Apple Watch Ultra review: not just for athletes

The new Apple smartwatch was presented amid shocking videos showing its use in the most extreme sports, but it is a Apple Watch that has everything you need to adapt to any usemuch better than the conventional model.

It was the great protagonist of the last Apple presentation, because in the midst of fairly decaffeinated presentations, it was the only product that offered enough novelties to make Apple users fall in love. A larger and brighter screen, a battery that can last at least twice as long as we are used to, premium materials and a striking sporty design are the ingredients that make this Apple Watch the object of desire of the majority, regardless of whether you do marathons, descend 50 meters under the sea, or just walk through the countryside from time to time. .

Design and materials

Since Apple introduced the first Apple Watch in September 2014, although it didn't go on sale until April 2015, the design has remained virtually unchanged across all new models. The changes have been minimal, with the screen as the main protagonist, and only the different colors that have been appearing and disappearing from its catalog have led to visible changes in the Apple smartwatch. Even for the most experienced, differentiating models from different years is quite complicated.. That is why since the rumors began about this new "sports" Apple Watch, the expectation was great. and Apple has achieved a new design while maintaining the essence of the Apple Watch, with recognizable shapes and its characteristic crown that is a hallmark of the watch.

apple watch ultra

The appearance of this watch is robust, and its materials certify it. Titanium and sapphire crystal, two elements that are not new to Apple's smartwatch, because in the past there have been models that have used them, but in this new design they seem even more imposing. It is a large watch, quite large and thick, not suitable for smaller wrists. But if the 45mm Apple Watch suits you, this one will too, though you'll have to get used to seeing it on your forearm. The crown and the side button protrude from the case of the watch, perhaps it is what gives the watch the sportiest look, but it does so with the care and refinement that characterizes Apple. The new larger and toothed crown stands out from the other elements of the watch. That Apple maintains an element of classic watchmaking in its Apple Watch is quite a declaration of intent: this is a minicomputer, but above all it is a watchmaking element that deserves the utmost care in detail and care in manufacturing.

On the other side of the box we find the first new element: the action button. A new customizable international orange button. What is it for? First to draw attention and become a hallmark of the Apple Watch Ultra, and second to being able to assign functions such as starting physical activity, pausing or changing it, marking positions on the map or even running shortcuts that you have configured. It is also the button used for the alarm, a new function that emits an audible sound over a long distance in open spaces. If you get lost in the mountains, maybe it will help you. On that same side we now find a small group of holes for the speakers.

Apple Watch Ultra with orange strap

The base of the clock is made of ceramic material, and although the design is similar to previous models, four screws in the corners contribute to this new industrial look. We assume that these screws will allow you to change the watch battery without having to send it directly to Apple and have it replaced with another unit, as has been the case with Apple Watches so far. This new Apple Watch Ultra is water and dust resistant, with iPX6 certified for dust and submersion resistance up to 100 meters and meets MIL-STD 810H certification (tested for altitude, high temperature, low temperature, thermal shock, immersion, freeze, thaw, shock and vibration)

When we talk about the design of the Apple Watch, we cannot forget about a fundamental element of the watch since its first generation: the straps. Much was made of the possibility of Apple using a new attachment system that made regular Apple Watch straps incompatible. It would have been a very damaging move for Apple, which does not sell precisely cheap straps and users would hardly have forgiven it. After so many years using the Apple Watch, and after so many models on my wrist, I already have a small collection of straps including some titanium models, or Apple's steel link. Luckily, this has not been the case, and we can continue using them, although depending on the model, the final result may not convince us, because some are too narrow. matter of taste

Apple Watch Ultra and straps

But Apple couldn't pass up the opportunity to create exclusive straps for its Apple Watch Ultra, and it offers us three completely new models. Each strap has the "low" price of €99, no matter the model or color. It is also the only element that we can choose when buying the watch, there are no more possible variations, because we only have one size (49mm), one connectivity (LTE + WiFi) and one color (titanium). I chose the model with the orange Loop Alpine strap, with a very original closure system, and with a really innovative design. The metal parts are made of titanium, and the strap is made in one piece, nothing is sewn. Simply spectacular. I also chose the Ocean strap in blue, made of fibrolestomer (silicone) and with a titanium buckle and loop. Precious. I haven't bought any Loop Trail straps yet, more like the nylon Loop sport straps. They are available in various colors and sizes, it will only be a matter of time before some more drop.

Screen

New Apple Watch Ultra has a size of 49mm with more space for the screen. In addition, Apple has dispensed with the curved glass, offering a completely flat screen, protected by a small rim of the titanium case. Let's not forget that although the crystal is sapphire, the second most scratch-resistant element in nature (behind only the diamond), it is not immune to being able to break under a strong impact. The tests that have been carried out have already shown that it must be very strong, but we already know how these things work… an ultra race through the Veleta, a fall and a hit on a blackboard and tears come to our eyes.

