Why the Apple Watch Ultra is my favorite Apple product in years

When Apple announced Apple Watch Ultra, I wrote it off as a device that wasn’t designed for me. I don’t run marathons. I don’t go diving or go on day hikes without cellular network. I’m an average user who occasionally exercises and goes on a few hikes a year. In other words, the fitness features are part of what I use on any smartwatch, not the driving force.

I also sit at a desk at work. I don’t subject my devices to harsh conditions, let alone need a titanium watch case that can take a beating.

Also Read :  Oculus creator makes virtual reality headset that intentionally kills people

Overview: I put the Apple Watch Ultra through heavy mud: Here’s how it held up

Because of how the Apple Watch Ultra was first announced and marketed, combined with the $799 price tag, I didn’t pre-order it.

But on the same morning that Apple Watch Ultra shipments were supposed to arrive and in-store availability began, I checked the inventory at my local Apple Store and they had a few hours in stock.

Also Read :  Features that Make a Mobile App User-Friendly

So on a whim, without thinking and contrary to everything I said after the presentation, I bought one. I found I could return it after testing; would at least have some perspective on what it’s like to use Ultra for future stories.

also: 25+ Apple Watch Black Friday Deals

Also Read :  Elon Musk cuts Twitter’s cloud infrastructure budget

After 48 hours I knew I wasn’t going to return the Ultra. It quickly became apparent that this isn’t just a watch for “athletes and adventurers,” as Apple says on the Ultra website.

And now, almost two full months after its release, the Apple Watch Ultra is one of my favorite products Apple has released in the last few years. Here’s why.

Apple Watch Ultra charges on the surface

Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Battery life is just right

I’ve never had a problem with the battery life of previous Apple Watch models. When sleep tracking was introduced, I changed my charging habits to charging the watch in the morning when I got ready, and I can’t recall a single instance of ending the day with a broken Apple Watch.

But there were close calls. And I took certain use cases or tasks into account to ensure the battery would last a full day of use.

With the Apple Watch Ultra, I don’t have to think about battery life every day. In fact, I’d say I charge my Ultra about every 2.5 days on average. And even then it’s not because the Ultra’s battery is about to die.

This is because before I go to sleep I get a warning that the battery won’t last all night while it tracks my sleep.

also: Use this trick to prevent your Apple Watch battery from draining

Just a few weeks ago I went out of town for the weekend. In the past, I’ve had to pack an Apple Watch charger and figure out when to charge my watch while traveling—a task that’s made more difficult when traveling because you’re constantly on the move.

But this time we didn’t even think about packing the charger. I knew that if I left town with a full battery, I could make it through the weekend without a low battery notification. And even if that somehow happened, WatchOS 9’s new low power mode would extend battery life until I got home.

I left with 100% charge and came home 36-some hours later with more than 30% charge; more than enough to monitor your sleep and recharge the next morning.

Apple Watch Ultra models side by side

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The screen is amazing

I’ve never had a problem with the screen size of the Apple Watch, especially with the increased size of the Apple Watch Series 7 to 45mm.

But the added screen size of the Apple Watch Ultra has changed my expectations of what I can and can’t do on the watch, from a device I use to view information to a device I actively seek to interact with.

The extra brightness of up to 2,000 nits ensures that I can see the watch face in direct sunlight and it is clear and legible. In short, the big screen is a game changer when it comes to using a small computer on your wrist.

Apple Watch and AirPods next to each other on the surface

Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Long battery life + bigger screen = iPhone for my wrist

The larger screen and longer battery life are two obvious reasons why you’ll love the Apple Watch Ultra. I am aware of that. But the combination of the two features feels like Apple is trying to turn the Apple Watch into an iPhone for your wrist. Rather than being a companion device like the Apple Watch has been up to this point, the Ultra can—and does—perform the basic iPhone tasks we rely on every day.

also: The Ultra is the Apple Watch I’ve always wanted, or so I thought

The list is long, but what I regularly use my Apple Watch Ultra for, whether my iPhone is nearby or not:

  • Make and receive phone calls (with and without AirPods connected to the watch)
  • Use Apple Maps for directions, phone numbers and business hours for local businesses
  • Messages app for exchanging text messages and iMessages. (Did you know you can attach pictures to an iMessage conversation or a new email on Apple Watch?)
  • Calendar and reminder apps to view and manage your agenda
  • Launch shortcuts for things like playing music, controlling my car, etc.

It is true that all these tasks are basic. But that’s exactly what makes them so great on the Apple Watch Ultra. Instead of thinking about texting someone, picking up my iPhone and then getting lost in Twitter for five minutes and forgetting what I’m about to do, I simply raise my wrist and speak to Siri or tap a few buttons on the screen to compose a message .

also: The best sports watches right now

And even better, I don’t need my iPhone with me at all. I can—and often do—leave my phone at home and rely on the Ultra’s cellular connection to stay connected while disconnecting from the extra apps and services that come with a full-fledged smartphone.

Another one of my favorite uses for the Ultra is walking and listening to the Time To Walk workout it’s part of Apple Fitness+ using mine AirPods Pro. This is something I used to do occasionally with my non-Ultra Apple Watch, but I found myself doing a lot more with the Ultra for no other reason than not having to worry about the impact on battery life.

The Ultra isn’t perfect, and it’s nowhere near ready to be a complete replacement for the iPhone. But it seems we’re closer than ever to a smartwatch that can replace the phone. And I, for one, can’t wait for that to happen.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button