The Apple Watch Ultra has arrived, and some users will have already sent in their new ultra-rugged Apple Watch if they pre-order early enough. But how good is that?
While the Apple Watch 8 is available for casual users, and the Apple Watch SE 2 is the best cheap Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Ultra is the new premium option, aimed at those who want more display, longer battery life and more features, all aimed at in making it the best wearable for demanding users who need a companion for ultra marathons, diving expeditions and more.
On the practical Apple Watch Ultra, we especially liked the promised extra battery life, custom wristbands, new action button control on the left side and its safety whistle to get attention when you’re in danger. Other than being a little unsure about the size, we made a very positive impression.
Other outlets now have more time to come to their judgment. While we wait to get a more realistic experience with the Apple Watch Ultra, here are some of the best Apple Watch Ultra reviews that address all the good and bad about the new, top-notch Apple Watch.
Victoria Song salutes Apple’s brave first attempt at a smartwatch for the most demanding users, although she concludes that it’s more suitable for mid-rangers rather than the toughest. It’s customized the convenience of the Apple Watch Ultra, great battery life, extensive security features, a new action button, and increased durability over regular Apple Watches, as well as its default cellular compatibility.
She has mixed feelings about the screen, which she likes because it’s so big and easy to read, but she admits it’s not good for users with small wrists like hers. She also criticizes the lack of recovery metrics, and that there are no offline maps or navigation, or satellite connectivity as Apple has added to the iPhone 14, which may annoy even the most die-hard users.
8.8 / 10
The Apple Watch Ultra got a particularly glowing review from Lexy Savvids, although there weren’t some valid criticisms. She calls it a great mix of smartwatches and sports watches, noting the new action button, its large and bright display, amazing battery life and dual-band GPS. However, she also said that the size might be too big for some, that there are no offline mapping options, only limited recovery metrics and that Apple’s promised battery optimization feature isn’t enabled as of launch.
4.5 / 5
Our colleague Gareth Bevis describes the Apple Watch Ultra as “the best wearable the brand has ever made,” as each component is an upgrade of all the Apple Watches that have come before. He especially likes the addition of the Action Button, which lets you set custom shortcuts, or start and stop workouts more easily than a regular Apple Watch. It also mentions the large, easy-to-read display and the quality of the GPS signal the watch receives.
While Beavis likes the increased battery life, he still doesn’t see it as good enough to compete with competing smartwatches that can last longer. That’s in addition to the Ultra losing some navigation features like a map when backtracking, two major issues with what it considers an otherwise excellent smartwatch, even considering the price.
Kieran Alger endorses the Apple Watch Ultra as an all-in-one smartwatch that’s balanced between casual and extreme sports watches. Its favorite features are the watch’s impressive display, increased battery life, and enhanced durability, but overall, it’s a lot more expensive than previous Apple Watches, as it can use more navigation options. In addition, battery life still needs to be longer in order to be able to compete with the best from Garmin, the current leader when it comes to sports watches.
Nicole Nguyen was happy with the battery life of the Apple Watch Ultra above all else, surviving the two-day hiking trip with nearly 20% battery life saved. That, combined with the Watch Ultra’s intuitive controls, and robust support for third-party apps, are the most important features of the new, tougher Apple Watch.
This last aspect was particularly useful for getting around one of its big issues with the watch, as Apple doesn’t offer native route planning support on topographic maps. That, plus the fact that the Watch Ultra misses some key recovery metrics, and can’t broadcast your heart rate to other gear, leaves Nguyen to conclude that it won’t overturn Garmin’s dominance in this category. Plus it also mentions that it is definitely a watch for users with large wrists, given the watch’s body size.
Tucker Bowe wrote in his review of the Apple Watch Ultra that rather than the extreme sports types, the Ultra is best suited for runners, or for users who want to take advantage of its large and bright screen. It also highlights the action button as a great new addition, as well as the highly accurate GPS. Bowe mentions the watch’s cost, size, and weight as downsides.