Apple Watch Series 9 vs Ultra 2 Comparison To Help You Choose

Apple Watch Series 9 vs Ultra 2 Comparison To Help You Choose

At first glance, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 seem very different. The price certainly seems to suggest it, with a $400 difference between the aluminum S9 and titanium Ultra 2.

However, as we’re about to see, the differences between the Series 9 and Ultra 2 are mostly aesthetic. Performance-wise, the Ultra’s only advantages are the long battery life, brighter display, and larger display. All else, particularly health tracking, remains the same.

That’s because the Series 9 and Ultra 2 have the same S9 chip. If you’re still confused as to which Apple Watch is better between the Series 9 and the Ultra 2, we’ll help you choose.

Apple Watch Series 9 vs Ultra 2: Size, Weight, Display Comparison

The Series 9 and the Ultra 2 Apple Watches have their biggest differences in size and display. While the Ultra 2 is only available in a 49mm titanium case, the Series 9 has a choice of 45mm or 41mm aluminum or stainless steel cases.

This means the display sizes and weight also vary between the four options of the Series 9 and the Ultra 2. See the summary of display, size, material, and weight specifications in the table below.


Apple Watch Series 9

Ultra 2


Stainless Steel







Case Size

41mm by 35mm

by 10.7mm

45mm by 38mm

by 10.7mm

41mm by 35mm

by 10.7mm

45mm by 38mm

by 10.7mm

49mm by 44mm by 14.4mm



31.9 ( GPS)

32.1 ( GPS + Cellular)

38.7 ( GPS)

39.0 ( GPS + Cellular)




Display size (pixels)

352 by 430 px

(904 sq mm)

396 by 484 px

(1143 sq mm)

352 by 430 px

(904 sq mm)

396 by 484 px

(1143 sq mm)

410 by 502 px

(1185 sq mm)


2,000 nits

2,000 nits

2,000 nits

2,000 nits

3,000 nits


Midnight, starlight, silver, pink, and red.

Midnight, starlight, silver, pink, and red.

Graphite (PVD), silver, and gold (PVD)

Graphite (PVD), silver, and gold (PVD)

Natural titanium finish

The PVD in the Finishes section means physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating. This is a form of finish that adds a beautiful, brushed metal appearance and provides scratch protection.

The Apple Series 9 also has a special edition Apple Watch Hermès which comes only in Stainless Steel and is available in silver and space black (DLC). DLC means diamond-like carbon coating, which is a very thin layer of nanocomposite coating that prevents corrosion and results in a smooth, glossy finish.

It’s a lot to process, but Apple has done a good job at comparing the Apple Watch SE, Series 9, and Ultra 2 models. If you don’t have the time to go through all these tech-y details, there’s only one question you should ask.

Is the Apple Watch Ultra Too Big for Small Hands?

There’s no hiding the fact that the Ultra and Ultra 2 models look and feel bulkier than the 41mm Series 9. For a person with small or narrow wrists, this is a genuine concern, and not just because of aesthetics.

For accurate health tracking, the Apple Watch needs good contact with your wrist. It also needs to stay there without moving around too much. However, getting the right Apple Watch bands can prevent this problem by ensuring a secure fit.

Action: If you have narrow wrists, go for the Series 9. The performance is practically the same as the Ultra 2. However, we don’t think the size difference matters on any but the smallest wrists, like a childs, although Apple does recommend wrist sizes 130–210mm. If you do get the Ultra 2 and are worried about your wrist sizes, wear it with silicone bands.

Performance and Features Comparison

Apple Watch series 9

As the name and price suggest, you would expect the Apple Watch Ultra 2 to have more features compared to the Series 9. However, a performance comparison shows very little difference between the two except for the extended battery life in the Ultra 2.

Apple designed the Ultra 2 for people who love extreme sports, particularly high-speed watersports. To suit hardcore adventurers, the Ultra 2 is more rugged, has a brighter Always On display, and boasts the most accurate GPS of any Apple Watch. Plus, it’s waterproof up to 100m, double that of the S9.

If you live life to the extreme—spelunking, parasailing, snowboarding, high diving, etc— the Ultra 2 is the Watch for you. For the rest of us living normal, boring, urban lives, the Apple Series 9 is more than capable.

That being said, here’s a detailed features and performance comparison between the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models.

