Apple Watch Ultra Review: Top 5 Features2022-09-21
That’s why up to 60 hours of life (rolling out later this fall) from the Ultra’s 76 percent larger battery really will finally kick down the barrier to entry for many folks.
During one testing interval, I was able to eke out about 57 hours before, at 9% battery, the Watch asked if I wanted to switch to Low Power mode, which spikes some functions.
And mind you, I didn’t baby the Ultra.
For the first day, and during three workouts, I used it with its eSIM enabled (you can always stretch battery life by toggling that off, since you can enable it whenever you want to make a call or text from your wrist). I streamed music to a pair of Airpods during all three workouts. I made a few calls from the Ultra and tracked two nights of sleep as well. Until the afternoon of the third full day, I had full functionality. You won’t get anything near that kind of battery life from any phone on the planet.
Yet a strong competitor, the Garmin Fenix 7, which is about the same size as the Ultra and costs the same ($799), will run laps around the Ultra. Apple says its new kingpin can last up to 12 hours during constant GPS use in the standard power mode. Meanwhile, the Fenix 7 can last a whopping 57 hours on GPS tracking.
The Yeah-But Reason to Still Want an Apple Watch Ultra
If you’re going to climb K2 or “merely” Denali, a Garmin or Suunto with far greater battery life makes the most sense. No question.
Even if you want to go for a seven-day hike in the Sierras, that’s perhaps the right call, though a standalone GPS with a larger screen feels more right, if you ask me.
You can’t reply to a text on a Garmin Fenix 7, though you can see them. And you can’t take or make a voice call. Sure, if your paired phone is nearby you can vet the text and decide to respond or not. But that’s going back years in Apple Watch tech terms. Yes, you can play music on a Fenix 7. However, to load tunes onto that timepiece you have to plug your watch into your computer. Again, what decade is this?