Does the Apple Watch Ultra have what it takes to become the queen of outdoor multisport watches?

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Apple inaugurates a new segment in its range of connected watches with the Watch Ultra, an outdoor multisport watch ready for extreme sports. A segment, however, occupied for a long time by several competitors…

Apple Watch Ultra

Introductory price €799


Apple Watch Ultra

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    999.00

  • AmazonAmazon

    999.00

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    999.00

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    999.00

  • Darty.comDarty.com

    999.00

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    1,005.95

How the pricing table works

Although the world of sport is no stranger to Apple, the Californian manufacturer’s connected watches have until now been intended more for fitness and running than for trail running and other outdoor sports, especially since until Series 7, Apple Watches weren’t known for their sturdiness. A lack that the Apple firm has decided to fill with its new Apple Watch Ultra model, a reinforced high-end watch, with a titanium case and sapphire crystal, targeting extreme sports enthusiasts. In doing so, Apple comes up against already well-established competition.

A versatile watch designed to withstand anything

With its Watch Ultra, Apple is not content to decline its Watch Series 8 in a sports version, it has designed a brand new case to meet more demanding practices, in particular outdoor sports, both land and water. Trail, mountaineering and even diving are thus targeted by Apple, which equips its Watch Ultra with enhanced resistance to shocks and scratches, the watch having obtained military certification MIL-STD-810H.

Apple Watch Ultra is also designed for diving.

Apple Watch Ultra is also designed for diving.

© Apple

On the sealing side, the Ultra meets the WR100 standard, meaning that it can operate up to a depth of 100 m; enough to indulge in scuba diving and not just a few apneas, unlike a Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro which highlights this practice, for example.

Garmin Enduro 2

Introductory price 1099.99 €


Garmin Enduro 2

In the absence of offers discover


Such attributes are not new on a watch and several manufacturers of sports watches (Garmin, Suunto, Polar, Coros, etc.) have models adapted to committed practices. The difference here is that the Apple Watch Ultra brings together in a single watch different practices and in particular diving, where manufacturers like Garmin multiply the specialized models: Fēnix for the trail, Enduro for the ultra trail, Descent for diving… Of course, a Garmin Descent takes over the functions available on a Fēnix to be used in the same way for running and you can swim or even dive with a Fēnix thanks to its 10 ATM resistance (100 m), but each model retains specific functions.

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Salvation through applications?

On Apple Watch Ultra, however, one wonders precisely about the ability of the watch to provide functions as advanced as on dedicated sports watches. Like its diving functions, which will go through the Oceanic+ application, the other specific functions of the watch can however be added by applications, a great strength of the Apple Watch compared to its competitors whose catalog of third-party applications is much more limited.

The same goes for specific training programs, especially running, as well as sports monitoring functions, which have been rather limited on Apple Watches so far. Fairly high-end dedicated sports watches currently have the advantage of compiling training data with sleep and heart rate monitoring data in order to provide recommendations for recovery and suitable exercises. We also think of effort management functions, such as Garmin Stamina, or even the training load found on other watches such as the Polar Grit X Pro and Suunto 9 Peak, for example. Points on which Apple has not insisted for the moment in its communication.

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The arrival of the watchOS 9 operating system will certainly bring more advanced functions for running and swimming, as well as better sleep tracking, but sports features and performance tracking still have a lot of room for improvement. .

Interesting features for the Apple Watch Ultra

Interesting features for the Apple Watch Ultra

© Apple

The Apple Watch Ultra could therefore well offer individually interesting functions for the practice of trail running, mountaineering or even diving, but it probably still has a long way to go to reach the level of functionality of the specialized watches that the industry experts have been tweaking for years. Wearing it to a target often accustomed to a sports ecosystem remains a challenge for Apple, especially since rival sports watches also work with accessories such as heart rate monitors, stride sensors, power sensors, pressure sensors, etc. Will the Apple Watch Ultra really be able to provide all the functions of these additional sensors?

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An exclusive template

With its large AMOLED screen and its features from the Apple Watch Series 8, the Apple Watch Ultra could also appeal to an audience that is not necessarily very sporty, but who wants to wear Apple’s most high-end watch on their wrist. A desire not necessarily so strong when we talk about its competitors who only rarely ship such beautiful screens – most are in transflective LCD technology, very readable in direct sunlight, but unflattering – and are struggling on the plan purely connected functions. Its closest rival in terms of display is undoubtedly the Garmin Epix Gen 2 with its round Amoled screen and its titanium bezel, which is quite elegant although resolutely sporty in its design.

Garmin Epix Gen 2

Introductory price €799.99

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    762.56

  • AmazonAmazon

    775.20

  • baker.combaker.com

    775.20

  • RakutenRakuten

    775.20

  • CdiscountCdiscount

    780.19

  • Fnac.com marketplaceFnac.com marketplace

    826.34

  • Cdiscount MarketplaceCdiscount Marketplace

    826.56

  • Amazon MarketplaceAmazon Marketplace

    840.56

  • ColizeyColizey

    858.57

  • Fnac.comFnac.com

    899.99

  • Darty.comDarty.com

    899.99

How the pricing table works

The main obstacle to this desire to wear the Apple Watch Ultra on a daily basis rather than an Apple Watch Series 8 will, however, come from its imposing size. With its unique 49 mm format, it will occupy the full width of many wrists and will even exceed some. In comparison, the Garmin Fēnix 7 and Epix Gen 2 are in 47 mm format, while a Suunto 9 Peak is content with 43 mm. The Apple Watch is not, however, the largest outdoor connected watch on the market, since the Coros Vertix 2 reaches 50 mm, while the Fēnix 7X climbs to 51 mm due in particular to its flashlight function.

The edges of the Apple Watch Ultra, with the orange action button

The edges of the Apple Watch Ultra, with the orange action button

© Apple

Still, Apple has probably not found a way to decline its watch in a more compact format. It will be enough for this first generation of Watch Ultra.

An autonomy that is still counted in hours

A more compact Apple Watch Ultra would have suffered from less autonomy. However, the other hobbyhorse of sports watch manufacturers remains autonomy. Owning a watch that is full of functions, but having to recharge it regularly is no longer an option for many practitioners who are now accustomed to sports watches that exceed a week of autonomy and 20 hours of use with active GPS – the most more greedy due to the high energy consumption of the GPS chips. Opposite, Apple proudly announces 36 hours of autonomy and up to 60 hours in energy saving mode. It is certainly twice that of a classic Apple Watch, but it remains very low compared to the autonomy of an Epix Gen 2, for example.

The Apple Watch Ultra therefore arrives in a particular and rather competitive market. Seducing an audience of demanding athletes with a connected watch will not be an easy task. Apple, however, seems confident in its product and does not take a big risk by adding a segment to its catalog of watches. Despite a leading position in the connected watch market and a certain power of seduction, it will nevertheless have to prove itself in this specific market for outdoor sports watches. On our side, we can only hope that this Watch Ultra will keep its promises, because it would be an interesting proposal, combining connected and advanced health functions with advanced sports functions. Answer in our next full test.

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