Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Ultra 2: Which one should you buy?

Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Ultra 2: Which one should you buy?

A comparison of the features, performance, and price of the two smartwatches

by Alan Wallace

So, you’ve decided to treat yourself to a new smartwatch, but you’re not sure which one to pick. Should you go for Apple’s Series 9 or the Ultra 2?

They are both amazing smart watches and both the freshest versions of proven wearable technology on the market right now. But they might not be worth the upgrade for everyone. Here are some of the key features and considerations to weigh before making a purchase.

Credit: Apple


Design and material differences

The primary distinguishing features between the Series 9 and Ultra 2 lie in their designs and materials. The Series 9 features an aluminum case and a glass screen, while the more advanced Ultra 2 is made with a stronger titanium case and a sapphire crystal screen.

Credit: Apple




The Apple Watch Series 9 comes in two case sizes: 45mm and 41mm. The 45mm case size is equivalent to about 1.7 inch screen, while the 41mm case size is equivalent to about 1.6 inch screen. The Ultra 2 has a 1.9 inch screen that is brighter than the Series 9 screen.

The Series 9 has a screen that is less bright, with 500 nits, while the Ultra 2 has a screen that is very bright, with 1000 nits.

A brighter screen can make the watch easier to see in the sun or outside, but it can also use up more battery life. So you have to decide what is more important for you: a brighter screen or a longer battery.


Battery life

The Apple Watch Series 9 has an 18-hour “all day” battery life, meaning with average use, your smartwatch should need to be charged once daily. The Apple Watch Series 9 also has a low-power mode that extends the battery life up to 36 hours by disabling certain battery-draining features.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 has a 36-hour battery life with normal use, which is twice as long as the Apple Watch Series 9. It also has a low-power mode that can extend the battery life up to 72 hours, which is 12 hours more than the original Apple Watch Ultra.


When you’d want to turn on Low Power Mode

People often ask me why you’d want to put your Watch in Low Power Mode.  Quite simply, it is to save battery life when your own life has taken you away from recharging.  If you decide to go camping or on a long hike, you’d want to enable low power mode to make sure you have the ability to send an SOS or prolong the battery well after you plan to return.

Credit: Apple



New features and the ‘double tap’ gesture people are raving about

Apple’s recent software update, watchOS 10.1, has introduced an exciting new feature to both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2: the double tap gesture. This allows users to control their smartwatch without touching the screen, using only a simple double tap of their index finger and thumb together.

Also, the Ultra 2 has an Action button, that’s a special feature that lets you customize and access some of your favorite functions with just a press. For example, you can use the Action button to start a workout, turn on the flashlight, or launch a shortcut.

You can set up the Action button in the Settings app on your Apple Watch or on your iPhone. The Action button is located on the left side of the watch case and has an orange color. It’s a handy way to make the most of your Apple Watch Ultra.

Credit: Apple

In addition, the Ultra 2 has a water temperature sensor, a depth gauge, and a dive computer app that can help divers track their underwater activities.

Furthermore, the Ultra 2 and Series 9 have access to Night Mode for low-visibility conditions.




In terms of pricing, the Ultra 2 retails beginning at $799, contrasting with the Series 9’s $399 starting price tag.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Credit: Apple

If you really want to get fancy this holiday season, you can get the Apple Watch Ultra for your loved one. This one is carbon neutral and can meet the demands of the most athletic people with its workout settings. It has the biggest and brightest display of any other Apple Watch model and you can even call and text on it without having your phone on you. At the time of publishing, this product had over 300 global reviews with 85% giving it 5 stars.

Get Apple Watch Ultra 2 



Apple Watch Series 9 

Credit: Apple

The Apple Watch Series 9 is a great gift for your loved one this holiday season. It comes with advanced health features, powerful fitness tracking qualities, and great safety features like crash detection and fall detection. You can also customize it to your style with its wide variety of settings. At the time of publishing, this product had over 300 global reviews with 81% giving it 5 stars.

Get Apple Watch Series 9 



f Credit: Apple

Software and known issues

Both models run on watchOS 10, introducing features such as Focus mode, the Portrait watch face, and the Mindfulness app. However, some users have reported display flickering issues when Always On mode is enabled. Apple has acknowledged the issue and plans to release a fix in a future update. The company advises customers to keep their Apple Watch software up to date to receive the fix when it happens.

Temporary solution

As a temporary workaround, you can turn off Always On mode in the Settings app under Display & BrightnessAlways On.

Hopefully, this glitchy screen will be resolved soon.


Feature comparison table

Feature Apple Watch Series 9 Apple Watch Ultra 2
Casing material Aluminum or stainless steel Aerospace-grade titanium
Front glass Ion-X (aluminum) or sapphire crystal (stainless steel) Sapphire crystal
Display type Curved display with refractive edge Flat display
Display size 41mm or 45mm 49mm
Display resolution 352 by 430 pixels (41mm) or 396 by 484 pixels (45mm) 410 by 502 pixels
Display brightness Up to 2,000 nits Up to 3,000 nits
Processor S9 chip S9 chip
GPS GPS (L1) Precision dual-frequency GPS (L1 and L5)
Water resistance 50m 100m
Battery life Up to 18 hours, up to 36 hours in Low Power Mode Up to 36 hours, up to 72 hours in Low Power Mode
Speaker and microphone Single speaker and single microphone Dual speakers and triple-microphone array with beamforming and wind noise mitigation
Action button No Yes
Siren feature No Yes
Water temperature sensor, depth gauge, and dive computer app No Yes
Night Mode for low-visibility conditions No Yes



A budget-friendly option with essential features

Apple Watch SE

Credit: Apple

If you want to save some money and still enjoy the benefits of an Apple Watch, you might want to consider the Apple Watch SE. It has a sleek design that resembles the Series 9 and offers many of the same features, such as fall detection, heart rate monitoring, and GPS tracking. However, it does not have some of the advanced features that the Series 9 and the Ultra 2 have, such as the always-on display, ECG, and blood oxygen monitoring.


Kurt’s key takeaways

Both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, the best-leading smartwatches ever made, each with its own set of advantages and specializations.

The Series 9 is a great Apple Watch providing a versatile, everyday experience, focusing on general use cases and affordability, with a price of $399.   It’s the latest and greatest classic design of the original Apple Watch, perfect for anyone who has health and staying in touch at the top of their priority list.

On the other hand, the Ultra 2, priced at $799, is the ultimate watch that says go big or go home.  Apple Watch Ultra 2 is bigger and better in almost every way and comes equipped with specialized features that make it ideal for extreme environments and activities, such as diving and exploration.  

While both models run on the same S9 processor and operating system, the Ultra 2 feels more solid than the previous models, and it has a larger screen that makes it easier to navigate the interface. It is easier to swipe, tap, and scroll through your apps and notifications easier. The Ultra 2 also has a brighter display.

When I wear my old-fashioned analog watch, it fits with a tux or pair of jeans and feels timeless and forever.   When I swap it out for the Watch Ultra 2, well, the best Apple Watch feels like the world is waiting for me to pry open a life-changing adventure.  Somehow the Ultra 2 makes you feel like you are more alive and has the tools to actually keep you alive.

Ultimately, your choice between the two will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

How important are the design and material differences between the Series 9 and Ultra 2 for you? Which smartwatch model would you prefer and why? Let us know what you think in the comments below.



Previous models:

Everything you need to know about the three new Apple Watches: Series 8, SE, and Ultra


Answers to the most asked CyberGuy questions:



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