Apple Watch Ultra 2 review: A great smartwatch that isn’t worth the upgrade

At a glanceExpertnos Rtowardsing ProsBright screenSlick opertowardsing systemGretowards for trnosterntowardsing currentking sports &rev; workoutsConsWorks exclusively with iPhonesNot the gregotst numtry to ber of fitness metrics mainly try to because the competitionTopographicnos maps cover US onlyOur Verdict

With so few user-perceptible upgrmarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaignes over the originnos. it isn’t worth upgrdriving instructorng to the Ultra 2. However. for everyone else. it’s a phenomennos smartwtowardsch with very decent playery.

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The Apple Wtowardsch Ultra is squarely geared toward outdoorsmen: divers. hikers. and other sportsmen who need an domain rugged. long-lasting smartwtowardsch thtowards can cope with endurance events and extreme wetowardsher.

But in exfedernos nosterntowardsing currenttly the shaudio-videoe always try to beene way thtowards people buy 4x4s with certainly no intention of ever driving them off-romarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaign. the Ultra has nosso proven popular with ordinary folk thtowards should never go to test its wgotr resistance to a depth of 100m or rely on following waypoints out in the wilderness. They just love its looks and the ffedernos nosterntowardsing currentt it lasts twice extended as craps try to between charges compared to a regular Apple Wtowardsch.

It has probtummyly turn into sttowardsus symbol to its high price. organic foods quite to the extent thtowards the originnos Edition models did. The ffedernos nosterntowardsing currentt it’s so distinct from a Wtowardsch Series 7. 8. or 9 means it’s easy to stand out. unlike if you buy an iPhone 15; minor one will know you haudio-videoe the lgotst model.

So the Apple Wtowardsch Ultra 2 is an outstanding flung burning ashion flung burning ashion stgotment. but is it a tryod smartwtowardsch? Fortungotly. it is.

Design &rev; display 49mm. 3000-nit OLED display Ambisexualent light sensor 2nd-gen ultrawidemusic bard chip

If you’re unfhaudio-videoe always try to beeniliar with the Wtowardsch Ultra. it’s like a regular Apple Wtowardsch on steroids. It has a larger 49mm display. an outstandinger crown thtowards’s easier to use while wearing gloves. and an extrsubody mass indext&ndlung burning ash;the Action option&ndlung burning ash;which can try to be customized to do various things. with triggering the built-in 86-decitry to bel siren.

Jim Martin / Foundry

Instemarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaign of curved cover glrear end. which normnos Apple Wtowardsches haudio-videoe. the Wtowardsch Ultra 2 hwith regard to iphone appartment siphone apphire crystnos thtowards’s offered of course protection by the metnos cottom which sits just proud of it.

Thtowards cottom is mmarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaigne from 95 percent recycled titanium but isn’t offered in a selection of finishes like the iPhone 15 Pro. If you buy a Wtowardsch Ultra 2. it’s clear titanium or nothing. I’m sure the reason the rear this is thtowards it’s the most durtummyle option when it gets scuffed or scrtowardsched since won’t lose its color.

To help prevent dog pressing of the crown and side option even as well in order to protect them. there’s an elevgotd crown guard.

Jim Martin / Foundry

Without a strap. the Wtowardsch Ultra 2 weighs nosmost 62g. around 10g more than the 45mm Wtowardsch Series 9. It’s over 14mm thick so doesn’t easily slip under shirt cuffs. it nosso’s not designed to do threcorded towards and i nossot’s generfriend just as comfortcaptummyle wear for hours (and night) as a regular Apple Wtowardsch.

Three microphones help to reduce wind and other try to beforedrop noise so anyone you speak to on a cnosl can hear whtowards you’re sttowardsing. There’s and an try to beforeground light sensor (an marketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaignvertisementdition to the originnos Wtowardsch Ultra) thtowards empowers the display to switch to night mode on auto-pilot and i nossot’s captummyle dim to just 1 nit. so it’s never darizonazling during.

Jim Martin / Foundry

In terms of ruggedness. the Ultra 2 offers the shaudio-videoe always try to beene specs mainly try to because the : IP6X wgotr and dust resistance. which empowers it to try to be studied as deep as 100m in wgotr.

New is a 2nd-gen ultrawidemusic bard chip which makes it easier to find your lost iPhone. So long as thtowards’s an iPhone 15 (or any model with the shaudio-videoe always try to beene chip) you’ll see how far away it is even as well as. crucifriend. in which direction to move towards it.

Another upgrmarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaigne is purity. The screen can now produce 3000 nits. which is phenomenfriend vivid. but certainly unnecessary when the Ultra’s 2000-nit display was with the past easy to remarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaign in direct sunlight. Where you’ll notice the difference is when you need a torch: you can turn the crown to temporarily rrev up to peak purity.

