Apple Watch Extremely Assessment – iRunFar


The is our favourite smartwatch in our information.

On this video, iRunFar explores its options and limitations, and the professionals and cons of choosing the Apple Watch Extremely over another high-end GPS operating look ahead to lengthy distance operating.

[Editor’s Note: The Apple Watch Ultra 2 releases in September, 2023, and we’ll be testing it just as soon as we can get our hands on it. It appears that the most significant changes to the Apple Watch Ultra 2 are a new chip, new sensors, and a brighter screen. According to Apple, we’ll see the same battery life and lack of native mapping abilities in the second version.]

Apple Watch Extremely Assessment Transcript

Hey and welcome to Path Trials, the video assessment part of iRunFar. My title is Travis Liles. On this video, we have a look at the . We ask the query, is it “extremely?” This query applies to iRunFar readers particularly, is that this one thing you’d put on for an ultramarathon and lengthy distance run coaching? Let’s test it out.

Earlier than we dig in, let’s discuss what this assessment is and isn’t. This gadget has been out for some time. Updates are coming to it. I’m recording this in roughly the center of July, 2023. There have been some updates since I bought it. I’ll be as correct as I can about the place we’re right now. I additionally plan on recording a supplemental video as time goes on, when options are added on which can be relevant to both my critiques, or to our sport of ultrarunning on the whole.

That’s the distinction between this and one thing like a shoe. A shoe is a shoe, till a brand new model comes out. This watch will get software program updates, firmware updates, issues can change, and be added over time.

Due to that, we now have to consider this as a point-in-time assessment. Additionally, this isn’t an exhaustive expertise assessment. There are a bunch of these on the market already that discuss Apple watches, their well being options, their smartwatch options.

I’m making an attempt to condense this down into — if I’m an ultrarunner, what do I take into consideration this watch? How does it match into my world? If I’m going to spend on a high-end gadget to trace my runs, is that this one which is sensible, given what I do? I hope to reply that by the top of this assessment.

The Apple Watch Extremely. All pictures: iRunFar/Travis Liles

Apple Watch Extremely Specs and Operation

Let’s begin by wanting on the general format of the . First, that is an all-titanium case. It’s 49 millimeters in diameter, and for a reference level, that’s a reasonably large sports activities watch.

I’m a small particular person. I’m 5 foot, 5 inches. I’m 135 kilos. I’ve bought pretty small wrists. These watches have presence, however they’re not loopy massive. In the event you have a look at the 2 of those in contrast [shows two watches], that is the Garmin fēnix 7 — Sapphire Photo voltaic Version — you possibly can take a look at our , too. A number of phrases there. And right here is the Apple Watch Extremely.

The distinction is, one’s sq. and one’s round. For a reference level, these fall on the bigger measurement of the sports-watch class. There’s lots occurring right here when it comes to sensors, and GPS, and a much bigger battery. Particularly if you happen to’ve solely used an everyday Apple Watch. However the case is made out of all titanium and it’s a giant, chunky case. Titanium is a reasonably light-weight steel. It’s mild for the dimensions that it’s. It has a really massive and brilliant OLED display screen, which simply means blacks are actually black. In the event you’ve bought an iPhone Professional, this is identical sort of display screen, clearly a lot smaller. It’s actually brilliant and vivid.

When it comes to working the watch, you have got a few issues to work with. One is the digital crown, and it does a pair issues. One, as you possibly can see, it provides you a purple face, which is cool. In the event you don’t need one thing tremendous brilliant, you possibly can flip to that. In the event you’re tenting or no matter, that’s a enjoyable operate to have. However the crown additionally works for scrolling by way of the apps. Once more, it is a smartwatch, so that you work together with it by way of purposes. After all, it has touchscreen, in addition to the crown button.

Over right here on the precise, there’s one other button, and that pops you into your lately opened purposes. Once more, you should use that crown to scroll. Contact continues to be a reasonably respectable interplay level with this watch, and that’s positively one thing to bear in mind. For instance, if we go into the Climate app, you possibly can scroll by way of some info. But when I wish to return to the checklist of areas, I’ve to the touch on the display screen, and hit that time to get again. So, contact is a requirement as you’re employed with this, and we’ll discuss extra about that later.

