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Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra vs. Apple Watch Ultra: Which one should you buy?

Samsung's and Apple's flagship smartwatches have a lot in common, but there are enough differences to make for an interesting comparison. Here's a primer to help you choose.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Samsung's newest flagship smartwatch is here, and it's not hard to see what its main competition is. Even though the Apple Watch 2 Ultra was released a year ago, it has a lot in common with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra.

Both wearables have titanium casings and weigh about the same. Both watches have a wide swath of health features, are rated for 100 meters of depth underwater, and operate from 500 meters below sea level to 9,000 above for extreme condition workouts.

Also: Everything announced at Samsung Unpacked Summer 2024

How do you decide which is best?

Of course, if you're already locked into either the Android or iOS ecosystem, your smartwatch choice is clear. If you're willing to switch OS sides for a new watch, however, there are enough differences between the two to make for an interesting comparison. Here's a primer to help you choose.


Galaxy Watch Ultra

Apple Watch Ultra 2







Battery590 mAh   
564 mAh
Size47 mm49 x 44 mm
Weight60.5 grams61.4 grams  
Brightness3,000 nits3,000 nits
Water resistance100 meters100 meters
Operating systemWear OS 5  
watchOS 10

You should buy the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra if...

Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

1. You want a bigger battery

Both the Galaxy Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch 2 Ultra carry large batteries, but the Galaxy Watch Ultra's is slightly larger at 590mAh compared to the Apple Watch 2 Ultra's 564mAh. Samsung says its watch offers up to 100 hours of battery life in power-saving mode and 48 hours in exercise power-saving mode, while Apple claims up to 36 hours of normal use and up to 72 hours in low power mode.

Also: 5 best features of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra

Of course, exact battery life depends on how you use it; but based on company claims, the Galaxy Watch Ultra should get at least an extra half-day from a full charge.

2. You want to save money

It's no surprise that affordability isn't at the forefront of Apple's feature set. These two watches are similar in many ways, but Samsung's will set you back $150 less. The Galaxy Watch Ultra is priced at $649.99, while the Apple Watch 2 Ultra, released in September 2023, costs $799.99.

Here's another thing to consider: If you're pairing a phone with your watch, iPhones are usually more expensive. If the direct cost of the device and associated costs are a concern, go with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra.

3. You want the most advanced sleep-tracking features

The Apple Watch Ultra offers sleep schedules and sleep tracking in its new Vitals app, but Samsung has the edge here. Both the Galaxy Watch 7 and the Galaxy Watch Ultra are getting new AI-powered sleep analysis statistics and the De Novo FDA-authorized sleep apnea detection feature that watches for signs of moderate to severe sleep apnea.

You should buy the Apple Watch Ultra 2 if...

Apple Watch Ultra 2
Max Buondonno/ZDNET

1. You need more storage

If you want to have a lot of music or podcasts on your watch for long runs, or you want to have plenty of app options to choose from, you'll want to go with the Apple Watch 2 Ultra, which has 64GB of storage -- double the 32GB of the Galaxy Watch Ultra. Either option is going to be fine in most cases, as storage on a smartwatch isn't a priority for most users. Still, if you want multiple fitness apps and multiple music players or simply find storage space a concern, there's a clear winner here. 

Also: The best smartwatches you can buy: Expert tested

2. You want the biggest, boldest display

Both the Galaxy Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch 2 Ultra are fairly large, square-ish, eye-catching watches. While the Galaxy Watch Ultra is 47mm, the Watch 2 Ultra is 47mm wide by 49mm high. That might not sound like much, but it's noticeable when the two devices are side by side. Because of the bigger size, Apple's watch can fit more information on the screen. Both watches have only basic colors when it comes to design, but if you want the option that's more visually striking, go with the Apple.

Alternatives to consider

Google Pixel Watch 2
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

With a price tag of only $329, Google's latest smartwatch has much the same functionality, but less durability for extreme conditions. If you need a basic fitness-tracking smartwatch, consider this one.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is fantastic for outdoor adventures. It offers many advanced health tracking features, like blood oxygen monitoring, ECG, and sleep tracking, and has a long battery life.

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