Archive for the Products Category

How To Make Your Apple Watch Ultra More “Ultra” (Also Applies To Other Apple Watch Models)

Posted in Products with tags on January 27, 2023 by itnerd

When the Apple Watch Ultra first popped up, people naturally compared it to Garmin sports watches and pointed out the shortcomings that the Apple Watch Ultra had. These shortcomings were:

  • No offline maps for the Apple Watch Workout app
  • No recovery and training advice

Now to be fair, these were shortcomings that the Apple Watch have always had. But they were magnified because of how the Apple Watch Ultra was marketed. Which was directly against established sport watches that had these features baked into their offerings. The good news is that you can easily add these features to not only your Apple Watch Ultra, but any Apple Watch actually to make either more “Ultra”. Let’s start with recovery advice as that is important to the Apple Watch Ultra’s target market.

For recovery and training advice, I have been using an app called Athlytic for the last couple of years on both my iPhone and Apple Watch. I’m going to use their definition of what their app does a great job of encapsulating it:

Athlytic is an app that works with both the iPhone and the Apple Watch to leverage the data in Apple Health, giving you daily, personalized insights into and coaching about your health and daily training.

More specifically, Athlytic uses the health data, collected by your Apple Watch, to help you gauge three things for the current day: how ready your body is to perform, how much cardiovascular exertion you should aim to put on your body, and how much cumulative cardiovascular exertion you’ve put on your body.

Athlytic generates three primary metrics: a Recovery score, a Target Exertion Zone, and an Exertion score.

So in short, it helps me to figure out how hard I can or more accurately should push myself when I work out or take it easy. Which in case you are wondering, I do a workout every day either on the bike outdoors, on the bike indoors via the Zwift platform, cross country skiing in the winter, and some other stuff like hiking and walking.

Let me walk you through how I use it.

When I wake up in the morning and open Athlytic, the recovery screen is the first place I go to. I’ve really been doing some hard workouts lately on Zwift, and it shows that over the last week that my body really isn’t recovering form the efforts that I have put in over the last few days. So based on this, I should be doing less intense workouts to get my body to fully recover. Athlytic goes deep into the weeds to help you understand how these numbers are calculated which you can read here. But the main metric that works into this recovery score is HRV or heart rate variability which Athlytic defines as follows:

The next screen that I go to is the sleep screen to see how well (or not so well) I slept the previous night. On this night, I had decent sleep as it was north of 7.5 hours.

I also pay attention to my sleep debt, which is a way of illustrating if you are consistently getting 7.5 or more hours of sleep consistently, which in turn pays off in terms of better recovery scores. I also pay attention to my sleep time consistency. Which is another way of illustrating if my bedtime is the same every night which helps me get a better nights sleep. Both of these are in a very good place at the moment.

I also tag what happened the day before. For example, the day before I had two cups of coffee in the morning. I do this because Athlytic can start trending recovery relative to different things that happen. Thus I can see what positively or negatively affects my recovery.

Athlytic measures a number of metrics via your Apple Watch, and presents them in this summary page. If anything is out of line, you’ll get an alert, as having any of these out of line may be in indication of fatigue or sickness.

The final screen that I look at is the trends screen which has my exertion or how hard I worked out in blue, and the recovery in grey. This illustrates that earlier this week, I was working out way harder than I should have and I am now paying for it later in the week as the blue line was way above the grey line. I got that under control later in the week. But by then my body was clearly fatigued. Thus something that I need to focus on is bringing those lines closer together as I am going to get more fitness gains by not over training.

So with that out of the way, my wife and I planned to go cross country skiing and given this recovery level, we planned to do two laps of a loop that was just over 5K. I would do the second lap by myself at my typical pace which is way faster than what my wife can do. That’s where another app called WorkOutDoors comes in:

The Apple Watch Workout app is really inadequate. It doesn’t have anywhere the level of customization that any dedicated sports watch such as a Garmin watch has. It also doesn’t support the paring of sensors like power meters on bikes for example. And more importantly, it doesn’t support offline maps which a lot of endurance athletes rely upon. WorkOutDoors solves all of that and really leverages the big screen of the Apple Watch Ultra as seen here. I can use the iPhone app to create custom screens like this one to display the information that I need to see, as well as download routes in .gpx file format to allow me to follow a route. Including in situations where I do not have cellular service which is something that the baked in Workout app cannot do. I will admit that when you first look at this app to try and customize your screens, it can be intimidating. But I encourage you to experiment with different views and try them out to see if you like them or not as it really isn’t that intimidating. One big plus of WorkOutDoors is that I can have it upload directly to the sports social networking site Strava because if your workout is not posted to Strava, it didn’t happen as far as your friends are concerned. WorkOutDoors has mostly replaced the Workout app on my Apple Watch Ultra as it is simply far more usable and functional with the exception of one thing. WorkOutDoors really needs to leverage the always on display as it doesn’t offer “live” views even when the screen is dimmed. If they fixed that, this app would be perfect.

So, after my wife and I did our laps of the route that we planned, I can go back to Althyltic and see how hard I worked.

This is the second lap of the just over 5K route that I spoke of earlier where I was pushing myself a bit harder. Athlytic can display the heart rate of my cross country ski run and then go into the weeds about what this means.

In this case, it showed me that while I was working hard, but not insanely hard. Most of my heart rate was in zone four which is good for building my VO2 Max capacity. I also note that this workout was scored as a 4.01 in terms of effort. Combined with my first run which was much easier, I got an exertion score of 5.9 which was well within my exertion range of 4.5 to 6.5 that I was aiming for. It also shows how intense the workout was. Because you can do a workout and think “wow that was hard” and it actually wasn’t. In this case, it validates that I was working hard but not going over the top.

