Apple Watch Ultra will start arriving to customers and launch in stores on Friday, September 23. Ahead of time, the first reviews of the high-end watch have now been shared by select media publications and YouTube channels.

apple watch ultra adventures
Inspired by the "most extreme activities" like hiking and scuba diving, the Apple Watch Ultra features a rugged design with a 49mm titanium case, a larger display with a flat sapphire crystal cover, new bands designed for the outdoors, water resistance up to a depth of 100 meters, a customizable bright orange "Action" button, up to 60 hours of battery life with an upcoming low power setting, and more.

We have rounded up both written and video reviews of the Apple Watch Ultra below.

Written Reviews

The Verge's Victoria Song shared her overall impressions:

The Apple Watch Ultra is big, a lil' chunky, and goes hard on features that the average joe won't need in their everyday life. And at $799, it's the most expensive watch in the current Apple Watch lineup (Hermès edition excluded). After a week of testing, I don’t think it's going to bump Garmin, Polar, or Coros watches for the Ironman, thru-hiker, or deep-sea diving crowds, at least not yet. But it's legitimately good for weekend warriors and intermediate athletes — and very tempting for folks who aspire to that status and a whole lot of people who just want the biggest, baddest Apple Watch they can get.

Song said in a week of testing the Apple Watch Ultra, she was "regularly blowing past" the device's advertised 36-hour battery life in standard mode:

- This past weekend, I charged the Ultra to 100 percent. I then hiked for two hours and 15 minutes, used the compass and GPS extensively, and tracked my sleep that night. I woke up the next morning with 50 percent battery left.

- Another day, I went for a 30-minute GPS run and did another 20-minute rowing workout. I also took a short call on the watch and ended the day with 84 percent battery.

- Nilay, our editor-in-chief, managed to get 56 hours on a single charge and still had 14 percent left. He was mostly staying at home, so he wasn't using cellular data or GPS. Still, that should give you an idea of what you'd get if you need a few rest days or aren't interested in the Ultra's fitness features.

CNET's Lexy Savvides on pricing vs. the Series 8 and Garmin smartwatches:

Considering the $749 45mm Apple Watch Series 8 in stainless steel costs almost as much, I think the Ultra is a better overall value, given that you get additional hardware features like the Action button (which I've come to love), an emergency siren and extra microphones to boost call quality.

It's also priced competitively with other sports watches that have a similar titanium construction and OLED screens, like the $999 Garmin Epix 2. The Apple Watch Ultra's battery doesn't last as long, and it doesn't have anywhere near as many navigation features as the Epix 2. But it's easier to use, has heart features like an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) app, cellular connectivity and seamless integration with the iPhone.

If you're someone who wants a true hybrid smartwatch and sports watch, the Ultra is the one to beat.

Savvides pointed out the Apple Watch Ultra's inability to download offline maps:

That's something I also miss on the Ultra compared to other sports and outdoor watches -- being able to download offline maps on the watch for when I'm away from cellular signal, or have topographic map options without downloading a third-party app.

The Wall Street Journal's Nicole Nguyen said the Apple Watch Ultra is "exciting," but "no Garmin killer" since it lacks features like recovery metrics:

So, should you get an Ultra? It's an exciting update for current Apple Watch wearers who need more—especially battery life. But it's no Garmin killer. Besides navigation, Garmin watches support other features important to serious athletes that are missing in the Apple Watch, such as recovery metrics and the ability to broadcast heart rate to workout equipment via Bluetooth.

CNBC's Sofia Pitt said the Apple Watch Ultra's larger speaker is noticeable:

Aside from the larger battery, I really appreciate the larger speaker on the Ultra. The watch has two speakers that work together, which makes the Ultra 40% louder than the Series 8, according to Apple.

I often use my watch to pick up phone calls, especially while I'm cooking. I could hear the difference when using the Ultra compared with my Series 7. While this feature is really meant to be louder in extreme conditions for the outdoorsy type, I appreciated it for regular use, too.

TechRadar's Gareth Beavis appreciates the new "Action" button on the Apple Watch Ultra, but wishes it was even more customizable:

One of the things we really like is the Action Button makes pausing a workout so much easier - before you either swiped the screen (hard with sweaty or wet hands) or pressed the Side Button and Digital Crown together... which could be a bit of a contortion.

