KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is a funny beast because on paper it’s pretty much almost the same device as the first Watch Ultra.
You can scoff at the price and the name but at the heart of the Watch Ultra 2 is what you wish all Apple Watches were like ― a battery that lasts for days, a screen that is bright and large enough to let you see a lot of information at a glance and durable enough to withstand a lot of torment.
What’s new, old (new) friend?
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 has a new processor, the S9, that not only promises more power efficiency but this time enables the double tap gesture that’s only available with the Ultra 2 and the Series 9 Apple Watch, that shares the same processor.
It’s also a lot brighter with 3,000 nits so it’s a lot more viewable at night and out in harsh sunlight which is nice for us users with terrible eyesight.
I have my reservations about the double tap gesture. It does have a bit of a learning curve and I’m glad that I messed about with it in the privacy of my home as onlookers would probably think I was mad, constantly tapping my thumb and finger together.
How it works is that you can use the gesture as a shortcut to open an app or scroll through designated displays ― check your appointments, look at the weather or just get to all apps screen without needing to scroll or touch the side buttons.
Still the feature wasn’t made for me particularly but is more an accessibility feature, though I suppose if you do get used to it, it might be quicker as a means to answer an incoming phone call quickly on your watch.
I would have liked to say that I managed to go on a few excursions with it but time and weather constraints thanks to the current monsoon season made it difficult.
“Journalist slides off a hillside testing a watch” is not how I’d like to go, thanks.
I'll have a few free days soon, so look out for a TikTok or short article or two in the works on using the Apple Watch Ultra 2 to stay safe outdoors.
So I've basically just been running, walking and training on the exercise bike and coming from the previous Apple Watches there's just something more the Watch Ultra 2 brings to the table.
I don't have to worry about my watch running out of battery when I'm doing my weekly hourly run or when I'm going about my day outside on errands, doing yard work and then sneaking in a workout.
Then after wiping down my watch, I can just sleep with it on, do my Breathing exercises in the morning, check my Health trends and see if I'm reaching my fitness goals.
Personally I don't always fixate on closing my RIngs; I prefer choosing my own goals though I do prioritise closing my Exercise ring on a daily basis.
It's taken a whole darn year but my resting heart rate is now in the 60s instead of 70s after being stuck in the 70―high 80s range and being able to monitor my fitness stats as well as see the changes has been beneficial overall.
Yes, you can do this with a Series 9 but with the Watch Ultra 2 you don't need to rush to the nearest charger to have enough battery to last you through the night or through an intensive workout.
It's also nice that the Watch Ultra 2 is as durable as the Ultra; put them side-by-side and you can't tell between them, as even after a year of occasionally bumping into concrete walls, tripping on tree roots on trails and other mishaps, the first Watch Ultra is pristine.
I think one of the advantages of the Watch Ultra 2 is that just by changing the watch strap it's presentable enough for non-sporting events.
The larger watch face looks good with steel straps, of which there are many affordable options online. Personally I prefer the standard Trail Loop band on most occasions as it's good at wicking sweat, is easy to clean and does not aggravate my reactive skin.
If you go hiking however the Alpine Loop is a better option as a regular elastomeric band could come loose, as could the Trail Loop. The Alpine Loop is a lot tougher and will stay on your wrist when you need it to, especially if you're turning on the alarm for assistance or need to use the compass or Wayfinder tracking.
If you see mountains in your future, the Watch Ultra 2 has now expanded its operating altitude from -500 metres to 9,000 metres, which is fairly impressive.
As for diving, there hasn't been that many changes on the watch itself besides support for the latest version of the Oceanic Plus app (also supported on the original Watch Ultra).
A nice, but non-essential upgrade
If you have the original Watch Ultra, I don't see a reason to upgrade unless you'll be going up Kilimanjaro or Everest some time.
The battery life is more or less the same (36 hours, with caveats depending on usage), the design is exactly the same and you still don't get downloadable offline maps usable without an iPhone nearby.
If however you're torn between a more serious watch from the likes of Garmin or the Watch Ultra, ask yourself one question: do you want a watch mostly for serious sports or do you want a watch that will follow you everywhere, even to sleep?
If you can afford it, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is still the best Apple Watch if you can stomach the RM3,799 price tag. Otherwise, if you don't dive or scale mountains/are an active hiker the Series 9 or even the more affordable SE could be good bets ― so long as you're in the Apple ecosystem.
Android users can consider the Amazfit range if you're on a budget or if you're on Samsung, the Galaxy Watch range might be the better fit.
@ernamh today in I have no idea what I’m doing - the Apple Watch Ultra 2 #applewatchultra2 #applewatch #apple #unboxing #tech Memories - RIIZE