In fact, Athlytic says so as 76% of this lap was anaerobic. This is the sort of workout that will help my cycling when the road season starts up again.

For me, the combination of these apps allows me to really focus on how I train, how I recover, as well as seeing the real time metrics that I need to work out effectively. And both have resulted in a significant gain in fitness for yours truly. Thus I consider these apps to be a must if you’re serious about using the Apple Watch to up your fitness game. Athlytic is a subscription app which costs $30.99 CDN a year. WorkOutDoors however is a one time payment app which is $8.49 CDN. However both support Family Sharing so others in your family who want to up their fitness game can do so easily and for one fee for up to six people. If you want to make your Apple Watch more “Ultra” regardless of whether you have an Apple Watch Ultra or some other Apple Watch so that you can really improve your fitness, and make up for the lack of this functionality from Apple, you should have a serious look at both of these apps.

What’s In My Tech Sling Bag – The 2023 Edition

Posted in Products with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2023 by itnerd

Often when I get a phone call from a client from a client to assist them with some sort of tech issue, I need to grab a handful of things that I know that I will usually need on a job and go. For years, I’ve sort of scrambled to find what I need on a moment’s notice, and that came to a head when I lost my Victorinox Cyber Tool. Thus I decided that I needed to do something different and have a bag that has the most commonly used items that I need when I go see a client. That way I know where everything is, and I can get out of the house quicker. Not to mention reduce my chances of losing something. I decided on a sling bag as that is compact enough to fit inside a backpack or a laptop bag, but holds everything that I need. This is the sling bag in question:

The is the tomtoc Explorer-H02 EDC Sling Bag in the 8 inch size which has an outer compartment that holds miscellaneous items, a compartment in the back that holds one item that I will get to in a moment, and a middle compartment that holds the majority of my gear. Because it is a sling bag, it goes over my shoulder which is handy if I am just using it by itself. But it will also fit inside my laptop bag or backpack. Another plus is that it will fit some of my EDC should the need arise. Be it my sunglasses, AirPods Pro or anything like that.

As for what’s inside of it, here’s the current list.

I’ve got an Apple AirTag in it so that if I misplace it, I can find it easily. It’s inside a Belkin AirTag holder which makes sure that I can attach it to a loop inside the sling bag.

In the back compartment is this GearAid HeroClip. What this is for is to allow me to hook, hang, and carry my gear. I have it because if I have to use a public restroom, there is often no place to hang a jacket, or the sling bag, or a laptop bag. Thus making this piece of kit extremely handy. I got the large size to make sure that I could hang anything that I needed as it has a 100 pound weight limit.

I also carry some Woosh Screen shine and a microfibre cloth as I never know when I might need to clean a computer’s screen or keyboard. Be it mine or somebody else’s. This stuff works really well and it’s currently my go to for my computer cleaning needs.

I carry two cables with me at all times. The first is an Anker USB-C cable that does power delivery, as well as a RollingSquare InCharge XL which is my one cable to rule them all. I say that because it will cover any use case that I may need when at a client’s location as it is good for data transfer and for charging.

On the right is a replacement Victorinox Cyber Tool as I find this to be extremely handy to do everything from open boxes to disassembling computers. On the left is a 1TB NVMe that I use to transfer data at a customer’s site. This is something that I built myself so let me explain what went into building this. I started with a SABRENT 1TB SSD Rocket NVMe m.2 4.0, Gen4 PCIe M.2 SSD which is one of the fastest drives that the company makes, then I got my hands on this four pack of thermal pads from Amazon as NVMe SSDs tend to get hot, and I wanted to make sure that it didn’t nuke itself while I was using it. I also got my hands on this enclosure from Amazon that did USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps transfer speeds. That’s more than fast enough for my needs. Plus it’s made of metal so it will dissipate heat. Putting it together was a bit tricky as I wrapped the thermal pads around the SSD which made sliding it together a tight fit. But by using the thermal pads, I can be assured that the heat that the SSD generates would be transferred to the case and then dissipated from there. I will say the case does get hot when it is used for extended periods of time, but that does not concern me given the care that I have taken to put this together.

The next thing in my sling bag is this Ugreen Nexode 100W USB charger. This allows me to provide power to my MacBook Pro or customer’s computer, tablet, or phone should the need arise. And you would be surprised how often that happens. Because this adapter is 100W and doesn’t take up a lot of real estate, I am covered for almost any charging related issue.

If I am away from a AC outlet and I need to top off my iPhone, or a phone belonging to someone else, I have this Jackery Mini charger along with the RollingSquare InCharge X which between the two of them allow me to charge any smartphone to past 50% at the very least.

Finally, I have the Bic 2 in 1 Pen. This is a lightweight pen plus stylus for any capacitive touch screen device which is handy for an iPad or iPhone. I have an emergency pen as part of my EDC, but it doesn’t hurt to have another one in my sling bag.

I have a CR2032 battery in this sling bag. Why? I can’t count the number of times that I have come across a PC with a dead clock battery, and then had to find a battery either at a corner store or a local “The Source” store in a panic. Thus I keep one in my possession at all times.

