I shouldn’t have bought the Apple Watch Ultra

Jason T. Lewis
5 min readFeb 10, 2023

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I bought the Apple Watch Ultra and I really shouldn’t have. I mean, there’s not acceptable way to justify spending $800 on a new Watch when I had the Series 7 in a cool green color and there was nothing wrong with it.

I resisted for a time. When I walked by the Apple Watch in Best Buy I turned away and kept walking, but when you do YouTube and part of your job is to see what other people are doing in their videos it’s hard not to break down and I did. I ordered a Watch Ultra with the Army green Alpine Loop band. Honestly, I had buyers remorse right away. I almost went back to the Best Buy app to cancel my order, but curiosity got the best of me. So I picked it up.

Once I got it home I was psyched to get it out of the box. The packaging is different than the packaging on other watches, but I have to admit that since Apple started being more eco-friendly the unboxing experience with Apple devices has gone down some.

Once I got it out of the box I found my first issue with the watch: The fit of the Alpine Loop band wasn’t great. It took me a minute to figure it out then once I did I found that my size was kind of in between two loops, so that mean having the band a little too tight to a little too loose. Ultimately, it hasn’t been that big a deal and I could stand to lose a few pounds anyway.

I was sure the Apple Watch Ultra was going to be instantly too big for my wrist and I’d find myself banging it on door jambs and everything else, but that didn’t happen. In fact after wearing it for a couple days I found the Ultra was actually very comfortable — more comfortable than the 45mm Series 7 I was wear and definitely more comfortable than the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro I have. I blame the Samsung issue on the terrible silicone bad they include with the watch.

The build of the Watch Ultra is something to really feel on your wrist to fully experience. Apple built this thing for the more outdoorsy types and it shows. The case it titanium and it’s molded to protect the crown and buttons from getting knocked off during a wilderness adventure. The only real addition to the Ultra is another button on the opposite side, the Action Button, that’s orange. Its purpose is to, well, launch actions. Out of the box it’s set to open the workout app, which is convenient. Gone are the days of hitting the Digital Crown and trying to find the Workout app in the sea of other apps in the terrible app soup of a home page. Yes, you can change that to a list view, but Workout is at the end of the alphabet…first word problems, I know. But still, it does make getting into workouts much quicker. You can also set it to start the Stopwatch and some other things. It’s a very convenient button, but you are not going to spend $800 for a button.

What I found as I wore the Ultra more is that I actually used the watch more than I did any of the other Apple Watches I’d had. Part of that is simply that the screen is just a little larger — 49mm instead of 45mm — but those extra 4 millimeters meant that I could actually get my fingers on the screen without messing up (although swipe typing a text is still impossible). It’s hard to say if that’s all it was, but I do use the Ultra for more than notifications and to be disappointed I didn’t close my rings for the day. Oh, and time and weather. The Apple Watch can do a lot more, I just never tried before, which made the Apple Watch an expensive FitBit.

There are some apps here that aren’t on the other watch’s like Depth detection for diving and the Siren for when you’re lost in the woods. It’ll also call emergency services if it detects you’ve had an accident.

And then there’s the battery life, which has been the downfall of the Apple Watch since its inception. I never got more than a day and a half of battery from an Apple Watch before the Ultra. Now that battery life has doubled. I have gotten almost 3 day on it. Nothing spectacular, but a lot better than before and now I can wear the watch to sleep and not worry about having no charge in the morning. And I’ve needed to a couple times. Right after the first of the year I was really sick with something. My fever got up to around 103 and my Ultra warned me my heart rate was elevate (which happens with fever). All modern Apple Watches will do that but I was able to wear the watch to sleep and have just a little extra piece of mind that I had an extra layer of protection.

And then there’s the fact that I’ve worn the Ultra pretty much every day since I got it and I never did that with my other watches. This has help me start closing my rings more. I had a 37 day stretch where I closed my move and stand rings every day. No I gotta get going on that exercise ring. But I live in Iowa and it’s cold.

So as much as I thought I would definitely use the Apple Watch Ultra for a while and then return it, I ended up keeping it — and it wasn’t even really a thought. I wanted to keep it.

So does that mean you should go out and buy the Apple Watch Ultra? Hell no. It’s an $800 smart watch. That’s ridiculous and we all know we’ll never do enough triathlons or diving or mountaineering to justify having it for a practical use.

The Apple Watch Ultra is a flex, but like many other Apple products, it’s a flex that has the goods to back it up. Contrary to popular belief people don’t just buy Apple products because they’re brainwashed. Well, not entirely.

If you go against ever ounce of sense in your body and do buy and Apple Watch Ultra you can at least take solace in my experience. It really is the best experience I’ve had with a smart watch by a long shot and I’m glad I have it. Is it worth $800? No. But it is worth having over the other Apple Watches. It’s all subjective anyway, right?

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Jason T. Lewis

Jason has worked as a writer, teacher, musician and audio engineer for over 30 years. He make YouTube videos at Painfully Honest Tech. He used to drink.