Apple Watch Ultra Review: Worth It Or Nah?

so on saturday morning i woke up with the apple watch ultra charged up to 100 battery drove to practice i had ultimate frisbee practice out in new york a lot of people don’t realize how many calories you burned during a three-hour practice but there you go finished that drove home and then went about the rest of my day i ended that day going to sleep with about 69 battery nice then slept with the watch on for sleep tracking then woke up on sunday morning with 60 drove into new york city again had another practice this

one a little hotter sun’s baking a little more three more hours and 2 000 calories later that was over drove home went about the rest of my day again and then again i slept with the watch on for sleep tracking woke up on monday morning drove to the studio now it’s monday morning 11am at the studio and i currently have 20 battery lift it’s pretty good that’s two days and two nights and into the third day which is far better than i’ve ever been able to get out of any other apple watch period but let’s

rewind for a second so we knew something like this was coming we knew there was going to be an upgraded ruggedized apple watch in some way and i think a lot

of people sort of assumed it would be called the apple watch pro but instead we got this thing and it’s called the apple watch ultra the thing is though it would have actually been totally reasonable and probably kind of perfect if they’d also call this the watch pro and that’s just because of the way apple treats the word pro nowadays like apples toss the name

pro around the highest end versions of almost all of their products iphone pro macbook pro airpods pro ipad pro pro display and each of these expensive devices has some set of features that a smaller fraction of the population can actually take advantage of and use now whether that makes you a pro or a hardcore user or an enthusiast or a wannabe pro like what is a pro airpods user anyway that’s a debate for another day but it’s the same thing with this apple watch ultra i’ve been using it for about a week now and the

way i think about it is there’s a core group of people for which the apple watch se actually covers all their needs and that’s like most of the population but then there’s an additional group a little bigger than that for which the standard apple watch which is now series 8 covers all of their possible uses so you know it adds the always-on display the different sizes etc it’s already a really versatile smartwatch but there’s still some people around the outskirts for whom the regular apple watch still wasn’t enough and apple naturally still wants those people

so this is an 800 watch that has some extra premium features and specs that are amazing and definitely overkill for most people like the ones in the middle of my illustration but it’s attractive for the most extreme users the adventurers who go on serious hikes or go diving or run marathons or do triathlons so there’s really three main things that they added to this watch over the regular one which are ruggedness features and battery and they all kind of go hand in hand for ruggedness well it’s pretty obvious they just beefed this thing up so

it’s now much bigger 49 millimeters diagonally but it has the shapes and materials now of a watch that should be much harder to break it’s a titanium case with a ceramic back it has much bigger buttons that don’t have quite as much travel as i expected but they are easier to press with gloves there’s the bigger crown and then the crown guard on the side here it’s a very distinct look and then the display at the top here is a flat sapphire crystal instead of the normal curving over the edges with this slightly raised lip

all the way around the screen so it’s protected from corner impacts to me it’s pretty huge like this is a pretty massive watch i will say it is not nearly as heavy as it looks which is pretty nice uh but it does visually stand out for a couple of reasons one this is the only color so this is the exposed titanium it looks very silver i wish it came in black because black is slimming like you can make a black watch look smaller with a black band but that would admittedly require black paint which would

probably get like scratched and then the silver would show through and then it would look pretty gnarly after a while so i get it maybe they could anodize it i don’t know but yeah big silver watch on skinny wrist looks big but then also two this shape see like this is a big watch to me someone who wears pretty much only smart watches right and smart watches are kind of weird shapes sometimes like it’s a computer on the wrist type of a look it’s sort of just a block but in the overall watch world the

apple watch ultra is actually nowhere near the biggest watch you’ll see like some people are very used to much larger watches on their wrists actually and especially those people on the outskirts i was talking about earlier they’re fairly used to wearing some of these massive garmins or suuntos or even specialized activity specific equipment like dive computers that’ll make the apple watch ultra look compact so the whole like this watch is huge thing is very much up to context but the thing is like a lot of these watches here are bigger than the apple watch but

