Apple Watch Extremely review: a giant, thrilling success

Apple Watch Extremely

MSRP $799.00

“The Apple Watch Extremely’s expertly made particular options give it surprisingly extensive enchantment, with the lengthy battery life and characterful, luxurious design making it a incredible selection even for these not planning any daring adventures.”


  • Extremely sturdy construct
  • Luxurious supplies
  • Three-day battery life
  • Expertly judged particular options
  • Characterful design
  • Does all the pieces the Collection 8 does
  • LTE as customary


  • Twice the value of the Collection 8

Apple makes wonderful merchandise nearly anybody can choose up, use, and revel in. While you first hear concerning the Apple Watch Extremely, nevertheless, it doesn’t sound prefer it’s for everybody. It’s for these few with $800 to spend on a smartwatch that’s seemingly solely supposed for use within the sea, up a mountain, or coated in mud in a bathroom. Or is it?

I’ve not been anyplace like that in my time with the Apple Watch Extremely, and I believe it’s probably the most thrilling, most technically spectacular, and most characterful merchandise Apple has ever made. You’re skeptical, aren’t you? Permit me to elucidate.

Apple Watch Extremely design

The Apple Watch Extremely is kind of large. The 49mm x 44mm x 14mm case is bigger than the Apple Watch Collection 8 and Watch SE 2, but it surely’s not all that totally different from the 45mm x 45mm x 10mm Galaxy Watch 5 Professional, or critically sporty smartwatches just like the 46mm x 46mm x 14mm Garmin Forerunner 955. For those who’ve acquired slim wrists, it’s going to look gigantic, however not as a result of it’s badly proportioned — no, it’s as a result of the watch is so massive. I’ve in contrast the scale with different massive watches to offer you an thought of whether or not it’s going to fit your wrist or not.

The Apple Watch Ultra with Wayfinder watch face.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Nonetheless, the Apple Watch Extremely is recognizably an Apple Watch, simply chunkier. It’s as if the Collection 8 has been reimagined by Tonka. Retaining the now-classic Apple Watch form is the precise determination, as — regardless of the scale and 61-gram (95-gram with the band) weight — it’s very comfy to put on. The sharpness of the bezel isn’t repeated anyplace the watch touches your pores and skin, the place that acquainted curved case ensures it by no means prods or pokes uncomfortably.

The button and Digital Crown guard don’t dig into your wrist both, which is even troublesome for some massive conventional watches to keep away from. My watch has the Ocean Band, and I’ve discovered it completely wearable day-after-day. I selected it as a result of I put on dive watches quite a bit, and I significantly like Seiko’s equipped rubber straps. This has the identical diploma of flexibility, doesn’t get scorching, and permits for plenty of changes to make it appropriate for all wrists and to put on over a wetsuit.

The Apple Watch Ultra's heart rate sensor active.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

On the other aspect of the case from the Digital Crown is the brand new, brilliant orange Motion Button. By default, it prompts the Exercise mode, but it surely’s surprisingly customizable, with the stopwatch, torch, and dive modes different choices, along with including a waypoint when utilizing GPS. For those who preserve the default setting, you too can set the button to begin a selected exercise, bypassing the standard countdown.

Additionally activated with the orange Motion Button is the emergency siren, which Apple says may be heard as much as 180 meters away. It’s a shrill, escalating, disagreeable sound somewhat than a duplicate of Apple’s Radar or Alarm ringtones. A pal who heard it stated it’s such a hateful noise that it could make him head in the other way simply to get away from it, so it’ll undoubtedly get some consideration if you happen to set it off in Starbucks. Set it off within the wilderness, and nobody will suppose it’s being activated for enjoyable, and that’s precisely what you need.

The Apple Watch Ultra's Digital Crown and button.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The Apple Watch Ultra's Action button.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The Apple Watch Ultra's raised bezel and Digital Crown guard.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The finely grained titanium case, sapphire crystal, and ceramic case again give the Apple Watch Extremely luxurious credentials in addition to toughness, which is enhanced additional by the IP6X mud resistance and 100-meter water resistance. It has additionally been examined to MIL-STD 810H requirements. It feels prefer it’s constructed to final, and appears prefer it’ll take a substantial beating.

