Apple Watch Series 9
Apple Watch Ultra 2
Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 at its recent iPhone 15 event. Here's how these two devices compare with each other.
The Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 are the latest additions to Apple's rich portfolio of smartwatches. These devices are designed to cater to a wide array of needs, from health and fitness tracking to seamless connectivity with other Apple devices.
However, Apple produces and markets each device for specific audiences. The Apple Watch Ultra lineup is geared toward athletes, whether they're participating in triathlons or hiking in the wilderness.
The standard Apple Watch Series offers many functions for everyday users who might not require an Action button, greater water resistance, and other extras available on the premium Apple Watch Ultra 2. However, both devices share a substantial number of features.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Ultra 2 - Specifications
|Specifications||Apple Watch Series 9||Apple Watch Ultra 2|
|Display||Retina LTPO OLED display|
Up to 2,000 nits
|Always-On Retina LTPO OLED display|
Up to 3,000 nits
|Processor||S9 SiP||S9 SiP|
Electrical heart sensor
Third-generation option heart sensor
Electrical heart sensor
Third-generation option heart sensor
|Water Resistance||50 meters||100 meters|
|Battery Life||Up to 18 hours (36 in Low Power Mode)||Up to 36 hours (72 in Low Power Mode)|
Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n)
|Other Sensors||Emergency SOS|
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Ultra 2 - Case sizes, materials, and weight
The Apple Watch Series 9 is available in a 45mm or 41mm case made from aluminum or stainless steel. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 features a 49mm case crafted from titanium.
Apple equips the aluminum versions of the Apple Watch Series 9 with Ion-X front glass, whereas the stainless steel variants come with a sapphire crystal front.
However, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 only has a sapphire front crystal screen. Constructed using aerospace-grade titanium, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 achieves the ideal harmony of weight, durability, and resistance to corrosion.
The case features elevated edges to shield the flat sapphire front crystal from impacts on the sides, offering supreme resilience against the elements. On the side of the Apple Watch Ultra 2, users will find the Digital Crown and side button in a prominent "bump" as opposed to the Apple Watch Series 9.
Additionally, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has a specialized Action button that can instantly start excercises in the Workouts app. The Apple Watch Series 9 lacks the Action button and only has a Digital Crown and a side button, which can show the Control Center, control Apple Pay, and turns the watch on or off.
The Apple Watch Series 9's weight varies slightly based on its material composition and wireless connectivity options. Specifically, the 41mm aluminum model with only Wi-Fi connectivity weighs 31.9 grams, and its Wi-Fi + Cellular counterpart weighs 32.1 grams.
The 45mm aluminum versions weigh 38.7 grams and 39 grams for the Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + Cellular options, respectively. The 41mm and 45mm stainless steel variants are 42.3 grams and 51.5 grams, respectively.
The Apple Watch Ultra 2, available in a single size and material option, stands at 61.4 grams.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Ultra 2 - Display
The display is one of the most crucial aspects of any smart device. The Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 have state-of-the-art display technology that promises a vibrant and crisp viewing experience.
While the Apple Watch Series 9 has a screen resolution of 396 by 484 pixels, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 model increases that to 410 by 502 pixels.
The Always-On Retina display of both devices keeps the display on so users can see information at a glance. But while the Apple Watch Series 9 screen can achieve a brightness of up to 2,000 nits, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 can reach up to 3,000 nits.
You can even bring the Apple Watch Ultra 2 down to one nit, which is useful for dark environments.
Readable even in direct sunlight, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 also has an exclusive Modular watch face to show real-time altitude, depth, or other customizable data points. This takes advantage of the massive size of the display, with data points being displayed at the edges.
The Night Mode feature on the Ultra 2 can also automatically activate in the dark, which makes it easier to view information on the watch face in a pitch-black evening.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Ultra 2 - Processor
A powerful processor is the heartbeat of any smart device, ensuring smooth and fast operations. The Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 have a high-performance S9 System in Package (SiP) chip that promises lightning-fast speeds and efficient multitasking capabilities.
A 64-bit dual-core processor, the S9 has a Neural Engine with four cores to handle machine learning operations twice as fast as its predecessor, the S8 chip. It powers each device's features, including an on-device Siri that handles various tasks and an enhanced voice dictation tool for accurate voice-to-text translations.
On-device processing ensures privacy and security, allowing Siri to retrieve data from the Health app for health and fitness inquiries. Users can ask about their sleep duration, check Activity ring status, initiate workouts, or set waypoints using voice commands, even offline.
Additionally, Siri can log various health details on the Apple Watch Ultra 2, including weight and body temperature, without an internet connection.
