To me, the Apple Watch Ultra was probably the most interesting thing Apple announced during their September event besides the new Dynamic Island feature on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. But, just because I was interested doesn’t mean I thought it was good. Especially since Apple was planning on selling these to adventurers and explorers.
The most obvious flaw in that master plan was the Watch Ultra’s claimed battery life of up to 36 hours. Sure, it’s more than the Apple Watch Series 8, but you’re targeting explorers here. Last I checked, explorations take more than a day and a half—unless of course you’re talking about exploring the car park of your local Starbucks.
And it looks like Garmin had the same idea because just a couple of days after Apple unveiled their new devices, the Swiss company pushed a cheeky ad on their Twitter page for the Enduro 2, which said “we measure our battery life in months, not hours“.
Oh man, this was one of those ads that requires a chefs kiss at the end because of how well executed it was. That said, as sweet of a zinger that was, there are obviously a couple of things worth pointing out about the Garmin Enduro 2. Firstly, is the claim that they measure battery life in months. On their website, Garmin claims a battery life of up to 34 days on a single charge in Smartwatch mode, and up to 46 days with the help of solar.
That is technically more than one month, so it’s kind of true. But I think what sets the Enduro 2 apart is what happens when you switch on Battery Saver Watch Mode. On Garmin’s website, they claim this bumps battery life up to 111 days, and 550 days with solar.
Now the keen-eyed Apple enthusiasts would probably puff out your chest and say that the Watch Ultra has a low battery mode too, and that’s true. But that only extends battery life to 60 hours. It’s certainly better than 36 hours, but nowhere close to enough for the truly hardcore adventurers methinks.
Before you get angry at me or at Garmin, this is of course meant to be taken lightly. Despite the similar marketing, the brands are obviously talking to very different audiences. Yes, Apple’s saying the Watch Ultra is great for athletes and adventurers, but there’s no denying that Garmin makes way more specialised tools that’ll be better suited for the truly hardcore of the bunch.
And these tools will also come with much higher price tags. Despite the Apple Watch costing RM3,799, it’s way more affordable than Garmin’s Enduro 2 which punches in at RM5,440. Even the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar which my colleague Hanif tells me is probably the closest competitor to the Watch Ultra is priced at RM4,450.
Apple will also, without a doubt in my mind, have the better smartwatch experience. This is something the company has been ahead of the curve in for the longest time. App support, interface and design—these are all things Apple will do better for the regular person off the street than pretty much any other company.
If you ask me, I’m more interested in the Apple Watch Ultra too, over any of the Garmin watches on sale. That’s because I’m exactly the type of consumer Apple is targeting: someone who is way more interested in the idea of adventure, exploration and athleticism, than actual adventuring, exploring or athlete-ing.