Over right here on the facet, the factor that’s completely different from the remainder of the Apple line is that this Motion button. The Motion button is, for all intents and functions, a shortcut — a deep shortcut button into the Exercise utility, in my case. After I hit that button, it goes into the Exercise app, and now it waits for a GPS sign. That could be a operate which you can activate or flip off. It may possibly simply begin mechanically while you hit that, or you possibly can wait in your sign to be totally intact. When you’ve bought that able to go, you’re good. You hit that button once more, and that may begin your exercise. Or you possibly can edit this button to do various things, however it’s successfully going to right here, and I’ve it mapped to the Exercise app. Then Out of doors Run is the particular form of exercise that I’ve it go to once I begin the gadget.

The Apple Watch Extremely’s operating mode.

Apple Watch Extremely Options

We’ve a pair different issues to name out on the . You’ll discover these massive holes right here — it is a speaker. There are microphones on this as effectively. These act in a few capabilities, however primarily for speaking to your voice assistant on the Apple world.

It additionally acts as a siren. You possibly can take a cellphone name on this gadget as effectively, and discuss to your wrist, which is oddly satisfying.

The display screen is made with sapphire glass, and that’s, for essentially the most half, not scratchable, or extraordinarily onerous to scratch. I’m positive there are eventualities, however I’ve had many sports activities watches and mechanical watches by way of the years with sapphire glass, and I don’t know of any of them that’s scratched.

Listed below are a couple of notes on the straps. These straps are all detachable. That is the Path Loop right here. Most likely the one which’s most viable, I’d say, for most individuals, particularly with operating. It’s stretchy. It conforms to the wrist. It’s bought stretch to it, however it will get a pleasant, cosy match, which implies that it locks down and get your coronary heart price readings pretty effectively. You need it to be as darkish as could be beneath the watch to guarantee that it’s doing what it must, to take these coronary heart price readings, these pulse readings, all that sort of stuff.

They’re simply modified out. You push these little buttons right here on the backside. This one known as an Alpine Loop. I just like the aesthetic of this, that’s simply private choice right here. However they’re quite simple to alter out and in. There are many third-party choices. Apple makes a complete bunch which you can go check out, to alter the appear and feel of the gadget as you see match.

Utilizing the Apple Watch Extremely to Work Out

Let’s have a look at what it’s prefer to work out with the . In the event you’re going out in your run, you hit your button. It opens the Exercise app. You possibly can map it to about no matter you need right here, even third-party purposes, which we’ll discuss in a bit. That arrow signifies that I’ve bought my GPS sign.

What I’ll say about that is, I turned on mobile as an choice, as a result of I needed to place this factor by way of the paces. So, it will use the GPS, mobile, and pedometer capabilities. It lays down actually good GPS tracks.

After I examine it to different units, I’ve by no means seen any massive swings come what may when it comes to the standard of the observe, or dropping sign. In actual fact, it’ll even do some actually sensible issues. In the event you’re in crowded downtown areas — as a result of Apple Maps has integration right here, like the identical one which’s in your cellphone — it may possibly fill in gaps and determine issues out.

Now, you should use your digital crown and work your manner by way of your completely different screens right here. Coronary heart price coaching, several types of splits, your tempo, no matter it’s, there are a whole lot of choices right here which you can customise to make it look the way in which that you really want. That is one which’s particular to elevation, and it’ll present like a chart. Then you definitely’ve bought your music choices additionally, as a result of it is a smartwatch, and you may simply plug your headphones in and take off from there.

What you’ll in all probability discover by way of all of that is it’s simply base-function-type monitoring. Once more, coronary heart price, all that info, will probably be precisely such as you anticipate it to be. It tracks. It provides you your tempo. It does an excellent job of maintaining all that info in. If you’re executed, it uploads into Apple Well being. You might have a pair interplay factors right here whereas it’s taking that information. On the one facet, let’s proceed speaking about after I’ve executed a exercise. That goes into Health.

The exercise menu on the Apple Watch Extremely.

The best way Health works is rather like Garmin Join. It’s identical to the Coros app, or the Suunto app, no matter you’re utilizing. This syncs that information right here, after which from right here, it comes to a decision on what to do with it.