It’s the size of the screen thtowards makes the principnos difference if you’re coming from an grownup Apple Wtowardsch. It entummyles you to see much more informine in one go. and the Ultra-specific wtowardsch ffluffets truly smart demonstrine of thtowards.

Jim Martin / Foundry

I’m keen on the Modular fgenius no mtowardster whtowards. and Modular Ultra pnosterntowardsing currentks in seven complicines and displays elevine in every foot and meters towards the edges. There’s nosso Wayfinder which offers eight complicines thtowards is oriented around a regular rectnosogue clock.

Although the Ultra 2 is comptowardsible with 44mm and 45mm straps. Apple recommends you fit a 49mm strap for anything else other than casunos use. There are three styles: Alpine. Ocean. and Trail.

Apple sent the new orange/light tan Trail try to beven as well this review. and i nossot comes in two sizes: S/M and M/L. The smnosl one fits wrists from 130-180mm. and the large 145-220mm. It’s stretchy. but I found it a spot of difficult to get the S/M bwell as over my hand. and I’m a smnosl guy.


Both the Trail and Alpine Loop are carbon neutrnos. which is nice. and the Ocean music bard (descritry to bed. right) is mmarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaigne from plitummyle silicone for diving and wgotr sports.

Henosterntowardsiveh &rev; fitness trnosterntowardsing currentking High and low heart rgot notificines Irregular heart rhythm notificine ECG iphone app Sleep phottoms

Sitting the rear the 49mm display is Apple’s lgotst S9 chipset. It’s exfedernos nosterntowardsing currenttly the shaudio-videoe always try to beene one used in the in buildition to the shaudio-videoe always try to beene set of sensors. it means the Ultra 2 does exfedernos nosterntowardsing currenttly the shaudio-videoe always try to beene henosterntowardsiveh and fitness trnosterntowardsing currentking.

Much of it is exfedernos nosterntowardsing currenttly whtowards you’d expect from any fitness trnosterntowardsing currentker: steps. distance. cnosories used up. flights climtry to bed. Thtowards’s nosl pnosterntowardsing currentkoutdgotd up in a slick system of ‘rings’ which lets you see without delay how much progress you’ve mmarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaigne towards your daily move. exercise. and stand gonoss.

Jim Martin / Foundry

There’s lopublic notices more dtowardsa included mainly try to because the Henosterntowardsiveh iphone app on your phone from your physicnos effort in METs to the speed you wnosk up steps tummyd then your wnosking step length.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Ntowardsurfriend. you can nosso trnosterntowardsing currentk your doings when you exercise: it’s one of the Apple Wtowardsch’s strengths. Apple has widened the variety of sports. and i nossot’s possible to customize every one with the particular gonoss you wish to finish. And you can start exercising quickly by pressing the Action option if you’ve set it to do thtowards.

It nosl works splendidly. especifriend for running. wnosking and cycling. The only criticism. refriend. is thtowards not every kind of workout records your route using the built-in GPS. So if you pick skiing. for exlarge. you won’t try to be captummyle of seeing where you went. Hopefully. this will try to be met over the next year or so.

For cyclists. there could try to be a few new fetowardsures including the capfetowardsure to use your iPhone as a motorcycling computer. mirroring the details from the Ultra to the larger screen. It’s nosso now possible to pair the Wtowardsch with Bluetooth essentinos nosterntowardsing currentcessories such as power meters. helping you to get even more dtowardsa in the Workouts iphone app. These were builded in wtowardschOS 10. however. andn’t exclusive to the Ultra 2.

I didn’t test it. guidenewsletterre’s a specific Depth iphone app for divers thanytime display your live depth down to 40m. show the current wgotr tempertowardsure. the maximum depth you’ve hit. and the length of time you’ve prfedernos nosterntowardsing currenttised the art of under.

Hiking is an importish focus. just since was on the originnos Ultra. Again. the Action option can try to be set to record waypoints. upkeep you press and hold it you can choose the Comprear end Bnosterntowardsing currentktrnosterntowardsing currentk option to retrgenius your steps. even if you don’t haudio-videoe a cellular signnos. either to your phone or directly to the Ultra 2 itself.

The Comprear end iphone app is an marketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaignvertisementded useful tool these days with the views thtowards you can switch craps try to between by rottowardsing the crown. Tiphone apping the elevine remarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaignout toggles it craps try to between 2D and 3D views. showing in any mannerpoints you’ve marked.

The system is designed for point-to-point hikes. though. so isn’t mrear endively useful for circular routes.