So that’s what is inside my tech sling bag. This works for me, but I would be interested in hearing from you in terms of what you think I should add to it or change. Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Review: Anker 60W PIQ 3.0 & GaN Tech Dual Port Charger, PowerPort Atom III 

Posted in Products with tags on January 15, 2023 by itnerd

Compact chargers are becoming increasingly common. And I tend to have a few of them on hand with different wattage capabilities to fit whatever use case that I have. One of them that I have is this Anker 60W PIQ 3.0 & GaN Tech Dual Port Charger, PowerPort Atom III charger:

In the box you get the charger as well as a decent quality USB cable. This is a charger that is ideally suited to someone who needs a fast charger for their phone. Or they have a MacBook Air and another device that they need to be charged. The size is pocketable due to the fact that they the charger uses GaN technology to keep the size down. You get a USB-C PowerIQ 3.0 port and a USB-A port equipped with PowerIQ 2.0. The former does 45W which is good for charging everything up to a MacBook Air. The latter does 15W. I tested this with a MacBook Air and I was able to charge it from 30% charge to a 75% charge in a little under an hour. That was impressive to me.

This charger goes for $50 CDN on Amazon and I’d recommend it if you need a charger that doesn’t take up a lot a space. The price and size result in me having this in my assortment of gear.

Review: Ooma Telo

Posted in Products with tags on January 7, 2023 by itnerd

There’s a bit of a story behind this review. So please hang with me while I go through it as it will all make sense in the end.

I have a client who was using the netTALK Duo as their secondary phone to keep in touch with family via phone at a cheaper rate then what Canadian telcos can offer. But over the latter half of 2022, it would disconnect from the netTALK network and become unusable. That forced the client to use netTALK’s chat support feature to try and get assistance. I say try because even though this was a problem on netTALK’s end, the people that she was typing to always blamed her, her ISP, and at one point even tried to sell her new hardware to solve her issue. Fed up with such poor customer service, she asked me to come up with another option. Thus here we are with this:

This rather unassuming box contains an Ooma Telo which is Ooma’s VoIP box. When you plug this into your Internet connection and connect a phone to it, you get phone service. They claim it will be simple to setup and they can port her existing number to the device. Before we put that to the test, let’s see what’s in the box:

Opening the box, you get your usual documentation. Let’s put that to the side for a moment.

Under the documentation you get the Ooma Telo. It comes in white and in this case black.

You also get a power cable and a flat Ethernet cable.

Setting up is easy, but if I could give you one piece of advice, RTFM which is “Read The Fine Manual”. Because before you plug the Telo in and power it up, you need to activate it first via typing some information that is located on the bottom of Telo into a website that the instructions directs you to. I am going to assume that if you don’t do this, bad things will happen. Like the Telo unit gets blacklisted or something. Once you do that, you’re directed to plug in the unit and power it on. At that point you wait and in about 15 minutes you get this:

This is what a perfectly functioning Telo looks like as there’s a blue light in a flower pattern indicating that it is online and working. You’ll note that there is an orange light. That’s the voice mail light as one of the cool thing that the Telo can do is to allow you to play voice mails on the unit itself. That would make life easier for many as it’s far easier to do that versus dialling into a voice mail service. It also allows you to screen calls so that you don’t pick up the phone for some sort of scammer or telemarketer. I should also note that Ooma does offer call screening services as part of their premier plan. I’ll have more details in a second on that and the basic plan that the company offers.

On the back of the unit is a USB port for optional items like their bluetooth and WiFi adapter, a power connector, two Ethernet ports with the one on the left being a pass through connection for certain use cases, and the one on the right is the one that you connect into your home router. An RJ11 jack for your phone is on the far right. In my clients use case, I simply connected her phone and a cable to her router into the Ethernet port on the right.

Let’s talk for a moment about the service that the Telo offers. There’s two tiers of service. You can get their basic plan which since I along with my client are in Canada, gives you nationwide calling, access to their app to get calls on the go among other things. But if you update to their premier plan, you get a lot more including US and Mexico calling, better call screening, the ability to get a second number among other things including free number porting. That part is important as I will explain momentarily. In terms of costs, the basic plan is about $7 CAD a month though the company says that it is “free” but you only have to pay monthly taxes and fees as described here. The premier plan $10 CAD a month plus applicable taxes and fees. You do get two months of the premier plan when you buy a Telo unit though.

The next thing that I had to do is to start the process of porting her phone number from netTALK to Ooma. That required a trip to netTALK’s chat function to get her netTALK account number. But once I secured that, the online form that I had to fill out only took a few minutes to complete. Now I should note that there is a cost to porting your number which is $35 CAD. But it is free if you get the premier plan.

Pro Tip: If you are porting a number, it will prompt you to buy the premier plan. Keep saying no the premier plan and the system with then offer to drop the price of the plan from $10 CAD a month price to roughly $8.30 CAD a month for the first year. This is what I did to save my client a few bucks for the first year.

Now Ooma quotes thirty days to get a number ported. But it went much faster in her case. The request was put in on December 29th and was done on January 6th. This resulted in the client having two phone numbers. One was issued by Ooma when the Telo unit was activated. The second was her old number that was ported over. To simplify things, I used Ooma’s chat service to get the Ooma issued number deleted. The person that I was typing to seemed to know what she was doing and was efficient in terms of getting this actioned. So based on a sample size of one, I would say that the support that Ooma offers is pretty good. I should note that there’s phone as well as chat support. Though I will note that phone support is only available 12 hours a day on weekdays, and 8 hours a day on weekends. And their phone support hours are based on the Pacific time zone. Chat support is available 24/7.

In terms of call quality, tests that I did using her existing phone were crystal clear and I have no complaints on that front. But if you wanted to leverage some of the Telo’s feature set, you could get their phones which use DECT 6.0 to communicate with the TELO. Meaning you could park the Telo in some corner and place phones wherever you need them to be as there would be no wires. You can also have wireless adapters for things like fax machines and the like. The bottom line is that the Telo has the ability to meet your needs should your needs change. And since I installed it, it has been reliable as it has stayed online since the day that I set it up. And one thing that is cool is that Ooma offers a web based portal that allows you to configure everything. My client will never go into this, but I used it to set the number of rings before it goes to voice mail and if the phone rings to the Ooma App which is available for iOS and Android.