Right here’s an instance of an Out of doors Run exercise. I can see my exercise time, distance, common tempo, coronary heart price, and it’s damaged up into splits. All that information that you’d anticipate to see. Even actually attention-grabbing issues like vertical oscillations, are you off the bottom an excessive amount of or not, what’s your common cadence, floor contact, stride size. There’s a whole lot of stuff in right here to essentially dig into and get details about what it’s that you simply’re doing.

The opposite facet although, is what about sharing this information? On the social facet of issues, you possibly can sync all this info to Strava. It actually goes by way of this setting right here, which is your gadget settings. You simply join Apple Well being. When you try this, all the exercises add into Strava within the background. You possibly can inform it to do its factor. As a result of the watch has Wi-Fi and mobile, it’s a really fast course of.

There’s a bit little bit of the app interface. Principally, you’ve bought all that wealthy information, identical to you have got on all of your different apps which can be on the market, once more, like Garmin Join or the Coros app. For getting that data after which for sharing that externally, it may possibly go to these different purposes. I’m utilizing Strava like I feel nearly all of persons are, however there are different platforms, and also you simply must see if Apple Well being is a sync goal.

Apple Watch Extremely Security and Navigation

Let’s discuss security. The is a smartwatch, so it has mobile connectivity. Due to that, it has attention-grabbing ideas not in different sport watches in the marketplace.

, the Apple commercials you’ve seen the place a man runs into the again of a automobile and his watch says, “I detect a crash.” Identical factor applies right here. It has crash and fall detection. Additionally, with this massive speaker on right here, it truly has a siren in-built and I’ll hit that in 3, 2, 1. [Beeping siren sound] What that does is, if you happen to fall or get harm, you’ve bought this siren, versus continuously screaming, you possibly can set that, flip it on, and it beeps repeatedly. The siren, and the frequency, and the loudness, and the way it cascades and goes up and goes down — that’s speculated to be consideration grabbing. It’s not as loud as a whistle, however it does continuously go, it takes the “you” out of getting to continuously blow into one thing. You possibly can truly flip that siren on and it does that for you. It’s bought mobile, and due to that, if by likelihood I crashed right into a tree — I truly had a coworker do that on his bike. His Apple Watch referred to as for an emergency, and he bought pulled out due to that.

The opposite factor I’ll name out right here is the Compass app. In the event you have a look at any Apple advertising and marketing, you’ll see the place you should use the Compass app’s Backtrack function. I can hit that and mainly begin laying down a footpath. Or I can go into the all app display screen, and discover my solution to Compass. You possibly can see why that motion button is basically useful in there.

Leaping to the display screen, and this has a few capabilities which can be which can be constructed into it. One is that Backtrack operate. As a be aware, this watch doesn’t lay down a observe for you mechanically. If you begin a run, you’re operating within the Exercise app. It’s monitoring your tempo, it’s monitoring your distance, it’s laying down a map within the background, however it isn’t laying down a map which you can, if by likelihood you’re taking a flawed flip, return and comply with. There are triggers within the Compass app that may search for connection. When’s the final time it was in a position to discuss to mobile, and different issues, or discuss to your cellphone over mobile, after which will supposedly lay down a pin. However essentially the most surefire solution to be sure to have a Backtrack is actually to come back into this app that’s Compass. Begin that, and lay down this Backtrack.

You are able to do attention-grabbing issues within this app. It permits for scrolling proper out and in. I don’t get a whole lot of info right here essentially. Consider it extra as a, because the crow flies, as the way in which the info is offered on right here. And in reality, I can lay down, you already know, varied factors of curiosity and such to return to a spot. If I parked my automobile, it often leaves a parked automobile spot by default. However in case you begin at a trailhead that’s farther away, you could possibly lay that down and return to it.

Nevertheless it lacks within the particulars of knowledge. You don’t get a lot in manner of contour. It’s primarily only a line. It doesn’t provide you with intersecting information that you simply’ve gone by way of, trails that you simply’ve handed, or something like that. It’s very a lot simply laying down a observe as you go.

