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Apple Watch Extremely Assessment: The Most Thrilling Watch in Years


Even if you happen to’re not an endurance athlete, there’s nonetheless loads of causes you may want the $799 (£849, AU$1,299) Apple Watch Extremely. It has a much bigger battery, extra sturdy titanium casing and display that is twice as brilliant because the Apple Watch Sequence 8. Just like the iPhone 14 Professional, Apple has reserved some key options for the Extremely that set it other than the remainder of the Apple Watch vary. There is a dual-frequency GPS for extra correct monitoring, further microphones for improved voice calls and a customizable Motion button to shortly begin actions, or transition from one leg of a triathlon to a different.  

Like

  • Motion button is improbable
  • Brilliant, large display
  • Greatest battery lifetime of any Apple Watch
  • Twin-band GPS is extra correct than earlier watches

Do not Like

  • Too large for some wrists
  • 60-hour battery runtime optimization not accessible but
  • No native offline mapping capabilities
  • Restricted restoration metrics

For the primary time on an Apple Watch, LTE connectivity is included by default. That instantly units it other than many different sports activities and health watches that do not have any mobile choice. The Extremely solely is available in one 49mm case dimension, which may be too large for some to put on comfortably. 

Then there’s the hefty worth, which is $400 greater than the 41mm GPS Apple Watch Sequence 8 and will have you ever questioning whether or not the Extremely actually is price that rather more. Even if you happen to do not take into account your self an adventurer, there may be sufficient right here to justify the fee — particularly if you’d like a more-durable watch with elevated water resistance and battery life that is at the very least twice so long as different Apple Watch fashions.

Contemplating the $749 45mm Apple Watch Sequence 8 in stainless-steel prices nearly as a lot, I feel the Extremely is a greater general worth, given that you simply get further {hardware} options just like the Motion button (which I’ve come to like), an emergency siren and further microphones to spice up name high quality.

It is also priced competitively with different sports activities watches which have an identical titanium development and OLED screens, just like the $999 Garmin Epix 2. The Apple Watch Extremely’s battery does not final as lengthy, and it does not have anyplace close to as many navigation options because the Epix 2. But it surely’s simpler to make use of, has coronary heart options like an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) app, mobile connectivity and seamless integration with the iPhone.

If you happen to’re somebody who desires a real hybrid smartwatch and sports activities watch, the Extremely is the one to beat.

Apple Watch Extremely design is large and daring

The Extremely is a souped-up Apple Watch in each respect. All of the acquainted components are right here, simply greater and bolder than earlier fashions. The facet button has its personal housing that protrudes from the case and the digital crown has deeper ridges, making each simpler to regulate in case your fingers are sweaty, dusty or sporting gloves.

When taking the Extremely out of the field for the primary time, I assumed it was going to be too massive and heavy for my wrist. But it surely’s deceptively gentle to put on, because of its titanium development. Even with the smallest watch strap that most accurately fits my wrist dimension, I can get a cosy and comfy match throughout the day.

Apple Watch Ultra

James Martin/CNET

This is not a one-size-fits-all design, although. The Apple Watch Extremely will seemingly overwhelm smaller wrists. I might have cherished to see a smaller case choice, even on the expense of battery life. For instance, I am a facet sleeper who rests my hand beneath my pillow, so the Extremely is not essentially the most snug watch to put on for sleep monitoring; I can really feel each fringe of the watch at night time.

The 49mm case makes this the most important Apple Watch up to now, although the lively space on the show itself is just a hair greater than the 45mm Sequence 8. So quite than a much bigger display, you are actually selecting the Extremely over the Sequence 8 for the additional safety you get from the titanium casing’s raised edges. The display additionally has flat edges, which some may favor over the marginally curved display on Apple’s different watches. 

The Apple Watch Extremely can also be twice as brilliant because the Sequence 8 and is simple to see on a sunny day with a most 2,000 nits. I’ve taken the Extremely on lengthy hikes, an out of doors bike trip and my on a regular basis walks and runs. It is readable in all of those conditions, particularly when simply glancing all the way down to see stats on the always-on show. The flat sapphire glass cowl is extra reflective than I would like, however the edge safety round it should pay dividends in long-term sturdiness.

Coming from a 41mm Apple Watch Sequence 7, the whole lot is simpler to see, from exercise stats on the always-on show to notifications. The font dimension is adjustable and might get large, which is nice for readability, much like the 45mm Sequence 8. And it sounds easy, however I like how the Extremely has room on its display for as much as six strains of exercise stats. I not need to scroll down to a different web page simply to see a selected metric, which makes all of the distinction.

