Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra vs Apple Watch Ultra 2: Cream of the smartwatch crop

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Watch Ultra vs Apple Watch Ultra 2

Intro


In 2022, the Apple Watch Ultra and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro christened the high-end smartwatch market with super-premium design language, features aimed at adventurous folk, and superb battery life. 

Yet, while Cupertino has two Apple Watch Ultra models, with a third one possibly on the way, Samsung probably feels it didn't stick the landing with its Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, so a more direct super-premium smartwatch could be necessary––the brand-new Galaxy Watch Ultra.

Galaxy Watch Ultra vs Apple Watch Ultra 2: differences

  • 47mm vs 49mm size
  • 3nm Exynos SiP vs 4nm Apple S9 SiP
  • 32GB vs 64GB of on-board storage
  • Sapphire displays on both
  • Titanium case on both
  • Customizable extra button on both
  • IP68 + 10ATM water resistance on both
  • 3,000 nits of peak display brightness on both
  • 590mAh vs 564mAh battery

Table of Contents:

Design & Sizes

Smartwatch heavyweights 

From a design perspective, the upcoming Galaxy Watch is… definitely an odd one out. Samsung has set its sights on a peculiar design that combines a circular display with a "squircle" case. Think of it as the lovechild of a Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and the Apple Watch Ultra. 

Meanwhile, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 boasts a titanium squircle case, which is quite similar to what the Galaxy Watch would look like, but the difference is that you get a much more screen real estate thanks to the more efficient use of space.  

The case will most likely be made of titanium for a lightweight and premium experience, while sapphire will most certainly cover the display in order to prevent scratches. The smartwatch will reportedly be available in a single 47mm size, while the Apple Watch Ultra 2 comes in a slightly larger 49mm case. 

Leaked images have revealed Samsung will be employing a third button between the traditional two. Judging from the color scheme and the other similarities with the Apple Watch Ultra 2, this button could carry the "Quick Button" name and be customizable, allowing you to map different apps or shortcuts to it. 

Judging from the leaked renders, the Galaxy Watch Ultra could retain the hardware rotating bezel, a useful and signature feature of previous Galaxy watches. 

Just like the Apple Watch Ultra 2, the Galaxy Watch Ultra will feature some serious endurance: IP68 dust and water resistance, as well as up to 10ATM support mean that this one will be as tough as they come. The Apple Watch Ultra technically is an IP6X-rated device, meaning that it doesn't have official ingress protection, but this doesn't mean it's not waterproof: you can use it in up to 100 meters of water during your scuba activities for as long as you want. 

In terms of screen, we also expect the Galaxy Watch Ultra to match the Apple Watch Ultra and feature a screen with 3,000-nit peak brightness. This will boost the legibility under bright daylight conditions, which is great news for avid enjoyers of the great outdoors. 

The Galaxy Watch Ultra will likely be available in two colors: Light and Dark Gray. The same applies to the Apple Watch Ultra 2, which also comes in a single Natural Titanium color. 

Bands

Little change

When it comes to bands, we are pretty certain that Samsung will utilize the same One-Click watch bands that debuted with the Galaxy Watch 6 generation last year. Unlike previous latch mechanisms, the new ones allow you to quickly detach the band by simply pressing a single button, which is quite user-friendly. 

The Apple Watch Ultra 2, on the other hand, relies on the same tried-and-tested band attaching mechanism that Apple has been using for a decade. A button on the bottom of the Apple Watch lets you quickly unbuckle the band.  

The latter is available with three stock bands: Trail Loop, Alpine Loop, and Ocean Band. 

Software & Features

Wear OS 5 vs watchOS 11 

The Galaxy Watch Ultra will reportedly come with Google's upcoming Wear OS 5, which will come with many new features. There will be an optional new grid-based app launcher on deck. Users will be able to select media output device with Wear OS 5. Another round of improvements goes to watch faces, which will feature themes, updates to complications, new heart rate data source, and more. 

The Apple Watch Ultra 2, on the other hand, is currently available with watchOS 10, but will get watchOS 11 this fall. The upcoming software version will arrive with a new health-related metric, dubbed Vitals, which will provide you with a summary of overnight trends for your heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen, and sleep duration. 

A new Training Load metric in the Activity app will let you explore the intensity of your workouts and make an informed decision on how to adjust your exercise routine. For the first time on the Apple Watch, you will be able to pause your activity rings in order to save your streak if you're forced to take a break.

You can also customize your activity goals for every day of the week. Enhanced watch face customization is also coming to watchOS 11. 

Aside from those software differences, we expect that the Galaxy Watch Ultra will have the same selection of health-related features as the previous Galaxy Watch 6 generation. 

The Galaxy Watch Ultra will only work with Android devices, but you will have a limited functionality if you use with a non-Galaxy phone. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 also works with iPhones only. 

Battery and Charging


As per the rumors, the Galaxy Watch Ultra will come along with a large 590mAh battery and a new 3nm Exynos SiP (system in package). The latter will most certainly be a more efficient chip than the 5nm Exynos W930 that made the rounds on the Galaxy Watch 6 generation last year. With such a massive battery, there's a pretty big chance that the Galaxy Watch Ultra will achieve excellent battery life, surpassing previous Galaxy smartwatches. 

At the same time, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 comes with a slightly smaller 564mAh battery, as well as the 4nm Apple S9 SiP. This pairing turned out to be excellent as far as battery life goes, delivering at least two days and some change of mixed usage and even more with frugal use.  

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Charging-wise, the Galaxy Watch Ultra will likely come with 15W charging support, which should be quick enough to top up the battery in no time. The Apple Watch Ultra 2, on the other hand, takes roughly an hour and a half for a full charge, but a one-hour charge nets you 80% of battery charge, which is plenty. 

Models and Prices


As per the rumors, the Galaxy Watch Ultra will come in two versions: a more affordable one with Bluetooth connectivity and a premium version with cellular connectivity. Price-wise, the new Samsung smartwatch might arrive with a starting price tag of $699 for the Bluetooth version, and slightly higher for the other one. 

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is available in a single version, which supports cellular connectivity, and goes for $799 brand new. 

Voice Calls and Haptics


We expect that the Galaxy Watch Ultra will allow you to make and take calls on both connectivity versions. The Bluetooth version will only be able to do that when near the paired phone, while the cellular version will naturally let you do that from anywhere with cellular coverage. 

You can make and take calls with the Apple Watch Ultra 2, but to do that independently, you need to set up a wireless plan. Haptics are traditionally a strong suit of Cupertino's smartwatches: this one comes with strong and precise vibrations that can be customized somewhat. 

Specs


 

Summary


Samsung looks dead-set on rivaling the Apple Watch Ultra 2 with its next super-premium smartwatch. It surely appears as the latter will match Cupertino's best in pretty much any aspect. 

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 has been around for some time, but truth be told, it fully rested on the laurels set by the first Apple Watch Ultra. While Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 Pro in 2022 didn't really take off and couldn't rival the first-gen Apple Watch Ultra, the new Galaxy Watch Ultra looks like it could be a giant step in the right direction.

Price-wise, both will dwell in that super-premium price niche that artificially inhibits a wider adoption, and the ecosystem lock means you wouldn't consider a Galaxy Watch Ultra if you're using an iPhone, or vice versa. 

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