Apple Watch Ultra First Impressions: Not Just an Upgrade

The Apple Watch Ultra is now available to order in India, priced at Rs. 89,900. There aren’t any variants in terms of size or connectivity but you do have a few options when it comes to straps. This price might seem outrageous, especially when there are plenty of options priced well under Rs. 5,000 in the market right now. But the Apple Watch Ultra isn’t any ordinary smartwatch. It’s designed specifically for adventure sports and survival, and there’s nothing else quite like it.

The Apple Watch Ultra is huge and heavy, compared to previous models. It’s designed to be rugged and easy to operate with gloves on or in harsh conditions. It also has the biggest and brightest screen of any Apple Watch to date so that you can see information about your surroundings or your current activities at a glance. Of course this makes it quite chunky and at just over 60g, you’ll definitely be aware of it on your wrist at all times.

The 49mm casing is made of titanium and unlike with other Apple Watches, the screen is completely flat with a metal rim around it, protecting the corners. The screen itself is made of sapphire crystal. Apple has managed an IP6X rating which means this device is somewhat dust-resistant. For those stranded outdoors, there’s an 86db alarm.

While other models are described as “swimproof”, the Watch Ultra is also EN13319 certified and water resistant up to 100m so it can be used for recreational dives. In fact, it has a depth gauge and water temperature sensor, so you’ll see third-party apps that take advantage of this specifically for divers. There’s even a strap specifically designed for divers.

The Apple Watch Ultra’s display is larger and has a higher resolution than any other model. This allows for more activity parameters to be shown right on the dial, with as many as eight slots for complications. It’s also brighter, at up to 2000nits. A special visibility mode turns the entire display a bright monochromatic red if needed.

The digital crown is larger with more pronounced grooves, and side button is also raised, to make them easier to use with gloves. There’s also an additional customisable Action Button. This device also features dual speakers and a three-mic array for better audio on calls and with Siri.

The customisable Action button is exclusive to the Apple Watch Ultra and lets you trigger commands in apps in challenging conditions


Battery life is claimed to be up to 36 hours, thanks to the larger body. Apple will also roll out new low power mode with a software update, and you should be able to get up to 60 hours per charge, though that will be with many functions disabled.

Beyond these specialised design elements and features, the Apple Watch Ultra does everything its more mainstream siblings can, including everyday health monitoring with ECG and blood oxygen measurement, and sleep tracking. Of course there are loads of apps that you can use, Apple’s multitude of services, and Siri for voice commands.

A temperature sensor gives this generation of Apple Watches even more insight, particularly into cycle tracking for women. All new Apple Watches can detect car crashes thanks to advanced sensors and machine learning.

Apple has developed its own S8 processor, which is common across this generation of watches. You also get 32GB of storage for apps and offline music. The Apple Watch Ultra features dual-band GPS and there’s no option without cellular connectivity. You also get Bluetooth 5.3 and Ultra Wideband for precise location and orientation detection.

Unlike with its iPhones, Macs, and AirPods, Apple isn’t calling this new watch a “Pro” model since it isn’t just a more premium version of the standard Apple Watch for those who can afford it. This is a very niche, purpose-built device and will likely not appeal to anyone who loves having the latest and greatest products. For that, there’s still the stainless steel version of the Apple Watch Series 8, which can cost just as much or more depending on what size and strap you choose.

Full reviews of the Apple Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch Series 8 are coming up soon on Gadgets 360. 

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