While you flip off the Water Lock after the watch has been within the water, it fizzes and whirs because it spits out any undesirable droplets, giving it a surprisingly mechanical really feel — prefer it’s nearly alive. It’s nonetheless a smartwatch, however this, together with the purposeful seems to be and go-anywhere perspective, provides the Apple Watch Extremely a stunning quantity of character. That character (and the scale) made me put on it with my sleeve tucked behind it, displaying it off, one thing I didn’t actually do with the Apple Watch Collection 7.

All this led to the conclusion you can truly bond with the Apple Watch Extremely, particularly if you find yourself sharing adventures with it over time. I actually by no means anticipated to suppose that a couple of smartwatch, and it speaks volumes about what Apple has created right here.

Apple Watch Extremely health monitoring

Open the Exercise app both with the standard icon or through the use of the Motion button to see a cool flash of orange on the display to indicate it’s transporting you instantly there. You’ll discover the identical exercise modes and system WatchOS 9 presents on different Apple Watch fashions.

Workout tracking on the Apple Watch Ultra.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

For those who monitor a run, it shows coronary heart charge zones (based mostly by itself algorithm, or you may manually set them your self), whereas the overall overview may be modified to point out stride size, vertical oscillation, and floor contact time. Whereas this info shouldn’t be unique to the Watch Extremely, the bigger smartwatch enables you to see six totally different knowledge units on the display at one time, making it extra informative at a look.

Operation of the watch’s exercise options can also be the identical because the Collection 8 and Watch SE 2. The exercise modes are assorted and simple to entry, and all of the related knowledge is proven on the massive, brilliant display. I can see the time, test my coronary heart charge, and shortly bounce between it, the compass, and different apps with none slowdown. While you open the Dock utilizing the aspect button, the compass app even begins working within the helicopter view. It’s all so slick and easy.

The Apple Watch Extremely makes use of each L1 and L5 GPS antennas to higher lock onto satellites and supply extra correct location knowledge. I in contrast the efficiency of the Watch Extremely (linked to an iPhone 14 Professional) in opposition to that of the Apple Watch Collection 8 (linked to an iPhone SE (2022) to see if there have been any apparent variations. The Apple Watch Extremely recorded a extra linear and logical route, whereas the Collection 8 confirmed me wandering extra, which I didn’t actually do. It’s not a lot of a distinction, however I believe it’s there, so in my anecdotal exams, the Watch Extremely’s GPS does look like extra correct.

The maps produced in Apple’s Health app are detailed, with useful colours alongside the route to point out your tempo, and you may zoom proper in to see nearly precisely the place you walked, ran, or cycled. Evaluate it to the mapping within the Samsung Well being app, and there’s undoubtedly extra element within the Health app, however whether or not it’s actually useful could rely in your wants.

GPS map data from an Apple Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch Series 8 shown on an iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone SE 2022.iPhone SE 2022 displaying Apple Watch Collection 8 knowledge (left), iPhone 14 Professional displaying Apple Watch Extremely knowledge Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

GPS map data from an Apple Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch Series 8 shown on an iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone SE 2022.iPhone SE 2022 displaying Apple Watch Collection 8 knowledge (left), iPhone 14 Professional displaying Apple Watch Extremely knowledge Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

GPS map data from an Apple Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch Series 8 shown on an iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone SE 2022.iPhone SE 2022 displaying Apple Watch Collection 8 knowledge (left), iPhone 14 Professional displaying Apple Watch Extremely knowledge Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

I nonetheless discover the break up between Apple’s Well being app and Health app complicated, and would actually choose a single app to deal with all the pieces, plus the data offered isn’t as detailed as apps from Garmin and even Samsung. Whereas the Apple Watch Extremely could also be extra hardcore, the apps and knowledge offered in them aren’t any totally different from the Collection 8 or Watch SE 2, so if you happen to’re simply going to trace easy exercises. there’s no software program benefit to proudly owning the Watch Extremely. It doesn’t imply you shouldn’t, simply don’t anticipate it to supply far more for the informal exerciser.

