Apple Watch Ultra is unlike any Apple Watch you’ve seen before. But it might be like some of the best sports watches you might have heard of, with a collection of design and features built for tough activities. Think: hiking, running, climbing and diving.
As Apple’s largest and most durable smartwatch to date, the $799 (AU$1,299) Apple Watch Ultra promises the ultimate companionship for any kind of adventure. In addition to a particularly durable design, the Apple Watch Ultra offers an additional action button, a more substantial digital crown, a security siren and a special selection of watch straps. Part of the experience is supported by a redesigned compass app, which is also available for Apple Watch 8.
So make no mistake, the Apple Watch Ultra is still an Apple watch. It runs watchOS 9, has all sorts of health tracking, and can be used to communicate. But if you want to know how the Apple Watch 8 and Apple Watch Ultra compare, this Apple Watch Ultra goes over the key differences.
Apple Watch Ultra price and availability
The Apple Watch Ultra costs $799 (AU$1,299). It is a singular model, equipped with cellular support. In other words, cellular connectivity isn’t optional like it is with the Apple Watch 8, which starts at $399 (AU$649) for the GPS-only version.
As for availability, the Apple Watch Ultra can be pre-ordered now ahead of its September 23 release. You probably won’t find any Apple Watch deals on this new smartwatch, but if you know how to trade in your Apple Watch, you might be able to get credit on an older device and transfer it to the Apple Watch Ultra.
Apple Watch Ultra Getting Started: Design
The Apple Watch Ultra design is something we’ve never seen from Apple before – sorry if I’m being repetitive, but it really does feel like an imaginative render comes to life. The size of the device is obviously striking, with a 49 millimeter titanium case. It felt substantial on my wrist during a brief demo, eclipsing the 45-millimeter Apple Watch Series 7 I’ve been using for a year.
I don’t know if I would be able to feel comfortable with something that big strapped to my wrist at all times. I struggled with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro for this reason. Still, the size is a definite plus for seeing mid-workout metrics, in addition to making room for the battery. More on that below.
The Apple Watch Ultra’s sapphire crystal display is flat and flush with the edge of the chassis, another significant change. The screen is supposed to be twice as bright as any Apple Watch screen before, which I couldn’t rate on the spot, but it will be interesting to see in direct sunlight.
The Digital Crown is expanded and features deeper groves, merged with the side button into a protruding ledge on the right side of the device. This makes the buttons easier to use when wearing gloves.
On the left side of the Apple Watch Ultra is an additional action button, which can be programmed as a quick launch for an assigned goal. Above the new button is a visible speaker grill, which serves two purposes: 1) it improves the sound quality of phone calls, even in windy conditions and 2) it blasts an emergency siren from 86 decibels, allowing your alert to be heard up to 180 meters away. a way. The siren would give me some peace of mind, and not just in remote places.
The final thing to note with the Apple Watch Ultra design are the special watch bands. Unlike the best Apple Watch straps, the Ultra offers a choice of three straps to suit your favorite outdoor activity.
The Alpine Loop has a G-hook that fits into the reinforced top loops. The Ocean Band has a tubular geometry and is designed to fit over a wet suit while remaining secure during high speed water sports. The Trail Loop, meanwhile, is the thinnest Apple Watch strap yet, promising increased elasticity and a handy tab for making quick adjustments without taking the watch off.
Apple Watch Ultra Getting Started: Features
The Apple Watch Ultra’s great features should definitely be tested in the situations they’re intended for, not in an air-conditioned demo area, but I’ll walk through them regardless.
First, looking at the revamped compass app, the Apple Watch Ultra becomes a more capable navigation accessory. It allows you to save specific waypoints or markers when you are at a place you want to report. There is also a rewind function which helps you to retrace your steps, for example, if you are lost.
The Apple Watch Ultra’s GPS is supercharged with the latest L5 frequency, which should result in the most accurate GPS system of any Apple Watch. The Apple Watch’s standard GPS has always been good, but not as accurate as many of the best Garmin watches that serve a similar audience to the Apple Watch Ultra.
In addition to all the watchOS 9 features available on watchOS 9 supported devices, the Apple Watch Ultra features an exclusive Wayfinder watch face that consolidates all outdoor sports-adjacent complications into a single face. When I turned the crown, a red spy-like interface optimized the display for nighttime conditions.
One last thing I had no way of testing (and probably never will, truth be told) are the Apple Watch Ultra dive features. The watch has a new depth app that can automatically measure your dive while swimming, and you can go twice as deep in the water as you can with the standard Apple Watch (rating=WR100).
Apple is working with Huish Outdoors to turn the Apple Watch Ultra into a wrist-based dive computer. This is an extremely specialized area that Apple can dive into (sorry), but I’m interested to see how it goes. Are there any divers who want to work with me on trivia for a full review?
Apple Watch Ultra Convenience: Battery Life
The Apple Watch’s 18-hour battery life is something I’ve lamented for a long time even though I’ve gotten used to it. So, the Apple Watch Ultra’s rated 36-hour battery life seems pretty spectacular. Apparently the Apple Watch Ultra can last up to 60 hours, taking advantage of a new low power Apple Watch mode coming to Apple Watch Series 4 and newer, including the new Apple Watch SE (2022 ).
Low Power Mode turns off battery-draining features like Always-On Display and Auto Work Tracking, extending the Apple Watch’s endurance until you can access a charger.
I should note that even at 60 hours, the Apple Watch Ultra’s battery life pales in comparison to the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s promised 80 hours and the week’s (or more) battery life of the Garmin watches. For example, the Garmin Fenix 7 lasts 38 days with normal use.
Apple Watch Ultra Convenient: Outlook
The Apple Watch Ultra shakes up what I know about the Apple Watch, and I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. For one, the big screen, added button, security siren, and battery life are things I’d probably shell out $799 for. On the other hand, the watch has several features that only those who call themselves adventurers will be able to benefit from.
I’ve been known to indulge in outdoor sports to test devices like the Apple Watch Ultra. Hopefully I can put this watch to the test where it’s supposed to be taken and see if it’s a successful step for Apple into a new market.
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