It’s the official launch day of Apple’s latest and greatest product, the Apple Watch Ultra. We picked one of the new watches to check out the features and compare it with the Apple Watch Series 8 to see if it’s worth the upgrade.
The Apple Watch Ultra is the largest Apple Watch to date, measuring 49mm, a full 4mm over the 45mm Apple Watch Series 8. It can look large depending on the size of your wrist, plus it’s thicker than you might expect. If you can comfortably wear the 45mm Apple Watch, it might not feel like the Apple Watch Ultra is too big, but it is taller.
It’s heavier than the 45mm Apple Watch Series 8, but not so much that it’s very noticeable. Coming from the 41mm Apple Watch, it might feel a little too bulky, but it comes down to personal preference. Apple says the Ultra will fit a wrist as small as 130mm.
Apple designed solid straps for the Apple Watch Ultra, and we chose the Alpine Loop and Ocean Band. The Alpine Loop is similar to the Sports Loop, but has two layers and a feel similar to the now discontinued woven belts. The Ocean Loop is a kind of sporty, plump, somewhat stretchy belt.
As for the feature set, Apple designed the Apple Watch Ultra for “adventurers and explorers,” so it has some semi-specialized options that the average user might not need to access like the Depth diving app. The new Compass app has a more global appeal with the option to set waypoints and use Backtrack if you’re in danger of getting lost, which is useful even on casual trips. The Ultra’s exclusive built-in siren is surprisingly loud and has the ability to come in handy even in urban areas.
The WayFinder Apple Watch Ultra face offers plenty of information with room for eight complications, and a dark mode that shows the face in red is an option we wish was available to more watch faces.
Apple has added a large orange button to the side of the Apple Watch Ultra called the Action button, and you can assign it to many of the Ultra’s features for quick access even when you’re wearing gloves. It can start workouts, set waypoints in Compass, activate shortcuts, turn on the flashlight, and more.
The Digital Crown has been made more available thanks to larger bezels that make it easier to use when wearing gloves, and the speaker quality is improved with the addition of additional speakers.
For the set of features it offers, the Apple Watch Ultra is surprisingly affordable, especially when rumors put the expected cost at close to $1,000. Even if you’re not regularly out of adventure, Apple Watch Ultra has options that’s good to have just in case, so it can be worth picking up on whether it fits your wrist and your lifestyle.
Do you have an Apple Watch Ultra? Let us know your opinion in the comments.