Over the previous week, I’ve gotten used to the dimensions of the Extremely, although there are occasions once I missed the sleeker really feel of the common Apple Watch on my wrist. That is very true for the Sequence 7 and Sequence 8, with their curved screens and contoured instances that make on a regular basis put on extra satisfying.

Apple Watch Extremely’s Motion button has loads of makes use of

You’ll be able to’t miss the brilliant orange Motion button on the left of the Apple Watch Extremely. It sits flush with the case and has an indentation that helps you are feeling it beneath your thumb. Subsequent to the bigger capability battery, that is my favourite new {hardware} function on the Extremely. It’ll be laborious to return to an Apple Watch Sequence with out one.

Apple Watch Ultra draped over a jagged rock surface

James Martin/CNET

You’ll be able to customise the button from the Settings menu to do issues like add a waypoint, launch the stopwatch, open the flashlight app or immediately begin certainly one of your common exercises and skip the “3, 2, 1” countdown.

On earlier Apple Watches, I set a complication to launch the exercise app, then choose the exercise sort utilizing the touchscreen. It is not solely simpler to do that with the Extremely’s Motion button, but it surely’s way more customizable as a result of the button additionally modifications relying on context.

If you happen to’re on an out of doors run and press the Motion button once more, you’ll be able to mark a phase. You can even pause a exercise by pinching the facet button and Motion button collectively. The identical pinch combo resumes your exercise, so there is no have to swipe to the fitting on the display to cease and begin (though you continue to have to swipe to finish a exercise). The button also can transition from one leg of the race to a different if you happen to’re taking part in a duathlon or triathlon.

Apple Watch Ultra on a user's wrist

Beginning a exercise with the Motion button


James Martin/CNET

I want that the opposite two buttons might be used for controlling and navigating the watch (significantly if you cannot use the touchscreen with gloves), or locking the display throughout a exercise like you’ll be able to on another sports activities watches. As with different Apple Watch fashions, you’ll be able to solely lock the Extremely’s touchscreen if you happen to’re doing an underwater exercise equivalent to swimming or diving.

I would wish to see Apple add a few of these customization options into different Apple Watches, so you possibly can swap out the multitasking perform of the facet button to launch a exercise as a substitute, for instance. Different sports activities and out of doors watches have related methods to customise buttons, equivalent to the new keys on Garmin watches. However Apple’s implementation is arguably simpler to make use of, and I hope to see much more customization choices added in future software program updates. You will additionally be capable of use the Motion button to launch Shortcuts, however I wasn’t in a position to set that function on the Extremely but.

Apple Watch Extremely bands additionally work with older Apple Watches

At launch, the Apple Watch Extremely will include a alternative of three new watch bands: a textile Alpine Loop, an elastomer Ocean Band and a nylon Path Loop. The excellent news is you should utilize present bands from 44mm and 45mm Apple Watches with the Extremely, or use any of the three new Extremely bands on the identical sizes of Apple Watch. It will not be a precise match, but it surely’s nonetheless good to have some backward-compatibility.

I actually just like the Ocean Band, which is designed for water sports activities and diving because it’s in a position to stretch over a wetsuit, as a result of it feels essentially the most much like an everyday watch strap. But it surely’s just a little chunky for on a regular basis use.

Apple Watch Ultra

The Alpine Loop on the wrist.


James Martin/CNET

Throughout my testing, I primarily used the Alpine Loop, which is extra suited to path adventures. This has a titanium hook fastener however could be a little fiddly to get on. It looks like it should take a number of extra weeks to fully break within the material. The Path Loop with pull tab seems essentially the most sensible for on a regular basis use as a result of it is barely elasticized. I can not look forward to extra choices with extra muted colours and designs that can work all over the place from the workplace to the path.

Wayfinder is the brand new Apple Watch Extremely face

The Apple Watch Extremely comes with one unique watch face known as Wayfinder. It has room for as much as eight issues, so you’ll be able to closely customise the feel and appear of this face to no matter exercise you select. It additionally features a compass that signifies the north level while you rotate your wrist, and you can even view elevation information. There’s a night time mode that turns all the weather purple and is triggered by rotating the crown. But it surely’s solely accessible with the Wayfinder watch face.

I want Apple had greater than only one unique face for the Extremely, despite the fact that you possibly can doubtlessly tailor Wayfinder to have one for climbing, one for diving and one for on a regular basis use, for instance. The Apple Watch Extremely additionally helps all of the common watch faces you are used to and new ones in WatchOS 9 together with Metropolitan and Astronomy.

