New year, new me? If improving your health and fitness is part of your 2024 new year resolutions, then it’s time to get serious. Gym membership, pilates or spin classes, or even just running in the park or following a fitness programme on YouTube — we’ll never judge — all these are steps in the right direction towards achieving your fitness goals, and so is this handy device you can wear daily on your wrist: the Apple Watch Ultra 2.
You’ve heard about people wanting to “close their activity rings”, a kinda Apple user-exclusive phrase where users are motivated to complete daily tasks that are able to tracked by the smartwatch, including total steps and workouts completed. Then, there are more advanced metrics such as Heart Rate Zones, Power and Elevation to accompany you from HIIT to hikes, while the build of the watch itself is suitable for outdoor adventures such as biking, running and swimming.
Since it’s designed to be a more “active” watch compared to the Series 9, as an added advantage, you may even take the Apple Watch Ultra 2 under the sea, as it allows one to snorkel, scuba dive and freedive up to depths of 40 metres. Its lightweight 49mm titanium case is precisely made for rugged environments and is corrosion resistant, as well as slightly raised to protect the sapphire crystal from edge impacts.
On the health end of the spectrum, the watch helps track sleep cycles, heart rates, blood oxygen levels, ovulation cycles, and more; it also connects seamlessly to one’s iPhone, acting almost like a easy-access secondary screen for daily tasks. Some new functions that people have been raving about include the double tap gesture that allows one instant access to key functions, and a new customisable Action button that one can use to start a workout and more.
Don’t take it from just us though. We’ve gone ahead to speak to two inspiring Singapore-based fitness enthusiasts, both triathletes, on their journey with the Apple Watch Ultra 2, particularly, how its active functions factor in during workouts, training, and sporting events. Here’s how the experience is like for Cheryl Tay during her recent BMW Berlin Marathon, and Claire Jedrek, while on her IRONMAN event in Langkawi.
1. What are the functions that you use daily on the Apple Watch Ultra 2?
Cheryl Tay: “I use the workout function (swim, bike, run) for my triathlon and marathon training, the Mindfulness app to take breaks during a hectic day, the Camera Remote to take my selfies, the audio reply function for my messages, recording Voice Memos when I want to remind myself to do something and Sleep to understand the quality of my sleep.”
2. How do you use the Apple Watch Ultra 2 for races?
CT: “My most recent major race where I used it was the BMW Berlin Marathon in September. This was my A-race and it was important to me after spending all the hours training for it, so I needed to make sure that my gear is reliable, and this includes using the Apple Watch Ultra 2.
What I love about it is its long battery life — after the 4-hour marathon, I didn’t have to charge the watch for another two days — and the accuracy of its GPS. Apple Watch Ultra 2’s dual-frequency GPS combines L1 and L5 GPS into an antenna design and takes data from both frequencies to calculate distance, pace and route more accurately. I also like how the screen display is now brighter so I can see it easier in the sun!
The Action Button is the best, so I can immediately start the run just by pressing it, without having to scroll to the Workout app and wait for the 3-2-1 countdown. I also use this same Action Button to mark segments during the race, so I’ll know my split times (eg. I split every 5km).
During the marathon, I was suffering around the 25km mark and my partner Grace noticed my pace was slowing as she was tracking me on the app. That was when she texted me (“I love you”, “You got this!”) and I received the notifications on my Watch. It made me cry because I was in pain and I really needed that comfort. I could instantly reply to her with a voice message, simply by tapping the microphone button, and we had a mini conversation that gave me the boost to grit through the pain.”
3. Who would you recommend the Apple Watch Ultra 2 to?
CT: “I would say anyone who appreciates a bigger presence on the wrist as I love watches with big faces; loves adventure since the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has great functions for diving and hiking too; and those who tend to forget to charge their devices. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 can last for a few days before it needs a charge!”
4. What’s your favourite thing about the Apple Watch Ultra 2?
CT: “I like how versatile it is — I wear it all the time, for my daily activities, as well as for my training and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 fits in everything. All I do is just swap out the straps! It also has such a varied range of functions that I can use for work and play, say while hiking and running.”
5. Do you have the Apple Watch Series 9 as well? How would you compare the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9?
CT: “I was using the Apple Watch Series 7 before I switched to Apple Watch Ultra, then to the Apple Watch Ultra 2 now. Ultra 2 is bigger and I really like the bigger presence it brings. It also has a lot more functions for active people who love adventure.”
1. What are the functions that you use daily on the Apple Watch Ultra 2?
Claire Jedrek: “Daily, it would have to be being able to ping my iPhone. It’s so simple but it’s saved my life every time I run out the house.The second most used function has to be the Workout app which I can launch easily with the Action button. It is the most used app daily, because I exercise daily and I love tracking even my walks. Recently, the new double tap feature has been a massive help to answer phone calls while I’m out and about or driving.”
2. How did the Apple Watch Ultra 2 assist you in the recent IRONMAN race?
CJ: “The Apple Watch Ultra 2 has updated sports functions making it super fluid to cross from one sport to another, and in the IRONMAN you are competing with three disciplines — swimming, cycling and running — so data is so important to make sure you stay on track during a race.
It’s so durable, I don’t blink an eye on the upkeep, going from salt water, to the heat and hard knocks. I’ve been a fan from 2016, first starting with the Apple Watch Series 2 and I’ve seen its progress all the way to the Ultra 2. I’m also big on customisation and Apple is always coming up with functional straps that are comfortable during a race, don’t cause abrasions and won’t fall off in the ocean which is so important for IRONMAN.”
3. Do you go to sleep with the Apple Watch?
CJ: “Actually the only time I take it off is to sleep, I feel like I have conquered sleeping without collecting data on how I sleep. The only time I use it when I sleep is when I’ve had a few drinks and when I’m sick, as I like to see how my Heart Rate responds while I sleep.”
4. How’s the size of the watch for your wrist? Do you use this as your daily wristwear?
CJ: “To be honest I barely notice it’s there, I have fat clumsy fingers so having a slightly wider screen is functional for me. You’ll always see me with the Apple Ultra Watch 2 on, changing straps with my outfit. I love having my wallet and personal assistant on my wrist and Siri has been my language teacher in Mandarin. My kids always ask me to ask Siri how to say certain words in Mandarin.”
5. Do you have the Apple Watch Series 9 as well? How would you compare the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and the Apple Watch Series 9?
CJ: “I don’t have a Series 9 and mainly because the specifications on the Ultra 2, which include a 36 hours of battery life and 72 hours in low power mode, is really good for someone like me who works out and uses the GPS so much. I definitely believe as I am in harsher environments than most, the Apple Watch Ultra is my only choice.”
The Apple Watch Ultra 2, priced at $1,210. Available at Apple stores and online.