ultra still has the same GPS and heart rate capabilities, and a battery life of 15/16 hours. In a new update coming to the watch this fall, this will be extended to 60 hours, as the setting will have an option to reduce the GPS frequency and heart rate readings.
While that’s great for an Apple Watch, it’s still shorter than a lot of other running watches on the market. For example, the Fenix 7 can last up to 89 hours (or 122 hours with solar) in GPS mode.
During the test, I went for a 10-mile run with the watch charged at 100%, and ran for a total of 85 minutes, without turning on the low-power mode. I finished the race with 91%, which made Apple’s prediction correct. I will continue to test the battery life over the coming days.
Apple Watch Ultra review in progress: Early judgment
The Apple Watch Ultra is, without a doubt, the best Apple Watch for anyone doing serious training because of the action button, Precision Start feature, and better battery life. It’s the most exciting Apple Watch in years, but it still misses some features that the likes of Garmin and Polar have mastered. There is no data to retrieve, for example, and at the time of writing there is no option to load offline maps on the watch.
If you’re buying an Apple Watch to check your text messages, and for a one-on-one workout at the gym, I’d argue you’d better save your money and invest in an Apple Watch Series 8, apart from Precision Start, diving app, Way Finder interface, all WatchOS Workout features The new and improved 9 are the same. Stay tuned for my full review.