Apple Watch Ultra with Wayfinder face

The brand new Wayfinder watch face.


James Martin/CNET

Apple Watch Extremely is for marathons, hikes, dives and on a regular basis exercises

Do not be fooled by its rugged exterior and adventurous positioning. The Apple Watch Extremely is simply as appropriate for an everyday run as it might be for an endurance race. Identical to another Apple Watch that makes use of WatchOS 9, together with the brand new SE and Sequence 8, the Extremely has:

  • A multisport mode to mechanically change between completely different exercise varieties
  • Working metrics like floor contact time, energy and vertical oscillation
  • Coronary heart-rate zones
  • Enhanced customized exercises

The Apple Watch Extremely also can observe the identical exercise varieties as another WatchOS 9 gadget, plus it could actually autodetect actions like strolling, working and biking. Later within the yr, automated observe detection may even come to the Extremely. When the watch detects you are on a 400m observe, it allows you to select the lane you are working in to get extra correct tempo and distance outcomes. 

Apple Watch Ultra on a hike with hillside and trees

Utilizing the Extremely on a hike.


Lexy Savvides/CNET

However there is no hiding the truth that the Apple Watch Extremely is additionally tailor-made to endurance athletes and adventurers. Its WR100 score means the Extremely is waterproof as much as 100m (328 ft.) and as much as 40m for diving. There’s a new Depth app that is unique to the Extremely and will be began manually, or launched mechanically when the watch is submerged 1m (3 ft.) underwater. The app reveals a depth gauge, water temperature sensor and time spent underwater. There’s additionally a brand new Oceanic Plus app that turns the watch into its personal dive pc. That app is not accessible but and can come out later within the fall. We plan to do extra particular dive and underwater testing with the Apple Watch Extremely.

For cardio-based exercises away from the water, the Apple Watch Extremely’s heart-rate sensor accuracy is great compared in opposition to a chest strap. Outcomes differ relying on components like the way it sits in your wrist and your arm actions. However for a 3-hour out of doors biking exercise, the Extremely is likely one of the closest and most correct smartwatches I’ve ever used for heart-rate monitoring. It matched the strap nearly beat-for-beat. It is also the identical sensor on the Apple Watch Sequence 8, so meaning you won’t essentially have to pay the premium for the Extremely if coronary heart price accuracy in exercises is your primary precedence.

Apple Watch Ultra heart rate

Plotting the Apple Watch Extremely’s heart-rate sensor information (blue line) in opposition to a chest strap (purple line). As you’ll be able to see, it is strikingly correct.


Screenshot by Lexy Savvides/CNET

Identical to different Apple Watches, you’ll be able to pair some gymnasium tools with the Extremely, such because the Peloton Bike. There is no native help for heart-rate broadcasting that may allow you to see your coronary heart price on a tool like a biking pc. You can also’t pair the watch with energy meter bike pedals, however there are third-party workarounds. Nonetheless, contemplating the price of the Extremely, it would be good to see Apple take into account broader compatibility to speak with different supported health tools. The Extremely does sync with GymKit tools like ellipticals and treadmills, however these are typically for indoor use solely.

Backtrack and mapping choices on the Apple Watch Extremely

The Apple Watch Extremely has a brand new compass app in WatchOS 9, the identical that is discovered on different Apple Watches from the Sequence 6 onward. It reveals three completely different views while you rotate the digital crown: a hybrid display with an analog and digital compass; a technical display with coordinates and elevation; and an orienteering view the place you’ll be able to see any waypoints you’ve got added. This display additionally reveals Backtrack, which makes use of GPS that will help you retrace your steps and navigate again to your start line.

I loved utilizing it on my hike once I was off the grid so I may get again to my automotive, and located it straightforward to observe the trail proven on display. However I want you possibly can additionally overlay that path onto a map view in, say, Apple Maps, like the same Monitor Again function on the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional.

That is one thing I additionally miss on the Extremely in comparison with different sports activities and out of doors watches — with the ability to obtain offline maps on the look ahead to once I’m away from mobile sign, or have topographic map choices with out downloading a third-party app.

Apple Watch Ultra backtrack

Celso Bulgatti/CNET

Apple Watch Extremely’s dual-frequency GPS

The Apple Watch Extremely makes use of twin GPS bands, L1 and L5. We have been utilizing the L1 band for years, but it surely has limitations — particularly while you’re surrounded by tall buildings and even timber that may block the sign. I examined the Extremely within the coronary heart of downtown San Francisco and in contrast it to a Sequence 7. Whereas each watches shortly achieved a GPS lock on their very own, the Extremely extra precisely tracked my path once I went beneath an overpass, whereas the Sequence 7 under-calculated my complete distance by about 100m on the finish of my exercise.

