Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra Review

Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra Review
  • Apple Watch Series 8 45mm
  • Apple Watch Ultra


The Apple Watch Series 8 is an evolution of the Watch 7, with minimal improvements. Externally, the new model is unchanged from last year and so is the battery life. New in the Series 8 is the addition of a fault detection feature, which allows the watch to call emergency services after an accident. Thanks to a new dual temperature sensor, the Series 8 can also measure body temperature, which Apple uses to map women’s menstrual cycles. There are a few reasons why most Watch Series 6 or 7 owners should make the switch, but this Apple Watch also remains an excellent all-round smartwatch.

Apple Watch Ultra

The Apple Watch Ultra distinguishes itself from regular watches with its bright flat screen and a larger chassis that’s built to take a beating. Watch Ultra also has an extra button. This is primarily intended to launch the Work-out app and create path points while walking, but as a user you have (limited) the ability to set the triggering of this action button. The main advantage of the Watch Ultra will be a much better battery life for most users. Apple claims 36 hours, but in practice more than two days with the screen always on, full connectivity is possible. Ultra is expensive. The watch costs 999 euros.

Apple will release at least three new Apple Watches this fall. In addition to the affordable Watch SE and flagship Watch Series 8, there’s an all-new model for the first time: the Apple Watch Ultra. The latter looks completely different, is much more expensive than other watches, and, according to Apple, is intended for adventurers and ultra-sportsmen. Over the past month, I’ve extensively tested both the Watch Series 8 and Ultra and searched for an answer to the question of which Apple Watch is actually the best option.

As expected, Apple introduced the Watch Series 8 in September, which succeeded last year’s Series 7 and is available to buy from €499. The Series 8 is visually identical to its predecessor, with exactly the same screen and the same battery life. The Series 8 features a new S8-soc engine, which, while not faster than the S7-soc, has a number of new and improved sensors built in. This allowed Apple to add fault detection and body temperature measurement to the Watch Series 8.

In addition to the Series 8, there is also a new Watch SE, which succeeded the previous budget model from 2020. The Watch SE Gen 2 is sold in the Netherlands at €299, making it €200 cheaper than the Series 8. The Watch SE uses the same processor as the Series 8. Apple Watches are more expensive, but have a smaller screen that doesn’t always work. With thicker bezels than the Series 8. Additionally, the Watch SE lacks the Series 8’s fast charging function and the ability to take ECG and blood oxygen saturation measurements.

Apple Watch Series 8 45mm (left) and Apple Watch Ultra

Really new is the Apple Watch Ultra, a watch with a different design, aimed at adventurers: people who take hiking trips through forests or over mountains, long-distance runners, athletes, and avid divers. The design has been adapted to that audience, so that the watch is not only suitable for diving, but above all can take a beating better. The Watch Ultra is also much larger than all the watches to date. Fortunately, this is not just a show, because Apple has equipped the watch with a larger battery, with which the Ultra lasts much longer than its smaller brothers. For this last reason alone, the target audience is probably much larger than the adventurers and athletes that Apple has in mind. Small pain point: the Watch Ultra costs no less than 999 euros.

Before I share my results with you after more than a month of testing, unfortunately, I must immediately disappoint Android users. Like previous models, all new Apple Watches still work exclusively with the iPhone.

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