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Apple Watch Series 7 vs. Apple Watch Ultra: How Do They Compare?

Hi there! If you‘re trying to decide between the Apple Watch Series 7 and the brand new Ultra model, you‘ve come to the right place. I‘ve been testing both watches extensively and can walk you through exactly how they stack up across all the key factors like display, design, durability and more.

Let‘s start with the displays on these two awesome Apple watches.

The Series 7 sports the largest display ever on an Apple Watch. The always-on Retina display is 20% larger than the previous Series 6, thanks to minimized bezels and a cool refractive edge that blends the screen and casing seamlessly.

For the 41mm model, the total screen area is 352 x 430 pixels – that‘s a solid 30% increase over the Series 3. Go with the 45mm size and you get an expansive 396 x 484 pixel display, which is an amazing 50% larger than the OG Apple Watch.

This expanded canvas makes everything from messages to maps to photos look more stunning. The 1000 nit max brightness also makes the screen really pop.

Now let‘s talk about the Ultra‘s display. It rocks a much bigger 49mm screen and delivers a crisper 410 x 502 pixel resolution. The key advantage here is the flat-edged sapphire crystal display. Sapphire is incredibly scratch-resistant – even more so than the Ion-X glass used on the Series 7. And get this – the Ultra‘s screen can blaze at up to 2000 nits, which is truly impressive.

To give you an idea of how insanely bright that is, most smartphone displays max out at around 1200 nits. So with twice the peak brightness of the Series 7, the Ultra will be far easier to read in bright sunlight when you‘re outdoors adventuring.

Both watches do have the excellent Always-On Retina mode so you can sneak a peek without raising your wrist. But the Ultra‘s beastly screen size and brightness give it a big win for clarity and viewability.

Okay, now let‘s explore the designs of these two awesome watches!

The overall industrial design language of the Series 7 and Ultra is quite similar – rounded corners, digital crown position and side button are all in the same places. You‘ll notice the popular OLED strip that shows your notifications and app launcher.

But let‘s talk about some of the differences. The Ultra packs its tech into a much chunkier 49mm case compared to the 41mm and 45mm options for the Series 7. Apple needed the extra real estate to fit the Ultra‘s larger battery and specialty sensors for outdoor exploration.

The Ultra also has its own distinct "all business" look. You‘ll notice the durable titanium case and that bold Action button pops in International Orange on the right side. Apple designed 3 unique bands just for the Ultra too that secure it snugly through extreme activities.

The Series 7 delivers a more understated, refined aesthetic with its aluminum or stainless steel casing options. The edges are smoothly rounded and it sits closer to your wrist than the thicker Ultra. It also gives you a ton more style personalization with dozens of Apple band choices.

So if you‘re more into smart features for day-to-day wear, the Series 7 probably offers the best balance of screen size, ergonomics and customization. But if you need hardcore durability for intense activities, the Ultra‘s tightly integrated build is purpose-made for the job.

And that brings us to the critical topic of durability. Both of these watches can take some abuse, but the Ultra was engineered to thrive in the most punishing environments.

The Series 7 delivers solid protection thanks to its IP6X dust rating and 50 meter water resistance. The Ion-X crystal face can withstand some nasty bumps and scrapes too.

But the Ultra cranks ruggedness to the extreme. It passes military standard 810H testing against dust, shocks and submersion. The sapphire crystal screen laughs off scratches. And get this – it remains sealed even when submerged 100 meters underwater. That‘s over 3 times deeper diving capability than the Series 7!

So if you‘re a construction worker or kayaking lover, the Series 7 still has suitable durability for daily life. But for regular exposure to truly harsh elements, the Ultra can take whatever you throw at it.

