In the face of all this hyperbolic zeal, I want to take a more nuanced approach here. Because on the one hand, I actually agree that Apple did what I did with the Ultra wanted Samsung is dealing with the Pro in terms of adding more exclusive “rugged” features that appeal to people in the outdoors.
However, outside of Apple’s superfans who want the most expensive device in every category, this $ 800 “adventurer’s watch” may not strike a chord with its target audience. Because despite Apple’s best efforts, it still has the same core issues as Samsung’s Watch Pro.
In my Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review, I complained that Samsung hasn’t bundled up enough new features to actually satisfy the “pros”, aside from a three-day battery that approaches two with active use of GPS. The extra battery is handy but doesn’t come close to other fitness smartwatches, and in all other respects, Samsung Health definitely caters to more casual athletes than serious ones.
Aside from a few GPX maps and a trackback feature, the “Pro” has no sensors, software, or hardware perks that even the cheaper Galaxy Watch 5 doesn’t, including a 1.4-inch display on the 44mm model.
Compare it to the Apple Watch Ultra. In addition to offering a much more massive display with double brightness (2,000 nits) for outdoor visibility, the Apple Watch Ultra has an additional action button for shortcuts like instant training start, dual-frequency GPS , watch faces that show six parameters simultaneously, custom workouts with a pacer that keeps you on track, an in-depth Compass app, a power saving mode, and loads of other benefits.
At first glance, the Apple Watch Ultra seemed tailor-made to solve all my complaints with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and to woo serious hikers and athletes.
Samsung’s watch reserves its shortcuts for traditional tools like Google Assistant and Google Wallet, with no extra buttons, and relies mostly on its touchscreen. The dedicated Ultra button and digital crown give you much better touch controls on the go. Outside of the Coros Pace 2, in my opinion not enough running watches use crowns.
Apple’s huge square display adjusts to more information as you run, while the Pro scrolls you to see more data besides pace and distance.
Dual-frequency GPS is one of my favorite perks of the Garmin Forerunner 255 and the brand’s more expensive models, as it uses multiple satellite signals to pinpoint location and reduce false positives. Garmin can also connect with two GNSS systems simultaneously such as GPS And GLONASS, so it may still provide slightly more accurate results, but not by much.
Although the Pro has Trackback functionality, it’s pretty damn simple; you simply drive from point A to point B, then you are guided back to A. Using the compass on the Apple Watch Ultra, you can place different waypoints with custom icons and return to specific points, such as trail markers, instead of to your car .
Finally, Apple has put a lot more effort into satisfying runners with watchOS 9, while Samsung appears to have given up on its Galaxy Watch 2 Active days. In addition to already measuring stride length, ground contact time, vertical swing and running power, Apple Watch also added Pacer earlier this year – enter a target distance and pace, then you’ll get alerts if you stray too far above or below your target pace – similar to Garmin’s Pacepro. Compare that to Samsung and its Running Coach, which only has a few predetermined steps and distances for walking, jogging, and running that you can’t change.
So yeah, even though I consider the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to be the second best Android smartwatch behind the base Galaxy Watch 5, the Apple Watch Ultra looks far superior as an adventurer’s watch, as it should be, as it will cost a whopping $ 350. more.
But despite the fact that my mouth metaphorically started drooling during the Ultra live stream reveal, it was my time with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro that brought me back to Earth.
Your Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch will encourage you to stand up and stretch when you are inactive for too long and close the daily activity rings. And Apple / Samsung Health will tell you how much you’re sleeping, calories burned, and even niche data like the quality of your form. But what Not do is tell you what to do with that data.
The biggest benefit of any Garmin or Fitbit watch with Premium is that it will provide you with guided coaching or recommended daily runs based on your current VO2 Max and past training data. If you run a marathon, you will receive instant feedback telling you to relax for a week. But with Apple Watch Ultra or GW5 Pro, the next day it will tell you to get off your lazy ass and close those rings! It doesn’t have the same contextual information to alert you to overtraining as Garmin would based on your body battery score.
It is possible that Apple pushes its own internal algorithms to be able to provide this information. But I wonder whether or not that data will end up stuck behind an Apple Fitness + paywall, similar to Fitbit Premium data. Right now, all of his data is totally free, but if he decides to start “training” runners with the data, I could see Apple decide to bundle that coaching with his current home training coaching.
We measure battery life in months. Not hours. # Enduro2 pic.twitter.com/OcTLdpvHV6September 8, 2022
Let’s say you buy the Garmin Fenix 7, the brand’s most popular adventurer watch, for $ 100 less than the Apple Watch Ultra. That watch gives you a workout readiness score and recommended recovery time based on your sleep and recent workouts; a personalized daily workout; a real-time resistance widget that estimates how much energy has left your body; the aforementioned Pacepro; and downloadable multicolored maps for any continent.
Plus, as Garmin blatantly noted in the post-Apple tweet, its watches last at a scale Apple Watch can’t match, even when they’re huge. Apple estimates (opens in a new tab) that its battery will last for 36 hours of regular use, 60 hours in low-power mode or just 12 hours with continuous GPS tracking. Buy a Fenix 7 and it will last 18 days or 57 GPS hours or up to 136 hours in Garmin’s low power mode.
Testing the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, I had a slightly less problem: it will last around 20 GPS hours or 80 hours in total without the need for a low-power mode, making it more reliable. But 2-3 days will always be the limit for a fully “smart” lifestyle watch and you have to make the watch uncomfortably heavy and often to get it out.
And if you expect the Apple Watch Ultra to actually last 12 hours, be aware that Apple’s estimates in a lab may not match your real-world usage. Also, given that Garmin’s dual-frequency GPS setting reduces the battery life of the Forerunner 255 from 30 hours to 16 hours, it’s likely that using this tool on the Ultra will only last 7 hours, the same as running it on the Ultra. ‘Apple Watch Series 8 basic.
For many serious athletes embarking on multi-day treks, the possibility of your watch dying in the middle of nowhere is just too risky. And without some algorithm-generated widget data to help warn you if you’re pushing too hard, you may find yourself hurt (or not knowing your limits).
That’s why, even though the Apple Watch Ultra lives up to its name much better than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, I still don’t know if it will sell outside of Apple’s current customer base. Brands like Garmin, Polar, Coros and Fitbit won’t lose their customer base for the Ultra still.