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An Apple Watch is an amazing wearable technology that helps you elevate your daily routine by allowing you access to a world of seamless connectivity. Therefore, the Apple Watch Series 8 or the Apple Watch Ultra allow you to access important information and complete important tasks, like answering messages, receiving calls, and tracking your health and fitness goals right from your wrist. The two smart watches have many of the same features but differ significantly, starting with their sizes and design. 

So, is it worth upgrading to the bigger and sportier Apple Watch Ultra, or is the smaller and slimmer Apple Watch Series 8 better for you? Below, we get into the details about the two smart watches by Apple, review their features and specifications, and help you conclude which is the better watch.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Ultra: Side-By-Side Comparison

Series 8Ultra
Release DateSeptember 7, 2022September 23, 2022
Starting Price On Amazon$399$719
Case MaterialsAluminum, stainless steelTitanium 
Case ColorsAluminum: Product(RED), Starlight, Silver, Midnight Stainless steel: Gold (PVD), Graphite (PVD), SilverNatural
Available Case Sizes 41mm, 45mm49mm
Resolution484 x 396 pixels (~326 ppi density)502 x 410 pixels (~338 ppi density)
Connectivity LTE and UMTS cellular
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz, 5GHz)
Bluetooth 5.3
LTE and UMTS on GPS + Cellular models
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz, 5GHz)
Bluetooth 5.3
Water Resistance 50 meters 100 meters
Battery LifeUp to 18 hours (36 hours on low power mode)Up to 36 hours (60 on low power mode)
Best for Budgets
Apple Watch Series 8 [GPS 45mm]
$411.84
  • Available in 41 mm and 45 mm sizes
  • Battery lasts up to 18 hours or 36 hours on Low Power Mode
  • Health features such as the ECG app, heart rate sensors, and blood-oxygen sensors
  • Crash detection feature
  • Numerous customization options
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/03/2023 05:14 am GMT

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Ultra: What’s the Difference?

Price

The Apple Watch Ultra is currently the most expensive watch in the Apple Watch lineup, starting at $719 inclusive of Cellular support. The Apple Watch Series 8 is considerably more affordable, coming in around $399 plus an extra $100 for Cellular connectivity. 

Design 

The Apple Watch Series 8 has a sleek design with small bezels and rounded corners to accommodate a large edge-to-edge display. It’s available in either an aluminum or stainless steel casing. It also comes in two sizes: 41 mm and 45 mm, perfect for people with either small or big wrists. 

If you like color and diversity, you’ll definitely appreciate the numerous options on the Apple Watch Series 8 lineup. For starters, you can choose between aluminum and stainless steel models, each with four and three-color options. 

The Apple Watch Ultra features the same rectangular shape with rounded edges we’ve seen on Apple Watches since 2015. However, the 49 mm titanium casing is the biggest we’ve seen on an Apple Watch. It’s a full 4 mm larger than the largest Apple Watch Series 8 casing. It’s also 14.4 mm thicker and 9.8 g heavier than the Apple Watch Series 8 stainless steel case.

Both types of Apple Watches have a Digital Crown and side button. However, the Crown on the Ultra has deeper ridges, and the side button protrudes more to allow ease of use, even with sweaty hands or while wearing sporting gloves. The Ultra also dons a unique orange “Action Button” on the left side and dual speakers.

Display

While the Apple Watch Series 8 has a soft-curved display, the Apple Watch Ultra has a larger flat display that helps protect the wide screen from bumps and scratches.

The Series 8 and the Ultra have always-on displays powered by Retina LTPO OLED. This will consistently and continuously shows some information on your screen, provided the smartwatch is on your wrist. 

However, the Ultra is up to twice as bright as the Series 8 (2,000 nits versus 1,000 nits, respectively). The high brightness on the Ultra makes it the better device to use in any type of lighting, including high-glare and low-visibility lighting conditions.

Battery Life and Charging

The Apple Watch Series 8 has the same battery size and capacity as the older Apple Watches. When using it normally, to check notifications or track your health, fitness, and sleep, it should last you about 18 to 20 hours. 

However, you can extend its battery life by switching on the low power mode or turning it off overnight if you need it to push you for at least two days between charging. The low-power mode is also available on the Apple Watch Ultra. This turns off battery-draining features, like automatic GPS workout tracking and the always-on display, to give you longer battery life.

