Apple Watch Ultra 2 vs. Garmin Epix Pro: face-to-face of two high-end outdoor watches with AMOLED screen

Estimated read time 5 min read

Apple Watch Ultra 2 vs. Garmin Epix Pro: face-to-face of two high-end outdoor watches with AMOLED screen

Apple launched its first Apple Watch Ultra in 2022, targeting the outdoor adventure market where Garmin dominates. The latest version of the watch brings some minor internal improvements, as well as a new strap color, with continuous software updates to make it more attractive. Garmin has also listened to its user base and in 2023 launched its flagship GPS sports watch, which has a brilliant AMOLED display, an LED flashlight and much more.

I have reviewed and tested these watches and it is really interesting to see that each one is finally getting closer to the expertise of the other. Apple brings more advanced sports tracking capabilities while Garmin provides improvements in smartphone-connected experiences.

Although this article contrasts Apple’s latest addition to Garmin’s best GPS sports watch, the Epix Pro, I have reviewed enough cheaper but high-performance Garmin watches to also recommend them to your attention. For now, and based on the specifications and features alone, here are the clear and clear reasons to buy one rather than the other.

Technical characteristics of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and the Garmin Epix Pro

Garmin Epix Pro (Sapphire and 51 mm version)

  • Screen : 1.4 inches Resolution 454 x 454 pixels, AMOLED sapphire crystal
  • Materials : Fiber-reinforced polymer case with titanium bezel and back
  • Storage : 32 GB of internal storage
  • Tightness : 10 ATM (100 meters)
  • Connectivity : WiFi, Bluetooth, ANT+, GNSS multiband and dual frequency
  • Sensors : Optical HR, barometer, compass, altimeter, Pulse Ox
  • Battery : Up to 31 days as a smartwatch, 82 hours with GPS tracking
  • Dimensions : 51 x 51 x 15.0mm and 88 grams
  • Price : 1150 €

Apple Watch Ultra 2

  • Screen : Touch screen 49 mm 410×502 LTPO OLED sapphire glass
  • Materials : Titanium case and three bracelet options
  • Storage : 32 GB of internal storage
  • Tightness : 100 meters
  • Connectivity : 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth, ANT+, GNSS multiband and dual frequency
  • Sensors : Optical HR, barometer, compass, altimeter, Pulse Ox, skin temperature, water temperature, depth gauge
  • Battery : Up to 36 hours
  • Dimensions : 49 x 44 x 14.4mm and 61.3 grams
  • Price : 900 €

You should buy the Garmin Epix Pro (2nd Gen) if…


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1. A very high degree of autonomy is essential

The Garmin Epix Pro has the longest battery life of all Garmin watches with an AMOLED screen. The Epix Pro, 51 mm model, can last up to 31 days in smartwatch mode, up to 82 hours with GPS, up to 62 hours with all satellite systems and up to 17 hours in GPS mode with music. There are options for even longer autonomy by maximizing the GPS modes for less frequent intervals.

Although the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has significantly increased the battery life compared to existing watch models, a battery life of 36 hours is still quite low compared to the Epix Pro. We will have to check if the battery life in use complies with Apple’s claims.

2. The extended customizable data fields are necessary for you

The latest version of Apple’s watchOS includes several new options for data fields, including running power, but Garmin is known for its extensive support for customizable data fields in ALL sports. There are even third-party data fields available through the Garmin Connect store in order to expand the options for athletes beyond the sports and modes provided by default by the company.

If you want to improve your physical condition, you can include these measurements in your Garmin watch. In addition, users can display several fields on the main watch face in order to adapt the training experience to their needs.

3. On-board mapping is desired

One of the most convincing features of the Garmin Epix Pro is the support for topographic maps, including the function NextFork who guides you to the right trail during your outdoor adventures. The touch screen and buttons facilitate mapping, while the large AMOLED screen of the Epix Pro allows you to navigate directly on the watch. This is clearly the best sports GPS watch for wrist mapping.

You should buy the Apple Watch Ultra 2 though…

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

1. Connectivity and security are your priority

First of all, recall that the Apple Watch Ultra 2 only connects to the iPhone, Android phone users, go your way. However, if you are using an iPhone, Apple has taken connectivity to the next level thanks to the cellular support provided by default. This means that it supports the new functions of collision detection, fall detection and emergency SOS. You can call and text, stream music, get directions, and gather information through Siri.

Also know that the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has an 86 decibel siren designed to attract attention in case of problems on the trail.

2. The functions of the smartwatch are vital

At its core, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is an Apple Watch. All the smartwatch features that make the Apple Watch the best smartwatch available are therefore present on the Ultra 2. It supports many third-party applications, offers seamless connectivity with the Apple iPhone and much more.

All the health and well-being functions that are part of the Apple Health ecosystem are present on the Ultra 2. So this watch offers what you love about the Apple Watch in a larger format.

3. You are doing scuba diving

Garmin offers only a few watches focused on scuba diving. So it was interesting to see how far Apple could go by supporting the Apple Watch Ultra 2 in this niche market. The Ultra 2 serves as a complete dive computer in combination with the application Oceanic Plus. The air condition, the ascent and descent tracking, among others, are provided in a simple and easy to understand format. The design of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is robust and its Ocean strap is adapted to aquatic environments. The logs of the diving sessions are also available on the Watch Ultra 2.

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