Wired reviews Apple Watch Ultra 2: ‘Shockingly bright display’

Apple Watch Ultra 2, the most rugged and capable Apple Watch, pushes the limits again. Featuring the all-new S9 SiP, a magical new way to use your watch without touching the screen, and the brightest Apple display ever. Wired’s review says its display is “shockingly bright” and gives the new Watch a score of 8/10, recommended.

A new advanced display architecture pushes the maximum brightness of Apple Watch Ultra 2 to 3000 nits for greater readability in harsh sunlight.
A new advanced display architecture pushes the maximum brightness of Apple Watch Ultra 2 to 3000 nits for greater readability in harsh sunlight.

Adrienne So for Wired:

The Watch Ultra 2 looks pretty much like last year’s Watch Ultra, with a few key differences. This year it has a faster S9 chipset, which among other things powers some of the basic Siri interactions right there on the watch. You no longer have to wait for simple voice commands—start a workout, set an alarm, log your weight—to travel up and down from the cloud. Machine learning tasks are also completed twice as quickly than on the original Ultra, which theoretically extends the battery life of the watch. The extra power enables new interactions like Double Tap, which uses the watch’s sensors to detect when you tap your thumb and index finger together twice. That gesture can be used in place of the primary watch button on any screen, or open your Smart Stack. There are other gestures too, like covering your watch to mute it.

The new Ultra’s display maxes out at a brightness of 3,000 nits. That is shockingly bright; for reference, the iPhone 15 has a max-2,000-nit display. You can also configure the watch with its new Modular Ultra watch face, which lets you set an additional real-time metric along the bezel of the watch—pick between seconds, elevation, or depth if you’re diving. There’s a second-gen ultra wideband chip inside the latest model that makes the precision finding features more accurate, so it’s easier to locate your lost iPhone using your watch. (It slipped behind the snacks in your backpack’s front pocket.)

When you’re considering whether you should buy a Garmin Epix Pro or a Watch Ultra 2, it’s not one watch versus another. It’s one ecosystem versus another, one fragmented and one integrated. Do you want to buy a Garmin Edge and an InReach Mini and a Forerunner and a regular degular smartwatch? Or just one watch and an iPhone (and probably a portable charger) to do all the things, all the time. I consider that this equation now balances out in favor of the Watch Ultra 2…

MacDailyNews Take: Apple Watch Ultra 2. There is no substitute.

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  1. The Garmin Epix / AWU comparison left off one important consideration: the AWU has to be charged every couple days. The Garmin goes nearly two weeks between charges. In my book, that’s a big f’ing difference. Garmin also makes much less expensive watches that also last a week.

    Why Apple cannot do this, I don’t know. But in the meantime, the Apple Watch will remain the only major Apple product category I’ve ever not bought.

        1. Show me exactly where in my comment you think I’m “offended.”

          One is a real computer on your wrist. The other is not. That explains the difference in battery demand between the two devices.

        2. @Xennex1170 you’re right that one is a computer on your wrist. But that’s not what everyone wants. I’d rather have something that I can wear every night, and use as a silent alarm to awaken me without disturbing my wife. She charges her AW overnight, so I’m awakened by her iPhone alarm whenever she’s getting up before me.

          So let’s not move the goalposts and say that anyone who doesn’t want a wrist computer is “laughably uninformed.” Some of us just want a different mix of functionality.

      1. These are called “smartwatches,” and they’re meant to replace non-smartwatches, which have batteries that last for years. Garmin has prioritized battery life over functionality. Apple has done the opposite. Neither is right or wrong, but there will remain a decent-sized contingent of people who do not consider a device that requires charging every night (with a single-purpose proprietary cable) to be a “watch.” I’m happy for all the AW users out there, but the current feature set just isn’t for me.

        1. watch
          1. a small timepiece worn typically on a strap on one’s wrist.

          The method or frequency of charging has nothing whatsoever to do with the definition of a “watch.”

  2. The AWU is as much a “watch” as the iPhone is a “phone”.

    To have all the features…from heart rate monitor to electrocardiography to oxygen sensor to altitude and depth measurement to FaceTime to satellite SOS to walkie-talkie to iPod to phone to gps to ….on and on……you need a real computer.

    If, somehow, you were to turn off all the features that the Garmin does not do then the AWU would last a lot longer than the Garmin.

    If the Garmin features is all you need, then get a Garmin. No one is stopping you.

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