The Ultra has a larger battery that contributes to it being thicker and heavier. However, it can last for up to 36 hours with normal usage and up to 60 hours when you turn on the low-power mode. This makes it an ideal companion for adrenaline junkies and sports enthusiasts who like to be out in the wild for several days.

Durability 

Apple Watches are made to weather storms. As a result, the Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra both have an IP6X rating, meaning they’re dust and water-resistant. The Series 8 is resistant to high-pressure and heavy sprays of water that don’t exceed more than 50 meters in-depth. The Ultra, however, remains undamaged when dipped in up to 100 meters of water. It also has a dive limit of up to 40 meters.

The Ultra has also been tested against MIL-STD 810H military standards. It has been proven to withstand extreme shock, vibration, altitude, and temperature conditions. This makes it a commendable choice for scuba divers, mountain climbers, hikers, swimmers, and many other sporting enthusiasts.

Because the Apple Watch Ultra is made with the outdoor enthusiast or endurance athlete in mind, it also includes more durability features than the Series 8. For instance, the titanium casing is more heavy-duty than Series 8 stainless steel or aluminum casings. Again, the flat sapphire crystal glass used to make the Ultra and the Series 8 stainless steel is stronger and more scratch–resistant than the Ion-X glass on the aluminum Series 8 model.

The flat display screen with slightly raised edges on the Ultra also works as a protective feature that prevents bumps and scratches.

Customization 

The Apple Watch Series 8 offers a myriad of special customization options, including more than half a dozen casing colors, a unique collection of bands, and numerous lock screen options. It’s also available in two size options (41 mm and 45 mm) and two different casing materials (aluminum and stainless steel).

The Ultra lags a little behind when it comes to customization, as it’s available in only one size (49 mm) and in one material (titanium). However, you get to choose a unique band that suits your style and needs from the sports-optimized straps available in different styles, materials, and colors.

Sensors

The Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra have most of the same sensors because they both run on the latest watchOs 9 interface and a 64-bit dual-core S8 processor. They also have U1 and a W3 chip. 

So, the two Apple smart watches have dozens of the same sensors, including the:

  • Blood oxygen sensor
  • Body oxygen sensor
  • Optical heart rate sensor
  • Electrical heart rate sensor
  • Fall and crash detection emergency function
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Gyroscope
  • Compass
  • Always-on altimeter 

However, each watch has some unique sensors that help to draw the differences between the two options. For example, the Apple Watch Series 8 has a microphone and uses L1 GPS to track distance and route information. It’s also available in both GPS-only and GPS and cellular models. The Ultra is only available in GPS + Cellular — no GPS only mode.

On the other hand, the Apple Watch Ultra uses L1 and L5 GPS (dual-frequency) to provide users with more accurate distance and route tracking information. It also comes with a three-mic array and dual speakers that help to improve the audio quality and volume for calls. The 86dB siren and Depth Gauge are other unique features in the Ultra that you won’t find in the Series 8 Apple Watch.

Performance

The Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra have impressive health, fitness, and safety features. Among them is the Crash Detection feature that can recognize when you’ve been involved in a car crash and automatically notify your emergency contacts.  

Both have a temperature sensor that can be used to track your ovulation cycle and overnight temperature fluctuations. Although the sensor tracks temperature changes every five seconds, it’s not meant to be used as a thermometer. You also get the same ECG app, heart rate sensors, and blood-oxygen sensors on both the Series 8 and the Ultra. These features are important to help measure your heart rate and give alerts on changing heart rates and irregular heart rhythms.

Regardless of the numerous similarities, the Ultra has a few enhanced features and sensors that make it better than the Apple Watch Series 8. These include the Oceanic+ app that turns your watch into a fully capable and easy-to-use computer for recreational divers and snorkelers.

The most impressive addition to the Apple Watch Ultra has to be the “Action Button.” It’s a hard-to-miss orange button on the left side of your Apple Watch Ultra right next to the speaker grille. The Action Button is fully programmable, meaning you can automate different tasks, such as switching on the flashlight, dropping a way-point when hiking, and changing workout modes. This makes it possible to use your Apple Watch even with gloves on.