I only have one gripe and it’s truly a minor one. The blue light that you saw in one of the pictures above is bright. While I understand the need for this light to allow you to see if the Telo is online or not, you should be able to dial in how bright it is. That way it doesn’t light up a room at night which would be a problem if you are sleeping in said room.

In terms of pricing, the Telo is $129.99 CAD. But watch for deals as the Telo often goes on sale. There’s also a 30 day return policy in case you’re not satisfied. I’ll be monitoring how my client gets on with the Telo and posting a follow up in a couple of months. But as of right now, the Telo seems to be a winner for my client.

Review: RollingSquare InCharge XL

Posted in Products with tags on December 21, 2022 by itnerd

Fun fact: Before the world started ending, I carried around a small arsenal of cables whenever I travelled or went to see clients. Besides an HDMI cable and a Ethernet cable, I had these in my tech travel bag.

From left to right I have:

  • A USB-A to MicroUSB cable
  • A USB-A to MiniUSB cable
  • A Nomad USB-A to USB-C/MicroUSB/Lightning cable
  • A Native Union USB-A to Lightning cable
  • An Anker USB-C to Lightning cable

On top of that, I also had a USB-C to USB-A adapter, and USB-A to USB-A flexible extension. My rationale for carrying all this stuff was that I never knew when I would need to use a specific cable. Thus I wanted to be ready for any eventuality. Which is to be frank overthinking what I need to carry. Now that travel is opening up again, I am rethinking this and I am moving towards having fewer cables in my tech travel bag. And the best way to do that is to go with this:

What you see here is what comes in the box of the RollingSquare InCharge XL. Staring at the top you get a carrying case, then from the left you get an extra Lightning and MicroUSB connector, the middle has a desk organizer to keep the cable handy on your desk. And finally you get the cable itself which has the following ends on it:

  • Computer end: USB-A and USB-C
  • Device end: USB-C, Lightning, MicroUSB

Here’s what that looks like:

For the record, the Lightning end also doubles as a MicroUSB connector. There’s also a cap to cover up the ends of the cable.

It comes in 1 foot, 6.5 foot and ten foot lengths. Plus there’s a choice of colours. I went with black in my case. It is not only rated for 100W charging which is good for a notebook, but it will do 18W fast charging for those of you on team iPhone. The ends snap together with magnets like this for easy storage:

If all this sounds familiar, it should. This is basically the big brother to the InCharge X that I reviewed a few months ago. Right down to the aramid fibre woven cable that is used. Testing it over the last few days brought me to the conclusion that it will perform no differently than the InCharge X. And my only concern is if it will be prone to scratches like the InCharge X is as it looks to be using the same paint as the InCharge X which isn’t that durable. I guess time will tell on that front. Having said that, one thing that I like with the InCharge XL is the fact that cap is attached to the cable. Which means your odds of losing it are pretty much zero. RollingSquare should consider bringing that feature to the InCharge X.

I got two of them in the 6.5 foot length so that I can make sure that I needed two cables for two different use cases, I have them on hand. All the cables that I had in the picture are now in my cable drawer. That should make life easier when I travel or go to see clients. Prices for the InCharge XL are as follows:

  • 1 foot: $29 USD
  • 6.5 foot: $35 USD
  • ten foot: $39 USD

If you’re always in need of different types of USB cables, the InCharge XL is a great way to cut down on the number of cables that you need to carry, but still have the cables that you need on hand. I’d check them out if you fit that use case.

Review: RollingSquare InCharge Mini

Posted in Products with tags on December 21, 2022 by itnerd

In the interest of providing a last minute stocking stuffer suggestion, I have one in the form of the RollingSquare InCharge Mini. It gives you a charging cable on your keychain. Now some of you who read this blog are going to say, didn’t you review another RollingSquare product that does the same thing? The answer is yes. That would be The InCharge X. But there are two different use cases for them. In the case of the InCharge X, that gives you any cable type that you need on your keychain. As in:

  • From the computer’s end: USB-A and USB-C
  • From the device’s end: USB-C, Lightning, MicroUSB

But the InCharge Mini gives you a single cable to stick on your keychain. Your choices are:

  • USB-A to USB-C
  • USB-C to USB-C
  • USB-A to Ligthning
  • USB-C to Lightning

So if you have a device, say an iPhone, and you never plan on using any other device, this is perfect for you as an emergency cable to charge it or connect it to a computer. Let’s have a look at what comes with the package:

Besides a keyring, you get the InCharge Mini. In my case, it’s USB-A to USB-C. It snaps together using a magnet so that it doesn’t fall off your keychain. And the cable is woven which will make it durable. The Lightning variants are MFi certified as well as they are good for data and power. In short, this is a great “just in case” cable that you can have on you at all times. One plus is that this appears to be anodized. Which implies that it will survive better in your pocket and not get scratched up like the InCharge X did when I tested that.

At $19 USD, it is a great stocking stuffer. Thus if you know what device someone has, you might want to pick one up as it is great for emergency use or for travel.

