Apple Watch Ultra Review


The Apple Watch Ultra stands out with its 49mm display, which is larger to improve readability and interaction. This is helpful for quickly checking important data during intense activities. The watch has a durable titanium case that is lightweight despite the bigger size. It also has advanced water resistance up to 330 feet and is built to handle various extreme conditions, making it reliable for outdoor adventures.

Special features for athletes include an improved dual-frequency GPS system. This offers better accuracy than standard models, which is important in remote or difficult terrain. The Ultra-exclusive Wayfinder watch face is designed to make navigation easier, with a full-featured compass and key environmental data like elevation and weather at a glance.

Fact Check

Claim: Apple Watch Ultra is designed for outdoor activities

Description: The claim that the Apple Watch Ultra is designed for outdoor activities is examined. Some of the featured benefits include an advanced GPS system, an action button for rapid access to functions, and a rugged structure. The GPS can keep precise location even with potential signal obstruction. In low-power mode, it can have an improved battery life, lasting up to 60 hours.

Rating: True

Rating Explanation: Based on the evidence provided in an extensive review of the Apple Watch Ultra’s features that highlighted its suitability for outdoor activities, the claim is true.

The watch excels at fitness tracking and health monitoring, with a larger array of sensors that more precisely record workouts and health data. The increased size allows for better skin contact and more detailed metrics that serious athletes will appreciate.

Battery life is also significantly better, lasting up to 36 hours on one charge with normal use, and up to 60 hours in low-power mode. This longer battery life is crucial during extended periods away from charging, like on multi-day hikes or endurance events.

The action button, in bright orange, is a new addition. It can be customized for fast access to often-used functions, which is valuable when time is critical or conditions make typical touch interactions difficult. This button can be set to quickly mark waypoints or trigger emergency features like the loud siren to call for help in emergencies.

The Apple Watch Ultra is designed to meet the unique needs of outdoor enthusiasts and athletes looking for a dependable, feature-rich tool that goes beyond standard smartwatch functionality.


The Apple Watch Ultra has a 49mm display that provides ample viewing space and a resolution that ensures sharp, vibrant visuals. This is important when viewing maps or data in bright outdoor light. The always-on display reaches an impressive 2000 nits of brightness, ensuring easy readability even in direct sunlight.

In terms of battery life, the device can last up to 36 hours on a full charge. Using the low-power mode, this can extend to around 60 hours – a key feature for long adventures with limited charging access. This endurance is top-tier among smartwatches, ideal for extended trips or emergencies where power is crucial.

The Apple Watch Ultra is built to withstand tough use. It has EN13319 certification, making it suitable for recreational diving. It maintains water resistance up to 330 feet and has an IP6X dust resistance rating, meaning it's fully protected against particle ingress.

The GPS capabilities are equally noteworthy, using dual-frequency L1 and L5 signals for enhanced accuracy and reliability. This means that even in environments with potential signal obstruction, like cities or forests, positioning remains precise. This is a critical feature for adventurers who depend on exact navigation for safety.

These specifications highlight a device crafted not just for daily wear, but specifically designed for those who venture into extreme environments. Users can rely on the Apple Watch Ultra to deliver the functionality and dependability needed in intense circumstances.

Features and Performance

The Apple Watch Ultra packs many features geared towards active, outdoor-focused users. The action button, in bright orange, is a key example. Beyond looks, it provides quick access to important functions that are essential in urgent or challenging situations. You can set it up for fast access to the siren or to mark waypoints with minimal effort, even when wearing gloves or in wet conditions.

The advanced GPS system in the Ultra is a standout. The dual-band system uses both L1 and L5 signals, providing more reliable and accurate positioning in cities and remote areas. Tests show it maintains a solid lock on the user's location, avoiding common distortions seen in less advanced devices.

The Wayfinder watch face transforms the Ultra into a full navigation aid, clearly displaying elevation, upcoming weather, and direction. The bright 2000-nit display ensures all key data is easily visible, even under harsh sunlight.

In terms of performance, the Ultra excels in battery life. It can handle intensive use, lasting up to 60 hours in low-power mode. This extended battery is crucial when far from power sources. The responsiveness of watchOS is also notable, with fast app launching and intuitive navigation. Accessing core features like GPS or the compass is seamless, reflecting the device's robust internal hardware optimized for outdoor use.

These combined features make the Apple Watch Ultra a worthwhile investment for adventurers, athletes, and anyone looking to boost their resilience in tough conditions. Time will tell how it holds up, but it seems well-equipped to serve users on their excursions.