Best for Active Lifestyles
Apple Watch Ultra [GPS + Cellular 49mm] Smart Watch w/Rugged Titanium Case & Midnight Ocean Band. Fitness Tracker, Precision GPS, Action Button, Extra-Long Battery Life, Brighter Retina Display
$799.00
  • Available in GPS + Cellular only
  • Programmable Action Button allows you to automate different tasks
  • Three microphones and two speakers for improved call quality
  • Health features such as the ECG app, heart rate sensors, and blood-oxygen sensors
  • Battery lasts 36 hours with normal usage and up to 60 hours on Low Power Mode
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/03/2023 05:14 am GMT

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Ultra: 7 Must-Know Facts

  • The Apple Watch Series 8 is available in two sizes: 41 mm and 45 mm. You can also choose between aluminum and stainless steel models, each with four and three color options, respectively 
  • There’s only one Apple Watch Ultra model: the 45mm titanium casing in natural.
  • The Apple Watch Series 8 and the Ultra have always-on displays powered by Retina LTPO OLED.
  • The Apple Watch Series 8 battery can last up to 18 hours, while the Apple Watch Ultra can last up to 36 hours.
  • The Apple Watch Ultra has an “Action Button” on the left side.
  • The Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra have many of the same features and sensors.
  • The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra both have a crash detection feature that automatically alerts your emergency contacts if it detects you’ve been in an accident.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Ultra: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Buy?

Are you looking for the biggest and sportiest Apple Watch that engulfs your wrist and is loaded with mind-blowing smart features? Then, the Apple Ultra Watch is definitely for you. 

The Apple Watch Ultra offers more overall value than the Apple Watch Series 8, thanks to more advanced features, sensors, and longer battery life. It’s a sporty companion fit for people with an active lifestyle, offering an Action Button and a loud emergency siren. It also has thrice the number of mics on other Apple watches for improved call quality.

Although most of these features may remain unused for most people, it’s still a solid purchase that gives you at least two full days of battery life. If you have the budget, it’s a worthy upgrade from an Apple Series 6, Series 7, or Series 8.

  1. Apple Watch Ultra [GPS + Cellular 49mm] Smart Watch w/Rugged Titanium Case & Midnight Ocean Band. Fitness Tracker, Precision GPS, Action Button, Extra-Long Battery Life, Brighter Retina Display
  2. Apple Watch Ultra [GPS + Cellular 49mm] Smart Watch w/Rugged Titanium Case & Midnight Ocean Band. Fitness Tracker, Precision GPS, Action Button, Extra-Long Battery Life, Brighter Retina Display
    $799.00
    • Available in GPS + Cellular only
    • Programmable Action Button allows you to automate different tasks
    • Three microphones and two speakers for improved call quality
    • Health features such as the ECG app, heart rate sensors, and blood-oxygen sensors
    • Battery lasts 36 hours with normal usage and up to 60 hours on Low Power Mode
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/03/2023 05:14 am GMT
  3. Apple Watch Series 8 [GPS 45mm]
  4. Apple Watch Series 8 [GPS 45mm]
    $411.84
    • Available in 41 mm and 45 mm sizes
    • Battery lasts up to 18 hours or 36 hours on Low Power Mode
    • Health features such as the ECG app, heart rate sensors, and blood-oxygen sensors
    • Crash detection feature
    • Numerous customization options
    Buy Now on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/03/2023 05:14 am GMT

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Ultra: Which One Wins? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Can you use your Apple Watch Series 8 or Ultra without your iPhone?

Yes. It’s possible to get the full functionality of your Apple Watch without your iPhone being nearby. You just need to ensure you’re connected to it over Wi-Fi or your phone’s cellular network.

Which of the two Apple Watches has night mode?

Night mode is a setting or feature available only on the Apple Watch Ultra, not the Series 8. This feature turns the display red to prevent unwanted blue light from ruining your night vision. You can turn it on by selecting the right Wayfinder watch face and turning the Digital Crown to the top.

Which is the better casing material in the Series 8 line up?

The aluminum casing is better because it’s more affordable than the stainless steel model, available in more colors, and incredibly lightweight. It’s the perfect everyday smartwatch you won’t want to take off your wrist.

Are the Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra waterproof?

Both of these Apple Watches are water resistant with an IPX6 rating. However, while the Ultra remains undamaged in water up to 100 meters, the Series 8 shouldn’t be dipped in more than 50 meters of water.

Should you upgrade from the Apple Watch Series 8 to the Apple Watch Ultra?

Yes. Thanks to its numerous advanced features, especially suitable for sports and outdoor enthusiasts, it is worth upgrading to the Apple Watch Ultra from an Apple Series 8.

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