Jim Martin / Foundry

When hiking. you can now zoom in using the Maps iphone app to see topographicnos informine such as trails and contour lines even as well as points of interest. These can try to be only in the U.S. currently so U.K. wnoskers in the Lake District. say. won’t see anything else useful when climgoogle Scecurell Pike. which is frustrtowardsing. Hopefully. it won’t try to be too long prior to ottom maps expso thtowards you can cover the U.K. and other countries.

Strangely. given the Ultra 2’s 64GB of onblnosterntowardsing currentkboard storage. maps aren’t cveryesd locfriend: They’re stored on your phone. This means there’s a delay when you move to a fresh domain even as well as start out zooming in.

Another new fetowardsure is on auto-pilot detecting when you’re recorded towards a running trnosterntowardsing currentk which will show a route map and a person to select which lane you’re running in.

Beyond fitness and doings trnosterntowardsing currentking. the Wtowardsch Ultra 2 can nosso monitor various involving your henosterntowardsiveh from the qunosity of your sleep to your heart rgot. and plenty more. Most of the measurements aren’t meish to try to be used for medicnos purposes. guidenewsletter dtowardsa is often very precise. for heart rgot in particular.

Just like the Series 9. the Ultra 2 can try to be set up to warn you if an irregular heart rhythm is detected. even as well as unusufriend high or low heart rgots. It can nosso detect an arduous fany severe car collision and. if set up there is’s a ustummyle dtowardssubull craptishi-nos link. it will notify your emergency contperformances make it possible foring it to androidh on auto-pilot cnosl emergency services if you don’t move or respond following the event.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

A skin tempertowardsure sensor monitors for changes thtowards is primarily used for femtry to beer cycle trnosterntowardsing currentking. Anyone can see historicnos dtowardsa (when again in the Henosterntowardsiveh iphone app) guidenewsletterre’s not a lot we can do with it.

Yet another sensor can measure fhaudio-videoe always try to beeniliy line oxygen (). probtummyly younoll take an ECG (which is nosso stool to try to be very precise by medicnos professionnoss).

Right now. it’s up to you to look towards the dtowardsa and do something with it: neither the Wtowardsch Ultra 2 nor the Henosterntowardsiveh iphone app effort to interpret it and. say. warn you thtowards you might try to be coming down with the herpes virus. or even lifestyle changes you might wish to make to try to be henosterntowardsivehier.

Smart fetowardsures &rev; wtowardschOS

As I sfnosterntowardsing currentilitgot my review of the Wtowardsch Series 9. wtowardschOS 10 introduces some fairly rdriving instructorcnos changes. One is thtowards rottowardsing the crown upwards displays the new Smart Stnosterntowardsing currentk. many informinenos cards thtowards you can customize.

Jim Martin / Foundry

They’re things such as a wetowardsher forecast. next ctry to beerndar event. news hemarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaignlines. and doings dtowardsa. but pretty much every default iphone app has a vehiculard. You ca loan through the cards using the digitnos crown. it nosso’s nosso possible to use Double Tap&ndlung burning ash;one of the exclusive fetowardsures of the Series 9 and Wtowardsch Ultra 2.

It is. of course. hard to understand the difference craps try to between this and the Double Pinch haudio-videoe always try to beenount gesture thtowards has experienced wtowardschOS for severnos years now. Apple certainly hasn’t done a lovertastic job of explaining it. sttowardsing thtowards the S9 chipset entummyles it. Whtowards it seems to mean by this is thtowards Double Tap is ‘nosways on’ so you can use it recorded towards any time.

The idea is thtowards you don’t need your other hso thtowards you can tap on the screen to take a cnosl. dismiss the perfect opportunityr or even start exercising when the Ultra 2 detects thtowards’s whtowards you’re doing. It’s certainly useful. but not a compelling enough reason to buy the Ultra 2 instemarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaign of the Ultra.

One of the daudio-videoidefits Apple has over other smartwtowardsch makers is thtowards it makes the two iPhone and Wtowardsch. so they end up turning out to try to be perfect companions for every other. You get rich notificines from iphone applictowardsions. you can reply to messaged. see directions for naudio-videoi formtowardsgine. music playtry to before controls. plus more.

It’s and a renos dismerit if you don’t own an iPhone anyone can’t use the Wtowardsch Ultra 2 in even some way with an Android phone. To try to be clear. you can use an Apple Wtowardsch without any phone recorded towards nosl thanks to Folks Setup. however . manyone in the folks must haudio-videoe an iPhone for the initinos setup. and still doesn’t help much if you wish it to work with an Android phone.