That is a kind of issues that I feel from a security standpoint, is just too sophisticated. I’d have preferred to have seen this Compass app and the Backtrack operate like an choice to activate mechanically within a exercise. As a result of if you happen to don’t flip it on upfront, it doesn’t do it.

Or you must depend on a bunch of different components. It’s important to hope that it begins the Backtrack function for you. That’s one half. The second half is as a result of it’s an app, the way in which that you simply interface between this, in case you are misplaced on a path run, and also you wish to get again to the place you began, you’re bouncing out and in of those two. Okay, I’m again right here. I see how lengthy I’ve ran. I feel it was a couple of mile again, proper, for instance. I’m going again into the Compass app. As a reference level, in case your arms are moist, or sweaty, otherwise you’re carrying gloves, all this turns into tougher to navigate by way of. Nevertheless it does serve a base performance for the Backtrack. Once more, you simply wish to just be sure you keep in mind to show it on.

A facet view of the Apple Watch Extremely.

Talking of maps and Backtrack, let’s discuss what I’d say might be the biggest obvious gap on this gadget, because it stands. That’s the truth that you do not need maps in-built. You don’t lay down a observe as I discussed within the Compass half. There’s nowhere in these screens the place you’re getting the route that you simply simply did, or are operating. That doesn’t seem anyplace the place that line is laying down a breadcrumb behind you. Once more, except you employ that Compass operate that I simply talked about.

If you find yourself operating a route, let’s use an instance right here of, let’s say I wish to do that out of doors run. Perhaps I wish to run a route that I’ve executed earlier than. There isn’t a operate of importing a GPX file to this. In the event you get a race route or one thing alongside these traces, or buddies going out on a run collectively, and also you guys are all operating the identical route and put that in your watch. Otherwise you’re going someplace you don’t know. That’s not a base operate of the watch.

What it does have is that this capability to hint a route that you simply’ve already run. You possibly can see right here, scrolling by way of, there are a few routes that from my home will probably be part of this that I’ve executed prior to now. The set off is basically easy. You’ve needed to have executed the route a number of instances, I consider twice, after which you must be near that begin spot. When you do, it presents itself.

This menu solely consists of those couple of routes right here, once I’m near the place to begin. Then when you’re in it, it solely tells you if you happen to’re off track. It doesn’t inform you tips on how to get again on to it. That’s one of many main misses, I feel, because it pertains to path operating, is there isn’t a performance out of field for this gadget to present you that mapping that you really want.

Then there’s a giant a part of my day-to-day coaching that it information effectively. You’ve bought the Compass app. It’s simply all form of clunky, bouncing out and in of a few completely different locations.

Apple Watch Extremely Smartwatch Options

What I didn’t anticipate with the was that the smartwatch options would play fairly as massive a job as they did. I didn’t anticipate the extent of “wow” that I, for lack of a greater time period, skilled from utilizing this watch every day. I feel that’s the actual energy of that is, you already know, what it lacks in these different areas for, it makes up for within the smartwatch facet of issues. , I’ve all the things I want with me. If I wish to verify into my flight, it’s on my watch. If I wish to, discover out the place my automobile is parked, this factor remembers the place it was. It’s a smartwatch, proper, and that’s what you’re getting. You’re getting all of this actually nice — let’s name it shopper, or high quality of life — stuff that’s in-built, like messaging, and mindfulness. There’s simply a lot right here — Spotify, the information, I can use my electronic mail from work. There’s simply all these actually nice issues which can be right here for me to reap the benefits of, that I can look by way of actually simply, and see all my stuff. I can obtain these on the fly. I can take and make cellphone calls by way of it. I pays for meals.

Once more, what this watch lacks within the different half, I used to be mesmerized, if you’ll, with the opposite capabilities that got here in with it that I wasn’t anticipating. If you examine that to one thing just like the Garmin equal, you understand simply how binary these kind of units are because it pertains to the smartwatch operate. These two should not even in the identical ballpark, proper? This could settle for a name or deny a name. This can provide me a notification that somebody despatched me a textual content. I may even learn that textual content, however I can’t actually reply in a full constancy manner. I’m caught with a sure or a no, or pre-canned-type of knowledge.

