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We Review The Apple Watch Ultra – The First Apple Watch That Can Go The Distance



Assessment Ranking


The brand new Apple Watch Extremely has considerably higher battery life than earlier variations, extra endurance sports activities exercise profiles (that work), and sure, it may do an ultramarathon.


  • 36+ hours of on a regular basis use, 18 hours of LTE, 16-20 hours of GPS exercises, and 60+ hours in low-power mode
  • Triathlon/multisport mode
  • Motion button for extra tactile begins/stops/laps
  • “Precision begin”
  • Waypoints and backtrack mode
  • A lot (a lot) extra heavy obligation
  • Nice smartwatch capabilities


  • Value
  • No offline mapping
  • Anemic open-water capabilities
  • Nonetheless no native biking energy connectivity
  • Giant wrist footprint


96g (with “ocean band”)



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Positive, we’ve reviewed Apple watches earlier than. Oftentimes it’s merely as a service to endurance athletes who may take into consideration shopping for one, so we are able to simply say, “It’s a pleasant watch, however it’s probably not for what you do.” Particularly these of us who prepare every single day, typically twice per day, and have a selected affinity for information and accuracy and exercise group. Apple watches have nice apps, lovely screens, and the perfect touchscreens within the sport, however their built-in exercise profiles and post-data evaluation go away one thing to be desired. And the battery life—oh the battery life! However with the most recent “adventure-focused” Apple Watch Extremely, now—for higher or for worse—Apple has its hat within the endurance sport’s ring with the large boys.

First, we’ll take a look at what’s new on the Apple Watch Extremely, speak about what we preferred as we’ve spent hours utilizing it, what we didn’t like, after which dive into the endurance sports activities specifics earlier than giving our conclusions and a few aggressive evaluation. Let’s see the way it fares:

Apple Watch Extremely: What’s New

Earlier than we get into the specifics that make the Apple Watch Extremely an endurance/out of doors contender, let’s rapidly check out what’s new:

  • Elevated battery life – Although Apple advertises 36 hours of smartwatch use, we discovered that even with exercises a couple of times per day, we received three days between costs with all capabilities on. They’ve additionally advised us that with total low-power mode, there’s sufficient time of GPS-on understanding (which we haven’t had an opportunity to do) to do a long-distance extremely. And in total low-power mode, you lose no decision for GPS or coronary heart charge. Higher but, the Extremely will quickly have a low-power exercise mode that provides you 60 hours of smartphone time with 15 hours of understanding, although much less GPS and coronary heart charge decision. The general low-power mode reduces the frequency of smartphone “examine ins,” disables the always-on show, and some different non-essential background duties with out lessening the decision of coronary heart charge or GPS whereas understanding. The low-power exercise mode will give much more coaching/racing time, however with fewer GPS and heart-rate information factors.
  • New case – The updates Apple Watch Extremely case is 49mm with a raised lip across the display—versus the rounded display on earlier fashions—and a much bigger digital crown.
  • New “Motion” button – On the left of the case, Apple has added a brand new “motion button” that may be assigned to numerous duties like a fast exercise begin, a fast stopwatch begin, and varied actions inside exercises—relying on the exercise profile.
  • “Precision Begin”– This one is a little bit bizarre, however Apple (lastly) has a selectable mode that means that you can truly begin a exercise once you hit begin versus its maddening “3…2…1” countdown.
  • Higher sound – Although not precisely a sports-related function, the Apple Watch Extremely has a three-microphone array that helps scale back wind noise outside by self-selecting a mic based mostly on wind course. Apple has additionally put in a twin speaker system (sure, on a watch) that’s considerably louder than earlier watches.
  • Updates to watchOS 9 – Although many of those updates might find yourself on different watches, new exercise options like automated monitor detection (coming quickly), multisport (for nonstandard swim/bike/run occasions), and triathalon are enormous for endurance athletes. In additional basic updates, Apple has included compass waypoints and backtracking, in addition to a brand new “Siren” alarm system and a bunch of diving capabilities we gained’t get into right here.
  • LTE – Okay, this isn’t new, however it’s included on the Watch Extremely, and in contrast to earlier iterations, you don’t have a selection. Apple says 18 hours of “all-day LTE,” however that’s only for strolling round. For understanding, it’s considerably much less. Apple didn’t have an actual determine, however they did say that the low energy mode required for extremely distance occasions would imply considerably fewer “check-ins” with LTE. So sure, you can do an occasion and be tracked in case you wished (with the “Discover My” perform, however it wouldn’t essentially be efficient in low energy mode for a path race.

