Apple Watch Ultra Review: “Priceless”

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The Apple Watch Ultra is an extremely niche smartwatch. Therefore, knowing exactly its market proposal is a necessity when buying it, as there are less robust alternatives from the manufacturer itself.

After all, a smartwatch developed for those who practice professional diving is not something so common to see. On the other hand, it is an accessory that stimulates interest in this activity and can even help in other more adventurous or basic situations.

This is due to the fact that it maintains the latest features implemented by the Cupertino giant in its watches. But is it worth buying the Apple Watch Ultra? Does it make sense to pay more for the smart watch focused on extreme adventurers? Check out my opinion in the review.

Design and Construction

The robustness of the Apple Watch Ultra is clear in the product’s design. It is larger than the Apple Watch Series 8, as it is 49mm, and that size is unique unlike the “cheaper” version of the device.

However, the difference in use is due to the size of the bracelet, as the manufacturer offers 3 different sizes of the accessory, identified by “P”, “M” and “L”. So anyone, regardless of wrist width, can use the smartwatch.

Watch Ultra’s body is all titanium and the sapphire screen to give even more resistance to impact. In addition, this construction allows the equipment to withstand the extremes faced in moments of adventure, whether high or sub-zero temperatures, as well as the seabed.

On the left is the siren that emits a sound of 86 decibels with a volume audible up to 180 meters away, the GPS antenna, two speakers and the new hybrid button that allows activating customizable functions.

On the right, there is the button that allows access to apps open in the background, three built-in microphones, the depth sensor and the crown that also has a button to help navigate between menus.

To ensure the integrity of the product in different situations of extreme use, Apple brings the following certifications to the Watch Ultra:

  • WR100: water resistance up to 100 meters deep;
  • IP6X: dust resistance;
  • MIL-STD 810H: drop resistance;
  • EN13319: professional diving certification up to 40 meters.

Screen

As previously reported, the Apple Watch Ultra screen material is sapphire. With this, the watch becomes more resistant in case of falls and scratches in different environments. Another important feature of this display is the brightness of 2,000 nits, as this amount represents twice the brightness of the Series 8.

The device’s panel is OLED and this guarantees the best visibility of the contents in different shades of color. In addition, the smartwatch has the Always on Display mode – screen always on – which removes almost all colors from the watch and leaves only a neon red tone to facilitate the use of the compass in completely pitch black environments.

The screen is also larger, as it is 1.92 inches that help to improve the visualization of data. This is due to the fact that there is more space for the distribution of information to be wide, especially the training metrics, which are small in other versions of the product.

Configuration and Performance

According to Apple, the processor present in the Watch Ultra is the S8 SiP, which has two cores focused on improving the performance and autonomy of the device. Therefore, there are no differences in the speed of the more robust version compared to the compact model also launched in 2022.

In general, there is nothing to complain about using this device, as it is very competent in activating all functions, and fast in navigability. Along with this speed the equipment has 32 GB of storage.

Usability

Like the Watch Series 8, the Ultra is also updated with the watchOS 9 system. At the time of publication of this review, the upgrade to 9.1 had not yet arrived, but the interface already allows the control of several features that were welcome on the day to day.

Fortunately, Apple has invested in making its latest features complete. And that’s the case with sleep monitoring, which brings more detailed information about the stages reached while you sleep: REM, essential sleep (light) and deep sleep.

The fall sensor, apparently, is able to distinguish falls from simulations, as, in an attempt to activate it, the device did not emit any kind of reaction. However, the great novelty of this generation is the possibility of measuring the temperature.

Although this function has a universal use, it is more focused on the female audience. This is due to the fact that women menstruate and go through several hormonal changes during this period. Thus, it is common that there are periods of the month and temperatures that influence the time of fertilization.

Physical monitoring

The Apple Watch Ultra is the most complete watch in the line, and this allows for greater delivery of sports-focused features. The presence of the option that allows monitoring in a recreational dive, for example, is very useful.

For those who have the courage and ability to practice this activity, the Apple wearable is the best option. After all, the built-in sensors facilitate use in situations that demand more from the product.

In addition to being able to be submerged up to 40 meters deep in the sea, the Watch Ultra can be exposed to temperatures below  0°C and up to 140 °C without any damage. This seems over the top, but it’s important to be present in it to fit the type of use that the more hardcore audience makes.

Obviously, it must be made clear that the presence of these more advanced traces does not nullify the most basic use, on the contrary, it is a complementary benefit. Therefore, it is possible to have accurate and detailed data of the dozens of monitored activities present in it, such as running, dancing, pilates, etc.

The Apple Watch Ultra has extreme physical activity tracking modes 

Connectivity

The Watch Ultra’s biggest advantage over the brand’s other watches is the fact that it only has one connection alternative. With this, the user has the option of taking home only the version with GPS + Cellular.

The connection between the watch and the iPhone is done using WiFi or Bluetooth, but the product is identified instantly by the cell phone. When turning on the smartwatch, a pop-up screen automatically shows that the product wants to be synchronized with the smartphone.

After confirming the connection, just follow the instructions for the product to be correctly activated and paired with the iPhone. With this, the Watch app is installed to allow the control of some functions of the watch, since it works very well independently of the cell phone.

Battery and charging

One of the great highlights of the Apple Watch Ultra is, without a doubt, its battery life. It is known that most smartwatches take an average of a day and a half to complete their charge, but this is not the case with the model from the Cupertino giant.

Considering that I kept all the monitoring features active and the Always on Display mode in use, this accessory’s battery surprised me positively. The daily spend was 23%, and this allowed for 4 days of continuous use before zeroing out.

The smart watch has a fast recharge for its capacity, as it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the charge. This estimate was achieved using a Baseus 20W wall outlet charging cradle .

Direct competitors

Even without being a direct competitor due to its limitations, the Apple Watch Series 8 is the closest option in terms of functionality and experience to the Watch Ultra. This is due to the fact that the products are 100% compatible with the Apple platform.

Like the Ultra, the Series 8 also has the new sensors for temperature, vehicle accident and sleep monitoring. However, there are smaller capsule size options — 40 mm and 44 mm — that fit better on the wrist.

On the other hand, those looking for more adventurous moments will be limited by this more compact version not having the same Ultra certifications. However, the savings in paying $950 instead of $1.800 for specific activities may make sense.

With more time on the market and similar features, the Garmin Descent MK2i is a smart watch that brings features focused on extreme adventures. It is also an attractive alternative for divers.

Its body has a robustness equivalent to the Watch Ultra, but with a different function because it is compatible with Android devices. Another point that differentiates it from Apple’s smartwatch is the possibility of diving up to 100 meters deep.

However, it should be noted that the price of the Garmin Descent MK2i is over $1.700 via import. Considering that the product can be taxed by the customs, this value would exceed $2.300.

Is the Apple Watch Ultra really wothy?

The Apple Watch Ultra isn’t a smartwatch for everyone. Be it for the price — close to $2.000 — or for the robustness in size and amount of built-in resources, since not everyone will make full use of the device.

Therefore, those who want to have the best can buy the Ultra without fear. However, those who need an updated version and prefer to save money can opt for the Apple Watch Series 8, as the latest general purpose features are also available on it, adding to a lighter and more minimalist design.