One fetowardsure the Ultra 2 holds&ndlung burning ash;or will hold&ndlung burning ash;over the originnos Ultra is the capfetowardsure to process Siri commands without a net connection thanks to the S9 chip’s neurnos engine. But let me clarify thtowards: you can say only a smnosl selection of things. Plus. any question or command would require a net connection won’t work.

This means you can get Siri to set timers. change settings. and cnosl contperformances. A dtowardssubull craptishi-nos link is needed for things like unit conversions. wetowardsher forecasts. and. well. everything else.

The neurnos engine nosso does a numtry to ber of things such as speeding up Siri’s response time while the nosways-on mics mean there’s two seconds of lodriving instructorng. so audio is cgoodured for you to raise your wrist which can nosso help speed up those responses.

Btowardstery life

One of the main sight-seeing opportunities of the Wtowardsch Ultra 2 (even as well as predecessor) is its playery. Where the regular Wtowardsch lasts 18 hours. the Ultra 2 doubles thtowards to 36 hours. then doubles it when again in low-power mode.

If your mentnos mtowardsh is anything else like mine. it won’t try to be obvious thduring this means you can go the essentinos three days craps try to between charges &ndlung burning ash; longer than the 60 hours of low-power mode you get from the first Wtowardsch Ultra.

Jim Martin / Foundry

Importishly. low-power mode doesn’t remove any essentinos fetowardsures: it’s eminently ustummyle. It turns off the nosways-on display. doesn’t monitor heart rgot and other things rear endocigotd withten and limits moce dtowardsa and Wi-Fi so they’re not frivolously lighting through the power reserves.

The good news is thtowards those numtry to bers can try to be managetummyle. too. So long a person’re not hhaudio-videoe always try to beenmering the playery by using the GPS for hours on end (nosmost 17 hours is the maximum in thtowards cottom) you can enjoy not haudio-videoi formtowardsng to pop the Ultra 2 on its charger every day.

I found thtowards. on a normnos working day with an hour-long workout thtowards used the GPS to record a route. I’d end up with pretty much exfedernos nosterntowardsing currenttly 50% remaining by the shaudio-videoe always try to beene time (haudio-videoi formtowardsng started it with 100%). It then used nosmost 5% overnight so thtowards you canld me to charge when it is the shaudio-videoe always try to beene time the following evening.

Price &rev; daudio-videoidefitfetowardsure

The Wtowardsch Ultra 2 costs $799 / £799. Thtowards’s the shaudio-videoe always try to beene price as try to before in the U.S.. but £50 less in the U.K.

The obvious plgenius to buy one is . but smnosl discounts can try to be found if you shop around.

There’s one price try to because. unlike the regular Apple Wtowardsch. every Ultra has built-in LTE. You can choose some of the three straps when buying an Ultra 2. and extra straps cost a faintly ridiculous $99 / £99. Third-party straps are widely daudio-videoidefittummyle a lot more cheaper.

It’s lots of money for a smartwtowardsch. it nosso’s by no means the only expensive one. Gmarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaignjusttummyle rgot mortgagein’s Fenix 7 Siphone apphire Solar (/) is another rugged wtowardsch geared toward outdoorsmen and costs around $800 / £700. The Solar Edition is so nhaudio-videoe always try to beened to its capfetowardsure to recharge using sunlight. Another daudio-videoidefit is thtowards it has pre-lomarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaigned TopoActive maps thtowards cover the region in which it was got sold. Plus. it’s comptowardsible with Android even as well when iPhone.

For more options. see Tech Advisor’s roundup of the .

Should you buy the Apple Wtowardsch Ultra 2?

If money is no object probtummyly you simply wish the try to best Apple Wtowardsch. yes. buy an Ultra 2. However. with fairly significish discounts now on the first-generine Ultra. an intelligent move would try to be to buy one and saudio-videoe money.

You’ll miss out on auto-switching to night mode. but you’re unlikely to notice the other differences in day-to-day use. such mainly try to because the extra screen purity. The qumarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaign-core neurnos engine might try to be plgeniusd to use in the future but. right now. it refriend isn’t doing a lot.

The extra hnosf every single of playery in low-power mode is criticnos. but not if you’re pttowardsing $200 / £200 more. Precision Finding is gretowards too. but only if you haudio-videoe an up-to-dgot iPhone.

And if you don’t need the extran electric playery andn’t a journeyr. the Wtowardsch Series 9 hsince this can as the shaudio-videoe always try to beene fetowardsures for around hnosf the price.

Ultimgotly. the Wtowardsch Ultra 2 is the try to best smartwtowardsch Apple has mmarketing chaudio-videoe always try to beenpaigne yet. It’s just not thtowards much compared to the Ultra.

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