Apple Watch Ultra vs. Series 8: Which should you buy?

apple watch ultra vs series 8


Apple recently concluded its late 2022 event and released new AirPods, iPhones, and new Apple Watches.

The Apple Watch Series 8 is the standard Apple Watch and an incremental update to the already great Apple Watch Series 7. It has some interesting new features like car crash detection and a new temperature sensor. However, alongside the Series 8, Apple also released a more exciting,  super rugged Apple Watch Ultra, which has some exclusive new features enabling you to use it in extreme conditions. 

So if you are in the market for a new Apple Watch, which should you consider buying? Is the more expensive Apple Watch Ultra a better deal than the standard Apple Watch Series 8? Let's find out in our full Apple Watch Ultra vs. Apple Watch Series 8 comparison. 

Apple Watch Ultra vs. Series 8: Design

The Apple Watch Series 8 comes in the same design as the previous generations and has two case options — 41mm and 45mm — It also offers aluminium or stainless steel finishes. The aluminium comes in four colours — Midnight, Starlight, PRODUCT(RED), and silver; while the stainless steel comes in silver, gold, and Graphite.

However, the new Apple Watch Ultra offers a brand new design with excellent durability, something never before seen in any Apple Watch. It also has a new customisable action button with the ability to start workout sessions with one tap. But we expect you to do much more with the new action button.

The Apple Watch Ultra is enclosed in a 49 mm titanium case with only one colour option. But you can personalize the watch with aftermarket watch straps, and it is also compatible with any 44 or 45-mm watch straps.

So if you are looking for a new design, Apple Watch Ultra is the right way to go.

Apple Watch Ultra vs Series 8: Internals and specification

The Apple Watch Ultra and Series 8 come with the same internal specifications and are powered by the new S8 processor, which is significantly faster when compared with previous generation processors. Even the sensors on board the new watches are exactly the same, so you won't notice any significant gain in terms of performance when choosing between the watches. 

The internal differences are more subtle; Apple Watch Ultra offers a more durable build, allowing it to withstand extreme temperature and water pressure. The Ultra also has a brighter display and a better battery life. 

Overall, apart from the durability, you should not expect a gain in performance when comparing Apple Watch Ultra vs Series 8. 

Apple Watch Ultra vs Series 8: Features

The Apple Watch Series 8 may look similar to its predecessor but brings some useful changes under the hood. You get a new temperature sensor which helps in more accurate Menstruation-cycle tracking and helps women to predict their ovulations. The sensor can also detect your temperature during sleep and provide helpful insight into sleep patterns. The Series 8 also brings a new car crash detection which should be able to detect if you are in a crash and notify your emergency contacts or services. 

Other features found in the series 7 Apple watch, like ECG, the SpO2 monitor, heart rate sensor, fall detection capabilities, and sleep tracking, all exist in the new series 8. 

The Apple Watch Ultra has all the features mentioned above and adds a few other features to make it a more compelling option. It has a built-in diving app that can give you helpful insight about swimming, like displaying water temperature, underwater time, and more. It also has an improved GPS allowing you to set a waypoint so that you never lose your way. The Apple Watch Ultra also has a new and improved speaker that doubles as an alert siren when you are in danger.

Overall, the Watch Ultra packs more features, most of which are specifically targeted toward people who are athletes and outdoorsmen and women. So, if the features mentioned above add value for you, the Apple Watch Ultra will be a better device overall. 

Apple Watch Ultra vs Series 8: Battery Life 

Apple Watch Ultra has a significantly better battery life lasting around 36 hours when compared to Series 8, which lasts a little over a day. But both models come with an ultra power saving mode that turns off features like auto workout detection and can significantly improve the battery life. 

But overall, in terms of battery, there is only one winner: the Apple Watch Ultra. 

Apple Watch Ultra vs Series 8: Price and availability 

The main differentiating factor when choosing between Apple Watch Ultra and Series 8 will come down to price. The price of the new Apple Watches are as follows: 

  • Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS): £419 / $399
  • Apple Watch Series 8 (LTE): £529 / $499
  • Apple Watch Ultra (LTE): £849 / $799

Currently, there is only one version of the Apple Watch Ultra, so effectively, the price difference between the two watches is around £330.

Regarding availability, Apple Watch Series 8 will be available from September 16, 2022, while the Ultra will be available from September 23, 2022. 

Apple Watch Ultra vs Series 8: Which one to buy?

So, It all comes down to this, which Apple Watch should you buy this time around? The answer depends on how much you want to spend and if the upgrades you get in Ultra matter to you. 

For most people, Apple Watch Series 8 would be more than enough with its array of handy iOS integration that can make full use of the ecosystem. Series 8 also has several colour options and comes in a more manageable 45mm case option. Apple Watch Ultra, on the other hand, comes in only 49 mm and just one colour option. 

But athletes and health-cautious people who find themselves in extended outdoor sessions, perhaps hiking or diving, will definitely find the Ultra a worthy upgrade. 

However, one saving grace for users is the backward compatibility of the watch straps. So whichever version you choose (44mm/45mm/49mm) your watch straps will still fit perfectly.

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