The S9 chip in each Apple Watch model also shares a second-generation Ultra Wideband chip for more accurate location features with a paired iPhone. The Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip in the Apple Watch significantly enhances the device's connectivity and spatial awareness capabilities.
For example, allows the watch to understand its precise location in relation to other devices equipped with UWB chips, such as an iPhone. Using the Find My app, Apple users can find a lost device with greater precision than devices without a UWB chip.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Ultra 2 - Health and fitness
Both Apple Watch versions boast a range of identical health and fitness functionalities, including apps for blood oxygen level and ECG monitoring. There are notifications for heart rate, sleep, and menstrual cycle tracking, as well as the option of mental well-being logging.
Users can elevate their training regimen with Heart Rate Zones, Custom Workouts, and Race Route functionalities. Catering to activities involving a combination of swimming, biking, or running, the Multisport workout feature has automatic detection, allowing for a seamless transition between different workouts.
However, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 takes it a step further, offering additional tools designed to cater to the needs of extreme athletes.
The Action button on the Apple Watch Ultra 2 can instantly begin workouts and move users to the next stage of a custom exercise. The built-in Depth app can also record time, depth, water temperature, duration underwater, and maximum depth reached, thanks to onboard sensors meant for diving and water-based activities.
This is especially true given that the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is better equipped to handle recreational diving. The Apple Watch Series 9 has water resistance rated to 50 meters, but the Ultra 2 can go to 100 meters, can deal with high-speed water sports, and diving to 40 meters.
The watchOS 10 update also adds new health features. For example, Bluetooth integration for power meters and speed and cadence sensors is now available for cyclists, enabling access to new metrics and views during cycling workouts.
A cycling workout can automatically appear as a Live Activity on the iPhone, expanding to full screen when selected. And new Compass Waypoints and Maps features help in navigating outdoor adventures.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Ultra 2 - Battery and storage
Battery life and storage capacity are vital features that dictate the usability of a smart device. The Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 promise long battery life and ample storage space to accommodate apps and data.
The Apple Watch Series 9 can reach up to 18 hours with normal usage and up to 36 hours in Low Power Mode. Users will see up to 36 hours for the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and up to 72 hours in Low Power Mode.
Each Apple Watch model has 64GB of storage for apps, music, and other media that users can download to their wearable.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Ultra 2 - Other features
Both models have a novel method for users to manage and engage with their devices without touching the screen. By performing a double tap using their thumb and index finger, people can access the Smart Stack directly from the watch face, respond to calls, navigate through widgets, and more.
Leveraging the upgraded Neural Engine housed in the S9 chip, the double-tap tool employs a machine-learning algorithm to collect and use data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor. It tracks the subtle changes in wrist movements and variations in blood flow that occur when executing a double tap gesture using the thumb and index finger.
Furthermore, the S9 chip brings an enhanced Siri assistant with offline functionalities. If the user's inquiry doesn't need internet-based information, Siri can promptly and dependably assist with tasks such as retrieving health statistics, configuring timers, and initiating workout sessions.
One unusual addition to the Apple Watch Ultra that the Series 9 doesn't have is a siren, allowing for wearers to signal for assistance using a high-volume sound.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Ultra 2 - Price
One of the most significant distinctions between the two models lies in their pricing, with the Apple Watch Ultra 2 being positioned as a premium, high-end device.
The cost stands at $799 for the Apple Watch Ultra 2, a notable increase compared to the $399 starting price tag of the Apple Watch Series 9 due to the premium materials and advanced features of the Ultra 2.
Of course, you can configure the Series 9 in ways to bring the price up closer to the Ultra 2. For example, going for a Series 9 with a Gold Stainless Steel Case with Milanese Loop is $749 for the 41mm model, $799 for the 45mm.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Ultra 2 - What to buy
When considering a purchase in the high-end smartwatch market, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 emerges as a frontrunner, especially for the tech-savvy user with a penchant for the latest and most advanced features.
It caters exceptionally well to extreme athletes, offering tools such as Heart Rate Zones and Custom Workouts to enhance their training regimen. The device is powered by the potent S9 chip, which introduces an offline Siri assistant, improving usability significantly.
On the other hand, the Apple Watch Series 9 stands as a strong contender, offering a substantial number of the advanced features present in the Ultra 2 but at a more affordable price point of $399 for the entry-level model.
While it may lack the enhanced tools for extreme athletes, it retains core health and fitness features, including blood oxygen and ECG apps, sleep and menstrual cycle tracking, and mental well-being logging.
Furthermore, it shares the same S9 chip with offline Siri functionality, ensuring smooth and reliable performance. The Series 9 offers a balanced option for people seeking a high-quality Apple Watch experience without the premium price tag.