Apple Watch Ultra 2 Review (New Features and Improvements)
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Apple introduced the next gen Apple Watch Ultra 2, alongside the Series 9, making it the latest iteration of their high-end Apple Watch.
Unveiled at the much-anticipated Fall 2023 event, the Ultra 2 remains packed with features, including the new watchOS 10, as well as some new additions such as a brighter display, the new s9 chip, the capability of setting way-points without connectivity, and more.
While maintaining the iconic design and price, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is a no-brainer for those looking to buy a fast, high-functioning, and durable watch.
Let’s dive into the details to see what’s changed.
Related Reading: Is the Apple Watch Ultra 2 worth the upgrade from the Ultra 1?
Apple Watch Ultra 2 New Features
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 comes with some new improvements and features, such as a new processor, double-tap gesture, a brighter display, on-board Siri, depth app improvements, and a slightly longer battery life.
The Revolutionary S9 Chip
The Ultra 2 houses the advanced S9 SiP chip, allowing for greater speed and smoother app functionality.
Apple claims a 30% increase in processing power over the Ultra 1, which has the S8 SiP chip.
With the new chip, users may see an increased performance when using various applications, but it is important to know this doesn’t mean your watch will have a 30% increase of speed for every task,
The S9 SiP is also responsible for the overhaul of Siri, which is covered more below.
The new double-tap feature, which works excellently with the S9 chip, lets you control a wide range of functions from answering calls to changing settings.
Despite Apple announcing this as a new feature available exclusively to the Series 9 and Ultra 2, this feature has been around for a long time, under the name of ‘Double Pinch’.
While Double Tap has a lot of potential, users are still limited as to what they can use it for. Within the Gesture settings, there is only the option to use it for Playback (play/pause and skip), and to select or advance through the Smart Stack.
Enhanced Display Brightness
The Ultra 2 comes with a significantly brighter display, rated at 3000-nit, which is a 50% increase over the previous 2000 nits from the Ultra 1.
However, it is worth mentioning that users will only see this increased brightness when the sun is shining at its brightest.
Apple states that the Ultra 2 is only brighter under high-light conditions, and it is actually dimmer under low-light conditions.
We tested the display brightness of the Ultra 1 and 2 to see how they stand against each other.
On Board Siri
Thanks to the S9 chip, the Ultra 2 and Series 9 both come with an on-board Siri.
This means that your Apple Watch no longer relies on the cloud to process Siri requests.
Some use cases for this could be if you’re in an area where there is no cellular or Wi-Fi reception, you are still able to command Siri to carry out various tasks for you.
And not only will Siri now be able to do this, but it processes significantly faster.
Depth App and Logging
The device comes with a Depth app that now saves a log of all your sessions, helping you track your activities and measure your progress over time.
Battery Life and Power Modes
The Ultra 2 offers the same 36-hour battery life that came from the original Ultra, which is an impressive feat considering it has more processing power with the S9 SiP, versus the S8 SiP from the Ultra 1.
But from my experience you can get significantly more life out of your Ultra 2 battery, even with moderate use, as we found in this Ultra 2 battery test.
One area in which you’ll see a battery difference is when in low power mode. The Ultra 2 is capable of lasting up to 72 hours under low power mode, while the Ultra 1 maxes out around 60 hours.
Apple Watch Ultra 2 Price
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 costs around $799 depending on where you’re shopping, which is the same price as its predecessor originally costed, allowing the Ultra 1 to drop in price. This is a breathe of fresh air after seeing them raise the price on the new iPhone 15 by $100.
Veterans can scoop up the Ultra 2 for a discounted 10%, which will come to about $719 before taxes.
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by Ken Lynch
Ken is a Technologist, Healthcare Data Analyst, and the owner and sole contributor to The Wearable Guy.