Apple Watch Ultra… A Few Thoughts

I’ve been very happy with my Series 4 and had no intention on replacing it just yet. But, as we all know minds do change. So, what exactly, could make me pull the trigger on the Apple Watch Ultra when I truly didn’t need to? Titanium! Do I really need to say more? Ok, Maybe just a few words. Titanium is super strong. I’m talking about high-grade, high-tensile stregth steel type strong. It’s light weight (about 40% lighter than steel) and more durable. It’s also more resilient to corrosion compared to aluminum and even more so than steel. Excellent for long runs, hikes, etc. Especially, so, when you have to count weight for long hiking and camping trips or you’re going to be in more extreme conditions. This also includes body chemistry and pain old sweat and perspiration that can slowly eat away at the outer protective finish and then underlying material itself. It doesn’t need fancy colors to make it look good. Titanium has its own natural silvery-grey color which looks good plain as it is. And most importantly, it’s the only material I like as much as carbon fiber. Ok… All jokes aside. I do have a very long history of using titanium so I know just how durable this material is. So, when I say that the characteristics of titanium make it a fantastic material for a watch I really mean it.

The hardware looks and feels good and so far I have no reason to doubt it’s quality. As someone who is unintentionally rough on watches even when I try not to be; wearing rugged hardware is all the more important. If it’s on my wrist, it’s inevitably going to run into a door knob, stairwell handrail, the hard edge of a wall or some other random object. I’m like one of those people who are accident prone but with watches, they just can’t help themselves. I have never actually broken a watch but I do wear them out rather quickly. As proven by my steel Apple Watch which has a noticeable (at least to me) dent in it that I don’t know how it got there at all. Also, and as of this writing the Ultra already met a wall (told you it would) at work and survived a training course. The Titanium case of the Ultra should and hopefully will stand up much better over the long term. To aid with that the overall design I believe will also help as the display is now recessed into the case making it totally tabletop flat which should reduce the sapphire screen from being accidentally hit as much.

The next thing is the size of the watch itself. It’s big but it’s also not ginormous for a watch either. Prior to smartwatches, I have always worn a Casio G-Shock watch which is typically large. So, the Ultra was like coming back home to an old friend. The larger display makes it much easier to use and the always on display allows me to see the time without having to raise my hand. For example, as I’m typing this out, I can simply glance at the watch without stopping to raise my hand off the keyboard for the watch display to turn on. While I never had an issue doing so this feature simply makes it just as convenient as any non-smartwatch I’ve owned before. I know this feature has been out since the Series 6 but it’s new to me and it’s a nice little feature that just makes sense on a watch.

Let’s take a closer look at watch bands as I’m pretty sure many of you Apple Watch owners also did. Starting with what I think is the most important point one could make. Apple made changing the watch band a breeze from day one and thankfully has kept compatibility ever since. The only thing that has changed over the years is the size of the Watch and therefore the size of connector. Although, the Ultra measures in at 49mm, it is still compatible with all the previous bands that are 45mm and 44mm and the same applies in reverse. Bonus: Although Apple no longer sells the 42mm size watches or bands, the 42mm bands still work too. So if you still have any as I do, they do fit perfectly. This is a win, win for everyone.

I purchased the Ultra with the Yellow Ocean Band for one purpose only. No, I don’t go deep sea diving, at least I haven’t yet, but I do go go swiming at the beach during the summer or when I go away on vacation. Having a watch band that I don’t have to worry about when swimming no matter the type of water is always a good thing. This new type of band is perfect for just that. It’s softer, more flexible and has some stretch to it if you need to really tighten it down on your wrist. Since swimming is not an everyday activity for me, getting it free with the watch just made sense. I wasn’t going to spend $100 on something I use only a few times out the year if I don’t have to. I’d rather spend that kind of money on a watch band I’m going to use often.

On the software side waypoints and backtrack while not exclusive to the Ultra it does tie everything together with how the watch is being marketed. That being said, living here in a big city such as New York this may not seem like a big deal. But we do have trails and not all of them are properly marked. Then, there are also times when I’m out walking around and pass something or some place I’d like to come back to later in the day but then couldn’t retrace my steps to exaclty where the place was. Using either of these features makes doing that possible. So there are other reasons outside of trails that makes these nice feature to have on a watch.

The last thing that peaked my attention was the price. If you add up all the new features and functions on top of what the Apple Watch already does and the watch itself; the price tag is pretty good. Especially, considering you also get a watch band of your choice at no additional cost. All day battery life is something I for one really need so 36 hours under regular use is really appreciated. While there are ways the Ultra could be better, I think it’s mostly software related that can be done over time. The Action button for example should be able to be used with more functions along with Digital Crown. To be a true contender in the dedicated sports watch arena that should be a Apple’s first priority.

As you can see I focused mostly on the hardware because that is what was most important to me. Software can always be improved and at the moment I didn’t have the time to properly test it out enough to speak on it more intelligently. The Ultra is a great buy if it fits your needs. It’s a good enthusiast sports watch for people who need one a little more durability and capability above or below water than the steel or aluminum versions can provide.


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