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Here is the New Apple Watch Ultra – Built for Athletes and Adventurers

Written by Charlie

The new Apple Watch Ultra is here! Here is a look at some of these features that set it way above the regular Apple Watch to go after Garmin and COROS.

It is something I and many others have written about for months now and now we know about it – the new Apple Watch Ultra. This is the first departure from the normal Apple Watch release and it is catered to those that want more ruggedness out of their Apple Watch. Here is what it is all about.

The New Apple Watch Ultra

Link: New Apple Watch Ultra – $799 (you can order now)

Today, Apple announced their new Apple Watch Series 8 but they also unveiled the Apple Watch Ultra. Here is what makes this different from the regular series update. Apple actually said they worked with ultra runners like Ray Zahab of Running the Sahara fame and Scott Jurek, the runner who won the vaunted Western States 100 8 times. Those are some big names to put with this watch so I am actually excited to try it out against Garmin and COROS.

Larger Screen and Display

For those of us using Garmin watches, we are used to having options like 42mm, 47mm, and even 51mm displays. With Apple, they took years to go from 42mm to 44mm and then to 45mm. Now, we have 49mm.

This allows for more data to be displayed, which is definitely going to be useful when we are on the run. Also, they have flattened the display so it is different from any Apple Watch before it.

There is another new feature exclusive to the Apple Watch Ultra and that is Wayfinder watch face with Night Mode. This gives a time day watch face that can be switched to live compass with room for up to eight complications. In low light, you can rotate the digital crown to kick in Night Mode and the watch face turns vivid red.

Better Battery Life

Ok, I said this is something that Apple would really need to go after if they wanted to compete in the Garmin and COROS arena. I will say this right now – this will not compete with Garmin Fenix/Epix/Enduro watches or any COROS watch when it comes to battery lifeBUT, the Apple Watch Ultra has taken the biggest jump in battery life ever.

We cannot tell for sure, independently yet, but here is what Apple claims for the Apple Watch Ultra:

There are two modes. One will be coming soon (the low power one). Here is what you get.

Up to 36 hours of normal use

Here is what Apple has to say about this normal use is based on:

  • 180 time checks
  • 180 notifications
  • 90 minutes of app use
  • a 60-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 36 hours;
  • Apple Watch Ultra (GPS + Cellular) usage includes a total of 8 hours of LTE connection and 28 hours of connection to iPhone via Bluetooth over the course of 36 hours.
  • Testing conducted by Apple in August 2022 using preproduction Apple Watch Ultra (GPS + Cellular) paired with an iPhone; all devices tested with prerelease software.
  • Battery life varies by use, configuration, cellular network, signal strength, and many other factors; actual results will vary.

Up to 60 hours of low power use

Here is what Apple has to say about this low power, multi-day use and what it is based on:

  • 15 hours of workout
  • over 600 time checks
  • 35 minutes of app use
  • 3 minutes of talk
  • 15 hours of sleep tracking, over the course of 60 hours;
  • Apple Watch Ultra (GPS + Cellular) usage includes on-demand LTE connection and 5 hours connected to iPhone via Bluetooth over the course of 60 hours.
  • Testing conducted by Apple in August 2022 using preproduction Apple Watch Ultra (GPS + Cellular) paired with an iPhone; all devices tested with prerelease software. Battery life varies by use, configuration, cellular network, signal strength, and many other factors; actual results will vary.

Apple even mentions using it for an ultramarathon, which is any distance over the typical 50k (31 miles) distance. This is certainly welcome news and something that I will look forward to testing out! I may have an interesting test in store for this. 🙂

Tougher for Endurance

I have had Garmin watches for years with Sapphire displays – and they never had a scratch no matter what I did to them. On the Apple Watch side, not so good! I bumped one of them on a wall and it got a dent. Not something that I find acceptable for adventure or endurance events.

Now, Apple says that it is water resistant to 100 meters as well as being tested to MIL-STD 810H. This is the 8th edition of military toughness for testing so this should be much tougher than any Apple Watch than before.

New Action Button

Again, I said that Apple needed to add at least another button so that you are not so reliant on the touchscreen during activities. Well, here is the orange Action button. It lets you customize it for any things so that you can put it with what you need it the most. Plus, they made the Digital Crown larger so that should be easier to use on the run.

Other Features

They also have a new Track Detection, something that COROS has. This allows you to run a track and get perfect tracking without the wonky GPS tracking from the quick turns.

They also have a new dual-frequency GPS for better tracking, something that is very welcome. Apple claims that this will help immensely in urban environments.

They also have a “coming soon” dive computer innovation for those that like to dive.

There is a lot more here that I am looking forward to breaking down as I try it out. I will have one next month to put head to head with my Garmin Epix 2. I cannot wait to see how it stacks up!

Bottom Line

Well, Apple did it on several levels – a tougher design, a bigger display, better battery life, better GPS tracking, another button – all things that I thought it was missing from being more athlete-focused. Now, we have to see how much is “market speak” and how much is real in the real-world.

I do have to say – I am not a fan of the band colors and options. Also, not sure about the watch design itself. I think Garmin still looks much better.

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

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