Hardware: Chipset, Storage

The Series 9 and the Ultra 2 have the same Apple S9 chip. At the time of release, the S9 was the most powerful and sophisticated chip yet, thanks to its upgraded 4-core Neural Engine.

The S9 chip is optimized for machine learning, meaning it can process voice commands and perform AI tasks much faster than its predecessors. In fact, Apple says the new chip makes voice commands 25% more accurate than the S8.

That’s why Apple has finally released on-device Siri on the Series 9 and Ultra 2. The powerful new chips allow the Watches to process voice commands even when you’re offline. For example, you can access health data or log weight information.

Software, Controls, and User Experience

The advanced S9 chip now allows more intuitive controls in both the Series 9 and Ultra 2. For example, both have the double tap gesture feature, which allows you to perform certain actions with one hand without touching the display.

All you need to do is quickly tap the index finger and thumb of the hand where you’re wearing your watch. This gesture can open Smart Stack, scroll through widgets, answer and end a phone call, play and pause music, stop a timer, and much more.

The Digital Crown with haptic feedback and side button features are common to both watches. However, the Ultra 2 has an extra customizable Action button on the left side of the Watch. You can change what actions the button performs in settings to suit your preferences.

Both watches run on the latest version of watchOS 10. Compared to watchOS 9, this update adds features like: 

  • Redesigned apps and a new Smart Stack, which is a customizable set of widgets that shows on the home screen by default.
  • New watch faces including Snoopy and Nike Globe, Solar Analogy, and a Night Mode that activates automatically in low light.
  • Can connect to cycling sensors with Bluetooth, such as power meters and cadence sensors, allowing additional metrics such as Power Zones.
  • Cycling workouts feature Live Activity on iPhone lock screens.
  • Compass app updated with real-time elevation and 3D waypoints.
  • Maps app includes new topographic maps with features such as contour lines and elevation; also includes emergency SOS waypoints.
  • Mindfulness app helps log states of mind.
  • Ambient light sensors measure daylight exposure to help you go outside more.

Note: If you press and hold the Action button on the Ultra 2, you activate the Siren feature. This is the default setting, but you can change it in the Action button settings.

Health and Wellness Tracking

Both the Series 9 and Ultra 2 Watches have similar health and wellness features. You get the same ECG heart sensor, optical heart sensor (3rd generation), and temperature sensor. These features allow for unprecedented health tracking, including:

  • Notifications for low and high heart rates or irregular rhythm
  • Sleep tracking, including how much time you spent in REM, Core, or Deep sleep stages, as well as sleep interruptions with the Sleep app
  • Retrospective ovulation cycle tracking
  • Mindfulness app for log mood and emotions

These apps are also powered by machine learning, so your Series 9 or Ultra 2 adapts to your body’s unique heart rhythm, wrist movements, and changes in blood flow.

Perhaps the only difference here is that the Ultra 2’s heart rate tracking has been optimized for adrenaline-fueled activities, such as diving. The diving computer monitors heart rate, depth, preset alarms, heart rate zones, and elapsed session time to provide full session information.

Battery Life and Charging

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 has up to 72 hours of battery life in Low Power Mode, while the Series 9 only gives you 36 hours. This is one of the biggest differences between the two watches.

Similarly, the Ultra 2 gives you up to 36 hours of normal usage, and only 18 hours for the Series 9. User teardown of the Watches reveal that the Ultra 2 has almost twice the battery capacity of the Series 9, at 542mAh vs 308mAh.

Both Watches have fast charging capabilities when using the Magnetic Fast Charging USB-C cable. Both charge up to 80% in only an hour and 100% in 1.5 hours, although charge times may vary.

Activity and Sports

Both the Series 9 and Ultra 2 allow you to track a wide range of workouts and activities, thanks to the full range of sensors available. These include:

  • Compass app with Backtrack, Waypoints, and Elevation view enabled
  • Always-on altimeter to measure altitude, accurate between 500 m below sea level to 9000 m above sea level
  • IP6X dust resistant up to 50m for the Series 9 and up to 100m for the Ultra 2
  • High dynamic range gyroscope, meaning it can detect rapid changes in motion, such as occurs in a car crash
  • Depth gauge; engages automatically when you’re underwater
  • Water temperature sensor
  • Automatic crash detection

Coupled to these are the Siren feature that can help attract attention in case of a severe accident. Both Watches also feature Emergency SOS and international emergency calling.

