Apple has brought out a seriously rugged smartwatch called the Apple Watch Ultra, which boasts up to 60 hours of battery life, with its new low power mode. Could this be the perfect Apple Watch for explorers, adventurers or even the every day Apple Watch user?
The Apple Watch Ultra is a cellular smartwatch that comes in one colour – titanium. It reminds me of Apple’s starlight colour, which presents as a colour that’s between silver and gold.
Titanium is also the material the watch is made out of so that the Ultra is lightweight, rugged and resistant to corrosion. And depending on the watch band you choose, the Ultra can have a totally different look.
There are three all new watch bands made for the Ultra – the alpine loop, trail loop, and ocean band and they’re all unique and made for different scenarios.
For example, the ocean band is made of a high performance elastomer, which is great for stretching over a wetsuit and is also secure for high performance water sports.
These three bands (that are available in multiple colours) are probably the best bands to choose for this watch, however, I can confirm that ”regular” 45mm watch bands also fit the Apple Watch Ultra.
Taking a look at the new Apple Watch Ultra, it’s very much a beefed up version of a regular Apple Watch.
It’s the largest Apple watch face we’ve seen at 49mm, as opposed to the largest regular Apple Watch which has a display size of 45mm.
The sapphire crystal watch face is now completely flat and flush with its titanium casing; there’s no longer a curved display that meets the metal edges. And the new display is the brightest ever in an Apple Watch at 2000 nits, twice as bright compared to any other Apple Watch.
This is one of my favourite new features of the watch. The display is so unbelievably clear, and easy to read, even in harsh sunlight.
On the left side there’s a refined dual-frequency GPS antenna, that provides more accurate location data for calculating distance, pace, and route maps. There are dual speakers so that audio playback such as Siri and phone calls are louder and easier to hear.
There’s a new large, orange coloured ‘Action Button’ which is a customisable button that allows you to instantly start a pre-programmed workout, mark a compass waypoint or you can even press and hold it to activate the new Siren feature.
It’s a built-in 86 decibel siren that can be heard up to 180 metres away, which is helpful if you’re lost and are hoping to attract attention. I can confirm it is an impressive feature.
There’s also a new depth gauge which provides real time measurements of underwater depths up to 40 metres, making it like a dive computer, and it also includes water temperature readings.
Additionally, on the right side there’s a new three-mic array. Through my tests I found that these have seriously improved the microphone’s audio quality, providing clearer audio quality, especially in windy environments.
Apple has also raised the side button slightly, and enlarged the digital crown dial and given it coarser grooves to make it easier to use, which is helpful if you have gloves on.
So, the entire watch has been through a complete overhaul. And it’s become a swiss army knife on your wrist, with the addition of smart features such as crash detection (which will intelligently alert emergency services if you’re in a car crash), GPS waypoints, and fall detection.
Personally, I’m not a big adventurer myself, I’ve never done a triathlon and I’m not an athlete but I love having all of these insane features on my wrist. I feel like Inspector Gadget.
I will say though, this watch is a lot chunkier than the regular Apple Watch. And even as someone who enjoys wearing the larger 45mm Apple Watch, it felt a little big for everyday wear.
In saying that, it’s only around 10g heavier than the Apple Watch I currently wear, so it’s only a visible difference, and you can barely notice a difference in weight.
I haven’t been able to test the Ultra’s low power battery mode, which boasts 60 hours of battery life, as it’s coming soon to the Apple Watch Ultra as an update.
For now, I’ve been able to use the watch for almost two days straight, whereas the regular watch only lasts around a day.
However, the Apple Watch Ultra with general use, boasts up to 36 hours of battery life, and it has been delightful to not have to charge it as frequently.
This also means it can finally track a full triathlon, which was apparently a pain point for athletes and amateur athletes previously.
Is it worth it?
With the Apple Watch Ultra, Apple has now created a watch that suits a whole new range of people.
Endurance athletes, people that partake in water sports, divers, and a range of other unique activities. And although the battery life isn’t going to beat all of the competition when it comes to activity tracking smartwatches, the improved battery life is now enough to last a full triathlon with GPS turned on.
The price tag of the Ultra makes more sense for people who are heading out on adventures regularly, and for those that plan to push this watch to its limits.
However, if you’re a diehard Apple Watch fan and you value having the best of all battery life, you wear gloves at your work, you need the most durable and waterproof smart watch, with the brightest display, and you like larger watches, this is absolutely the Apple Watch for you.
The Apple Watch Ultra retails for $1299.
Elly Awesome is an Aussie tech and lifestyle vlogger | @ellyawesometech | YouTube