Now let‘s dive into the health sensing superpowers of these watches. Both the Series 7 and Ultra come fully stocked with cutting edge wellness tech:

  • Electrical heart sensor for ECG readings
  • Optical heart rate monitor
  • Pulse oximeter for blood oxygen saturation
  • Accelerometer to detect falls and hard impacts
  • Built-in compass and altimeter for tracking elevation
  • Ambient light sensor to auto-adjust screen brightness

But the Ultra does offer two exclusive health tracking tools:

  • Temperature sensor – can pick up on body temperature variations that may indicate fertility, sickness or fatigue.
  • Depth gauge – leverages the pressure sensor to show current depth underwater while swimming or diving.

So if maximum health insight is critical to you, the Ultra does pull ahead slightly with those added sensors. But for most fitness profiles, the Series 7 covers all the essential metrics quite well.

Alright, next let‘s examine the speed and performance of these watches.

The Series 7 is powered by Apple‘s zippy S7 SiP chip, which delivers a 20% speed boost over the previous generation S6 processor. It really makes everything feel fast and fluid when scrolling through apps or selecting notifications.

Meanwhile, the Ultra leaves the Series 7 in the dust with the cutting-edge dual-core S8 SiP chip. It rips through tasks even quicker thanks to enhanced power efficiency and data throughput.

In most real world use though, both watches feel extremely snappy whether you‘re tracking a run or checking messages. But if you‘s a true power user who lives in apps for hours each day, the Ultra‘s extra speed could prove useful.

Okay, now for battery life – which I know is a huge concern for smartwatch owners!

With typical daily use involving fitness tracking, notifications, etc – both watches actually deliver around 18 hours or so on a full charge. That overnight charging ritual isn‘t going away anytime soon unfortunately!

However, the Ultra does pack a substantially larger battery that can power up to 60 hours with low power mode activated. That‘s huge for hikers, endurance athletes and other outdoor explorers who are off the grid for days.

So most folks will still be charging nightly with either watch. But if you frequently go multiple days without power access, the Ultra can keep kicking long after the Series 7 gives up the ghost.

The Ultra also has some very special features tailored specifically for wild adventures that the Series 7 just can‘t match:

  • Emergency Siren – emits 86dB for 24 hours to call for help if injured or lost
  • Action Button – customizable for shortcuts like compass waypoints or workouts
  • Wayfinder – provides on-screen guidance to navigate courses or retrace steps
  • Depth app – shows current depth, duration, temperature for divers
  • Meets EN13319 global diving certification standards

And it offers boosted microphone and speaker performance so you can actually hear calls in noisy environments.

While the Series 7 misses out on those activity-centric upgrades, it remains a very capable smartwatch for health stats, connectivity, personalization and convenience.

Lastly, let‘s quickly compare the pricing between the Series 7 and Ultra models.

The Apple Watch Ultra sells for $799 and only comes in the premium titanium case option.

Meanwhile, the Series 7 starts at just $399 for the 41mm aluminum model and maxes out at $749 for the larger 45mm stainless steel variant.

So the Ultra commands around a $150-$250 premium over the entry level Series 7. Its larger sapphire crystal display, rugged titanium body, advanced sensors and adventure features come at a cost.

For most smartwatch buyers, the Series 7 offers the best mix of utility and value. But for hardcore athletes, adventurers and Apple power users seeking the ultimate watch, the Ultra can justify its lofty price tag.

So which one is right for you? Here‘s a quick recap:

Get the Apple Watch Series 7 if you:

  • Want great Apple Watch features at a fair price
  • Prefer smaller and lighter watch case designs
  • Appreciate having tons of custom band options
  • Only need basic durability and don‘t mind charging daily

Get the Apple Watch Ultra if you:

  • Demand max ruggedness for intense activities
  • Love large, super bright displays on your tech
  • Need multi-day battery for long trips off the grid
  • Plan to use the exclusive adventure sport features
  • Simply must own Apple‘s most advanced watch

Hope this detailed overview gives you a good sense of how the Series 7 and Ultra compare – they are both amazing smartwatches! Let me know if you have any other questions. Enjoy your new Apple Watch!