Watches: a closer look at the Apple Watch Ultra | Top Gear
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Tuesday 5th December
Best of 2022

Watches: a closer look at the Apple Watch Ultra

The Ultra is Apple’s biggest, most feature packed (and pricey) watch yet. Who’s it for?

Published: 20 Dec 2022

Watches, eh? Whoever thought they’d be useful for more than just telling the time? Well, at least that’s the sort of audience Apple was gunning for back in 2015 when it launched its first generation Watch. Or rather its wearable device. Suddenly your watch was sending alerts and messages, tracking your heart rate (much higher with all those messages coming through) or carrying a solid chunk of your music collection.

Like the iPod and iPhone before it, once again the new Apple was the gadget you didn’t know you needed. Of course, smart watches are now everywhere, and it means Apple is having to up its game with its latest eighth gen set of watches.

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The new Apple Watch Ultra is aimed at the rock climbing, scuba diving, marathon crowd and it’s the biggest yet – the 49mm titanium case is nearly 10 per cent larger than the next biggest Watch. Apple hasn’t disclosed the Ultra’s battery size, but it’s rumoured to be over 500mAh, a two-thirds increase even on the latest Series 8.

The flat sapphire front crystal Retina display makes for what Apple says is its “biggest and brightest watch yet”, with a brightness of 2,000 nits (a nit is equal to one candela per square metre, and a candela is like horsepower for lights) ensuring you’ll always be able to find the bathroom in the middle of the night.

And why all the complicated fancy technology in this £849 smart watch? Well, because Apple says that it has created the “perfect technical tool for adventurers and explorers in a range of environments”. Turns out the first 1k in ‘Couch to 5k’ is getting yourself a watch to track progress.

Naturally the Apple Watch Ultra also makes phone calls – but in the most complicated way possible, it has three microphones squirrelled away in the case that use an “adaptive beamforming algorithm” and machine learning to cut out ambient noise, which presumably consists of people around you saying things like “Why is that person shouting at their wrist?”

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Are you sold on this extravagant bit of arm candy? Let’s take a closer look at some of the details.

Apple Watch Ultra - £849

Rain or shine

The Ultra is designed to cope with extreme  temperatures ranging from -20°C to 55°C. Should be enough to cope with a weekend of light walking and tea rooms in the Lake District

Bear with me

Wayfinder face is designed specifically for the Ultra’s giant display and includes a compass in the dial

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Deep end

The Ultra supports scuba diving to 40 metres – it’ll even tell you how long to hang around and avoid the bends

Juiced up

New low power setting for “multi-day experiences” ekes the battery life out to an impressive 60 hours

Front runner

Apple says there’s enough battery to get you through a triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a full marathon run. Or a Thursday morning as we like to call it

Big bands

There are three new straps themed for your chosen #lifestyle – trail running, deep sea diving or climbing

Oh crumbs

Scared of getting lost on a hike in the woods? Now you can make like Hansel and Gretel and drop waypoints

It’s complicated

If you need all the information, the new Wayfinder face has space for up to eight of Apple’s ‘complications’

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