Design and Build Quality

The Apple Watch Ultra has a unique design that embraces the challenges of outdoor activities, with a bold and rugged exterior that departs from the standard Apple Watch look. The large 49mm display is housed in a strong titanium case, which adds durability while keeping the weight down for comfort.

The Ultra's robust design is clearly built for the outdoors. Every detail is crafted with functionality in mind. The flat sapphire crystal protecting the display offers serious impact resistance, encouraging users to push limits without fear of damage.

In terms of build quality, the Ultra aims for reliability. Whether climbing mountains or white water rafting, Apple's focus on durability is evident. Each part is optimized for resistance, as seen in the IP6X dust resistance and 330-foot water resistance ratings. The Ultra is ready to handle dirt, sand, and extended submersion.

Apple has ensured the Ultra is practical in varied environments. The digital crown and action button are cased and designed for easy use, even with gloves on. This shows consideration for real-world usability in different conditions.

The Ultra's design balances rugged utility with advanced tech, demonstrating Apple's entry into a market where the watch is a key tool for survival. While the Ultra's size and ruggedness differ from Apple's typical sleek style, it represents a model made to handle the outdoors – combining high-end features with tough construction for every adventurous step.

Comparison with Similar Products

When compared to the Garmin Fenix series, the Apple Watch Ultra offers a unique combination of style and outdoor capabilities. Both are geared towards adventure enthusiasts and athletes, but they differ in key features that may sway users based on specific needs.

Apple Watch Ultra Garmin Fenix
Battery Life Up to 60 hours (low-power mode) Up to 2 weeks
Navigation Dual-frequency GPS, Wayfinder face Detailed granular options
Interface Touchscreen, digital crown, action button Primarily tactile buttons
Ecosystem Integration Seamless with iPhone Limited, focused on fitness/outdoor features

Battery life is a notable difference. The Ultra, while much improved with up to 60 hours in low-power mode, still falls short of the Fenix's two-week endurance on one charge. This could be significant for off-grid adventurers who want to avoid mid-trip charging.

In fitness tracking, the Ultra's precision tracking with dual-frequency GPS is impressive for a mainstream smartwatch. However, the Fenix provides more in-depth analytics, measuring detailed biometrics and offering tailored recovery advice for serious athletes.

The Ultra benefits from Apple's ecosystem, with smooth iPhone integration for notifications, apps, and connectivity. But for those who prefer physical buttons in harsh environments, the Fenix's tactile controls may be preferred.

Navigation features could be a deciding factor. Apple focuses on simplicity and practicality, while Garmin offers detailed granularity suited for dedicated outdoor use.

The Ultra does have unique perks, like the action button for quick access to features, or the siren for added safety. This creativity and peace of mind could appeal to solo adventurers in remote areas.

Ultimately, choosing between the Ultra and the Fenix depends on aligning lifestyle needs with each watch's strengths. The Ultra delivers style, connectivity, and a user-friendly OS, while the Fenix thrives in extended adventures with robust data tracking. Both are impressive options for different user priorities.

Final Verdict

The Apple Watch Ultra, priced at $799, packs a robust set of features that distinguish it in the smartwatch market. With advanced GPS, a bright display, extended battery life, and dedicated buttons, it marks Apple's entry into a segment tailored for serious outdoor enthusiasts and athletes.

However, the Ultra's niche focus means it won't appeal to everyone. Its bulky design may not suit those who prefer a sleeker look or have smaller wrists, leading them to consider alternatives like the Apple Watch Series 8 or Garmin models. And while the Ultra's upgrades are significant, they don't entirely close the gap with specialized sports watches in areas like battery life.

Yet, the enhancements do justify the higher price for certain users. The increased battery life and customizable buttons reduce inconveniences for those frequently engaging in rigorous outdoor activities. The familiar Apple interface and smooth iPhone integration are also appealing for existing Apple users.

For average users with routine needs, the Ultra's price may be hard to justify when cheaper models suffice. But for dedicated adventurers ready to utilize every rugged feature and the advanced GPS, the cost reflects a commitment to a reliable tool for intense environments.

Considering its upgraded usability and bold design, the Apple Watch Ultra represents a premium device ready for broader adventures and exploration. It positions itself as a high-performance option, offering practical safety features and readiness for unstable conditions. It's a fitting choice for climbers, hikers, and endurance athletes.

In summary, the Apple Watch Ultra showcases how a higher price can signify added value for specific users. While not essential for casual users, it presents a feature-rich and dependable choice for those needing a smartwatch prepared for demanding settings and pursuits.

Apple Watch Ultra
  1. Apple Inc. Apple Watch Ultra.
  2. Garmin Ltd. Fenix 7 Series.
  3. Spence A. Apple Watch Ultra review. TechRadar. October 4, 2022.