The Apple Watch Ultra will be launched this Friday worldwide. With the biggest upgrade to the range since the original 2015 release, there’s a lot to be said for this new smartwatch, which is now focused on extreme sports. With a larger screen, a more enduring battery and better sensors, here is what the first tests say about this model sold for 999 euros.
For The Verge, battery life is impressive, with several real-world tests highlighted below without Low Power Mode enabled:
Last weekend I charged the Ultra to 100%. I then hiked for two hours and 15 minutes, using the compass and GPS extensively, and tracked my sleep that night. I woke up the next morning with 50% battery remaining.
Another day I did a 30 minute run with the GPS and another 20 minute workout with the rower. I also made a short call on the watch and ended the day with 84% battery.
Nilay, our editor, managed to last 56 hours on a single charge and had 14% battery left. He mostly stayed at home so he didn’t use cellular data or GPS. Still, that should give you an idea of what you’ll get if you need a few days off or aren’t keen on the Ultra’s fitness features.
No offline GPS
CNET praises the Apple Watch Ultra, but just like the previous one, our colleague complains about the lack of offline mapping features:
But I wish one could also overlay that path over a map view in, say, Apple Maps, like the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s similar Track Back feature. That’s something I also miss on the Ultra compared to other sports and outdoor watches – being able to download offline maps to the watch for when I’m away from cell signal, or having options to topographic maps without downloading a third-party application.
Too large a size
CNBC points out that this Apple Watch is worth it for “serious athletes, but it’s an unnecessary expense for the rest” of users. The author of the article complained about the size of the Apple Watch Ultra, which looks and feels too big for people with small wrists:
The 49mm titanium dial feels ridiculously large on my wrist. I realize the large size is the tradeoff for a longer battery, but the Ultra doesn’t seem like it was created for a woman’s wrist. (…) I don’t use my current Apple Watch Series 7 to track my sleep because it’s uncomfortable and the battery only lasts 18 hours max. The Ultra has the right battery life to be used as a sleep tracker, but it’s way too bulky to wear to bed.
Suitable for extreme sports
The Wall Street Journal points out the absence of other important metric functions, although the publication thinks the Apple Watch Ultra is more user-friendly than other extreme sports watch options:
This is an interesting update for current Apple Watch users who need more, especially in terms of battery life. But it’s not a Garmin killer. Besides navigation, Garmin watches support other features important to serious athletes that are missing from the Apple Watch, such as recovery metrics and the ability to stream heart rate to workout gear via Bluetooth. The Apple Watch interface remains much more user-friendly. And Apple plans to let third-party developers exploit the Ultra’s sensors, so apps optimized for the Ultra could be on the horizon.
The new straps
Men’s Health gave us a look at some of the new wristbands. In addition, the journalist gives us an overview of the other Apple Watch bracelets compatible with the Ultra model:
Apple has created three new straps specifically for the Ultra: the Alpine Loop, the Ocean Band and the Trail Loop. I was able to try the first two during my wearing test. The Alpine Loop is a piece made of durable, slightly stretchy nylon, with a G-hook that slips through the fabric loops to adjust the fit. The Ocean Band is a more traditional two-piece strap, made from ‘high performance elastomer’ and molded with tiny tubes throughout the strap for added flexibility underwater, plus a titanium buckle and ring to adjust the fit. The Ocean Band was comfortable enough to wear during non-aquatic activities, but I preferred the Alpine Loop – it had just the right amount of stretch so the Ultra fit my wrist perfectly without being too tight.
Summary of the Apple Watch Ultra
The Gear Loop sums up very well what it’s like to use the Apple Watch Ultra:
There’s no denying that the Apple Watch Ultra is a phenomenal smartwatch (…) It’s also incredibly accurate in its GPS presentation and some of the new wayfinding features will help those who want to push their hikes and adventures to new levels. bolder. However, we can’t help but think that competing watches, even the significantly cheaper ones, provide more detailed post-activity performance analysis, and many of them also offer comprehensive Topo maps for those who really like to venture off the grid.
Here’s what you need to remember about this dear watch: an excellent product, but to be reserved for adventurers and big wrists.
The Apple Watch Ultra in GPS + 4G version is sold for $799 in the USA, but €999 in France.
Apple Watch Ultra review in video
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