Apple Watch Extremely Wayfinder face and compass app

It could appear unusual to dedicate a whole part to a watch face and compass, however these two options show how superbly built-in all the pieces is in WatchOS 9, and the place the Apple Watch Extremely stands out in opposition to the opposite Apple Watch fashions.

The compass on the Apple Watch Ultra.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The Wayfinder watch face is unique to the Watch Extremely and is massively customizable. The bezel can present elevation and incline or latitude and longitude, plus there are eight problems to set, that means you could have tons of knowledge prepared at a look. Whereas the finished face is busy, it’s not complicated because of the very intelligent, readable, watch-like design and choice to vary numerous colours. It additionally actually fits the Watch Extremely. Plus, the Evening mode — activated utilizing the Digital Crown — seems to be wonderful when it turns your entire face crimson. I’ve left it on that mode quite a bit only for its cool sci-fi seems to be.

The superbly designed compass is a separate app and a part of the Wayfinder face, plus it may be added as a complication for fast entry. It updates consistently as you alter path, there are buttons to mark a waypoint and activate the Backtrack function, and a tab that gives a higher degree of element. Twist the Digital Crown, and you cannot solely change what’s proven on the display, but in addition see a bigger map view within the heart of the compass.

Night mode on the Apple Watch Ultra's Wayfinder watch face.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

I needed to single these out as a result of I’ve not modified the Wayfinder watch face but. I haven’t felt the necessity to, and it’s the primary time I’ve ever needed to make use of a compass app. After which after I did, I used to be truly impressed by it. I believe they each sum up Apple’s minute consideration to element right here. The deep integration is what makes WatchOS 9 such a pleasure.

Apple Watch Extremely Backtrack

What concerning the Backtrack function? It’s activated from the Compass app, the place all it takes is a single faucet on the little icon formed like two ft. For those who use the Wayfinder watch face, there’s on the spot entry to the compass utilizing one of many problems. To function, it does require an extra location setting, referred to as Important Location, to be switched on (it’s hidden away underneath Settings > Location > System Companies). With this completed, Backtrack works away within the background.

Activating Back Track on the Apple Watch Ultra.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

You don’t discover it till you want it. Faucet the footsteps icon once more, and Backtrack will lead you again to the place you began within the occasion you get misplaced. Besides don’t anticipate it to instantly lead you again. Backtrack makes use of the compass app, the place a small arrow factors you in the precise path, somewhat than retracing your steps precisely. It’s because the crow flies, which does imply you continue to should make choices alongside the best way.

For instance, at a junction, Backtrack confirmed I ought to go in a special path than the best way I got here, which I knew would nonetheless completely return me to my start line, however not in the best way I arrived on the level initially. You’ll should bear this in thoughts and belief each your instincts and the Watch Extremely’s compass. Relying on the terrain, this might imply encountering conditions the place you could have to backtrack on Backtrack.

The function could be very easy to make use of. I didn’t discover any further battery drain when utilizing it in comparison with after I’m not. And since it really works by the Compass app, it’s accessible whatever the fitness-tracking app used, so it’s very versatile. It is a totally different method to Samsung’s related function, the place you must use a GPX map as a way to use the Route Again function on the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional.

If Backtrack feels like one thing you’d use or wish to have in reserve, bear in mind it’s a WatchOS 9 function and likewise accessible on the Collection 8 and the Watch SE 2. Testing it back-to-back with the Collection 8 revealed that the Watch Extremely’s stronger GPS gave extra exact instructions. Whereas the Collection 8 would nonetheless have gotten you again, the Watch Extremely was clearly the extra correct of the 2. In some conditions, these few levels could make lots of distinction. You may see the variations within the gallery above, simply search for the white marker on the inside bezel.