This, to me, was actually an sudden profit, I feel, of what got here out of utilizing a smartwatch. That’s that I didn’t should have my cellphone with me on a regular basis. There was a stage of freedom there that was simply sudden. If you pair this with headphones for instance, it’s proper there in your wrist. Going out for my run, I can rapidly swipe over, seize my music, and join it to no matter headphones that I may need. Once more, something with Bluetooth connects proper up. I can begin listening to that, and if somebody calls, I get the decision.

Just like the workflow, or lack thereof, is fairly attractive. I’d say at the same time as somebody that’s in expertise, that didn’t historically use this, I used to be very a lot impressed with the combination. You’ve bought to be within the Apple ecosystem to essentially reap the benefits of it. However lots of people in the USA and past are. That’s one thing to bear in mind.

A again view of the Apple Watch Extremely.

Apple Watch Extremely Use with Exterior Apps

The very last thing that I wish to discuss is filling the hole with the . What do I imply by that? Effectively, I discussed the shortage of maps difficulty, and what a giant miss for me. However I discovered apps on-line that fill that hole. There are a few apps that work very well, and the one I’ll discuss right here is WorkOutDoors.

WorkOutDoors is mainly a full-blown sport watch utility. And also you get to decide on what it’s that you simply’re doing. However the place this fills the hole is on this map. This map space allows you to go in your cellphone, choose a location, add that map. It sends over the tiles, after which you’ll be able to add a route from beneath. We will go to settings. I can hit considered one of my routes. I’ve considered one of them on right here. The Nasty Junior is the title of my route. I can drop that route on there. Now it’s chosen. If I head again right here to my map. Alright, we will see this route is on the watch. Now I can actually go right here. I can park. It’ll give me turn-by-turn instructions, the maps there, all of the stuff that was lacking earlier than, is right here.

There are a few completely different apps that use this, and there’s completely different ways in which you are able to do this. I’ve talked a complete lot about core performance. That is the distinction right here, between [the Garmin fēnix 7 — Sapphire Solar Edition] and [the Apple Watch Ultra.] If [the Garmin] doesn’t have what you need, you’re caught, proper? On the Apple watch, you possibly can change screens. You are able to do this, you are able to do that. This factor actually has hundreds of apps that you should use to make the gadget work in a manner that matches for you. The WorkOutDoors app is a major instance of how that occurs.

What I’ll level out although, is that it’s a third-party utility. What meaning is that you simply’re reliant on updates from this app. You’re reliant on, you already know, it sustaining the identical battery requirements because the Apple Exercise app does, and people varieties of issues. I discovered that to be the case, however it’s one thing to consider, as a result of it’s not the native operate of the gadget to do the varieties of issues. Not less than the mapping in the way in which that that is, however if you happen to really need a number of screens and completely different choices in your watch, I’d advocate this to take a look at. I’ve no monetary curiosity or something like that.

There’s a few different apps that enable for drawing of routes, and people varieties of issues. However this one let me get the screens I needed. It let me do the mapping that I needed, and allowed me to get nearer, if you’ll, to the Garmin, which I’ve bought very snug with, due to having that map information at all times obtainable. If you’re off the grid, or a minimum of out of mobile vary, this, to me, was a recreation changer when it comes to utilizing the gadget.

The clock face on the Apple Watch Extremely.

Apple Watch Extremely Total Impressions

In closing, what’s my ultimate impression of the ? If the query is, must you purchase this watch versus a high-end Garmin, Coros, Polar, or Suunto — it’s not a straightforward reply. That’s not usually the reply that folks wish to hear.

Nevertheless it actually relies on what it’s that you simply want. This gadget has been actually nice for Monday by way of Friday. After I know what I’m doing, once I know what I’m entering into, once I want to have the ability to probably take a cellphone name as a result of my oldest daughter must come up with me whereas she’s watching my youngest daughter, or the varsity has to name me, or one thing occurs. I’m out and about as a result of I’ve bought a free afternoon to go for a run. I can nonetheless be linked to work. I can obtain a podcast. I can take heed to music. I’ve entry to do what I must do, and nonetheless be linked with out having to hold a cellphone in my again pocket, or placed on a waistbelt, to have that storage.