RELATED: Your GPS Watch Can Now Generate Personalised Path Runner Updates. Right here’s How. 

Apple Watch Extremely: What We Like

As we famous earlier than, the Apple Watch collection was all the time a bit irritating for athletes—the tremendous limiting battery life meant you needed to cost it just about each evening, and you couldn’t go on tremendous lengthy runs or adventures or race nearly any ultras with it. Even in case you cherished every thing else in regards to the Apple Watch, that was all the time a deal breaker. The excellent news is that with the elevated battery life and low-power choices, you’re a smartwatch that may successfully deal with any exercise, occasion, or out of doors journey that you can throw at it. Apple additionally teased a low-power exercise mode that may give further battery life, however with diminished decision of GPS and heart-rate readings coming quickly.

Battery life apart, the extra sturdy construct of the Apple Watch Extremely makes it really feel much less like a chunk of effective artwork and extra like a software for coaching. And it’s not simply appears to be like—the raised lip of the case protects the dear display higher than earlier fashions by a ton. It’s additionally secure to say that the “Precision Begin” perform and “Motion” buttons are each issues that just about each different smartwatch ever made already has, however each had been gaps lacking in Apple’s exhaustive perform quiver.

With all of this mixed, the Apple Watch Extremely just isn’t solely a good (sure, simply respectable, extra on that under) out of doors journey watch, however it’s truly a superb look ahead to anybody coaching for endurance sports activities—no matter distance. Outdoors of coaching, Apple’s “way of life capabilities”—issues like textual content messaging, climate, music, third-party apps, contactless cost, and (approach approach) extra—are principally unparalleled. Sure, Fitbit has some enjoyable stuff and a pleasant display, however Apple continues to be lightyears forward of any competitor with regards to smartwatch energy and integrations. For example: The three-mic setup is nothing wanting magic when making calls on the watch—nobody is even remotely attempting to do that stuff, aside from Apple.

Additionally, let’s not neglect that because the premature demise of the Forerunner 945 LTE, this is among the solely full-function exercise watches with legit battery and LTE connectivity. So in case you wish to go coaching (or racing!) untethered to your cellphone, like so many people do, that is nonetheless one of many ONLY methods to remain in contact through LTE. That’s not nothing.

Apple Watch Extremely: What Might Be Higher

Whereas I gained’t communicate to the dive capabilities, I might say that most of the “out of doors” capabilities like navigation and mapping are nonetheless fairly on-grid if the Apple Watch Extremely is meant to talk to the hardcore journey set. The dearth of offline mapping and navigation looks like nothing greater than an oversight (or lack of a mapping companion, possibly), and the compass waypoints and retroactive backtracking—whereas cool—aren’t precisely going to avoid wasting your life within the backcountry. The battery is best, for certain, however to contemplate this a 100 miler or backpacking watch over one thing extra expedition-worthy is reckless at greatest. Should you’re with a bunch of buddies backpacking for every week, it’s most likely not a foul selection, however in case you’re doing a solo multi-day journey or tackling and unsupported quickest identified time (FKT), I wouldn’t rely on the Extremely as your solely navigational software—like you can for some upper-end journey watches (the Coros Vertix 2 or the Garmin Fenix 7/Enduro line, for example).

By way of extra workout-specific capabilities, the battery life (lastly) brings the Apple Watch into the realm of extremely runners, however it nonetheless lacks a number of the information energy they really want. Path runners ought to be inspired that this can be a watch they will lastly do an extremely with (and all the associated extremely coaching). The multisport crew may complain a few lack of open-water swimming distance alerts that just about all open-water prepared smartwatches have proper now. And whereas native working with energy is a complete sport changer, on condition that at present solely Polar and Coros have that in-built, severe runners may take problem with how rigid the ability metrics are within the exercise screens. Sure, having common energy and common three-second energy is nice (and the power to maneuver these metrics round), however lap energy is usually simply as vital, if no more.