Navigation, Communication, and Precision Finding

The GPS feature in the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is more sophisticated than the navigation system in the Ultra 9. At the time of its release, the Ultra 2 had the best and most accurate GPS system of any Apple Watch, thanks to a dual-band navigation system.

That means the Ultra 2 receives satellite signals on two frequency bands, L1 and L5. by comparison, the Ultra 9 only uses the L1 frequency band.

Dual-band GPS is accurate to +/- 2 meters (6 feet) compared to +/- 3 meters (10 feet) for single-band GPS. 

The Ultra 2’s dual-band GPS is also more reliable, since using multiple bands allows it to filter out environmental interference from buildings, trees, valleys, and other features. That means much better accuracy when tracking movement, particularly walks and runs in the city.

Both phones come with Precision Finding, which is a feature that helps you locate your iPhone quickly and effortlessly. Since both Watches have an S9 processor with the improved Ultra Wideband chip , they’re way better at this than previous Apple Watch models.

For instance, the Series 9 and Ultra 2 provide distance and direction information transmitted as audio, visual, and vibration (haptic) feedback to help you find your iPhone more quickly.

Safety and Emergency

As with most Apple Watches, the Series 9 and Ultra 2 come with Emergency SOS, fall detection, and crash detection features standard. If you get the models that have a cellular plan (which is standard on the Ultra 2), you also get international emergency calling.

The only difference between the two watches here is that the Ultra 2 comes with the Siren feature. It’s a built-in alarm that emits various high-intensity sound patterns that can help you attract attention when you need help.

Performance and Features Summary

The table below summarizes the performance and features differences between the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2.


Series 9

Ultra 2

Intended Usage

Everyday use, workouts, health monitoring

Active lifestyle, extreme sports: rugged, waterproof up to 100m

Recreational scuba diving (with dive computer)

Chip & Performance

Apple S9, on-device Siri, ML-optimized

Same as Series 9, plus more accurate dual-band GPS navigation

Software & UX

watchOS 10, double tap gesture, standard navigation

Same plus extra Action button

Health Features

ECG, heart rate, temperature sensors

Same, plus optimized heart rate tracking for intense activities

Battery Life

Up to 36 hours (low power mode), 18 hours normal

Up to 72 hours (low power mode), 36 hours normal

Activity Tracking

Comprehensive workout tracking, IP6X dust resistant

Same, plus enhanced features for extreme sports, esp. diving

Safety & Emergency

SOS, fall/crash detection, UWB Precision Finding

Same, plus Siren feature for emergencies

Is the Apple Ultra 2 Worth the Price?

Apple Watch Ultra and Ultra 2 watch band

From our opinion and what we’ve heard from others, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is definitely worth the price. You get a bigger battery, a larger and brighter screen, and the kind of ruggedness you’re not likely to break any time soon.

Plus, the stainless steel case variant of the Series 9 is so close to the Ultra 9 that it makes sense to get the bigger and better Ultra 9. You’ll find the stainless steel 45mm Series 9 goes for $749, while the titanium Ultra 2 sells at $799 from Apple.

However, if you want an Apple Watch that gives you the latest features for daily use and nothing crazy, save $400 and get the Aluminum version of the Series 9 for $399.

Similarly, if you have very small wrists or want to buy the latest Apple Watch for a child, get the Series 9. The difference in performance won’t matter to all but the most extreme of users.


Despite the clear differences between the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Ultra 2, we think it’s a close race. The Ultra 2 has twice the battery life and 50% more brightness, which is a great help if you use your Watch in bright sunlight.

Also, the Ultra 2’s larger display gives you 27% more screen area, which is helpful for quickly reading vital information when diving or cycling. These are a few of the features that are designed especially for extreme athletes.

For normal health tracking and workouts, both Apple Watches perform at almost the same level. We strongly suggest that you try them on both and see which one you like best, especially since the size difference may be an issue with some people.

For us, the most important feature to note is that the Series 9 comes in two case sizes. That means the Apple Watch bands you choose will depend on what type of Watch you have.

If you’re shopping for a fun variety of Apple Watch Ultra 2 or Series 9 bands, get them here.

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