Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Ultra Buyer’s Guide

At its “Far out” event earlier this month, alongside the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple announced the Apple Watch Ultra. ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ is a completely new kind of smartwatch from Apple with a focus on withstanding extreme environments, a high level of durability, extended battery life and additional features to support activities such as diving and exploring.

Apple Watch Ultra Snow
Both the ‌Apple Watch Series 8‌ and ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ feature the S8 chip, Always-On Retina display, Crash Detection, temperature sensor, IP6X dust resistance, and more, but there are significant differences between the two devices.

With $50 less between the 45mm stainless steel ‌Apple Watch Series 8‌ and the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌, some prospective customers will be weighing whether it’s worth spending a bit more to get the all-new 49mm model. While there’s a $400 difference between the 41mm aluminum ‌Apple Watch Series 8‌ and the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌, the new high-end model offers a whole new set of features to address specific challenges, so it might even be worth it for some of those buyers.


Apple Watch Series 8

  • Aluminum or stainless steel body
  • Curved design
  • Digital Crown with haptic feedback and side button
  • 45mm or 41mm case size (vertical)
  • 10.7 mm thick
  • Weighs from 32.0 grams to 51.5 grams
  • Ion-X front glass (aluminum) or sapphire crystal (stainless steel)
  • Curved display with refractive edge
  • 904 sq mm (41 mm) or 1143 sq mm (45 mm) display area
  • 352 by 430 pixels (41 mm) or 396 by 484 pixels (45 mm)
  • Brightness up to 1000 nits
  • Single speaker
  • Single microphone
  • GPS
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Waterproof up to 50m
  • Resistant to swimming
  • Up to 18 hours of battery life
  • Available in Midnight, Starlight, Silver and PRODUCT(RED) (aluminum) or Silver, Graphite or Gold (stainless steel)
  • Starts at $399 (aluminum) and $699 (stainless steel)

Apple Watch Ultra

  • Aerospace grade titanium case
  • Lightweight, strong and corrosion-resistant case with raised edges to protect the flat sapphire crystal front
  • Digital Crown with haptic feedback, side button and custom action button
  • 49mm case size (vertical)
  • Thickness 14.4 mm
  • Weight 61.3 grams
  • Sapphire
  • Flat display
  • 1164 sq mm display area
  • 410 by 502 pixels
  • Brightness up to 2000 nits
  • The exclusive Wayfinder face features a live compass for navigation and a night mode for low visibility conditions
  • Dual speakers (40% louder than Series 8)
  • Three-microphone array with beamforming and wind noise reduction
  • 86 decibel siren to attract attention
  • Precise dual-frequency GPS (L1 and L5)
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Tested to MIL-STD 810H
  • Waterproof up to 100m
  • Resistant to swimming and recreational diving up to 40m
  • EN13319 certificate
  • Water temperature sensor
  • Depth gauge
  • Diving desktop app (available on the App Store)
  • Up to 36 hours of battery life
  • Only natural titanium coating
  • It starts at $799

‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ offers new capabilities to address the specific requirements of those who need their Apple Watch to provide assistance in challenging environments. If you need a more durable Apple Watch with features like a brighter display, louder speakers, more reliable GPS, better water resistance and more, the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ is undoubtedly the best choice.

The ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ is also the largest and most feature-rich Apple Watch option available, not to mention it offers the first true redesign of the device since its introduction in 2015. For tech enthusiasts, the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ is a way to get an entirely new Apple Watch experience with the best specifications. Features like longer battery life and a bigger and brighter display are also very affordable and will benefit all users. As such, some customers may still be inclined to choose the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ over the ‌Apple Watch Series 8‌, even if they don’t need it for use in challenging environments.

As the largest Apple Watch model to date, the size of the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ won’t be for everyone. If you already prefer the 41mm case size of the Apple Watch, the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ may be too big for you. If in doubt, it might be worth going to an Apple Store and trying on an ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ in person to get a feel for the size and determine if it’s too big and bulky for you.

Similarly, the look of the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ may not appeal to some buyers. If you prefer a stainless steel Apple Watch and are looking for a more fashion-focused smartwatch that pairs well with metal and leather straps, the more aggressive, rugged design of the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ may not be for you.

If the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ is out of your price range, but you still want to use your Apple Watch in challenging environments, it’s worth considering that the Series 8 still offers a durable design with a strong front crystal, water resistance, and many of ‌Apple’s software features Watch Ultra‌ as waypoint marking.

The ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ has a lot to offer, especially for the subset of users who can take advantage of all of its capabilities, so it’s certainly worth considering when buying a new model – but the ‌Apple Watch Series 8‌ is still a compelling all- around an option that comes at a lower price with a finer design.