Apple Watch Extremely display, software program, and efficiency

Just like the iPhone 14 Professional, the Apple Watch Extremely’s Retina LTPO OLED display can instantly increase the brightness to 2,000 nits in daylight — and it’s extremely efficient. It’s so noticeable that it’s such as you flicked on a light-weight change. The flat sapphire crystal doesn’t have an effect on viewing angles as I feared, however it’s vulnerable to reflection.


It’s sharp and colourful too, however with a 1,164 square-millimeter viewing space, it’s not all that a lot larger than the 45mm Collection 8’s 1,143 square-millimeter show. The scale of the case is extra about housing the battery and growing sturdiness than it’s about making the display bigger. Nonetheless, intelligent use of the software program implies that in some conditions, you do see extra on the display at one time in comparison with the Collection 8.

Apple’s WatchOS 9 is put in similar to it’s on the Apple Watch Collection 8 and the Watch SE 2. The software program is fluid, logical, and dependable. I choose to not overload it with apps (which helps decrease distractions) and depend on the usual apps and few selection additions more often than not. Apps of all sorts load and function shortly, and the App Retailer is a pleasure to browse because of sensibly sized icons and clearly organized sections.

The Apple Watch Extremely does all the pieces the Collection 8 can do and a lot extra.

The highly effective S8 processor can also be the identical one contained in the Collection 8 and Watch SE 2, the haptics are fantastic — particularly whenever you twist the Digital Crown or when an alarm sounds — and the audio system are critically loud too. Apple Pay works seamlessly and is very easy to arrange. I don’t have any plans to attempt the crash detection or fall detection, however I’m happy they’re there. I really feel equally about warnings about my well being from the electrocardiogram, coronary heart charge sensor, and blood oxygen monitoring options.

I haven’t been in a position to attempt all of the options on the Watch Extremely. I don’t dive, so probably the most I’ve completed is submerge the watch within the sink, the place it routinely activated the easy-to-read dive gauge with water temperature readout. A particular model of the Oceanic+ app is out there for the Watch Extremely, and it permits you to plan dives, use the compass, and get extra in-depth security and expertise options. Apple says the Watch Extremely is geared toward Skilled Affiliation of Diving Instructors (PADI)-qualified divers to a depth of 40 meters.

Using the Depth Gauge on the Apple Watch Ultra.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The Apple Watch Extremely does all the pieces the Collection 8 can do and a lot extra, including a wealth of area of interest options and sturdiness. Then, to be sure you can take pleasure in each little bit of the smartwatch for longer, it pushes one key facet additional forward — which we’ll come to subsequent.

Apple Watch Extremely battery

The Apple Watch Extremely’s battery has a 76% bigger capability than these within the Collection 8 and Watch SE 2, and Apple claims the battery will final for 36 hours on a single cost with out a mobile connection — twice what it’s best to anticipate from the opposite fashions. The excellent news is it’s not bluster; the Apple Watch Extremely’s battery life is superb.

Right here’s an instance. I recharged the battery on its second cycle at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, then used it usually every day. I left it switched on in a single day and tracked two indoor exercises, plus a one-hour stroll and a 30-minute stroll with GPS and Backtrack engaged, over the course of the subsequent few days. At 6 p.m. Thursday, there was nonetheless 10% remaining — so I turned on the Low Energy mode, and it nonetheless had 5% left at 11:30 p.m. On my first days of use, the battery lasted for 3 full days with out as a lot GPS use.

The side of the Apple Watch Ultra on a man's wrist.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The Apple Watch Collection 7 repeatedly returned two days of use on a single cost, however that was solely with turning it off in a single day. To stand up to 3 full days of use from the Watch Extremely with its brighter display, plus all its additional capacity, is nice — and a real cause to purchase.

How does this evaluate with the competitors? Samsung’s rival smartwatch, the $450 Galaxy Watch 5 Professional, additionally lasted for 3 days with out a recharge, but it surely did so provided that you didn’t monitor sleep. Nonetheless, just like the Watch Extremely, it’s a giant, heavy watch and probably not appropriate for sporting in a single day anyway.