However, let's not be fooled... the screen increase in practice is negligible compared to the 7mm Apple Watch Series 8 and 45. But it will cost you to realize that this, because the impression at first glance is that the screen is larger. The fact of being flat, of having more frames, that there is no curved edge that limited visibility through the frames, and perhaps the desire to convince yourself, make it appear "objectively" older. What is much higher is the brightness, to be more exact, double that of the other models. This will be noticeable in daylight, when the sun is high and falls directly on the screen, the visibility is much greater. This brightness is of course automatically regulated depending on the ambient light.

Apple Watch night screen

In addition to having improved visibility in light, they have also created a new night mode in which all the elements on the screen turn red, allowing everything to be seen perfectly in very dark environments without bothering your eyes or the eyes. the rest. that mode is exclusive to the Guide watch face, exclusive to this new Apple Watch Ultra. My new favorite dial, with a very careful aesthetic design while incorporating numerous spaces to place the complications you use the most. It also includes a compass that allows you to orient yourself perfectly on your long excursions in the middle of nowhere. Or to find the car in the middle of the gigantic parking lot of the shopping center, thanks to the new complication expressly dedicated to that function.

It's an Apple Watch

Apple will never be able to compete with brands like Garmin in the "ultra" sports smartwatch market, because Apple will always have to offer us an Apple Watch. The autonomy of the Garmin is almost infinite in some of its models, thanks to solar recharging, but also thanks to a screen with minimal energy consumption but that does not have the image quality or brightness of the Apple Watch. Any Apple Watch model that launches will have to be at least that, an Apple Watch, and from there up. This Ultra model can do everything an Apple Watch Series 8 can do, it would be ridiculous if it weren't, and that means that it is almost impossible to reach the level of specialization that models that are only designed for monitoring sports activities have.

With the Apple Watch Ultra you can make phone calls and receive calls. Of course you can answer WhatsApp or messages, listen to your favorite podcast, control the lamp in your bedroom and ask for directions to the nearest Zara store to the metro stop. You can pay anywhere thanks to Apple Pay, which includes practically all banks in the country. And of course you have all the health features of the Apple Watchsuch as heart rate monitoring, oxygen saturation, abnormal rhythm detection, fall detection, sleep monitoring, etc. To which must be added the new functions of the Series 8 that are also included in this Ultra model, such as detection of traffic accidents and the temperature sensor, for the moment limited to the control of the woman's menstrual cycle.

Apple Watch Ultra and box

But it's more than an Apple Watch

A model called Ultra has to offer more than a normal model, and has functions specifically designed for the practice of sports activities such as mountaineering, diving, etc. It has a dual-frequency GPS (L1 and L5) that allows you to adjust your location more precisely, especially in places where there are tall buildings or lots of trees. It also has a depth sensor, to tell you how many meters you have immersed yourself, and a temperature sensor to tell you how deep the sea water is, or from your pool.

It's also more than an Apple Watch because its battery lasts twice as long, really. If you have an Apple Watch you will be more than used to recharging it every night. I've been in the habit for a long time that when the afternoon is winding down, I leave the Apple Watch on its charger, and I find it fully charged when I go to bed, so I get it to monitor sleep and wake me up in the morning without disturbing anyone else. sleep with me. Well, with this new Apple Watch Ultra, I do the same thing every two days.. By the way, all the chargers I have at home work perfectly with the new Ultra model, you just have to be careful to place it with the crown facing up.

Apple Watch Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max

Without being the perfect battery, this makes things much easier. If you go on a short trip you don't have to take a charger for the watch, and sleep monitoring is much more comfortable to do without having to worry about recharging the clock every day because if not the next day you don't even arrive in the afternoon with him. What is noticeable is that the charging time is longer, especially if you use a conventional charger as is my case. The charging cable that comes in the box is a fast-charging, nylon-braided one (for when on the iPhone?) but I'd rather use my Nomad dock. And a low-consumption function is yet to come with which the autonomy can be extended up to 60 hours, although it has been at the expense of reducing functionalities. We will have to wait for it to be available and try it.

Final verdict

The Apple Watch Ultra it is the best Apple Watch that any user can buy. And when I say any user, I mean those who are looking for a watch made of premium materials (titanium and sapphire) and want to pay €999 for it. For screen, for autonomy and for benefits, it is far superior to the other most recent model that Apple has launched (Series 8). It includes all the features that we already know from the Apple Watch, and also other exclusives that place it a couple of steps above the Series 8. Among the reasons for not buying it, I only find two: that you do not like the design, or that you do not want to pay its high price. If you are not a scuba diver, nor do you do mountaineering, you will also enjoy it a lot.


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  1.   Orestes said

    It's about time it was used to monitor sleep without having to charge it first. Until now, you used the charge for the watch or the sleep monitor, but not both at the same time. Well done Apple.