Dive into our comprehensive Apple Watch Ultra 2 review and discover how this iteration improves on the best Apple Watch ever. Explore the S9 chip, Double Tap gesture, and more.
When it comes to wearable technology, Apple has always been at the forefront. The Apple Watch, in particular, has consistently set the bar high for smartwatches. The original Apple Watch Ultra was a game-changer, and now, we have the Apple Watch Ultra 2. In this in-depth review, we’ll dissect this impressive device, exploring its features, design, specifications, and whether it truly lives up to the Apple legacy.
A Glimpse of Excellence: Early Verdict
A few hours with the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is enough to confirm that it’s an improvement on the stellar original – albeit only an incremental one, specs-wise. That’s probably enough to make it the best Apple Watch ever, though, and its screen is amazing.
- New S9 chipset
- Double Tap gestures
- Apple’s brightest display ever
- Very few new features
- No battery life extension
One Minute Review
The original Apple Watch Ultra was a revolutionary redesign, and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 continues this tradition. While it may look similar, it introduces significant changes under the hood. The S9 chip and watchOS 10 bring a slew of new features, including the impressive hands-free Double Tap control, which allows you to start workouts, dismiss timers, answer calls, and more, all without lifting a finger.
A few other tweaks, such as Siri’s improved functionality, enhance the overall user experience. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 also emphasizes eco-friendliness, incorporating recycled materials both inside and outside the watch.
However, when it comes to the core mission of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 – serving as your companion in the great outdoors – not much has changed. There’s no battery life extension, and many of the workout functionalities remain the same as the original Ultra, thanks to watchOS 10. It’s still an outstanding Apple Watch, especially from a specifications perspective, and a strong contender for the title of the best smartwatch.
Apple Watch Ultra 2: Specifications
Let’s take a closer look at the technical specifications of the Apple Watch Ultra 2:
- Price: $799 / £799 / AU$1,399
- Dimensions: 49 x 41 x 14 (mm)
- Weight: 61g
- Case/bezel: Titanium
- Display: 502 x 410 px poly-silicon always-on OLED Retina Display
- GPS: Yes (unspecified)
- Battery life: 36 hours
- Connection: Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, LTE
- Water resistant: Yes, WR100 (diveproof)
Price and Availability
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is available now with a straightforward purchasing process. Unlike the Apple Watch Series 9, which offers various options, the Ultra 2 comes in one size (49mm) and one color (Titanium). It includes LTE cellular connectivity as standard. The main choice you’ll need to make is which band suits your style best.
If the price tag of $799 / £799 / AU$1,399 is a bit steep for your budget, or you don’t need the extra adventure-focused features, you can consider the Apple Watch 9 range as an alternative. We’ll delve into these options in more detail in the Design section below.
Design: Where Form Meets Function
At first glance, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 closely resembles its predecessor. Both share the same solid titanium body, the distinctive digital crown, and the iconic orange Action button. Even the microphone and speaker placement remain unchanged.
The key differences lie in the screen and the bands. The Ultra 2 boasts a stunning screen that can reach an impressive 3,000 nits of brightness at full blast, making it Apple’s brightest display ever. This screen, combined with a new customizable Ultra-exclusive watch face, elevates the visual experience.
The bands align with Apple’s sustainability efforts, with options like the Alpine, Trail, and Ocean bands. These bands not only look good but also contribute to Apple’s carbon-neutral scheme. Additionally, the watch’s titanium casing is made from 95% recycled titanium, a commendable feat in the world of smartwatches.
Features: The Adventurer’s Companion
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 maintains the same standout adventuring features as its predecessor. These include next-level GPS tracking, the ability to emit a warning siren for assistance, durability in extreme temperatures, and the Oceanic+ app, which turns the watch into a functional dive computer.
The Depth app, Apple’s in-house dive function, now offers easier access to logs of previous dives. It also supports free diving, catering to a wider range of water enthusiasts. Notably, Night Mode, which enhances visibility in low-light conditions, now activates automatically, thanks to ambient light sensors.
One of the standout features of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the Double Tap gesture. This innovative gesture, available from October onwards, allows you to activate widgets or apps with a simple finger pinch motion. It’s a game-changer in terms of convenience and usability.
Additionally, the S9 chip utilizes Ultra Wideband technology to enhance the Find Devices functionality. If you own an iPhone 15, you can not only determine the direction of your phone but also its distance in feet. While this feature is impressive, it requires both the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and the latest iPhone, limiting its current usability.
Early Verdict: The Best Apple Watch Yet
While we haven’t fully tested the Apple Watch Ultra 2 yet, our initial impressions are highly positive. It remains a strong contender for the title of the best Apple Watch and one of the finest smartwatches available. The S9 chip’s new functionalities enhance its appeal, particularly for fitness enthusiasts.
However, it’s important to note that this update is iterative rather than groundbreaking. It may not be the ideal choice for those seeking significant innovations in the Apple Watch lineup. The limited battery life may also deter users planning extended outdoor adventures.
In conclusion, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is technically the best Apple Watch to date, but it’s a subtle evolution rather than a revolution. It’s most suitable for individuals who don’t already own the original model and are seeking an exceptional smartwatch experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is the Apple Watch Ultra 2 a significant upgrade from the original Ultra?
- While the Apple Watch Ultra 2 offers improvements, it’s not a major leap from the original Ultra. The key enhancements come from the new S9 chip and watchOS 10.
2. What are the standout features of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 for adventurers?
- Adventurers will appreciate the advanced GPS tracking, the ability to emit a warning siren, and the Oceanic+ app for diving. The Double Tap gesture is also a game-changer for hands-free convenience.
3. How does the Apple Watch Ultra 2 contribute to sustainability?
- The Ultra 2 incorporates recycled materials inside and outside the watch, and its bands emphasize sustainability. The watch’s titanium casing is made from 95% recycled titanium.
4. Can I use the Double Tap gesture on the Apple Watch Ultra 2 right away?
- The Double Tap gesture will be available from October onwards, enhancing the watch’s usability. It allows you to activate widgets or apps with a simple finger pinch motion.
5. Is the Apple Watch Ultra 2 suitable for extended outdoor adventures?
- While the Apple Watch Ultra 2 excels in many areas, its battery life of 36 hours may not be sufficient for long stretches without access to power. Users with extensive outdoor plans might want to consider alternatives.