It is now additionally simpler to inform while you get a GPS lock on the Apple Watch Extremely in comparison with different fashions. An arrow icon seems on the prime left within the exercise app while you begin an out of doors exercise. As soon as it will get a lock, the icon turns blue.

Apple Watch Ultra amid skyscrapers in downtown SF

James Martin/CNET

There is a new emergency siren on the Extremely, too. It is 86 decibels, which does not sound significantly loud on paper. However in observe, it emits two distinct sound patterns together with the common SOS sample to assist appeal to consideration. Apple says it may be heard as much as 600 ft away (182 meters), and naturally I needed to strive it out.

I trekked out that approximate distance from my climbing companion whereas on a path in Purisima Creek Redwoods Protect in Northern California, and he may clearly hear the siren. You’ll be able to pull up the siren by a long-press of the Motion button, deciding on Siren from the app checklist, or by urgent and holding the facet button. It seems as the highest choice on the emergency pane, from which you’ll be able to swipe throughout the display to activate the alarm.

I additionally respect the extra microphones on the Apple Watch Extremely that assist isolate your voice and scale back wind noise, because of new algorithms. I used the watch to name a colleague in 18 mph winds, and the caller on the opposite finish remarked how little wind he may hear. You’ll be able to hear the complete audio within the video on this web page.

Apple Watch Extremely: Automotive-crash detection, ECG, temperature sensor

All the opposite well being options are the identical because the Sequence 8. The Apple Watch Extremely has an ECG, excessive and low heart-rate alerts, fall detection, emergency SOS, worldwide emergency calling, car-crash detection, a blood oxygen sensor, sleep stage monitoring and a brand new temperature sensor. It takes 5 days to calculate a baseline and show developments within the Well being app on iPhone. However I did discover the precise pores and skin temperature readings within the well being settings menu on the watch itself if you wish to take a peek on the uncooked numbers.

As my colleague Scott Stein wrote in his Apple Watch Sequence 8 evaluation, it is tough to guage the temperature sensor’s usefulness proper now. Apple is not integrating the temperature information into broader options like a readiness rating, much like Oura and Fitbit.  However it is possible for you to to make use of it for ovulation monitoring proper off the bat. Apple says all well being information collected by the watch is encrypted in your account and in iCloud, so if two-factor authentication is on, nobody else can entry it.

The Apple Watch Extremely may positively go one step additional when it comes to tying all these completely different information factors collectively. Proper now, the watch can observe your sleep, pores and skin temperature in a single day, heart-rate variability, blood oxygen ranges and, after all, your general exercise ranges, together with measurements like VO2 Max. I might like to see the Extremely do extra when it comes to restoration metrics, like another sports activities and endurance watches.

Garmin has the Physique Battery that provides you a superb indication of how your physique is coping together with your coaching routine, whereas Polar has cardio and muscle load that reveals up after a exercise. Each will be actually useful instruments that will help you from overtraining, or to provide the nudge to maintain up your exercises by displaying progress over time.

All the weather are gathered on the Apple Watch, however the onus is on you to interpret all of it. Some third-party watch apps like Coaching Time offer you a visible rating and indicator displaying your readiness to coach, however I would additionally like to see Apple’s tackle pulling collectively all this information.

Apple Watch Extremely battery life

Inside that large body can also be the most important battery on any Apple Watch. Even when the sports activities and open air options do not enchantment to you, the dimensions and battery lifetime of this watch may justify its almost $800 price ticket. 

For normal utilization with a GPS exercise, the always-on show turned on, notifications and time checks, Apple charges the Apple Watch Extremely battery as much as 36 hours. I wasn’t fairly in a position to meet that quantity, although I did handle 33 hours of runtime with rigorous use together with a 2-hour hike, always-on show and sleep monitoring. You will get nearly two full days out of the watch, but it surely’s clear that heavy use of exercise and GPS options will drain your battery quicker.  

Low-power mode turns off sure options just like the always-on show and blood oxygen readings. With low-power mode turned on beneath related utilization patterns, I obtained about 50 hours. Realistically, you most likely will not use low-power mode on a totally charged watch, as a substitute turning it on as wanted to stretch the battery, particularly if you’re contemplating taking it on a weekend hike or backcountry expedition.

