Although I go for almost daily bike rides for exercise, I used to always forget to record the rides on my Apple Watch. I’d always record the rides on my bike computer. But when it came to the watch, I’d never remember until halfway through the workout, if at all.
That’s until I got the Apple Watch Ultra, which boasts a bright orange Action button that I set to start an Outdoor Cycle workout.
Now, I remember every time, and it’s because of the button. It’s the strangest thing, and I have no explanation. But the act of hitting a physical button makes me remember.
The versatile Action button — which you can set to turn on the watch’s flashlight, start the stopwatch or run a shortcut, among other things — is reason enough to get the Apple Watch Ultra, which I’ve been wearing since its launch last year. But there’s another great reason. Actually, two.
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Apple Watch Ultra: Charging? Fuggedaboutit!
The other reason to get the Apple Watch Ultra is that its massive battery lets you essentially forget about charging it.
With a regular Apple Watch, you need to remember to charge it daily. But with the Ultra, you don’t have to have a charging routine at all. Charge it overnight? No need; you can keep it on for sleep tracking. You just charge it, well, whenever.
The battery lasts a good 36 hours, and up to 60 hours in low-power mode. That means you just charge it when necessary, which I find quite liberating.
Sometimes I charge it overnight, and sometimes at my desk while working. Usually, I go into the Control Center, check the remaining charge, and if it’s low, plonk it on a charger.
Or else I charge it when I get a low-power warning at 10%, but not always. I can happily ignore the warning for an hour or two, and then put it on the charger.
Freedom from battery worries at last
Being free from charging anxiety is quite freeing and one of my favorite features of the Apple Watch Ultra. I had the same experience with Max-size iPhones — any battery that lasts longer than a day frees you from daily charging anxiety.
It’s the opposite of range anxiety in an electric car; you no longer have to worry about it.
Daily charging is the big reason why my brother, my wife and other people I know haven’t gotten an Apple Watch yet. They don’t want the cognitive load of daily charging. But with the Ultra, it’s not an issue.
Apple Watch Ultra is virtually indestructible
Another big reason to get the Apple Watch Ultra is its durability. Although I haven’t taken my Ultra on any, well, ultra adventures, it’s been bashed about for a year and there’s not a scratch on it.
By contrast, I ruined an earlier Apple Watch just a week after I got it by scraping its face across a brick wall. It looked like Wolverine had raked his claws across it, and I cried for about a week.
I haven’t deliberately dragged my Ultra across any bricks, but it’s been on my wrist for a year and doesn’t have any significant scratches or dings.
And while I’m not engaging in the types of extreme sports that Apple markets the Ultra for, I don’t live in an iron lung. I ride bikes, swim and hike. I regularly fix stuff around the house and the car. I’ve smashed the Ultra into doors and car engine bays. I’ve dropped it several times.
Apple says the Ultra is certified to aspects of MIL-STD-810H, a certification for military equipment and rugged equipment makers, and I believe it.
After a year, my watch’s flat sapphire front crystal remains scratch-free (which is a surprise, frankly). And there’s only one scratch on its beefy titanium case, which I only noticed when scrutinizing it for this piece. It’s pretty much perfect (except for the gross leather band I use, but we won’t get into that).
Why you should buy the Apple Watch Ultra
Some people say the Ultra is too big, but after wearing it for a year, I now find regular Apple Watches dinky and small. I like the advantages that come with size: the bigger, brighter screen (which is wonderful) and the better battery life.
I love my Apple Watch Ultra, and if it didn’t cost almost as much as a fancy iPhone, I’d upgrade it to the new model — the Apple Watch Ultra 2, which Apple released last month. The upgraded model comes with an even-brighter screen, an even-faster processor (the S9 SiP) and the new double-tap gesture that lets you control the watch by tapping your index finger and thumb together twice in midair. (Double tap supposedly will arrive in watchOS 10.1.)
Seeing as my original Apple Watch Ultra is still in almost good-as-new condition, I’m holding onto it for another year. But if you’ve yet to try the Ultra, I highly recommend it. It’s the best Apple Watch in the lineup.
Now if only Apple had released the Apple Watch Ultra 2 in black titanium like the rumors said…