Review: Meross Smart Power Strip

Posted in Products with tags on December 16, 2022 by itnerd

Frequent readers of this blog will know that I’ve got a rather modest Apple HomeKit setup to give me some smart home capabilities. I don’t have a lot of HomeKit gear and my setup isn’t very complex. But it meets my needs just fine. One thing that I needed to do is clean up the area around where my wife and I store our bikes because we have a HomeKit compatible plug to control a light there, plus we have a charger to charge my road bike’s electronic shifting system. Thus I decided to get one HomeKit compatible item to rule them all so to speak:

This is the Merooss Smart Power Strip. This specific one has four AC outlets that are individually controlled from HomeKit, plus four 5V USB-A plugs for charging which are controlled from HomeKit as a single block. It operates on 2.4 Ghz WiFi and also is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, & Samsung SmartThings. But since I am a HomeKit user, I set it up with HomeKit. And it is a very good touch that you don’t need the Meross app to set it up in HomeKit. Simply scan the HomeKit code at the bottom of the power strip and off you go. Having said that, Meross says that you need their app to do firmware updates on the device. So I installed it and checked the firmware and found that it was up to date. I also found this:

The app asks for a ton of permissions. Including asking for your exact longitude and latitude. Call me paranoid, but it seems to me that asking for exact longitude and latitude is a bit over the top in terms of asking for your location. So I removed the power strip from the app, which then required me to set it up in HomeKit again as removing it resets the device. I then deleted the app from my phone. That way it has no relationship with the Meross app beyond what I did to check for new firmware.

As I mentioned earlier, the power strip has four AC outlets that are individually controlled from HomeKit, plus four 5V USB-A plugs for charging which are controlled from HomeKit as a single block. That way you can add them to scenes and set automations for them individually. Plus each of these has a green light to indicate that they are on (you can disable them, but you need their app to do that), along with a master power switch to turn the entire strip off. But one interesting omission is a manual control for any of the outlets or the block of USB-A ports. Which means that this is 100% app controlled. That’s a shame as it is handy to be able to walk up and press a button to turn something on or off without using your phone.

The Meross Smart Power Strip was $50 CDN at Amazon. It works well within the HomeKit ecosystem and as long as you avoid using their app, I would have no problem suggesting that you take a look at it if you need a smart power strip of some sort in your home.

Review: EnGenius ECW336 WiFi 6E Access Point 

Posted in Products with tags on December 13, 2022 by itnerd

Full disclosure: I was supposed to have this tested and reviewed about two weeks ago. But things beyond my control got in the way of that. Having said that, when I did get around to testing the EnGenius ECW333 WiFi 6E Access Point, I walked away impressed by what it could do. Let’s take a look at the access point:

It looks like every other EnGenius WiFi access point from the top with LED lights to indicate the stars at the top.

Underneath is a 12V DC connection for power, 5Gbps PoE LAN connection, and a reset hole. The 5Gbps LAN port is interesting as there’s not a whole lot of 5Gbps PoE switches out there. So this is clearly here for future proofing.

I am not sure if I simply never noticed this in previous access points from EnGenius that I’ve reviewed, or if this is new. But you get a Kensington lock slot as part of the deal.

The whole point of this access point is the 6Ghz band which is less crowded. Which as a result gives you more speed for your WiFi devices that can leverage this speed. But you get backwards compatibility as well. EnGenius claims that you get these speeds:

  • 2.4GHz: 1148Mbps
  • 5GHz: 2400Mbps
  • 6GHz: 4800 Mbps

You can set this access point up and manage it via the EnGenius cloud, which I have to say is excellent as I can set it up for a client and teach them in a few minutes how to manage their network if they have EnGenius gear from end to end. Or I can manage it for them from anywhere as their cloud supports apps for your smart phone. If cloud management isn’t for you, doing it via a web browser works too. In either case, it’s trivially easy as anyone reading this will have this access point up and running in under 30 minutes. Finally for what it’s worth, if you want to give the public access to this without having to constantly hand out the WiFi password, it supports Facebook WiFi.

What I was really interested in was the speed. So I decided to test all three bands to see what sort of performance that I would get. So after assembling some devices that I could use to test each band, here’s my results:

  • 2.4GHz Average at 20 feet line of sight: Downstream 270Mbps, Upstream 194Mbps
  • 5GHz Average at 20 feet line of sight: Downstream 150Mbps, Upstream 44Mbps
  • 6GHz Average at 20 feet line of sight: Downstream 665Mbps, Upstream 871Mbps

Now I am testing this in an insanely noisy environment where there are literally dozens of access points competing with each other. But having said that, these numbers are pretty impressive. Especially the 6Ghz numbers. If you plan out a deployment with a number these access points set up to do overlapping coverage of an office or even a large home, and it doesn’t have the number of access points that I have to deal with, I can easily see you getting much better numbers than what I have posted here. As far as I am concerned, this is a win.

The EnGenius ECW336 Access point is currently available at Amazon US for $895.00. If you want to set up a wireless network that is easy to roll out and has fast speed, and is future proof, this access point is very much looking at.

My Apple Watch Band Collection – The 2022 “Ultra” Edition

Posted in Products with tags on November 26, 2022 by itnerd

Since getting the Apple Watch Ultra I have done a bit of a revamp of my watch band collection to match the vibe of the Ultra. And I’ve now got longer term storage for my bands:

I found this case on Etsy. It says that it is designed for Apple Watch bands, but I think it’s more of a generic case that they advertise as an Apple Watch case. It’s made of leather and it holds my complete collection just fine.

Now that things are starting to get back to normal, I will be travelling again. And when I do, the Twelve South TimePorter will go into my bag. The big plus to the TimePorter is that you can put an Apple Watch charger in it along with a slim battery pack to allow you to charge on the go. You can even fold it up to a 45 degree angle to use it as a display stand which is a great use case for a hotel room.

