Inspired by “the most extreme activities” such as hiking and diving, the Apple Watch Ultra features a rugged design with a 49mm titanium case, a larger display with a flat sapphire crystal cover, new straps designed for outdoor use, 100 meters water resistant, customizable bright orange Action button, up to 60 hours of battery life with an oncoming low power setting and more.
We’ve summarized both the written and video reviews of the Apple Watch Ultra below.
BorderlandVictoria Song shared her general impressions:
The Apple Watch Ultra is large, chunky, and makes heavy use of features that the average gentleman won’t need in his daily life. And for $ 799, it’s the most expensive watch in the current Apple Watch lineup (excluding the Hermès edition). After a week of testing, I don’t think the Garmin, Polar, or Coros watches are okay for Ironman, hikers, or deep-sea divers, at least not yet. But it’s really good for weekend warriors and intermediate athletes – and very tempting for people who aspire to that status and many people who just want the biggest, worst Apple Watch they can get.
Song said that during the week of testing, the Apple Watch Ultra “regularly passed” the device’s advertised 36-hour battery life in standard mode:
– I charged the Ultra to 100 percent last weekend. Then I hiked for two hours and 15 minutes, used my compass and GPS extensively, and tracked my sleep that night. Woke up the next morning with a 50 percent battery.
– The next day I went for a 30-minute run with GPS and another 20-minute rowing training. I also took a short phone call on my watch and ended the day with an 84 percent battery.
– Nilay, our editor in chief, managed to work out 56 hours on a single charge and still has 14 percent left. He was mostly at home, so he didn’t use cellular data or GPS. Still, it should give you an idea of what you’ll get if you need a few days of rest or aren’t interested in the Ultra’s fitness features.
CNETLexy Savvides on prices compared to Series 8 and Garmin smartwatches:
Considering the $ 749 45mm stainless steel Apple Watch Series 8 costs almost the same, I think the Ultra is the better overall value considering the additional hardware features like the action button (which I loved), the siren alarm and additional microphones to improve call quality.
It is also cost-competitive with other sports watches that share a similar titanium design and OLED screens, such as the Garmin Epix 2 for $ 999. The Apple Watch Ultra battery doesn’t last as long, and doesn’t have as many navigation features as the Epix 2. But it’s easier to use, has heart features like an electrocardiogram (EKG or EKG) app, cellular connectivity, and seamless iPhone integration.
If you’re someone who wants a true hybrid smartwatch and sports watch, the Ultra is the one to beat.
Savvides noted the inability of Apple Watch Ultra to download offline maps:
This is something the Ultra also lacks compared to other sports and outdoor watches – the ability to download offline maps to the watch when I’m away from cellular signal or topographic maps options without downloading a third-party app.
Wall Street JournalNicole Nguyen said the Apple Watch Ultra is “exciting” but “there is no Garmin killer” as it lacks features like recovery indicators:
So should you get the Ultra? This is an exciting update for current Apple Watch users who need more – especially longer battery life. But that’s not Garmin’s killer. In addition to navigation, Garmin watches support other important features for serious athletes that are lacking in the Apple Watch, such as recovery indicators and the ability to send your heart rate to training equipment via Bluetooth.
CNBCSofia Pitt said the larger Apple Watch Ultra speaker is noticeable:
Aside from the bigger battery, I really appreciate the larger speaker on the Ultra. The watch has two speakers working together, which Apple says makes the Ultra 40% louder than the 8 series.
I often use my watch to answer phone calls, especially while cooking. I heard a difference when using the Ultra compared to my 7 Series. While this feature is meant to be really louder in extreme conditions for the outdoor type, I appreciate it with regular use as well.
TechRadarGareth Beavis appreciates the new “Action” button on the Apple Watch Ultra, but wishes it could be further customized:
One thing we really like is the action button, which makes it much easier to pause your workout – before you swipe the screen (heavily with sweaty or wet hands) or press the side button and the digital crown at the same time … which can be a bit of a skew.
Now you can code it to get the action button to start training (yes, finally – something that seems so obvious but took so long …) then pressing it with the side button on the opposite edge of the Watch Ultra will stop. It is a simple, effective and beautiful natural move.
We would have liked the action button a bit more customizable: it can only be set to open workouts, start dive, open [flashlight]start the stopwatch or use the compass feature – you can use it to run a shortcut (a set of predefined actions with an app on your iPhone or watch), but they’re also very limited as they can be so much richer.
Journal for menMichael Frank said the brighter display of the Apple Watch Ultra with brightness up to 2,000 nits makes it easier to read the information:
This larger, heavily lit screen can display six lines of data instead of five lines when using the Apple Workout app. But the real key here is readability. Whichever app or watch face you’re using, the intensive display is much easier to read on the fly, whether you’re viewing incoming text or trying to analyze your time on 5K.
Men’s healthBrett Williams on wearing the Apple Watch Ultra:
There are times when I wear the standard Apple Watch and wish it had more energy. Actually, I prefer that feeling – I’m back to slipping on a classic analog watch made of the highest quality materials, designed to only perform a few tasks (at most) and do them well. At the same time, the Ultra doesn’t feel too heavy; when I was lifting weights or running with it, it didn’t feel like I was struggling with additional resistance. That said, I can see how the Ultra can be difficult for people with smaller wrists to wear.