Hands-on with the new, very rugged, and very large Apple Watch Ultra

Hands-on with the new, very rugged, and very large Apple Watch Ultra
The new Apple Watch Ultra. Seen here with the new Alpine Loop band.
PHOTO: Hardware Zone

This was a big year for the Apple Watch because not only did we get an all-new model with the Apple Watch Ultra, but Apple also announced the new Apple Watch Series 8 and an updated Apple Watch SE.

There can be no doubt that the Apple Watch Ultra was the star of the show. Not only is it a new sub-series, but it's also the one with the largest display, most rugged design, and longest battery life. It's the Apple Watch taken to 11.

Let's start with the case because it measures a whopping 49mm. It's considerably larger than even the 45mm Apple Watch. That said, if you are accustomed to larger G-Shock watches like the Rangeman and Mudmaster, you should have no problems carrying off the Apple Watch Ultra. It's made of titanium, so despite its prodigious size, it is very light to wear. Here's a quick look in video form:-

Apart from being large, the case has tweaks to improve its durability. To start, the bezel is slightly raised to protect the display. And then the Digital Crown is surrounded by guards so it cannot be knocked off. The side button is also raised so that it can be easily activated even if the wearer has thick gloves on. 

On the opposite side of the case is the new Action Button. Essentially, it's a customisable shortcut button that can be used to let users quickly start workouts or leave a waypoint on the redesigned Compass app.

The case delivers improved water resistance too. The Apple Watch Ultra is now water resistant to 100 metres, which means you can take it scuba diving. And to that end, it's also EN13319 certified and according to Apple, delivers the "data and functionality required by scuba and free divers for descents down to 40 metres."

The larger case also means a larger display. Apple didn't give a specific measurement but it did say the display delivers up to 2,000 nits of brightness - handy if you are hiking across a scorching hot desert. The display is protected by sapphire glass, no less.

Another benefit of a larger case is improved battery life. According to Apple, the Apple Watch Ultra can last up to 36 hours. This extends to 60 hours if you use the new Low-power mode.

To go along with the watch, Apple also designed three new straps. The Ocean Band is made of fluoroelastomer rubber and was designed for divers who need a band that is flexible enough to accommodate a wetsuit. Then there's the Alpine Loop which was designed to be tough to withstand the rigours of mountain climbing. And finally, there's the Trail Loop, a lightweight band for hiking.

The Apple Watch Ultra is undoubtedly the most extreme and arguably the most capable Apple Watch to date. Not many people will need all of its features, but you cannot deny that they are nice and fun to have. The Apple Watch Ultra starts at $1,199. You can pre-order the Apple Watch Ultra right now on the Apple Store and availability starts on Sept 23.

ALSO READ: Apple Watch Ultra: The ultimate smartwatch for the outdoorsman?

This article was first published in HardwareZone.

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