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Compared: Apple Watch Ultra vs. Apple Watch Series 8 & Series 7

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The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are the company’s newest wearable accessories, and these are the features that might tempt new buyers or Apple Watch Series 7 owners.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Ultra – Specifications

Specifications Apple Watch Series 7 Apple Watch Series 8 Apple Watch Ultra
Price (starting) $399.00 $399.00 $799.00
Sizes 41mm, 45mm 41mm, 45mm 49mm
Display LTPO OLED Retina
Always-on display
1,000 nits brightness
Increased crack-resistance
LTPO OLED Retina
Always-on display
1,000 nits brightness
Increased crack-resistance
LTPO OLED Retina
Always-on display
2,000 nits brightness
Increased crack-resistance
Case Materials Aluminum
Stainless Steel
Titanium
Aluminum
Stainless Steel
Titanium
Stainless Steel
Titanium
Processor S7 SiP S8 SiP S8 SiP
Health Sensors Third-generation optical heart sensor
ECG
Blood oxygen sensor
Fall Detection
Crash Detection with watchOS 9
Third-generation optical heart sensor
ECG
Blood oxygen sensor
Temperature sensor
Fall Detection
Crash Detection with watchOS 9
Third-generation optical heart sensor
ECG
Blood oxygen sensor
Temperature sensor
Fall Detection
Crash Detection with watchOS 9
Water Resistance 50 meters 50 meters 100 meters
Dust Resistance IP6X IP6X IP6X
Battery Life Up to 18 hours Up to 36 hours with Low Power Mode Up to 60 hours with Low Power Mode
Recharging Wireless
USB-C Fast Charging
Wireless
USB-C Fast Charging
Wireless
USB-C Fast Charging
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n(2.4, 5 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n(2.4, 5 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n(2.4, 5 GHz)
LTE and UMTS, Bluetooth 5.3
Other Sensors GPS/GNSS
Compass
Barometric altimeter
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
GPS/GNSS
Compass
Barometric altimeter
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
GPS/GNSS
Compass
Always-on Barometric altimeter
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Colors (Aluminum) Midnight
Starlight
Blue
Green
(Product)RED
Starlight
Midnight
Silver
PRODUCT(RED)
Colors (Stainless Steel) Graphite
Silver
Gold
Graphite
Silver
Gold
Colors (Titanium) Space black
Titanium (natural color)
Titanium (natural color)

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Ultra – Case sizes

The Apple Watch Series 7 has a bigger, brighter, and tougher screen than its predecessors. Apple increased the size of the display by 1mm on both the smaller and larger models.

The bigger size results in a screen area increase of 20% compared to the Apple Watch Series 6. Yet Apple managed to decrease the borders of the screen at 1.7mm, down from 3mm on the Apple Watch SE and Series 6.

The Apple Watch Ultra model is 49mm and doesn’t include a smaller or larger option, while the Apple Watch Seris 8 keeps the sizes of 41mm and 45mm.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Ultra – Materials and Weight

For the Apple Watch Series 7 screen, Apple uses Ion-X glass on the aluminum models and sapphire crystal for the stainless steel and titanium models.

The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra use the same glass for the screen, and the Apple Watch Ultra is only available in titanium, a move that makes sense given its rugged marketing.

The weight of each device depends on the material used in manufacturing. For example, the Apple Watch Series 7 weights 32g for the aluminum option, 42.3g for stainless steel, and 37g for titanium.

The Apple Watch Series 8 weight 38.8g for aluminum and 51.5g for stainless steel. Of course, given its larger size, the Apple Watch Ultra weighs more at 61.3g for the titanium-only option.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Ultra – Display

The Apple Watch Series 7 has an always-on display of 352 x 430 pixels on the 41mm model, giving it an area of 904 sq mm and 1,000 nits of brightness. On the 45mm model it features a 396 x 484 pixel display, 904 sq mm display area, and 1,000 nits of brightness.

Action button on the Apple Watch Ultra

Apple introduced a new display design with the Apple Watch Series 7 that features soft, round corners, making it appear to seamlessly meld with the glass.

The design of the Apple Watch Series 8 is identical to the Apple Watch Series 7. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the same curved body but with a flat area for the screen. Apple says this is to reduce cracks with the display.

In addition, the Apple Watch Ultra has an all-new Action button in high-contrast international orange that can be customized for instant access to a variety of features, including Workouts, Compass Waypoints, Backtrack, and more.

The brightness of the Apple Watch Ultra can reach 2,000 nits, while the Apple Watch Series 8 keeps the 1,000 nits of brightness.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Ultra – Processor

An S7 SiP powers the Apple Watch Series 7 with a 64-bit dual-core processor. The W3 chip is the same found in the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple Watch Series 5, Apple Watch Series 6, and Apple Watch SE. It brings Bluetooth 5.0 to the product line.

