By now, there are numerous Apple Watch Ultra reviews that praise its bright display, longer battery life, dual-band GPS, and other features. Design for endurance, exploration, and adventure, reviewers call it an “exciting” update.
But if you looking for a review from a hiker’s perspective, YouTuber David Smith from @DevelopingPerspective has you covered. Smith tested the new Apple Watch Ultra in the beautiful and rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands on a 3-day 61 miles hiking trip.
via David Smith
He tested the navigation through the new Compass Waypoints and Backtrack features, battery life, the loudness of the Siren, the usability of the Action Button, and the watch’s general utility. He was looking to find out if the watch was going to be reliable, help him not get lost, keep him safe, and justify its price.
At the end of the extensive hike, Smith labeled the 49mm Apple Watch Ultra the best smartwatch for outdoor activities which offers a little more than the regular Apple Watch models like the Series 8 or Series 7.
Here are the results of the Apple Watch Ultra’s test on a hike in the Scottish Highlands
The 12 miles hike used 20% of the battery with full brightness. At the end of day one, he did 18 miles of hiking with full brightness and constant engagement with apps, the smartwatch had 37% battery left. With the new low Power mode, he would have gotten more. He believes it would have not been possible on an older model.
The topographic interactive map showed his current location and helped him find his hiking track. The navigation of a typical sports watch is no comparison to the navigation details and UI of the Apple Watch Ultra.
One of the drawbacks was that the Compass Backtrack feature did not launch automatically. All in all, its navigation on the wrist was absolutely amazing.
Although the customizable Action Button is for launching a workout instantly, it irked Smith by ending his active workout and starting a new one in another app when he accidentally bumped it on a 24 miles hike. He was annoyed by having a two-segment workout instead of one comprehensive workout.
So for him, the Action Button is a miss because it ended an active workout.
In rainy and windy weather conditions of Scotland, the Apple Watch Ultra delivers impressively good audio quality with clear sound for phone calls or voice recording. The microphone did not produce static or capture the noises in the surroundings.
In comparison to a loud human voice and whistle, the Apple Watch Ultra Siren produced a decent loud noise from 40 meters distance in a rainy and windy environment. For Smith, the most useful functionality of the Siren is that it will continue to work without constant human intervention to work and its sound is unnatural, can not be mistaken for a bird or an animal, and will attract attention in rescue efforts.
Alpine Loop is comfortable to wear and has a strong stable grip because of the titanium loop.
At the end of 61 miles hike, Smith used a car analogy to explain the difference between an Apple Watch Ultra and other Apple Watch models.
He said the 49mm Ultra is a pickup truck because it bit more rugged and more capacity which makes it incredibly useful for outdoor activities with something extra. While the other Apple Watch models are sedans.