Apple Watch Ultra Review Summary: A Really Curious Beast

The Apple Watch Ultra goes on sale this week, and a flood of reviews hit the internet, rating the company’s most expensive smartwatch. This comes after the company’s release of the iPhone 14, 14 Pro, 14 Pro Max, and Apple Watch Series 8.

While awaiting our review in the coming weeks, we have surveyed our peers in the tech, lifestyle and sports media to get an idea of ​​the consensus that has formed around this watch.

A heavy business


The most important thing about the Apple Watch Ultra (aside from its price) is that it’s big. It’s the largest Apple Watch with a large 49mm headroom, and the results on its size are mixed. Of course, how well you can wear the watch depends on how big your wrists are. There is also universal agreement that this is not a flimsy watch.

“When I took the Ultra out of the box for the first time, I thought it would be too big and heavy for my wrist. But it’s deceptively light to wear, thanks to its titanium construction. Even with the smaller watch band that best fits my wrist size, I am able to achieve a snug, comfortable fit throughout the day, ”says CNET’s Lexy Savvides.

Full Apple Watch Ultra review: It’s bigger, bolder, and better

“If you are used to the smaller Watch, or are updating the Watch 3, the Ultra will feel gigantic and a bit heavy to begin with. However, we got used to this extra size and weight so quickly, and it’s worth it, ”wrote TechRadar’s Gareth Beavis.

“For people with extremely small wrists (under 130mm of turn), the Ultra may not be physically possible and even some people with larger wrists don’t want a huge watch and horn, “writes Victoria Song of The Verge.

Best battery in an Apple Watch so far

Someone who wears the Apple Watch Ultra while climbing.

The Apple Watch is not Fitbit or Garmin. It has typically been limited to around a day of battery life, but the Watch Ultra surpasses that. Apple says it’s rated for up to 36 hours of use (meaning you can use it all day and then some), with a low-power mode in the WatchOS 9 to push it further. Reviewers found that the Apple Watch Ultra met these expectations, but still paled in comparison to the “correct” hiking watches.

“Battery life, while increased to 30 hours (and we got a lot more during testing), is still woefully short compared to the best Garmin and Coros have to offer – those watches can last for days in standby mode, where Apple’s push for functionality comes at a high cost to battery life. If Apple had managed to alter the display technology in some way to have a truly low-power mode when not in use, and had managed to make it last the Watch Ultra battery up to about a week, this would likely be a five-star device, even for the high cost. At present, the battery problem may not be insurmountable, but it is disruptive: you will still have to find a “dance of recharges “every day that allows you to use all the health and fitness monitoring features of your Watch Ultra without being cut at a key moment. Beavis from TechRa dar explained.

Apple Watch Ultra Review: Is It Worth It or Not?

“While many of the Ultra’s features are impressive, the battery estimate of 36 hours (and 60 at low power), a huge step forward for an Apple Watch, is still low. Many peer devices have significantly longer battery estimates – Garmin’s official social media channel apparently trolled Apple when the Ultra’s specs were announced, tweeting that its devices measure battery life in “months, not hours” and battery life is among the most important features for outdoor devices, ”Brett William’s wrote for men’s lifestyle magazine Men’s Health.

“The Ultra will handle a weekend trip, but it won’t survive a Garmin or Polar if you want to do a week-long backpacking trip. Of course, there is no need to justify the desire for better battery life. It is simply something to consider when deciding which watch to take, “wrote The Verge’s Song.

Apple has done a lot better with the Watch Ultra than the Series 8, sure, but it definitely still has room to grow in the battery department.

More suction than sweat?

A person who uses the Apple Watch Ultra while diving.

So while the $ 799 Apple Watch Ultra is billed as a smartwatch for fitness and hiking enthusiasts, which most tech bloggers can’t truly test. DCRainmaker’s Ray Maker has a really in-depth review of the Apple Watch Ultra that I’m reluctant to break but did the hard work of taking it to the Alps to put it through its paces for an ultra-style adventure.

“While I took the Apple Watch Ultra on this grand 14-hour adventure in the Alps yesterday, it didn’t really do much good. That means he wasn’t the one who guided me to the finish line, got me on three-hour climbs, or helped me find my way through the pitch-black darkness. My Garmin Epix watch was. The Apple Watch (mostly) diligently recorded that trip, but didn’t provide much useful information. Apple needs to find a way to make the Ultra the key to successfully complete these kinds of adventures, and the main path to achieving it is a solid navigational component, “wrote Maker.

In-depth Apple Watch Ultra Review: The Right Tool?

It also identified the Apple Watch’s touch orientation as a flaw, despite the Ultra’s action button. “Too many scenarios on the watch still require tactile input, which is often impossible in rain, snow, cold weather and more. I should never have a situation on the Ultra where my run / hike / adventure is interrupted simply due to a wet jacket briefly touching the display for a second. It should be a button and a confirmation via another button, ”says Maker.

Nicole Nguyen of the Wall Street Journal also took the Ultra to the mountains, testing its performance on battery and its outdoor prowess. “Not a Garmin killer. In addition to navigation, Garmin watches support other important features for serious athletes that the Apple Watch lacks, such as recovery metrics and the ability to transmit heart rate to training equipment via Bluetooth, “Nguyen wrote. adding, “I think it’s great for the active athletes, but not the most extreme. Sure, it’s nice for a long walk, but it can also unlock your Mac. “

The Apple Watch Ultra is a possible game changer

A person's wrist showing the Apple Watch Ultra and its compass mode.

Apple is known for changing the game, even if it’s somehow losing that power. The high-resolution cameras and always-on displays introduced in the iPhone 14 Pro are something Android phone owners would be pretty blasé about. The difference, then, is that the company often pushes the boundaries of what we can expect from a product and how much we can pay for it. Apple has opened the barn door for ultra-premium extreme smartwatches that compete with normal watches also in terms of prices and more or less wise features. Expect Samsung, Huawei, and Oppo to start working on $ 799 smartwatches as well. And now that we can expect the watches to be larger, you should also expect the watches to be larger in size.

The Apple Watch Ultra isn’t a perfect product – one of its killer apps is a compass. It might be appropriate, as it will ultimately tell us where the market is going.

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