Now, you can code it so the Action Button begins a workout (yes, finally - something that seems so obvious yet took this long...) and then pressing it with the Side button on the opposite edge of the Watch Ultra will pause. It's simple, effective and a lovely natural movement.

We would prefer it if the Action Button was a bit more customizable though: you can only set it to open workouts, start a dive, open the [flashlight], start a stopwatch or use the compass features - you can use it to start a Shortcut (a set of pre-defined actions using apps on your iPhone or Watch) but they're very limited too, when they could be so much richer.

Men's Journal's Michael Frank said the Apple Watch Ultra's brighter display with up to 2000 nits of brightness makes info easier to read:

That larger, powerfully lit screen can show six lines of data versus five lines while using Apple's Workout app. But the real key here is legibility. Regardless of the app you're using or the watch face you've chosen, the intense display is just far easier to read on the fly, whether you're eyeballing an incoming text or trying to parse your mile split time for a 5K.

Men's Health's Brett Williams on wearing the Apple Watch Ultra:

There are times when I wear the standard Apple Watch and wish there was more oomph to it. I actually prefer that feeling—it takes me back to slipping on a classy analog watch made of premium materials, designed to do just a few tasks (at most) and do them well. At the same time, the Ultra doesn't feel too heavy; when I was lifting weights or running with it on, I didn't feel like I was fighting against extra resistance. That said, I can see how the Ultra might be a tough wear for those with smaller wrists.

Video Reviews









Related Roundup: Apple Watch Ultra
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

Danoc Avatar
10 weeks ago
How can I trust The Verge's opinion on Apple Watch's form & function when their website design is horrible?
Score: 57 Votes (Like | Disagree)
senttoschool Avatar
10 weeks ago
These YouTubers don’t leave their room. Of course they don’t understand or need the features of the Ultra.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MayaUser Avatar
10 weeks ago
Not for everyone?
Those who wants something new...that realised that its the same price, maybe cheaper than the AW stainless steel with good band...they will go for it just for the battery life alone
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclardy Avatar
10 weeks ago
Still don't get the "only for extreme users" sentiment. It's a titanium Apple Watch ($50 less than the prior titanium model) with double the battery life, a new button, a larger display, better microphone and speaker, and a new case design, for $50 more than the large stainless steel model. If you are a "normal" Apple Watch user with large enough wrists, there is literally no reason to not go for the Ultra.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
10 weeks ago

New shell, much bigger battery and more features over the regular watch of the equivalent price if you were going SS, for me it was an instant decision to get one as an upgrade over the 7.

7yrs of the same shell design was getting boring.
still depends on your wrist size a little though. I have fairly small wrists and I don’t want to have an iPod touch hanging on my arm
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
10 weeks ago
This Apple Watch Ultra is the most compelling upgrade. I can’t wait till I get my AW Ultra on Friday.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

f1662570472

Apple Watch Series 8 and SE 2 Reviews: Very Incremental Upgrades

Thursday September 15, 2022 6:13 am PDT by
Apple Watch Series 8 and the second-generation Apple Watch SE are set to launch this Friday, September 16, and ahead of time, the first reviews of the devices have now been shared by select media publications and YouTube channels. Both of the new models are very incremental upgrades compared to the Apple Watch Series 7 and the original Apple Watch SE. New features for both models include...
anker cube magsafe parts

Review: Anker's 3-in-1 Cube With MagSafe Offers Fast, Versatile Charging in a Unique Design

Friday November 11, 2022 12:00 pm PST by
Last month, Apple began selling a new 3-in-1 Cube with MagSafe from Anker, which is a compact charging accessory capable of charging an iPhone, and Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously. I've spent the past couple of weeks testing it out, and it's quickly become my favorite multi-device charger. The Cube is Anker's first officially certified MagSafe product, which means it supports full...
the verge iphone 14 review 1

iPhone 14 Reviews: More of an 'iPhone 13S' but Still a Solid Mainstream Phone

Wednesday September 14, 2022 6:42 am PDT by
Apple has given select media outlets and YouTubers access to the new iPhone 14 ahead of when it begins arriving in customers' hands on Friday, September 16. Photo via The Verge The new iPhone 14 is an incremental upgrade compared to the iPhone 13, featuring the same overall design, the same A15 Bionic chip with an additional GPU core, and slight improvements to the rear and front cameras. D...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Plus Reviews: Multi-Day Battery Life, Large Display, and Upgraded Cameras Make for Worthwhile Upgrade

