Serious Device $799 for Serious Athletes

Apple Watch Ultra.

Sophia Pet

I tested the Apple Watch Ultra before it was released on Friday.

Ultra is designed for extreme athletes and outdoor adventurers. I appreciate a lot of what it offers, especially the significantly improved battery: It’s got 36 hours of battery life when used normally and will last up to 60 hours when on low power when the update comes later this year. That’s a lot better than the 18 you get with the Series 8, the latest version of the regular Apple Watch.

Water resistance, a diving computer, a redesigned compass and precise GPS for endurance athletes are some of the great technical achievements of a smartwatch.

But the Peloton class with Olivia Amato is just as extreme as my workout, so these new and exciting features are missing out on me. If you’re like me and exercise is something you do to stay healthy, you don’t need to spend $799 on an Ultra.

Apple Watch Ultra box.

Sophia Pet

I’ve used some variations of the Apple Watch for over five years, and I appreciate it as a great companion to my iPhone. It helps motivate me to stay active and “close my loops”. Getting notifications when I’m on the go and being able to ping my iPhone from my watch when I misplace it (several times a day) helps me make the most of my time.

But since I won’t take advantage of most of the new features the Ultra has to offer, I won’t be dealing with the watch. Here are a few more reasons why I like Ultra and the value it could offer you if you were more sporty than I am.

Apple Watch Ultra without case.

Sophia Pet

It was not designed with women in mind

Aside from the fact that I’m not an athlete, there’s another reason the Ultra doesn’t seem designed for me. The 49mm titanium watch face looks ridiculously large on my wrist. I realize the large is the trade-off for a long-lasting battery, but the Ultra doesn’t seem to be made for a woman’s wrist.

Apple Watch Ultra

Sophia Pete | CNBC

While testing it over the past week, I’ve received many comments. One of my friends said, “That sounds silly on you.” Another said: “It looks like the computer is on your wrist.”

Apple Watch Ultra below.

Sophia Pet

Too bulky to track sleep

I don’t use my current Apple Watch Series 7 to track my sleep because it’s inconvenient and because the battery only lasts a maximum of 18 hours. The Ultra has just the right amount of battery life to use as a sleep tracker, but it’s too bulky to wear when sleeping.

Like the Series 8, the Ultra has a new temperature sensor that enables menstrual cycle tracking with retroactive ovulation estimates. But Apple recommends wearing the Ultra to bed for best results, and since I find it very uncomfortable to wear to sleep, this has been a taboo for me.

Bigger speaker for phone calls

Aside from the larger battery, I really appreciate the larger speaker on the Ultra. The watch has two speakers working together, making the Ultra sound 40% louder than the Series 8, according to Apple.

I often use my watch to pick up phone calls, especially while cooking. I could hear the difference when using the Ultra compared to the Series 7. While this feature is really meant to turn up the volume in extreme conditions for the outdoor type, I appreciated it for regular use as well.

Advanced emergency capabilities

Ultra has plenty of features designed to keep adventurers safe. It has a more accurate GPS, runs in extreme temperatures and has better water resistance.

Although I’m not a hiker, I used one of these features to find my way back home from a walk. Backtrack is a new GPS-enabled setup that allows hikers to track their steps. If you are out of network, the function starts working automatically. I can see how valuable this is for someone who doesn’t have a GPS or cellular network and gets lost in some remote area.

There is a new action button on the Ultra, which you can customize to serve many possible functions. I use it to create compass waypoints, which means it drops a pin if I’m somewhere I want to remember it. The intended use for this is for hikers who see a great waterfall and want to remember its location. I would most likely use it to tag a restaurant I’ve been to so I can look it up later.

The Ultra also has an emergency siren, which Apple says can be heard up to 600 feet away.

When the Ultra is in night mode, you can also see the screen is black, as I tried to show in the image below. This feature can only be used when downloading the Wayfinder watch face, but it gives you the most vital information in the dark, like the location of the compass, and is more accurate than ever.

Night mode for Apple Watch Ultra.

Sophia Pet

Buy it if you take your sport seriously

If you are an adventurer, hiker, serious runner or recreational diver and don’t mind a huge watch face on your wrist, the Ultra is a great wearable. Ultra offers features found in a dive computer Such as tracking depth, water temperature, diving time and underwater compass. Getting accurate metrics while running or reaching emergency services while hiking off the grid can be worth the money.

Putting all of these features into one watch makes Apple stand out from its main competitor in this extreme sports market: Garmin. Many Garmin sports wearables are designed for an individual activity, such as the Garmin Descent designed specifically for divers. It’s a pretty amazing technical feat to bring together all of these sporty features along with all the regular features of the Apple Watch – notifications and motion tracking – in one small package. Most exciting, as we’ve seen Apple before, the innovations in the Ultra could carry over to the regular watch in future models.

But right now the Ultra is $400 more expensive than the Series 8 and $550 more expensive than the SE, and it really is the best watch for most people. So if you’re just looking for better battery life and a louder speaker, it’s hard to justify the price difference.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.