Huawei’s Watch Ultimate is not a mystery. This is clearly Huawei’s answer to the Apple Watch Ultimate. Now, we know the similarity extends to its price tag. The Ultimate will be available in Europe and the UK starting tomorrow for EUR749/PS700 for the “expedition” colorway, and EUR899/PS800 for the voyage version.
The company has no plans to launch Watch Ultimate in the US, so if you haven’t heard about it, it is likely that the company didn’t. (The Huawei ban will still be in effect in 2023. Although the company had once been a strong player in the wearable market it has now lost its ability to reach US consumers. Here’s a quick overview of the features.
- Niche diving and expedition (i.e. hiking, backpacking etc.) Safety stops and reminders for decompression are some of the features.
- Users can now press a new button to launch into the expedition and diving modes.
- Night mode watches face. This features bright orange text on a black background, so it is easier to read in the dark.
- Dual-frequency GPS.
- “Marking points” can be used to log points of interest or find your way back on a trail.
- For longer battery life, a future update will include custom and intelligent power management.
- Extra long watch straps for diving.
Each of these features was introduced by Apple on the Ultra. However, the Ultimate is unique enough that it can’t be called a complete copy. This is evident at the very least in the design. It’s closer to traditional mechanical watches. There are also differences in the specifications and materials. For example, the Watch Ultimate uses a zirconium-based liquid case that it claims is 4.5x stronger than stainless steel and 2.5 times harder than stainless. Although it’s not titanium like the Ultra, the claim of extreme ruggedness is the exact same. (It’s also not liquid. Both displays have nanotech ceramic bezels, and the LTPO OLED displays feature sapphire glass.
In some areas, Huawei also wants to outperform Apple. The Watch Ultimate, like the Ultra, has been EN13319 certified, which is the standard in diving equipment. While Apple does not recommend diving beyond 40m, Huawei claims the Watch Ultimate can dive down to 110m and offers technical and free divers as well as recreational dives.
The battery life is also longer. Huawei claims that the Watch Ultimate can last up to two weeks on a single charge. However, it doesn’t know what parameters were used to get to that figure. Your battery life will vary depending on how you use your smartwatch. Huawei stated that users can charge up to 100 percent of their smartwatches in as little as 60 minutes, and 25 percent in just 10 minutes.
Huawei’s OS isn’t the most robust, but it does have a better app ecosystem. Huawei claims that users can now use Strava, Komoot and Runtastic third party integrations. Although it’s not as easy as having the app on your wrists, it does make sharing data between these services much simpler.
No matter how you feel about Huawei the Watch Ultimate is the closest competitor for the Apple Watch Ultra in one smartwatch. Garmin offers a few choices, such as the Epix 2 or Fenix 7, but these are more rugged smartwatches than luxury watches. Although it would be great if there were more options, if you live in the US, there is no way to purchase the watch from US retailers. You’ll have to wait and see what other Wear OS watchmakers have in store.