Now let’s talk about the bands. But before I do, let me answer a question that I get asked a lot. Which is can you use older Apple Watch bands. The answer is yes if the bands in question are for 42mm, 44mm or 45mm Apple Watches. And there’s a bit of a catch:

As you can see here, the lugs for the bands do not fit flush with the Apple Watch Ultra. This only happens on one side and is only noticeable if you are looking for it. I thought I would point that out because the bands specifically designed for the Ultra don’t do that. Another thing to point out is that I note that some third party bands are tighter than normal to get on and off the Ultra. I am guessing that the cause for that is that Apple slightly tightened up the tolerance for the lugs on the lugs. Likely to make sure that they didn’t pull out of the watch if you were doing something “extreme” with the Ultra.

Speaking of bands for the Ultra, let’s start with the band it came with:

I got the Alpine Loop as I didn’t like the Trail Loop nor did I like the Ocean Band. Once it’s on you, it will not come off because of the titanium hook on the band. I wear this occasionally as it is very comfortable. Typically when I am doing something athletic. It does dry quickly if you sweat a lot.

I have a pair of sport loops. One is the Nike Sport Loop that has reflective thread, and the other one is the Canada Sport Loop that Apple did for the Tokyo Olympics. Much like the Alpine loop, I use them for things like workouts and anytime I need a band that will be comfortable and dry quickly.

I also have an Apple Black Unity Braided Solo Loop which I also wear for workouts. It’s pretty comfortable but I have noticed that it fits slightly on the loose side. I am not sure why that is as this is a bigger watch and the opposite should be true. But it’s not a dealbreaker for me.

The UAG Active Watch Strap is one of my go to bands for workouts it will stay on my wrist no matter what I do, but it will feel comfortable the entire time that I wear it. After all, if my wife was able to use this band to do an extreme trail running race and have the watch stay on her wrist, anything that I do should be a non-issue. It also matches the vibe of the Apple Watch as it is big and bulky.

I have a couple of Apple Sport Bands lying around from previous Apple Watches. Thus I put them into the rotation in case I need a band that could be used for going out or for athletic activities.

The Nike Sport Band from Apple as of late is my go to watch band I am doing something athletic like hiking or working out in the gym. One big plus is that it also fits my Road ID for Apple Watch which gives me a bit of extra safety should I feel the need to use it when I am out for a ride on my bike or doing a hike solo. Because it is made of rubber and has holes in it, it stays dry on your wrist.

The UAG Nato Strap is a band that I really like as it adds a bit of style to the Apple Watch Ultra. During our last road trip to PEI in 2019, it was the only band that I wore as I could hike or cycle with it in the day, and go out to dinner with it at night. And it’s machine washable as well. It also fits my Road ID for Apple Watch which gives me a bit of extra safety when I ride my bike for example. Plus it is super comfortable.

UAG also makes a Leather Watch band as well which I find to be very comfortable and stylish. Plus it includes a snap that locks everything into place so that there’s no way the watch will come off your wrist. It is starting to show some wear but I am fine with that as it adds some character.

The Watch Strap Company Link Bracelet has the look and feel of the Apple Link Bracelet without the Apple price. It’s a very premium feeling product and goes great with everything from suits or business causal clothing. I have had the black one for years, but I recently added the silver one to my collection as it almost matches the casing of the Apple Watch Ultra.

I also have The Watch Strap Company Mesh Loop (The Watch Strap Company’s term for the Milanese Loop) in my collection. It uses stainless steel that is very soft and comfortable to wear. And it is very premium feeling and durable. Again, the black one I have had for years, but I got the silver one to match the Apple Watch Ultra.

That’s my Apple Watch band collection. One thing that I have to say to those who have Apple Watches and want to have good quality upscale bands is that you should skip the really cheap bands on Amazon. Those ones from personal experience don’t have good quality materials and typically will not last all that long. Bands from companies like Apple, The Watch Strap Company, and Urban Armor Gear are examples of good quality watch bands that should be part of your collection.

What Apple Watch bands do you use? I’d be interested in hearing from women with Apple Watches as seeing as I have put forward a collection for men. Thus I figure that many women would be interested in what women use. But male users should join in on the conversation as well by leaving a comment and sharing their thoughts.

Review: Apple Watch Ultra

Posted in Products with tags on October 31, 2022 by itnerd

I’m going to start this review of the Apple Watch Ultra in a different manner by starting with the battery life that this watch has.

I got this watch last Wednesday and as part of the setup process, I had to put it on the charger so that it could update to watchOS 9.1 and then transfer my data from my Series 6. Once that was done, it was 7:51 PM and I put it on my wrist for the first time. I went about doing some house work, did a workout for 45 minutes, had dinner and went to bed leaving the watch on for sleep tracking.

I then woke up at 7 AM on Thursday and the battery had a charge level of 89%. I went about my day and got to noon where it was at 72%. By the way, my day was going to the dentist at 8 AM, then working at home for the rest of the day. Though I had to go out once for about 10 minutes where I left my iPhone 14 Pro at home. Meaning the Apple Watch Ultra was on cellular which uses a bit more battery. By 8 PM which was just over 24 hours into this experiment, it had a 57% charge when I checked it during dinner. I then did a 1 hour workout and did some chores. When I went to bed that night at 11:27 PM it had a 50% charge. Again I left it on for sleep tracking.

