After much speculation and anticipation, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has finally been revealed as Apple’s newest smartwatch that comes hosting a plethora of features that’ll take your smartwatch experience to the next level. However, as always, Apple has tough competition, as the Fenix 7 Pro from Garmin is standing tall to be a challenging competitor. In this case, should you go for the Apple Watch Ultra 2, or would the Fenix 7 Pro be the better choice?
Design & Display
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 maintains a consistent design aesthetic with its predecessor, emphasizing durability and ruggedness. While its external appearance remains largely unchanged, Apple has introduced software-based design improvements. Thanks to a new display technology, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 now boasts an impressive screen brightness of 3,000 nits, marking a significant 50% improvement over the original Apple Watch Ultra. This achievement establishes it as having the brightest display ever produced by Apple.
On the other hand, the Fenix 7 Pro closely resembles the Fenix 7 in both design and display upon initial observation. The Fenix 7 Pro incorporates a touchscreen interface that allows for intuitive swiping and tapping, similar to top-tier smartwatches. During sports activities, the touchscreen is automatically disabled, allowing users to start and finish workouts and navigate the watch using the five physical buttons (three on the left side and two on the right).
However, it should be noted that these watches do not feature AMOLED screens like the Garmin Epix 2 or the newer Garmin Forerunner 265 and Garmin Forerunner 965. Instead, they employ MIP displays that remain highly visible, even in bright sunlight. The standard version of the watch comes with a screen made of Gorilla Glass, ensuring resistance to impacts and scratches. What unifies all the watches in the Fenix 7 Pro series is the inclusion of Power Glass, which enables solar charging and thus extends the watch’s battery life.
Furthermore, Apple has introduced an exclusive watch face named “Modular Ultra” for the Apple Watch Ultra 2. This distinctive watch face makes clever use of the outer display edge, offering users a more comprehensive snapshot of information with just a quick glance. It presents real-time data like elapsed seconds, current altitude, or depth measurements for activities like diving. Similar to the Wayfinder watch face featured in the original Ultra model, the Modular Ultra can be switched to a night mode, which changes its color scheme to red and black, improving visibility in low-light situations.
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 also introduces a standout feature in the form of the double-tap gesture. This intuitive gesture allows you to perform a variety of functions by quickly tapping your thumb and index finger together while wearing the watch. With this simple action, you can answer or end calls, access widgets, adjust workout settings, and more.
Additionally, a double tap opens the Smart Stack on the watch face, and another double tap allows you to cycle through the widgets within the stack. This feature takes advantage of the enhanced performance of the new S9 chip integrated into the Apple Watch Ultra 2, making it effortless to interact with the watch, especially when you have only one hand available. So, whether you’re scaling rock faces and need to take a quick phone call, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is designed to accommodate your needs.
On the flipside, The Garmin Fenix 7 Pro series boasts an advanced sensor with improved performance tracking across various sports modes, thanks to its spatially diverse optical sensors and enhanced algorithms. These sensors have twice as many LEDs compared to the Epix 2, resulting in more accurate data.
All watches in the Fenix 7 Pro range now come with a built-in flashlight, offering practical use and safety benefits during activities like bike rides. New activity profiles include whitewater rafting, motocross, and overlanding while existing fitness tracking capabilities remain impressive. Notable running features include the “hill score,” which assesses your ability to run uphill based on factors like running strength and endurance, and the “endurance score,” measuring your capacity for sustained efforts. Lastly, Garmin has improved mapping capabilities for easier access to upcoming weather conditions.
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 provides approximately 36 hours of battery life, which can be prolonged by limiting certain functions. However, compared to some competitors, it falls short in the battery life department.
If extended battery life is a top priority for your wearable device, Garmin watches offer exceptional performance in this aspect. For instance, in the Fenix 7 Pro, Garmin has significantly expanded the surface area of the solar panels on the watch by up to 54% compared to their predecessors. This improvement is achieved by enhancing the efficiency of the solar panels and reducing the watch’s power consumption.
While the Fenix 7 Pro’s screen may not be as bright as recent AMOLED screens from Garmin, it remains easily readable in direct sunlight and overcast conditions. The added advantage of the MIP display is its solar charging capability, which further extends the already impressive battery life of the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro series.
In the world of new tech releases, there’s often concern that more features mean a higher price tag. Luckily, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 quells those worries. It maintains the same starting price of $799, just like its predecessor and current competitors. So, if you’ve been eagerly anticipating your first foray into the ‘Ultra’ series, you won’t be facing any additional costs by opting for the latest model.
On the other hand, every watch in the Fenix 7 Pro series comes with solar charging capabilities. Unlike the Fenix 7, there’s no standard model in the Pro line. The entry-level watch in the Fenix 7 Pro series also starts at $799.
Which is Better?
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 stands as Apple’s pinnacle in smartwatch technology, featuring exceptional performance and an array of upgraded features. It’s the ideal choice for individuals seeking the largest and brightest display, extended battery life, and top-notch GPS capabilities in a strikingly elegant design.
However, if you have anything that even remotely relates to battery anxiety, you’d be better off with the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro, as apart from having the same price tag, you’ll get a pretty similar level of performance but with better battery life.