Apple Watch Ultra Comparison: Analyzing Step Consistency, Calories, Battery Health, and Performance Metrics

by | Nov 6, 2023

I wore the Apple Watch Ultra 1 and Ultra 2 from a full charge until they both died.

Throughout this Apple Watch Ultra comparison, I gathered an analyzed various data-points such as step count, calories burned, and battery life.

This hands-on information is could be valuable to users who are debating which Apple Watch Ultra to purchase, or perhaps it will just answer some questions that you may’ve had.

Apple Watch Ultra Comparison: Test Setup

While it is impossible for me to test both watches under every setting variation possible and in a controlled laboratory testing, I made sure to use the same settings on both devices and use them for the exact same functions throughout this test.

The goal was to have them as identical as I could get them, under normal conditions, to ensure accuracy while comparing both Ultra models.

Ultra 1
Ultra 2
Always-On Display
Wore to sleep
Yes, sleep mode on at 930pm
Yes, sleep mode on at 930pm
Battery health
99% (just turned 2 weeks prior)
Silent mode, notifications and haptic vibration on
Silent mode, notifications and haptic vibration on
Wrist worn
Right (dominant)

Step Count

It is important to note that there is no way to determine which Ultra had the most accurate steps without manually counting steps to compare them to. I will complete a manual count test in the near future to measure accuracy.

apple watch ultra 1 vs ultra 2 step count

Step Count Results

Over the course of our battery test, the Ultra 1 device recorded 10,402 steps on the first day, followed by 9,110 steps on the second, and concluded with 4,895 steps on the final day before the battery expired, culminating in a total of 24,407 steps.

In comparison, Ultra 2 began with 10,534 steps on day one, decreased to 8,068 steps on the second day, and rebounded to 7,325 steps on the last day, amounting to a total of 25,927 steps.

Important! The large drop of steps on the last day is due to the Ultra 1 dying at 1:15pm. This resulted in it not being able to track steps for the rest of the day. I will continue running this test until I have 7 full days of step data on this chart.

Step Count Insights

Looking at day 2, it is difficult to know exactly why there is a difference in step count, especially considering that both devices having the same GPS systems and sensors.

The slight edge in the step count for Ultra 1 could be due to me wearing it on my dominant wrist, that moves significantly more than my non-dominant.

Step count relies accelerometer and GPS to track step count, so it is possible the accelerometer over-read my steps on my dominant wrist.

This implies that you will likely get the most accurate results by wearing your Apple Watch on your non-dominant wrist, which we already know.

Calorie Count

Both watches were worn throughout the day with identical height, gender, and weight settings, completing the same exact workouts.

Similar to step count, there is no way to determine which Ultra had the most calorie count without testing output in a professional setting.

It is important to note that the calories on the last day are skewed for some reason. The Ultra 1 died mid-day, but ended up calculating more calories than the Ultra 2, which lasted the entire day.

I will run this test again and bring in a 3rd full day of both Ultra’s in order to have more accurate results.

apple watch ultra 1 vs 2 calories

Calorie Count Results

The Ultra 1 started with 1,093 calories on the initial day, slightly increasing to 1,155 calories on the second day, and then dipping to 935 calories on the last day, totaling 3,183 calories.

On the other hand, Ultra 2 mirrored Ultra 1’s calories burned on the first day with 1,093 calories, had a higher burn of 1,175 calories on the second day but then recorded a lower 865 calories on the third day, summing up to 3,133 calories.

Calorie Count Insights

The Ultra 1 and 2 both use weight, height, gender, and heart rate to determine caloric burn.

Although Ultra 1 and Ultra 2 share the same sensors and algorithms, the calorie data reveals subtle differences.

What stands out to me is that the Ultra 1 had a higher active caloric burn on the final day, despite it dying at 1:15pm. This is likely an anomaly and should be treated as such.

There is not much we can tell from this, as more data is needed to derive valuable insights.

Note! I will update this article over the coming weeks and months as I run more tests.

Battery Life

It is important to note that the Ultra 1 battery health was at 99% for this test, however it just turned 99% a couple weeks prior. The Ultra 2 battery is at 100%.

While this doesn’t provide ideal testing, it’s the best I could do, and there were still some valuable insights found.

Apple watch ultra 1 vs 2 battery life

Battery Life Results

Upon completing our battery test, the results revealed a discernible difference in longevity between the two devices.

The Ultra 1 device sustained activity for a total of 2 days and 4 hours, equating to approximately 52.75 hours.

In contrast, the Ultra 2 had a slightly longer battery life, lasting 2 days and 17 hours, or about 65.5 hours in total.

Insights on Battery Life

The slight difference in battery health (1%) seems to have had a disproportionate impact on the battery life between the two devices.

While a 1% difference in battery health might not be expected to cause a significant difference in longevity, the actual usage shows that Ultra 1 died earlier in the day, while Ultra 2 made it through the night.

Since both devices were used in the same manner, the difference in battery depletion rates would primarily point to the impact of battery health.

Note! I will be running this test multiple times and measuring the percentage of battery lost on the Ultra 1 with 99% battery health, to see exactly how much of a decrease in battery life you can expect once your battery’s health starts to drop. Stay tuned!

Apple Watch Ultra Comparison: Reader’s Takeaways

After conducting a side-by-side comparison between the Apple Watch Ultra 1 and Ultra 2, the findings have highlighted some interesting aspects regarding step count, calorie burn, and battery life.

This practical test offers potential buyers and tech enthusiasts a glimpse into the performance of both watches in real-world conditions.

  • Step Count: Ultra 2 edged out with more steps, suggesting higher accuracy when worn on the non-dominant wrist.
  • Calorie Metrics: Very similar calorie burn readings.
  • Battery Endurance: Ultra 2 surpasses Ultra 1 in battery life by over half a day, indicating better efficiency or battery health impact.
  • Continued Testing: Initial findings point towards more in-depth analysis to solidify these observations, with future updates promised for a comprehensive review.

Note! Bookmark this page and share it on various social media sites to help my site grow, please! I will be continuously updating this article. Expect it to be incredibly in-depth over the coming weeks and months.

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Ken Lynch

by Ken Lynch

Ken is a Technologist, Healthcare Data Analyst, and the owner and sole contributor to The Wearable Guy.

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