Friday was a day where I was in and out the house a few times for 10 to 15 minutes at a time without my phone, but otherwise still working from home. In the morning at 7 AM I had a 42% charge. And I posted this on Twitter when I hit hour 37 which exceeded Apple’s claim of 36 hour battery life for the Apple Watch:

By 1:15 PM I was doing to 28%. Then by 6:15 PM when my wife and I went out to dinner after I did a 30 minute workout, I was down to 20%. And by 8:40 PM I was down to 13%. That’s when I ended this battery drain experiment as my wife and I were going hiking the next day to test the GPS functionality as well as the emergency siren. Thus I need the battery to have a full charge for that. But I think you get the point here. Apple says that you’re going to get 36 hours of battery life during “normal use” and I got just under 49 hours. That implies that with my use case, I would have been into the mid to high 50 hour range if I continued the experiment and ran the watch down to zero. This is impressive battery life for an Apple Watch. Key words being “for an Apple Watch.” I say that because there are dedicated sports watches from Garmin and Coros for example that promise weeks or months of battery life. Something that Garmin decided to point out on Twitter when the Apple Watch Ultra was first launched:

While it is true that their smart watch functions aren’t anywhere near as good as what Apple offers, Apple has positioned this watch directly against watches like those. Thus this comparison will be made. And Apple starts that comparison with the unboxing experience.

You get a more compact box with the same opening experience with the pull tabs on each side. Any branding on the front of the box is embossed.

Opening up the box you get a book that details how to put the watch bands on and how to charge it among other things. The mountain graphic on the book reinforces the fact that Apple is marketing this towards people like triathletes, hikers, ultra runners, etc. By the way, this is a lot of paper that Apple is using. For a company that claims to care about the environment, isn’t that a bit wasteful?

The box with the Apple Watch Ultra is underneath the book. We’ll put this aside for a moment.

Your watch band is next and I opted for the orange alpine loop. I normally go for black bands, but Apple doesn’t have a black alpine loop. The other options were the trail loop which looks like a hopped up sport loop, and the ocean loop which is a rubber watch strap designed for divers and people who do watersports. Neither of those appealed to me. Thus I chose this one. We’ll circle back to this band in a bit.

Opening the box with the watch gives you two things. The Apple Watch Ultra on the left, and the charging puck on the right in a package that has the co-ordinates of Apple Park. That’s reinforces Apple’s marketing of this watch towards triathletes, hikers, ultra runners, etc.

Let’s look at the charging puck. It has a braided cable and it’s really upscale. It also has fast charging abilities which we will get back to later.

And here’s the new Apple Watch Ultra which looks like something that was designed to accompany you into the zombie apocalypse. It’s got a flat screen and unlike other Apple Watches, the screen does not flow over the sides of the watch. The screen is made of sapphire crystal which is durable, measures 49mm diagonally and has 2000 nits of brightness which makes it insanely bright outdoors. It’s also a very sharp and detailed display. Text and graphics are extremely readable as well. On the right you can see the enlarged Digital Crown which is covered by a crown guard. The Digital Crown is easy to use with gloves, but the size of the crown can sometimes create a situation where the crown rubs against your skin.

On the right is the crown as well as the side button, along with a microphone between the two. To the right of the Digital Crown is a depth gauge for the diving functions that this watch is capable of, and to the left of the side button is another microphone.

You get a pair of speakers on the left and the new Action Button on the right. You can map the Action Button to do a handful of functions. Specifically these functions:

Third party apps need not apply apparently. Though you could create a shortcut that starts a third party app. But that’s a lot harder than Apple simply giving you the ability to pick any app that you want to start and going from there. Thus I would suggest to Apple that they need to address the ability to use third party apps with the action button in a future software update. Though to be fair, the action button is good for one other thing:

You can also turn on the emergency siren by holding the action button as per the setting at the bottom of this screenshot. More on the siren later in this review.

The bottom of the Apple Watch Ultra is made of ceramic for durability reasons. While I am sure that the screws are functional, they are a bit of a flex by Apple as it makes the watch look more rugged.

My Apple Watch Ultra came with the alpine loop which is a nylon loop with titanium hardware. You get a choice of three sizes and you should ensure that you choose the right size based on your wrist size for best results because if you get it wrong, you will have to exchange the entire watch and strap to get the right size. Once you put it on your wrist and hook it in, it is not coming off your wrist. That makes it the choice to go to if having your Apple Watch stay on your wrist is a concern. It’s also very comfortable and I’ve even slept in it. The only complaint that I have is aimed at MacBook and notebook users. The hook has a tendency to rub against the top case of the MacBook or laptop. And given that the hardware is titanium, it’s going to scratch your MacBook or laptop. The one thing that I should note is that any Apple Watch band for any 45mm, 44mm, or any other larger sized Apple Watch should work with the Apple Watch Ultra. I’ll have more on that in a future article.

Here’s a look at the Apple Watch Ultra on my wrist. It’s big, but it’s not outrageously huge.

I have the Series 6 44mm for comparison purposes. In short, if you are comfortable with a larger sized Apple Watch like a 44mm or 45mm, you can likely wear the Apple Watch Ultra. If however you have a smaller Apple Watch, I don’t think you can rock the Apple Watch Ultra. I put it on my wife’s wrist as she wears a 41mm Series 6 and it was comically huge on her slender wrist. This brings me to the fact that the Apple Watch Ultra only comes in one size which is 49mm, and one colour which is brushed titanium. The size seriously limits who can wear this watch and Apple should have made a smaller size option along with this 49mm version. Apple’s whole idea behind the Apple Watch Ultra is that you can run a marathon one day and then wear the watch the next day to work. But the 49mm size takes that off the table for someone like my wife who wants an Apple Watch Ultra, but can’t make the 49mm size work for her because it is simply too big for her to pair up with office attire. Then there’s the colour. A black option would have been cool as with a watch of this size, having the watch in black would give the watch a bit of a smaller look. Though I get why Apple went this route with having only one colour choice as black would just scratch if you used the Apple Watch Ultra as Apple intends it to be used. Having said all of that it is comfortable to wear and it is lighter than what I was expecting it to be. By that I mean that big watches tend to be heavy watches. And this watch is big, but I don’t notice the weight on my wrist at all. And while I was expecting the size to create an issue for me while wearing it for sleep tracking, I had no issues on that front.