Apple Watch Series 8 Crash Detection

Apple Watch Series 8 Crash Detection

A dual-core 64-bit S8 SiP powers both the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. The company says this is 20% faster than the S7. The new models also include the W3 and U1 chips. The Apple Watch Ultra introduces Bluetooth 5.3 into the product line, but the Apple Watch Series 8 sticks with Bluetooth 5.0.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Ultra – Health & Fitness

The Apple Watch Series 7 and Apple Watch Series 8 both include blood oxygen sensors and ECG capabilities from an optical heart sensor. The watchOS 8 update brought new cycling detection and workout types to the Apple Watch Series 7.

The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra include a new temperature sensor that give women insights into their health, such as cycle tracking and ovulation detection. Temperature sensing involves one sensor on the back of the watch, nearest the skin, and another just under the display to reduce bias from the environment.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Ultra – Battery

The Apple Watch Series 7 boasted a battery life of up to 18 hours that Apple markets as “all-day.” Its fast-charging ability reaches up to an 80% charge in approximately 45 minutes using the USB-C magnetic fast charging cable.

The Apple Watch Series 8 offers up to 18 hours of battery life, and up to 36 hours using Low Power Mode. THe Apple Watch Ultra can give users 36 hours of battery life, and up to 60 hours with Low Power Mode. With LTE connectivity, the Apple Watch Ultra can provide up to 18 hours of battery life.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Ultra – Other Features

The Apple Watch Ultra includes an emergency feature of an 86-decibel siren if users are lost or injured in the wilderness. The unique sound signature incorporates two distinct alternating patterns, which can repeat for up to several hours. The first pattern suggests distress, while the second mimics the universally recognized SOS pattern.

Apple Watch Ultra is certified to MIL-STD-810H, used for military equipment and by many rugged equipment manufacturers.

The U1 chip brings Ultra Wideband technology to the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra. It offers location-aware tracking to precisely pinpoint the location of iBeacons, iPhones and iPads with a U1 chip, AirDrop recipient selection, augmented reality image location, and other location uses.

Thanks to its large display, the Apple Watch Series 7 introduced a full keyboard that users can tap or slide across, and the Apple Watch Series 8 is no different.

Apple Watch Ultra Depth app, which displays time, current depth, water temperature, duration under water, and max depth reached.

Apple Watch Ultra Depth app, which displays time, current depth, water temperature, duration under water, and max depth reached.

The Apple Watch Series 7 was the first model to come with an IP6X dust resistance rating. Combined with a crack-resistant sapphire crystal screen and a swim-proof WR50 rating, it’s a good model for cyclists and athletes.

The Apple Watch Ultra is an even better model for athletes and outdoorsmen of all kinds, with its MIL-STD-810H certification, WR100 score for water resistance of up to 100 meters, and an EN 13319 certification. This is internationally recognized standard for dive accessories, including depth gauges that are relied upon by recreational divers.

This is the first Apple product to receive an EN 13319 certification. European Standards (abbreviated EN, from the German name Europische Norm (“European Norm”), deal with many different types of products and specifications, from portable fire extinguishers to air conditioners.

13319 pertains to diving accessories to make sure that equipment such as depth gauges and the Apple Watch Ultra meet safety standards. This standard ensures the accuracy of depth and time measuring devices.

The new Depth app from Apple diplays metrics critical to recreational divers that includes time, current depth, water temperature, duration under water, and max depth reached. Satisfying EN 13319 means that divers can safely rely on these Apple Watch Ultra metrics.

Apple mentioned a third-party app called Oceanic+, available in the App Store later this fall. It includes dive planning, dive metrics, visual and haptic alerts, no-decompression limit, ascent rate, and safety stop guidance.

Another addition to the Apple Watch Ultra is an L5 sensor for GPS. It includes both L1 and L5, while the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Series 7 only include L1.

L5 operates at a frequency of 1176.45 MHz, and greatly improves the accuracy for locating people lost in the wilderness, or just improving location tracking during marathons and other athletic events.

The L5 frequency band is exclusively reserved for aviation safety services, as shown with the helicopter rescuing people in Apple’s example during the iPhone event. It’s the most advanced GPS signal available for civilians and its accuracy is good enough for less than three feet of detection.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Series 8 Pro – Pricing, Storage, and Colors

The Apple Watch Series 7 is available in midnight, starlight, green, blue, and red for aluminum models. Stainless steel models come in graphite, silver, and gold, while titanium is available in space black and a natural color.

Both the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra all include 32GB of storage.

Pricing is another shared feature, with the Apple Watch Series 8 keeping the starting price of $399 for the 41mm model. The 45mm device starts at $429. The Apple Watch Ultra starts at $799.

The Apple Watch Ultra is only available in titanium, and the Apple Watch Series 8 is only available in aluminum and stainless steel. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch Series 7 is no longer available to purchase, although it came in titanium during its release.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Ultra – What to buy

The Apple Watch Ultra is an obvious choice for athletes with its increased water resistance, emergency siren, depth gauge with water temperature sensor, better battery life, and more. The Apple Watch Series 8 has many of the same features, but lacks the Action button and siren, and maintains the 50m water resistance of the Apple Watch Series 7.

Ultimately, a combination of budget and use cases are the ultimate arbiter of which watch to buy, or if an upgrade is necessary. Apple promoted the temperature sensor for women’s health, but it will have other uses as well.



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