That’s a really releasing feeling that you simply simply don’t get with common GPS watches. Sure, different watches in the marketplace enable for notifications and light-weight interactions. However I can actually take a cellphone name on this watch by placing my wrist as much as my mouth. I can have earbuds on, and I can ship out a textual content message. That could be a feeling of freedom and engagement that, on one hand, is perhaps too linked. However however is like, Wow, I see how that is nice.

The place it misses is all of the maps. I don’t belief what it has on it for maps, the shortage of the power to place a GPX file on there and comply with a route natively, I simply don’t have the consolation in that third-party ecosystem. I need that to be a core operate of the watch. As of proper now, it isn’t.

Once more, you are able to do it. I’m positive people will say, “You are able to do that like this.” I’ve used this app, and I did it. I simply have apprehension about it, as a result of it feels prefer it needs to be there, and it feels prefer it needs to be a much bigger a part of the package deal.

So, the place to go together with that? In the event you’re an Apple consumer, clearly that’s a step in. In the event you’ve been utilizing an Apple Look ahead to coaching and also you assume, I may actually simply use higher battery life, or perhaps you need one thing extra rugged, additionally an choice. Or if you happen to’re coming from that entry stage watch house, and now you’re making an attempt to assume, Do I need this Apple Watch that’s a smartwatch, that does all these items, that may observe my runs? Or do I need this Garmin or Coros that may observe all my runs?

It comes right down to this. Would you like a sports activities watch that has some smartwatch performance, or would you like a smartwatch that has some sport watch performance?

It is a smartwatch first. You possibly can inform that by the way in which that you simply work together with it, by the touch-first design, by bouncing out and in of apps, by the way in which that the Compass app is disconnected from the run program within the Exercise app, and you must bounce forwards and backwards if you wish to use these two independently. If it’s moist otherwise you’re sweaty, use points could include that. How typically does that occur? These are questions to bear in mind as you’re enthusiastic about shopping for this.

Whereas these different watches are constructed sport first. My location is already there, the map is getting laid down as I run, and I don’t have to fret about sweating. They’ve contact, however my foremost interplay is thru buttons that I can simply navigate up and down. However then I can’t simply stroll away from the home and never take my cellphone. I’ve to be linked. I can’t obtain music as I’m going.

In order that’s your choice level. As a result of you will get by way of a extremely long-distance race utilizing this Apple Watch Extremely. You possibly can even use the outdated battery trick, the place you plug it in whilst you’re going, and it retains recording. That each one is there to do and have. However how a lot fuss would you like?

For me, at this level, I’m extra of a set it and neglect it. I wish to begin my watch. I wish to know that it’s working. I need to have the ability to look down. I need to have the ability to see that my map is obtainable to me. I don’t wish to have to consider, like, Did I begin this? Did I begin that? Will my battery final for twenty-four, 30 hours, no matter that quantity may be. That’s the choice level for me.

However if you happen to’re solely doing that a couple of times a 12 months, then it is a fairly superior setup. That is the query: the place would you like your performance to go?

I’ll shut with this. That is model considered one of this watch. Apple is a big firm. They’ve a market cap of shut to a few trillion {dollars}. They’ve bought a number of analysis and improvement, and many issues that they will do. In a standard Apple sense, they work their manner into issues slowly, after which change into the usual. Will that occur right here? That’s onerous to say. However foundationally you possibly can see the place that is going, and know that that may be a firm that has deep sufficient pockets that if they’re so serious about actually going all in, they’ve that capability to take action.

[Editor’s Note: Again, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 releases in September, 2023, and we’ll be testing it just as soon as we can get our hands on it. It appears that the most significant changes to the Apple Watch Ultra 2 are a new chip, new sensors, and a brighter screen. According to Apple, we’ll see the same battery life and lack of native mapping abilities in the second version.]

It’s also possible to verify our information to the  to see how we in contrast the Apple Watch Extremely with different market leaders.

Name for Feedback

So, with that stated, questions? Feedback? Are you utilizing a smartwatch in your coaching? Do you have got these splits that you consider? What’s your gadget of alternative proper now and why? Go away these within the feedback beneath. Thanks for watching. We’ll catch you subsequent time.

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

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