The first difference between the two is that the Ultra is significantly more expensive than the Watch 8. Apple has confirmed that the Watch Ultra will retail for $799 in the US and £849 in the UK. For comparison, the basic Bluetooth version of the Apple Watch 8 costs £419/$399. The cellular version (US only at the time of writing) costs $499. The UK Ultra’s pricing in particular is pretty aggressive, putting the watch in the same realm as dedicated top-end trackers like the Epix 2 and Fenix 7 Solar.
The Apple Watch Ultra is the iPhone 14 maker’s first attempt to create the ultimate smartwatch for hardcore athletes who enjoy running odd ultramarathons. But it still carries the same iconic pebble-shaped Apple Watch design we’ve seen for years, so what could set it apart from its sibling, the Apple Watch 8? You may be wondering if you need certain features and upgrades. To clear up any confusion, we’ve created this early comparison guide detailing the biggest differences between the Apple Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch 8.
The case has a large bezel that wraps around the Ultra’s flat sapphire crystal screen. Wider bezels are meant to protect the screen from damage during extreme sports like mountain climbing. Apple claims it’s “twice as water resistant” as the base Apple Watch 8, which has a 50ATM water resistance rating. To keep up with this trend, the Ultra is the only of the two models built to MIL-STD 810H military-grade ruggedness standards to offer IPX6 dust resistance.
Both watches are available for pre-order now, but the Ultra will launch significantly later than the Watch 8. The Watch 8 will ship on September 16th and the Ultra on September 23rd. The Apple Watch Ultra has a very different design The Apple Watch 8 looks very similar to the previous Apple Watch, featuring a pebble-shaped body, crown control and his OLED screen with variable refresh rate. The Ultra has a slightly different design. Specifically designed to be much more robust, it features a large 49 mm titanium case that can withstand extreme temperatures below freezing and temperatures up to 139 degrees.
By comparison, the Watch 8 is only IPX6 certified. Military-grade ruggedness means the Ultra is much tougher, and based on our experience testing other devices that meet the standards, should easily withstand the occasional rock climbing encounter. The Ultra’s larger body also features an additional speaker and his three-mic setup, which Apple says is louder than the base Apple Watch 8 and provides clearer audio on calls. The screen is also claimed to be twice as bright with a maximum brightness of 2000 nits. To put that into context, it’s twice as bright as the best TVs we’ve tested.