The Apple Watch Ultra is without a doubt the most advanced Apple Watch ever created. It’s a simple statement to make given that almost every component has undergone some sort of improvement, and those changes have all been for the better. In point of fact, it’s quite possibly one of the greatest smartwatches now available.
This was the Watch that Apple needed to produce in order to compete in the “luxury fitness watch” market, which was becoming more dominated by Garmin timepieces despite Apple’s claims that development of the Watch had taken place over a period of years. It is the first design update in eight years, and it features a new, more sturdy construction, a better screen, and improved GPS tracking; nevertheless, it is also quite pricey, retailing for $799, £849, and AU$1229 respectively.
The modifications to the design are readily apparent. The Digital Crown has been made larger and more ridged so that it may be used more easily when wearing gloves. The display now spans over two inches across and is significantly brighter, making it much easier to read the additional information that is shown to you.
What Will the Apple Watch Ultra Cost, and When Will It Be Available?
First things first: this is not a budget-friendly Apple Watch in any way, shape, or form. Choose the Apple Watch SE 2 if you are interested in obtaining all of the intelligence that watchOS 9 has to offer, including interval workouts, tracking of medications, and a low-power battery.
But if you’ve determined that your life has to be both really busy and extremely connected, then you should be ready: the price of the Watch Ultra is set at $799, which is equivalent to £849 and $1229 Australian dollars. The good news is that there are no other versions of this model to choose from; all you have to do is pick the band, pay that fee, and you’re done.
It is a titanium-clad, ceramic-shrouded monster of a watch that can be purchased for a few hundred dollars or pounds. There is no expensive Hermes alternative, a stainless steel option, or a ceramic option.
Apple Watch Ultra Bands
The Cupertino firm is making a big deal out of the several bands that you may pick from when you purchase this timepiece. This comes before we get too deep into the design of the most significantly revamped Apple Watch ever. (Note that you are free to use any 44mm or 45mm strap that you already possess or simply like the appearance of, but you will be required to select one of the following when making your order.)
We put the yellow Oceanic Band that comes with the Watch Ultra (which also comes in grey and white) through its paces, and although we liked it, we can’t say that we adore it. Even while it has a design that is reminiscent of Legos and is built to withstand the rigours of ‘high-speed watersports,’ it looks a little bit like Legos. If a leisurely swim in the slow lane of the pool qualifies, then we can safely claim that what you said is accurate.
The Trail Loop features an easy slip-on design with a velcro strap, and it is available in grey with blue, black, or yellow accents. It also features lighter elastane for enhanced comfort. Unfortunately, we were not able to try this one out, despite the fact that it seemed to have an excellent level of comfort throughout our evaluations.
Apple Watch Ultra Design And Display
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s speak about this massive improvement to the design of the Watch, which has been unchanged since 2014. When we first started seeing images of the all-new titanium frame surface online in the months preceding up to the launch, we were concerned about it, but in fact, it’s rather handsome, and we prefer the robust, metallic stylings to the smoother lines of the Apple Watch 8.
The first thing to note is that his watch has a diameter of 49 millimetres, thus the far larger display of nearly two inches sits higher and more prominently on the wrist. If you are accustomed to the smaller Watch or you are upgrading from the Watch 3, the Ultra will feel gigantic and a touch heavy when you first put it on. Despite this, we rapidly adjusted to the increased size and weight, and we believe that the benefits much outweigh the drawbacks.
It used to be that in order to pause a workout, you either had to swipe the screen, which was difficult to do with sweaty or wet hands or press the Side Button and the Digital Crown together, which required a bit of contortion. One of the things that we really like about the Action Button is that it makes pausing a workout a lot simpler.
You can now programme it such that pushing the Action Button will start an exercise (yeah, finally – something that sounds so basic yet took this long…), and if you touch it again with the Side button on the opposite edge of the Watch Ultra, it will pause the session. It’s a straightforward move that gets the job done and has a beautiful flow to it.
You can only set it to open workouts, start a dive, open the torch, start a stopwatch, or use the compass features. You can use it to start a Shortcut (a set of pre-defined actions using apps on your iPhone or Watch), but they’re very limited too when they could be so much richer. We would prefer it if the Action Button was a bit more customizable though.