they are watch shaped they’re circular up front and then they have this taper around the wrist at the top and the bottom so they don’t look like they stick out nearly as much even though they do where the apple watch just doesn’t taper at all it’s just like a block so yeah the computer on the wrist thing i don’t know i actually don’t mind the aesthetic like i said i just wish it came in black that would have been nice i wonder if colorware is going to be able to paint these things anyway that’s the

build quality but the other two things that make the ultra ultra are battery and capability battery being pretty simple it’s a much bigger watch and it has room for more battery inside but we’ll get to that in a second but the capabilities just come in the form of extra features so the extra microphone and extra speakers for better audio quality in windy environments the dual frequency gps for more accurate and reliable gps and tougher settings like forests or in cities between skyscrapers the wr-100 water resistance rating for submersion up to a hundred meters the new

2000 nits max brightness for this display which means it’s the most visible outdoors that i’ve seen a smartwatch oled plus it makes for a nice flashlight if you need it and most importantly the new extra button so that bright international orange colored button is called the action button and it can be mapped to right now any one of these eight things so i currently have mine to just open the new workout selector i pick the type of workout and then hit the action button again to get it started and then once you’re in an activity

there’s again a layer of customization to what this action button can do so maybe marking segments or laps inside a track workout or marking when you switch from the bike to the run in a triathlon all kinds of stuff like that i really like having it i did feel like i accidentally pressed it a lot just because of the way i grabbed the watch and adjust the crown but i pretty quickly got used to that too i think the most noticeable thing that this apple watch has over other apple watches is gonna be the battery

life so this like i said from the beginning two full days and two full nights with plenty of room to spare that’s easily better than it’s roughly double what i was able to get out of my apple watch series 7. the thing is while it is a massive improvement for an apple watch it’s still nowhere near the other highest end watches which many of them are expected to go weeks months even years without even thinking about charging this one right here this casio watch it’s a casio right casio pro trek uh which has solar charging

has never been charged it is virtually infinite battery life it didn’t even come with a charger in this watch world a two-day battery life is not that impressive but really that that brings me to the ultimate question with this ultra which is how are you going to be using this watch like if you’re one of these people on the outside here that doesn’t use an apple watch apple was trying to find a reason you didn’t use it and add the features or capabilities to make you actually want to use it now because of course they

want to bring you into the ecosystem so some of these people over here like these are frequent scuba divers and they’ve been using dedicated dive computers ranging from giant watch to tablet on the wrist to track depth and directions and a bunch of other safety metrics underwater now the apple watch ultra has added that wr-100 water resistance up to 100 meters there’s a new dive app to track some pretty basic stuff like depth and give you times for safety stops on your way back up for recreational diving things like that but then apple also partnered

with a third-party company for this oceanic plus app that’s coming later this year that seems to do basically everything that the pro dive computers do including air integration pretty much the only thing it doesn’t do that some extreme technical divers might want is tank pressure monitoring and depth monitoring past 40 meters now some of these people way over here these people are really adventurous hikers like not the normal beaten path casuals finding popular hikes on google i mean these people are going off and carving their own path for miles and miles in the middle of

nowhere sometimes for days at a time so the watch ultra has got now a bunch of navigation related features there’s dual frequency gps for more accurate pinpointed gps even in challenging locations but then the new compass app is pretty impressive it lets you set unlimited waypoints so that you can navigate back to them at any time and you can track your exact walking path with a backtrack feature in case visibility is difficult or you need the watch to guide you back where you came from there’s also a super loud 86 decibel siren that can play

from the new speaker system if you find yourself completely lost with no one around and yes it is actually impressively loud and you can hear it from probably a quarter mile away and there’s a new wayfinder watch face by default that sort of puts all the stuff right at your fingertips including a live compass that’s super smooth i think a lot of people just leave this face on all the time even if they don’t need it but then some of the other people up over here are ultra endurance athletes and of course the name sort