The longer battery life actually units the Apple Watch Extremely other than its sibling smartwatches.

Nonetheless, whereas the Watch Extremely’s battery is nice, it could’t beat the marathon battery life offered by devoted working or exercise smartwatches. The $600 Garmin Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic’s battery is nice for 2 weeks, and even the smaller, extra design-led $180 Vivomove Sport’s battery will final for 5 days. The Apple Watch Extremely’s battery is highly effective for an Apple smartwatch, however within the wider world of high-performance exercise smartwatches, it nonetheless falls behind.

Ought to this be a priority? How a lot this may influence your on a regular basis life depends upon what you do in your on a regular basis life. For those who repeatedly run a whole lot of miles, hike every weekend, and don’t all the time have entry to energy (or intend to make use of the GPS and Mobile connection day-after-day), then the Apple Watch Extremely will nonetheless want charging each couple of days. However if you happen to do these actions now and again, then you definately’ll spend quite a bit much less time visiting the charger than you’d with a Collection 8, and three days of use between expenses is completely achievable. The longer battery life actually units the Apple Watch Extremely other than its sibling smartwatches, and it’s a robust cause to purchase this mannequin over another.

Apple Watch Extremely value and availability

The Apple Watch Extremely prices $799, or 849 British kilos. There is just one model of the Watch Extremely, and it comes with LTE connectivity as customary. The one determination to make is about which strap to decide on. It’s the Ocean Band you see in our pictures, which is generally designed to enchantment to divers. Alternatively, there’s the Alpine Loop for hikers and out of doors fanatics, and the Path Loop for runners and endurance athletes. You should buy the Apple Watch Extremely now by Apple’s on-line and retail shops.

That is an costly watch, however there’s unquestionable worth right here. Titanium, ceramic, and sapphire crystal all add to the value, plus there’s an enormous quantity of analysis and improvement concerned in getting the extra options in place and dealing accurately. It’s costlier than a Collection 8, which has lots of the identical core performance, however not vastly extra so than many competing high-performance exercise smartwatches from Garmin, Suunto, Polar, or Coros. It’s not even that totally different from the price of a midlevel conventional diver or area watch from manufacturers like Seiko, Citizen, Casio, or Hamilton.

That is the Apple Watch Extremely Collection 1

Whereas I’ve been utilizing and writing concerning the Apple Watch Extremely, I’ve referred to as it merely the Apple Watch on various events. Once I started to offer this some thought, it appeared applicable. The Apple Watch Extremely is clearly the start of one thing new for the corporate, somewhat than a one-off or the product of a lazy advertising marketing campaign. What Apple has completed with the Watch Extremely is to make it genuinely totally different from the Collection 8 in nearly each respect. Not higher or worse, however one thing that stands by itself.

The Apple Watch Ultra worn on a man's wrist.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

That is the best way you ought to be serious about it before you purchase it. It’s probably not a substitute for the Collection 8 or Watch SE 2 regardless of being carefully associated. It serves totally different functions, has its personal strengths and weaknesses, and has a collection of distinctive options that wouldn’t match on a Collection 8. You’ll purchase this as an alternative of the Collection 8.

The stunning factor is, the Apple Watch Extremely is kind of simple to justify. The lengthy battery life is a big promoting level that everybody will recognize, as is absolutely the bulletproof nature of the construct and supplies. Plus, if you happen to do something remotely adventurous, it’ll simply sustain all day lengthy. However the factor I didn’t anticipate was to attach with it personally. It has a personality all of its personal, and that’s one thing only a few smartwatches accomplish. What’s extra, the brand new options and the simplicity of use is somewhat inspirational and encourages you to exit and provides them a attempt.

Towards the percentages, Apple has made a rugged smartwatch that non-rugged individuals will wish to personal — and so they’ll be more than happy with it once they do. It’s a incredible begin of one thing actually thrilling and actually totally different for Apple’s excellent smartwatch vary.

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