We put this theory to the test by placing a call while standing next to a road with plenty of passing traffic while the person on the other end of the line was standing next to a loud air conditioner. Even though the Watch Ultra was subjected to such challenging conditions, our voice was still able to be heard clearly and cleanly on the other end of the conversation, and the speaker offered a performance that was excellent enough for us to be able to hear their answers.
Apple explains that this enhancement is necessary for when you are in more challenging environments (the example used in the introduction trailer was of someone getting lost in a snowdrift), but this is without a doubt the finest speech functionality available on any Apple Watch.
The screen, which was a smooth, big, and transparent surface on the wrist, was always extremely easy to view in whatever settings we subjected it to. Whether it was brilliant sunshine or darker periods, it was simple to see what was displayed on the screen.
Apple has utilised this chance to expand the amount of data that may be displayed during Workouts. While it is beneficial to have access to additional metrics, the interface can get somewhat crowded as a result of this expansion. It is nicer when you only have a few important metrics to look at, so trimming it down to just have the things that matter to you will make it even simpler to see things on the Watch Ultra when you are working out. This is because it is nicer when you just have a few essential stats to look at.
The Always On display does not appear to have been modified despite the increase in maximum brightness; nonetheless, it is still viewable from any angle you gaze at it, and this is because the OLED display included within the device is responsible for producing vibrant and contrast-rich visuals.
Apple Watch Ultra’s Health And Fitness Tracking Capabilities
Although Apple’s watch has always been marketed heavily on the basis of its fitness tracking capabilities, such as the ability to monitor activity and record runs, the Watch Ultra takes these capabilities to a whole new level.
There is now improved satellite tracking for more precise run lengths, a bigger battery for longer runs, improved monitoring of transitions between stages of the triathlon, and a depth sensor that can provide you with information while you are diving.
Apple wants you to feel as though this Watch will be sufficient for your active lifestyle, regardless of whether you are a runner, diver, surfer, hiker, or triathlete. The idea is to make the Watch Ultra appealing to individuals who genuinely want their watch to keep up with their active lifestyle.
Apple needs to become a fierce fitness rival in order to compete with the likes of Garmin, which has been improving its smartwatch capabilities to the point that they are brilliant daily companion (something the Apple Watch was always great at). With this in mind, we strapped the Watch Ultra on for a week and took it for a variety of runs to see how it performed in comparison to the dedicated running watches.
Apple has included additional frequency bands (GPS L5, in addition to the L1 that the majority of watches already utilise), which are designed to improve the signal’s ability to be picked up in regions with a high population density. In addition to this, Apple is utilising machine learning, data connections (on the phone or from your cellular connection), and the length of your stride in order to make better ‘guesses’ as to where you are. The goal of this is to prevent it from appearing as though you are running through a building or across a lake because the GPS connection has dropped.
We put the Garmin Fenix 7X Solar, which has many bands of satellite navigation and should be able to follow us just as effectively, up against the Watch Ultra. (Garmin states that this model is also capable of picking up the L1 and L5 frequencies, but we were unable to locate the setting in the menu that enables multi-band mode, so it appears that it is not on this model).
After a run that covered around four and a half miles and took place in one of the most densely populated capital cities in the world, the Apple Watch Ultra and the Fenix began to pull apart from one another, with the Garmin prompting fresh lap alerts earlier than the new Ultra.
Watch Ultra For All Your Other Fitness Needs.
Let’s not get too caught up in running, though; the Watch Ultra is capable of a wide variety of other tasks, many of which are the same as those that can be accomplished by using any Apple Watch.
But because the Ultra has a longer battery life, you’ll find that you have to work a little bit harder to close your fitness rings. These rings track the number of calories burned, the minutes spent exercising, and the number of hours per day spent standing. You can accomplish this goal through a variety of different types of workouts.
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing some Yoga with Apple Fitness+, dancing with your family for a little bit too long, or cycling hard to the station when you’re late for work; all of these activities can be added in (and in the case of outdoor walking or cycling, the Watch Ultra will notice when you’ve been doing these and alert you to start tracking).
