We may have reviewed the Apple Watch Ultra back in September, but you didn’t think we were done, did you? The $799 Ultra was billed as the Apple Watch for outdoor adventurers and triathletes. So we spent the last three months devising a series of mini-reviews targeting several of the Ultra’s marquee features.
For starters, we wanted to see how well the Ultra’s revamped Compass app and 86db emergency siren worked on an off-the-grid hike. So, my colleagues Becca Farsace and Vjeran Pavic got lost with the Ultra in Yosemite National Park to test the limits of the Ultra’s navigational capabilities and its Backtrack feature. Plus, we pitted the Ultra’s Siren against a $4 safety whistle to see which had the wider range.
While I got to splash around a pool with the Ultra for our initial review, that’s not exactly a real test of how the Ultra works as a dive computer. The Oceanic Plus app finally launched last month, and while we don’t have a diver on the Verge staff, we enlisted the help of a professional to see how the Ultra fares deep underwater — and how it compares to a Garmin diving watch.
But say you’re not a hiker or a diver. The Ultra is supposed to be the ultimate smartwatch for any athlete. So to test its Action Button, battery, multiband GPS, and fitness tracking capabilities, Vjeran took the Ultra downs some slopes in Tahoe while I logged some serious miles running around the GPS nightmare that is New York City.
As for durability, we haven’t cracked the Ultra like we did the Pixel Watch. But that doesn’t mean it’s invincible. So we took the Ultra to the experts at iFixit to see how repairable the Ultra is in case something does happen.
So does the Ultra live up to the hype? Have any of our opinions changed after three months? You’ll have to check out the video to find out, but we encourage you to jump around to the sections you’re most interested in.