Apple Watch Ultra: Is It Right for You?

Nobody can deny that the Apple Watch is popular; it’s had the highest market share (34.1% in 2022) for years. That’s because users know and trust its excellent capabilities and features. But Apple took a significant leap forward with the release of the Apple Watch Ultra. But what is this new smartwatch, and who is it for?

The Apple Watch Ultra is a version of the Apple Watch that’s made for extreme fitness and sports. It has specialized features for hikers, runners, and divers, like three custom straps, dual-frequency GPS, a bigger screen, titanium casing, longer battery life, and a built-in siren, among others.

The Apple Watch Ultra is an incredibly powerful sports watch that offers many benefits over the other Apple Watch models, though it’s mainly targeted at very active users. Let’s look at its features in more detail.

What Cool Things Can Apple Watch Ultra Do?

Apple reserved some features for this Ultra model of its Apple Watch. The result is that you can do some cool things with it that other smartwatches can’t do.

Customizable Action Button

The Apple Watch Ultra has an Action button that you can customize to your requirements. You can use it to start tracking a run instantly or to switch between activities during a triathlon. You can also turn on a flashlight, set a GPS waypoint, start a stopwatch, or access a Siri shortcut. This button makes it incredibly easy to quickly access features that you would typically need a menu for.

Access Monitoring

The Watch Ultra has incredible heart monitoring features, including an ECG or EKG app. It can also detect when you fall or are in a car crash or when your blood oxygen or body temperature reaches dangerous levels.

Get Emergency Response

Your Watch Ultra will let you make emergency calls and send out SOS signals with the built-in emergency siren. It emits the international morse code SOS signal at 86 decibels, which is loud enough to hear from approximately 600 feet (182 meters) away.

Make Better Phone Calls

The Watch Ultra comes with a three-microphone array and uses intelligent noise filtering to determine which microphone will offer the best sound quality in your current conditions. Making phone calls in windy conditions is much easier and offers far better quality with the Apple Watch Ultra than with other models.

Is Apple Watch Ultra Good For Athletes?

The standard Apple Watch is a smartwatch, but the Apple Watch Ultra is a sports watch. Its features are optimized for all kinds of athletes. Some of the aspects that make it perfect include the following:

  • It has L1 and L5 dual-frequency GPS to improve location accuracy, even when surrounded by tall buildings or foliage.
  • Its casing is made of titanium, which makes it deceptively light to wear but robust enough to handle the bumps and scratches that inevitably happen to athletes.
  • It has a multisport mode that automatically switches between different activities.
  • The Watch Ultra has advanced running metrics, including ground contact time, power, and vertical oscillation.
  • It allows you more flexibility to customize your workouts.
  • The digital crown extends further from the watch, making it easier to use while running, diving, or wearing gloves.
  • You get three custom straps for the Watch Ultra, each with a particular use case in mind:
    • The Ocean Band is for swimming or diving, as it can stretch over a wetsuit.
    • The Alpine Loop is rugged enough for any hiking or climbing activities.
    • The Trail Loop is made for comfort while you’re running or cycling, and it’s also the most practical strap for everyday use.

Is Apple Watch Ultra Better Than Series 8?

In certain use cases, especially sports, the Apple Watch Ultra is a much better option than the Series 8. The added features may be unnecessary for many people, and its bigger size and the more significant price tag could even make it less ideal. But on a purely technical level, it is a much better watch with many added features:

  • The Watch Ultra has dual-frequency (L1 and L5) GPS, while the Series 8 only has L1.
  • Watch Ultra has a more durable titanium casing.
  • Series 8 offers an excellent 18 hours of battery life and 36 hours in low-power mode. Watch Ultra, on the other hand, has 36 hours of battery life and up to 60 hours in low-power mode.
  • The Watch Ultra has built-in cellular capabilities, while it’s an optional extra with the Series 8.
  • The Watch Ultra’s bigger screen allows up to eight complications, while the Series 8 only allows three.
  • The Series 8’s screen is quite bright, with a maximum brightness level of 1,000 nits. The Ultra doubles that with a maximum brightness of 2,000 nits.
  • The Watch Ultra is optimized for sports and extreme activity, while the Series 8 is more of a day-to-day use smartwatch with fitness tracking capabilities.

So, in summary, the Apple Watch Ultra is a much better watch in most ways, but the differences might not be as practical for you as for others, and the Series 8 will be a better fit for some users.

Is Apple Watch Ultra Too Big?

This is a matter of personal preference. Some people find the Apple Watch too big, though large watches are pretty standard, especially in sports.

Most people fear that the watch will be too big to be practical for athletes, believing its size could make it uncomfortable to wear. And it appears that way when you see it the first time. But Apple struck an excellent balance between size and weight. The titanium casing makes the watch rugged but also surprisingly light to wear.

Despite its size, most people find the Apple Watch Ultra incredibly comfortable. The deciding factor will most likely be a matter of style rather than comfort in the end. If you don’t like big watches, the Watch Ultra could be too big for you.

Can I Shower With My Apple Watch Ultra?

The Apple Watch Ultra is water resistant up to 100 meters (ISO standard 22810:2010). It’s safe for some scuba diving and swimming. This means it’s perfectly safe to wear while you’re showering.

However, remember that you should not expose the watch to soap, shampoos, or other chemicals since these can sometimes have corrosive properties that could damage the watch or its electronics.

Can I Use Apple Watch Ultra Without iPhone?

The Apple Watch Ultra’s advanced GPS capabilities and cellular connectivity allow you to use it even without an iPhone nearby. However, since it’s still an Apple Watch at heart, and the Apple Watch range was developed to be a companion to the iPhone, its capabilities will be somewhat more limited. You also need an iPhone to configure its functions.

According to Apple, you can do the following on your Watch Ultra when you don’t have your iPhone with you:

  • Listen to music, podcasts, and audiobooks.
  • Record and play voice memos.
  • Access and use transit cards and student cards.
  • Find people, devices, and items with AirTags.
  • Use all watch features like the alarm clock, stopwatch, and world clock.
  • Look at photos from your synced photo album.
  • Use Apple Pay.
  • Check your calendar.
  • All activity tracking features.
  • Check all aspects of your health status, like heart rate, sleep schedule, and blood oxygen levels.
  • Measure sound levels from the environment or your headphones.

If you’re connected, you can also send messages, make and receive calls, add music to your library, and perform most of the functions you can access with any Apple Watch connected to a Wi-Fi network.


The Apple Watch Ultra is a significant upgrade from the standard Apple Watch. Most of the new features are only helpful to serious athletes, though, and the Ultra’s price tag will make it impractical for many average users. However, if you are into sports in a serious way, the Apple Watch Ultra will be a great addition to your daily life.

  • Levi Scott

    Levi Scott is a seasoned tech industry professional with a deep-rooted passion for technology, especially in the realm of wearables. His journey began with building DIY PCs, fostering a skillset that led him to work on innovative tech projects. Levi is adept at demystifying complex technologies and integrating them seamlessly into daily life.