The Apple Watch Ultra 2 Isn’t Just For Fitness Enthusiasts

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 Isn’t Just For Fitness Enthusiasts

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is an exciting device, marketed as the Apple Watch for those looking for a excellent fitness tracker packed with health features. But maybe fitness isn’t your focus—maybe what you want is a top-of-the-line smartwatch that handles the basics well and includes a bunch of extra bells and whistles. Even still, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 might be your pick.

Photo: Joshua Hawkins

Apple makes it obvious in its advertising that the Ultra 2 is heavily targeted towards sportos who want a tough watch packed with all the fitness tracking features imaginable. And Apple has a lot of that on offer with this device, and there are plenty of reviews that break down the effectiveness of the Ultra 2’s various workout features. But the more I used this smartwatch, the more I became convinced the advertisements are giving the wrong impression—or at least, an incomplete one.

Battery life that you can’t beat with any other Apple Watch

The battery life on the Ultra 2 played a big part in my decision to purchase it. Sure, the Series 9 offers a great battery life of 18 hours, which is perfect for anyone who typically charges their watch overnight. But the Ultra 2 literally doubles that expectation, coming in at 36 hours of average battery life. That’s a full day and a half without needing to charge it.

With the Ultra 2, I can finally wear the watch all day and still rely on it to track my sleep. As I write this, my Ultra 2 is only sitting at 72 percent, and has been off the charger for 24 hours. Eliminating the need to worry about charging my watch before (or after) wearing it to bed is worth the price premium over the cheaper models all by itself.

A stronger frame and a brighter display

Photo: Joshua Hawkins

But the Ultra 2 is more than just the sum of its battery percentages. The larger smartwatch also has a stronger titanium frame than the aluminum found in the standard Series 9. You can also choose a stainless steel frame on the Series 9, but at that point you’re paying almost the same for the Series 9 as the Ultra 2. The stainless steel Series 9 runs for around $US699 for the 41mm size, and $US750 for the 45mm model. The Ultra 2 is likewise $US750.

If you’re dead-set on the smaller watch, save the $US50 and enjoy the stainless steel Series 9. But if you wanted the larger stainless steel Series 9 for its extra display real estate, consider the Ultra 2. Not only is it even larger at 49mm, but the display is also brighter, maxing out at 3,000 nits compared to the Series 9’s 2,000 nits. When you’re out in the sun, that extra 1,000 nits will make a huge difference.

And because the frame is made of titanium, it should stand up to wear and tear better than the aluminum Series 9. I found this particularly enticing, as my older Apple Watch took quite the beating over the years I wore it. The frame on the Series 9 isn’t weak by any means, but if you think you might need something a little big stronger, the Ultra 2 is there.

Feature packed

Photo: Joshua Hawkins

But what if you just want a great smartwatch filled with smart features? Does the Ultra 2 still make sense? Honestly, probably not. Almost all of the major features you’d want or expect from an Apple Watch can be found on both the Series 9 and the Ultra 2. The Mindfulness app, for example, has become a personal favorite on the Ultra 2, helping me to remember to just take time to clear my mind and breathe, but I’d be able to use all the same features had I bought a Series 9.

One great Ultra 2 exclusive, though, is the Action Button, which makes it exceptionally easy to use features like the Compass’ Waypoint option. With this feature, you can set down a pin that you can easily navigate back to using the upgraded Ultra Wideband support in the Ultra 2. Waypoint isn’t new, but being able to plop a waypoint down by pressing a single button is helpful. (While the biggest use for this might be to navigate while hiking or walking, I’ve also found it helpful to remember where I parked in large parking lots. If you live in a big city, it’s a solid way to find your way back to public transport too.)

Of course, like the Action Button on the iPhone 15 Pro, you can trigger other functions with this unique button. If Waypoint isn’t your thing, you can use it to begin a workout, start a stopwatch, activate Backtrack, track a dive, activate your flashlight, or trigger a shortcut.

Is the Apple Watch Ultra 2 worth an upgrade?

Ultimately, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is a modest update, and you won’t find a compelling reason to upgrade to it from a first-generation Ultra. And if you’re looking for a lot of Apple Watch for a more affordable price, the standard Series 9 is still likely for you.

But if you’re looking for a highly functional wearable you know is going to last, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 almost makes sense even as a casual user’s smartwatch—even if you don’t need a fitness-focused watch, this is the most durable, largest Apple Watch around.

True, for most casual users, the price of the Ultra 2 is going to seem extravagant. But if it’s within your budget and you want one of the best smartwatches on the market right now, Apple’s Watch Ultra 2 justifies its high asking price.


  • Packed with features for both fitness and casual users
  • Stronger frame means it can take more hits before showing it
  • Brighter display means never squinting to see your latest notifications


  • Bulky design isn’t for everyone
  • The price is extravagant for most casual users

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