In spite of this, the fitness environment of the Apple Watch has not been updated in any way, so the only change you’ll notice is that it will take you slightly longer to reach your targets before it will require another charge.
Swimming is one skill that hasn’t gotten any better and really should. While testing the diving functionality below (which basically consisted of holding one’s breath underwater and sinking to the bottom of the pool), we re-tested to see if the swim tracking was any better on the Watch. In earlier models, we weren’t impressed with the swim tracking, so this was an important comparison.
Apple has made a significant amount of noise over the new dive sensor that is included in the Watch Ultra. You will be able to determine how deep you are going, for how long, as well as the temperature of the water, with the help of the new equipment.
A useful quality, wouldn’t you say? To some extent, yes. In a manner comparable to that of the running community, a sizeable portion of divers have shown an interest in wearing a diving computer that is highly integrated and comprehensive and that can monitor gas mix, provide depth warnings, and notify the diver to impend compression.
At the moment, all that Apple can offer is a feature that, when activated by going underwater, will just inform the user of how deep they went and for how long they were submerged. It works extremely well in terms of informing you how deep you’re going (in the confined 1.75-meter pool we played about in for a time), but that’s about all it does.
There is no difference in the feature set between the Apple Watch 8 and the Apple Watch Ultra; the only difference is that the Ultra has a battery that lasts somewhat longer.
That means that the same features that we appreciated about the Watch 8 are present and right on the Watch Series 4, including monitoring ambient circumstances for excessive or increasing noise and reminding you to safeguard your ear health. This is a terrific incentive to invest in the Apple ecosystem.
Even while most individuals won’t ever need to utilise the electrocardiogram (ECG) or the blood oxygen monitor, just having them there is comforting. The fact that wearing this watch could save your life is a nice bonus, even if Apple is going to talk up the lives saved by having these monitors active, spotting atrial fibrillation or low blood oxygen. However, it is obvious that Apple is going to talk up the lives saved by having these monitors active.
Apple Watch Ultra Safety Features
- The siren is really loud and will attract people’s attention.
- Backtrack is somewhat restricted in scope.
- The detection of car crashes is desirable.
One feature of running watches that the majority of manufacturers will highlight prominently in their GPS watches is the retrace option. With this feature, you will be able to follow the path that you went on a miniature map, which will prevent you from feeling lost throughout your run.
Surprisingly, despite the fact that Apple has its own Map software, it does not do the same function. Instead, it utilises a little compass radar to ensure that you are heading in the proper way.
When you are out jogging, it may be incredibly difficult to try to remember if that field has an exit or if you are supposed to sprint around it. If you are lost in a city, this is OK since you will normally be able to stroll around buildings or find another way if you come to a dead end.
You will mostly be required to drop a flag or let the watch know you wish to start Backtrack in order for it to operate properly. Setting up the Backtrack functionality also takes some configuration on your part. There are several flags that are intended to be dropped automatically, but when we tried, we did not see them being deleted.
Apple Watch Ultra Battery
- The life of the battery has to be extended to at least 48 hours, which should be easily feasible with several exercises.
- The setting that uses less power is helpful.
Now, let’s talk about the one major problem that Apple is still trying to solve, which is also an area that, in our opinion, has room for further development: the Watch Ultra’s battery life.
The battery life of Apple Watches has historically been satisfactory, but they do require a charge at least once a day in order to make the wearer feel secure. This is especially true if the watch is being used during frequent workouts. They will stay charged for between one and two days before needing to be recharged, which is an average amount of time.
The battery life of the Apple Watch Ultra is significantly longer than that of the Apple Watch 8. It goes from 18 hours on the Watch 8 to 30 hours on the Ultra, and the difference is noticeable.
This means that you’ll easily be able to do a couple of more strenuous or longer exercises before needing to go for the charger, which is going to seem like an eternity for anyone who uses their Watch on a daily basis.
However, the Watch Ultra now faces competition from the likes of Garmin, Polar, and Suunto, which can go for weeks in smartwatch mode and track for hours and hours before giving up the ghost. The Watch Ultra, on the other hand, is not even close to being on par with these other watches.