Apple Watch Ultra

James Martin/CNET

If you happen to’re utilizing it off the grid with GPS solely, Apple quotes about 12 hours complete battery. I’ve but to do my very own endurance battery take a look at beneath these situations, however keep tuned for outcomes. I am going to even be testing out battery life with LTE connectivity away from the telephone to see how that impacts runtime.

Later within the yr, a brand new battery optimization can lengthen the battery even additional to as much as 60 hours, together with 15 hours of exercise time, by lowering the variety of heart-rate and GPS readings. Theoretically, that is sufficient time for one thing like an Ironman. This function is not lively but, however I am going to even be testing this out as soon as launched.

Quick charging, like we first noticed on the Apple Watch Sequence 7, can also be supported. You’ll be able to go from flat to full in about an hour and a half, however I by no means actually let the Extremely get to 0% and all the time discovered it was charged up in lower than an hour. The Extremely comes with the identical USB-C magnetic charging puck as different, newer Apple Watches, but it surely has a pleasant braided cable as a substitute of a plastic casing. The 20W charging brick wanted to get these quick cost speeds is offered individually.

By far and away, that is the perfect battery on any Apple Watch. But it surely does not but get near the week — or weeks-long — battery life from different sports activities and endurance watches, even ones which have related OLED screens just like the Garmin Epix 2.

Who’s the Apple Watch Extremely actually for?

I really feel there are two varieties of people that will likely be drawn to the Apple Watch Extremely. The primary is anybody who desires a much bigger, harder Apple Watch with a battery that lasts twice so long as the opposite fashions. And if you happen to’re taking a look at a 45mm Sequence 8 in stainless-steel, it is nearly the identical value because the Extremely — within the US anyway — so I feel the Extremely is the higher general alternative.

Anybody who considers themselves an endurance athlete or open air adventurer is clearly the opposite enormous market. Apple’s achieved an important job of getting just a little little bit of the whole lot, whether or not you are a triathlete, marathon runner or diver. Nonetheless, we’ll have to attend just a little longer till the Oceanic Plus app launches to find out if these dive options are literally useful. 

The Extremely won’t match the sports activities and mapping options on a higher-end Garmin, Coros or Polar watch, however the tight integration with iPhone may be price extra to you. Cellular funds, a wide array of third-party apps, speaker, microphone and LTE connectivity all make the Extremely able to doubling as an on a regular basis watch and journey companion — except you want a battery that lasts every week or extra.

The following step is for Apple to attach all of the dots with all these information factors it is amassing to color a broader image of your well being and health. This is hoping that is simply across the nook.

Apple Watch Extremely vs. Sequence 8 vs. SE

Apple Watch Extremely Apple Watch Sequence 8 Apple Watch SE (2022)
Beginning worth $799 (£849, AU$1,299) $399 (£419, AU$629) $249 (£259, AU$399)
Measurement 49mm 41mm/45mm 40mm/44mm
Show At all times-on retina OLED, 2000 nits peak, almost 27% extra display space than SE At all times-on retina OLED, almost 20% extra display space than SE Retina OLED
Show decision 410×502 352×430 (41mm), 396×484 (45mm) 324×394 (40mm); 368×448 (44mm)
Sturdiness Diving (40m), water resistance (100m), MIL-STD 810H7, IP6X mud resistance Water resistance (50m) Water resistance (50m)
Sensors Depth, temperature, blood oxygen, electrical coronary heart, optical coronary heart, compass, always-on altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS/GNSS, ambient gentle Temperature, blood oxygen, electrical coronary heart, optical coronary heart, compass, always-on altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS/GNSS, ambient gentle Optical coronary heart, compass, always-on altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS/GNSS, ambient gentle
Security options 80-decibel siren, crash detection, fall detection, noise monitoring, emergency SOS, worldwide emergency calling Crash detection, fall detection, noise monitoring, emergency SOS, worldwide emergency calling Crash detection, fall detection, noise monitoring, emergency SOS, worldwide emergency calling
Processor Apple S8 system-on-a-chip Apple S8 system-on-a-chip Apple S8 system-on-a-chip
Colours Pure titanium Aluminum: midnight, starlight, silver, purple; stainless-steel: silver, graphite, gold; titanium: pure, area black Aluminum: midnight, starlight, silver
Battery Life As much as 36 hours (60 hours in low energy mode) As much as 18 hours (36 hours in low energy mode) As much as 18 hours
Storage 32GB 32GB 32GB
Connectivity LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, W3 wi-fi chip, U1 chip Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, W3 wi-fi chip, U1 chip, non-obligatory LTE Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, W3 wi-fi chip, non-obligatory LTE



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