RELATED: WATCH: Coros Convos with Kilian Jornet and Tommy Caldwell

On the observe of exercises, the Apple Watch Extremely does have some cool built-in exercises that you may choose once you’re feeling uninspired by your coaching program, and naturally you may create and edit your personal exercises on watch—with out the necessity for an app. Apple additionally says there shall be a “monitor detection” function coming quickly that may truly acknowledge—through satellite tv for pc imagery—that you simply’re in proximity to a monitor (U.S. solely), and immediate you in case you’re going to be working on it. In that case, you’ll select a lane, and it’ll snap the GPS monitoring and distances to that monitor. Whereas different manufacturers like Garmin and Coros have one thing related, nobody can mechanically detect that you simply’re close to a monitor. For higher or for worse, it’s a reminder that the Apple Watch Extremely is paying (very shut) consideration to you.

Lastly, there’s the Gucci-patterned elephant within the room: The value. Generally it looks like Apple will get a little bit of a cross on pricepoint as a result of it has SO MANY nice way of life integrations and actually cutting-edge {hardware}, however as a result of Apple needs to play with the long-distance coaching/journey crowd now, they should stand and be in comparison with different smartwatches in that world (see our aggressive comparability under). Eight-hundred {dollars} will get you so much of smartwatch within the endurance/journey realm—for example the Garmin Fenix 7 or Forerunner 955 collection or the Coros Vertix 2. All of these watches have some very very sturdy coaching modes, a great deal of customizable sport capabilities, navigation, and insane battery life. No, none have an exquisite display, smartphone integrations, or LTE just like the Apple Watch Extremely, however by way of understanding/navigating the outside, they’re nonetheless on one other degree.


There’s a lot to cowl on this watch, a reviewer may write a e-book, however the best factor to do is break the brand new Apple Watch Extremely down into what an Apple Watch has been earlier than, and what this newest model is hoping to be. Up to now, Apple watches have been an awesome way of life smartwatch that integrates extremely with the Apple ecosystem. They play music ship and obtain texts, examine emails—principally most issues a smartphone can do now. Additionally they allow you to go for informal exercises and monitor your “health” (lowercase) as you went. The Extremely nonetheless has all of that. Now, with the Extremely, Apple needs to be thought of an endurance sports activities/journey outside participant up in opposition to the watches we used to purchase to complement our Apple Watch purchases—from manufacturers like Coros and Garmin and Polar.

Separated at start? The brand new Apple Watch Extremely with Alpine Loop band and Coros Vertix 2.

Now, as an alternative of getting your Apple Look ahead to going to the workplace or going out at evening, and your “exercise watch” for severe runs, backpacking, and out of doors journey, Apple needs to be all of this stuff: Go away your Garmin at residence, let it die. Does Apple absolutely pull this off? Not fairly, however they’re dangerously shut. For $800, you’re nonetheless not taking part in in the identical sandbox as $800 Garmin or Coros watches, but when this watch was $500 (with LTE), these manufacturers can be sweating massive time. Even so, the problems now we have with the Apple Watch Extremely aren’t core points—I can’t think about it’d be a troublesome carry to get offline mapping, particularly on condition that the storage is already there (32gb by the way in which). It additionally doesn’t appear incomprehensible that Apple may by some means add a median lap working energy information subject.

Is that this the watch that replaces your entire watches? It very nicely may very well be.

Aggressive Comparability

For measurement comparability, from left: Garmin Enduro 2 (similar measurement as Fenix 7X Sapphire Photo voltaic), Apple Watch Extremely, Coros Vertix 2, Wahoo Rival
Apple Watch Extremely Garmin Fenix 7 Coros Vertix 2 Suunto 9 Peak Garmin Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic Wahoo Rival
Value $800 $700 $700 $700 $600 $330
Weight 96 g 79 g 89 g 52 g 53 g 54 g
Contact Display screen Sure Sure Maps Solely Sure Sure No
Battery Life 36 hours smartwatch, 15-20 hours GPS 18 days smartwatch, 57 hours GPS 60 days smartwatch, 140 hours GPS 7 days smartwatch, 24 hours GPS 20 days smartwatch, 49 hours GPS 14 days smartwatch, 24 hours GPS
Actual-World Battery Life (w/exercises) 2-3 days 14-16 days 40-50 days 7-10 days 14-18 days 8-12 days
Open Water Swimming Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
Biking With Energy Connectivity No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
Operating With Energy Constructed-In With Footpod Constructed-In With Footpod With Footpod With Footpod
Triathlon Mode Sure, Auto-Transition Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure, Auto-Transition
Brick Mode Sure, Auto-Transition Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure, Auto-Transition
Offline Mapping/Navigation No Sure Sure No Sure No
Onboard Music Sure Sure No No Sure No
Third-Get together Apps Sure Sure No No Sure No

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