of speaks for itself here honestly the apple watch just didn’t last long enough for these people’s iron man races and ultra marathons and spartan races so the new watch ultras got the dual frequency gps which is huge and the action button is nice too but the significantly improved battery life is huge for these now it’s not going to last a week or a year like some of the stop watches or simpler ones do but now it’s just about double the battery life of the standard apple watch and it’s finally up to the task of some

of the most extreme gps heavy endurance athletes and even if it isn’t apple has mentioned that there’s this battery optimization setting feature coming later this year that it’s not the low power mode that’s already existed in the watch but it’s an extra setting within workouts to ping gps and heart rate less often so in a normal workout for me which is it’s a disc sports workout for an ultimate practice basically it’s just it’s measuring heart rate constantly like every few seconds which is super helpful you can see how quickly you recover you can see when

you’re in certain heart rate zones during the course of a practice but if you’re running like a hundred miles or something ridiculous you don’t need multiple pings every minute you just need a broader sense of how it’s going so that’s a helpful feature for these people and when you turn that on it should essentially triple the life of the apple watch apple says up to 60 hours i don’t have it yet because it doesn’t exist so i can’t tell you exactly how well it does but that’s a useful feature they even have a trio of

new 99 bands for this watch for these activities so there’s a trail band which looks kind of sick then the alpine loop and the ocean band as a reviewer i want to like i want to test all these activities and like go okay i guess i gotta run an ultra marathon now and like scuba dive but i can’t remember the last time i was 10 meters underwater let alone 40. so i can’t test all of this stuff but actually reached out and heard directly from these people on my podcast the waveform podcast i’ll link the

episode specifically below the like button so you can listen to it but i had on a diver an ultra runner and an alpinist so we asked them about the risk computers they currently use and whether or not they think this apple watch ultra is good enough to replace them and through those conversations one by one they each came to the end with basically the same conclusion which is that yeah it looks like they kind of did everything that they were looking for out of an apple watch i’ll link it below so you can hear exactly

what they said and then there’s me so you know i’m a tech reviewer and an ultimate frisbee player so turns out the normal apple watch is actually enough for me like i said a normal ultimate workout or any sort of training we do is typically just a ton of heart rate readings there’s not a bunch of gps pings or elevation tracking or anything like that so it’s not super demanding but still on the ultra i’d get to reap the benefits of the battery only running down 20 during a practice instead of 40 and then the

more accurate gps readings and the brighter screen are kind of nice to have on other activities maybe the occasional bike ride or a hike or stuff like that and it might be better for you too it’s one of those things where i think generally if you have to ask you probably don’t need it but it really reminds me of the rog phone like that thing is complete complete overkill for almost every human on the planet with all its crazy gaming features and absurdly high-end specs but also all those features for gaming also happen to make

it better for media and regular use and it’s basically the same thing here like this is technically speaking the best apple watch they’ve ever made it’s got the longest battery life the biggest brightest display the best microphones and speakers and it’s all in this most accurate tracking package yet i mean if your wrists are big enough then yeah you can daily this too it’s kind of put itself in this unique category where it’s replacing some of these extreme like dive computers or gps watches that you’d normally take off when you’re done with your workout uh

but it’s an apple watch through and through at the end of the day you can wear this thing every single day i just don’t know if you can like dress this thing down as much as you could a regular apple watch like fun fact i wore the apple watch series seven in midnight with my tux at the met gala and it didn’t look insane to me anyway uh get a nice you know watch band with it like the leather one at it all works out great but yeah this one just because it’s so it

just sticks out it’s massive all the time you can’t really hide it as much might have a little more trouble with that but hey if you know what you’re getting into the rog phone is a pretty good phone and if you know what you’re getting into the apple watch ultra is a pretty good apple watch so that’s been it thanks for watching catch you guys the next one peace

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