The Apple Watch Ultra is making waves in the consumer smartwatch industry as a rugged, stronger version of the Apple Watch designed to withstand extreme outdoor conditions — but there’s another use for the premium product. It’s not quite at the level of the top-end offerings from Garmin and other companies, but it’s certainly the best Apple Watch model for athletes. The Apple Watch Ultra meets multiple standards for ruggedness, with its rugged crown guard, titanium case and sapphire crystal glass on the front.
The price and availability of the Apple Watch Ultra firmly confirms it as a device that not many people can buy. There is only one model of the Watch Ultra and unlike other Apple Watch models, there is no room for customization in screen size, case color or connectivity. The only options available are in the watch bands. Each Apple Watch Ultra is made from the same silver titanium finish and comes with cellular connectivity. All models of the Apple Watch Ultra are the same price at $799, making it more expensive than the standard versions of the Apple Watch. It’s clear that Apple thinks this product is for a specific type of person: the serious athlete or adventurer.
But after spending hands-on time with the Apple Watch Ultra, it becomes clear that there is another use for the device, one that doesn’t require you to be a triathlete or marathoner. The same features that make the smartwatch a great tool for athletes and outdoor adventurers also make it a fantastic smartwatch – the best Apple Watch the company has to offer. It’s the first Apple Watch that actually feels like an iPhone on the wrist, and for some users, that’s a good thing. It’s certainly not for everyone, but the Apple Watch Ultra could be the powerful, multi-function smartwatch people have been waiting for.
Large screen and long battery life
While the Apple Watch Ultra has the same S8 chip as the Apple Watch Series 8, it feels significantly more functional thanks to the larger 49mm screen. It’s the largest screen ever shipped on an Apple Watch, making it much easier to navigate. Due to the way the screen is shaped, it doesn’t exactly show more text on the screen than the Series 8, but the user experience is still better overall.
The Apple Watch keyboard feels really usable for the first time, making it easy to take notes, send texts, or look up a location in Maps without constant typos. One notable design flaw with the Apple Watch keyboard is that the delete key sits directly below the “Send” button, but larger digital keys reduce the need to delete text in the first place. With a cellular connection, all of these features can be accessed without having to stay within range of a paired iPhone.
These features have been staples of the Apple Watch for quite some time, but the short battery life of standard models made this kind of use a challenge. The Apple Watch has offered 18 hours of battery life for years, but this is greatly reduced when cellular connectivity is used. However, the Apple Watch Ultra has a battery life of 36 hours and a Low Power mode that can extend use up to 60 hours. Critics of the Apple Watch Ultra point out that it is an extremely large smartwatch, which is true. But it’s also a very small iPhone, and that’s a point that needs to be emphasized, given the functionality on offer. Apple Watch Ultra is being marketed as a new option for athletes, but it is also the best choice for users looking for the equivalent of an iPhone on the wrist.
Next: Apple Watch Ultra Vs. Apple Watch Series 8: Which Is Right For You?