Apple Watch Ultra Unboxing and Hands-On

It’s the official launch day for Apple’s latest and greatest product, the Apple Watch Ultra. We took one of the new watches to check out the features and compare it to the Apple Watch Series 8 to see if it’s worth the upgrade.

The Apple Watch Ultra is Apple’s largest watch to date, at 49mm, a full 4mm larger than the 45mm Apple Watch Series 8. It can look big depending on the size of your wrist, plus it’s thicker than you might expect. If you can comfortably wear a 45mm Apple Watch, the “Apple Watch Ultra” might not seem overly large, but it sits higher.

They’re heavier than the 45mm Apple Watch Series 8, but not so much that it’s noticeable. For a 41mm Apple Watch, it may seem too big, but it depends on personal preference. Apple says the Ultra will fit wrists as small as 130mm.

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Apple has designed durable bands for the Apple Watch Ultra, and we chose the Alpine Loop and Ocean Band. The alpine loop is similar to the sports loop, but has two layers and a similar texture to the now discontinued woven bands. Ocean Loop is a kind of ribbed sports band that has a bit of stretch.

In terms of feature set, Apple designed the “Apple Watch Ultra” for “adventurers and explorers,” so it has some semi-niche options that the average user might never need, such as the Depth diving app. The new Compass app has a more versatile appeal with the ability to set waypoints and use Backtrack if you’re in danger of getting lost, which is handy even for casual hikes. The built-in siren, exclusive to Ultra, is surprisingly loud and can be handy even in urban environments.

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The WayFinder “Apple Watch Ultra” watch face offers tons of information with room for eight extensions, and a dark mode that shows the watch face in red is an option we wish we had for more watch faces.

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Apple has added a large orange button on the side of the “Apple Watch Ultra” called the “Action” button, and you can map it to various Ultra features for quick access even if you’re wearing gloves. It can start workouts, set waypoints in the Compass app, activate shortcuts, turn on the flashlight, and more.

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The Digital Crown has also been made more accessible with larger lugs that make it easier to use when you’re wearing gloves, and speaker quality has been improved with the addition of additional speakers.

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For the feature set on offer, the “Apple Watch Ultra” is surprisingly affordable, especially when it’s rumored to cost around $1,000. Even if you don’t travel regularly, the Apple Watch Ultra has options that are nice to have just in case, so it might be worth picking up if it suits your wrist and your lifestyle.

Do you have an “Apple Watch Ultra”? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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