Thursday October 6, 2022 1:29 am PDT by
Apple has given select media outlets and YouTubers access to the iPhone 14 Plus ahead of its launch on Friday, October 7. The iPhone 14 Plus is Apple's largest entry-level iPhone model with a 6.7-inch display, a display size that's been historically reserved for only the highest-end iPhone. The iPhone 14 Plus shares many of the same features of the standard smaller iPhone 14 model, which...
belkin wireless charger

Review: Belkin's Updated 3-in-1 Charger Adds Fast Charging for Apple Watch Series 7

Tuesday July 26, 2022 1:11 pm PDT by
Belkin in June debuted an upgraded version of the Boost Charge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Stand, introducing fast-charging support for the Apple Watch Series 7. The Boost Charge Pro is one of the only multi-device charging solutions on the market that supports both MagSafe and Apple Watch fast charging. Design wise, the updated Boost Charge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Stand is identical...
level lock

Review: The Level Lock+ Makes Unlocking Your Home Easy, But It Isn't the Most Secure

Friday November 18, 2022 8:52 am PST by
Created by smart lock maker Level, the Level Lock+ is the one of the first Home Key-compatible smart locks on the market, designed to unlock a door automatically when a Home Key-enabled iPhone or Apple Watch is held near it. The Level Lock+ replaces the prior-generation Level Lock, and it uses that same unassuming design. Many smart locks are immediately recognizable as smart locks, but the...
eve outdoor cam

Review: Eve's Outdoor Floodlight Camera Offers Privacy-Focused HomeKit Secure Video

Thursday November 10, 2022 2:24 pm PST by
Eve back in May came out with the Eve Outdoor Floodlight camera, one of the only floodlight-enabled HomeKit Secure Video cameras that are on the market. I have been testing the camera for several months now to get a feel for how it works and whether it's worth investing in. Part of the reason that this review has taken so long is because the Eve Camera has some installation caveats that...
airpods pro 2

AirPods Pro 2 Reviews: Sound Quality, Noise Cancellation, and Battery Life Tested

Thursday September 22, 2022 6:08 am PDT by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro will begin arriving to customers and launch in stores on Friday, September 23. In advance, the first reviews of the wireless headphones have now been shared by select media publications and YouTube channels. Priced at $249, the second-generation AirPods Pro feature improved audio quality, longer battery life, and up to 2x as much noise cancellation...

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro hands snowflakes 1

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 1:55 pm PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2022 is no different. Even though Black Friday is officially over, we're still tracking notable offers on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like the iPhone 13. Note: MacRumors is an...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Although Black Friday is now technically over, many Apple products are still seeing major discounts through the weekend as we head into Cyber Monday. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale that's still available. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note:...
ipad holiday bulbs

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:25 pm PST by
Black Friday deals have been in full swing for the better part of a month, and even with the shopping holiday officially over, we're still seeing solid discounts on Apple devices. We're highlighting the best sales for all of Apple's product lines, and in this article you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with ...
airpods pro 2

Apple Engineer Addresses Lack of Lossless Support on New AirPods Pro

Friday November 25, 2022 2:58 am PST by
An Apple engineer has addressed the lack of lossless audio support in the second-generation AirPods Pro in a new interview. Current Bluetooth technology in the AirPods lineup means that Apple's audio products do not support Apple Music Lossless audio. Apple has previously hinted that it may develop its own codec and connectivity standard that builds on AirPlay and supports higher quality...
mac imac snowflakes

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 1:07 pm PST by
Our Black Friday coverage continues through the weekend with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
maxresdefault

Nothing Phone 1 Displays AirPods Battery Level After Latest OS Update

Friday November 25, 2022 3:33 am PST by
Nothing Phone 1 users today began receiving the Nothing OS 1.1.7 update, which adds support for displaying the battery percentage of connected AirPods, amongst other improvements and bug fixes. If you own a Nothing Phone 1, you can check for the OTA update by going to Settings -> System -> System updates. Bear in mind that as support for displaying AirPods battery level is still an...
apple watch gold ornaments

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 9:31 am PST by
We're tracking all of the best Apple product discounts for Black Friday as they continue through the weekend, and the Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, so you're guaranteed to find solid discounts right now. In this article, you'll discover the best Black Friday sales on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate...