News hardware First opinions on the Apple Watch Ultra: an extreme watch but not yet perfect
Arriving a little late compared to the new Apple Watch 8 and SE, the Apple Watch Ultra is finally coming out and with it the first press reviews. If it is far from disappointing, it is not perfect for all that.
The Apple Watch Ultra, a new product filled with expectations
After presenting the Apple Watch 8 with not much to eat, Apple gave us plenty of peepers at the beginning of September during the famous keynote with the Apple Watch Ultra. A first for Apple, which is attacking the market for watches dedicated to extreme sports, with a category of demanding customers.
A lot of promises are made by Tim Cook and his band, both in terms of resistance, autonomy and new features. We are not going to go over all the new features here, you can see them in our detailed article.
Let’s start immediately with the functions that are not yet present but which should arrive shortly:
- The Oceanic+ application, a very complete platform dedicated to scuba diving
- A battery optimization mode that reduces the interval between each heart rate measurement to supposedly triple the autonomy.
Apple Watch Ultra design
When it comes to design, what strikes first is the size of the screen. 49mm is certainly not for everyone, but this kind of look is quite common in the world of sports watches. The Apple Watch Ultra may even seem almost compact by comparison.
This is from Victoria Song of The Verge:
In the photos, the Apple Watch Ultra dominates my wrist. In reality, it feels smaller than some 45mm or 47mm watches I’ve tested. I had doubts, so I measured the size by myself. Indeed, the screen is 49 mm.
Victoria Song is also surprised by the more than moderate weight of the watchwhich does not become at all disturbing during and between sports sessions.
A watch of this type also benefits from better features apart from the sport aspect. CNBC’s Sofia Pitt appreciates the new mics and speakers:
Battery aside, I really like the larger speakers on the Watch Ultra. They are two and work together. …I often use my watch to take calls, especially when cooking. I can clearly hear the difference with the Apple Watch Series 7. Even if it is useful in extreme conditions, I appreciate the regular use that can be made of it.
The main tool for an extreme athlete is GPS. New sensors allow more precise tracking with the possibility of retracing the path you have just taken so as not to get lost.
Pierre Fontaine of 01Net is not disappointed:
But what does the GPS give? We’ve used it while running and cycling, in urban and rural environments. If the layouts are not always perfect, especially in the event of a sudden change of direction or in the narrow streets dominated by buildings, we can clearly see an improvement.
The new Action button is a nice addition that is indispensable for the target of this kind of watch.
This button has at least two assets. The first, its size and location. It is very easy to access, wide and responsive. … Apple remaining Apple, the customization of the Action button does not turn into the great escape, far from it. However, the list of available options is quite extensive: launch Exercise, Stopwatch, set a benchmark, turn the Watch into a flashlight – useful for being seen, if you have no lighting when running at night, etc. . Better, this function even allows you to use a shortcut.
Autonomy: the promise is kept for Apple
Without being able to test the extreme energy saving option yet, the endurance of this Apple Watch Ultra is impressive. Although it is always questioned when compared to other sports watches, MKBHD, YouTuber tech does the math:
He woke up on Saturday morning with the Apple Watch Ultra fully charged. A whole day passes with a 3-hour sports training, then a night spent tracking his sleep. Rebelote the next day with training and a tracked night’s sleep. 11 am the next day, he still has 20% left. This is unheard of on an Apple Watch.
Conclusion: a perfect Apple Watch… but not the most extreme
What best sums up the general opinions of the press is that of the Wall Street Journal:
The Apple Watch Ultra is a great smartwatch, but it’s not totally extreme. High autonomy is the main advantage that can attract athletes, but it is not able to replace a dedicated Garmin watch.
Competitive comparisons aside, the Apple Watch Ultra can still do more in terms of connectivity than the latter, and is by far the best Apple Watch out there.