Now while Apple’s marketing focuses on features that for the most part are part of watchOS 9 and are available on any other Apple Watch for the most part, or are shared features between the Ultra and Series 8 (as the guts of the Ultra are basically the guts from a Series 8), there are five features that are exclusive to the Apple Watch Ultra. Let’s start with the emergency siren.

The Apple Watch Ultra has a 86 decibel emergency siren that Apple claims can be heard up to 600 feet away. My wife and I tested that on a hike that we did and the best that we could get before the siren became too faint to hear was 337 feet. Though that was in a very open environment. Perhaps in a forest it would have been better as there would be objects for the sound to bounce off of. But I will say that the the siren sound is going to attract attention as it is clearly designed not to be confused with anything else outdoors.

Next is the dual frequency GPS that comes with the Apple Watch to improve accuracy. Especially in dense environments like cities with tall buildings or dense tree cover. We tested this on our hike by going on the Orchard Trail in the Rouge National Urban park which has a mix of tree cover and open spaces and we noticed two things. The trail is rated at 5.1KM and the Apple Watch Ultra was pretty much on the money with the recording that I got from the hike. However, the recording that my wife’s Series 6 got was 0.07KM or 7 meters longer. Not a significant difference, but a difference none the less. The second thing that we noticed is that her GPS track on her Series 6 was not nearly as smooth as mine. Meaning that it was jagged in a lot of places while mine was smooth in the same places. I am thinking that this is because Apple uses Maps data where it can to smooth things out combined with the accuracy of having two GPS frequencies to work with. More on that in a bit.

Then there’s the fact that the Apple Watch Ultra has three microphones with beam forming capabilities to improve sound quality during phone calls. In short, the microphones are supposed to help the watch filter out background noise so that the person on the other end of the call can hear you. I tested this first in an indoor environment to get a baseline:

Then I tested it in an outdoor urban environment.

I was kind of surprised about how good this was given that this recording was taken with all sorts of background noise like cars and people. I think it’s safe to say that if you take calls on your Apple Watch Ultra “Dick Tracey” style, people on the other end of the call are likely not to have any issue hearing and understanding you. And in terms of hearing them, the two speakers are loud.

Next there’s the fact that the Apple Watch Ultra can be used as a dive computer. Out of the box it comes with the Depth app which turns on automatically when you enter a pool or a lake and measures your current depth as well as the temperature of the water. But if you want more, Apple has apparently partnered with Huish Outdoors to create the Oceanic+ app for Apple Watch Ultra which adds a full function dive computer to the Apple Watch Ultra. Now I tested the Depth app by taking a swim in my condo’s pool. In conversation with the lifeguard who was on duty at the time, I was able to verify the depths that the watch was reporting relative to what he saw in terms of how far down I was in the pool. In short, it was accurate.

Durability is the main calling card of the Apple Watch Ultra. Apple threw out these durability specs when they announced it:

  • 100m of water resistance (twice that of a “normal” Apple Watch). Though for some reason Apple says that it shouldn’t be used below a depth of 40 meters for diving if you read the fine print on the Apple website.
  • Tested to MIL-STD-810H which means that it was tested to see if it would survive in high and low temperatures: rain, wind, humidity, fungus, rust, sand and dust, explosive atmospheres, shock, gunfire vibration and more.
  • IP6X dust resistance. Meaning that no dust gets into the watch enclosure.
  • It’s designed to operate in -20° C to 55° C temperatures.
  • It’s EN13319 certified which is the international standard for dive computers.

Some YouTubers have tested some of these claims and found that while the Apple Watch Ultra isn’t indestructible, it will survive an incredible amount of punishment above and beyond any other Apple Watch. In one case, a YouTuber hit an Apple Watch Ultra with a hammer and his desk broke before the watch did. You can take that for what it is worth. But in the real world, the durability is a factor for me getting this watch. I had three scratches on the screen of my Series 6 with Apple’s tough sounding by rather useless Ion-X Glass. And I was always worried about breaking the watch if I bumped it on a door frame for example, which happens from time to time. I don’t even think about that with the Apple Watch Ultra as it’s built to handle way more than that.

One thing that Apple highlights as an exclusive feature is the Wayfinder watch face:

It gives you a lot of information to have at a glance. In my case, I have customized my complications to have 90% of the information that I need at a glance. The only thing missing is having my next appointment displayed on the watch face. But tapping on the date brings that up so I am okay with that omission. This watch face does have two party tricks:

Tapping on the dial where the hours are brings up a compass that gives you your current co-ordinates, replacing the date with a numeric readout of the direction that you’re going in. Which is handy if you are navigating your way through a hike or something like that.

And if you look under the date you will see the cellular signal strength. That’s handy when you’re out without an iPhone for it to connect to. Speaking of connections, the Apple Watch Ultra supports 5 GHz 802.11n and Bluetooth 5.3 as well as LTE.

One observation that I would like to make is that the Taptic Engine in the Apple Watch Ultra is stronger than any previous Apple Watch I have owned. When I was driving to the dentist and using CarPlay to navigate, every time it used the Apple Watch to alert me of an upcoming turn, I was shocked at how strong it was. There’s two settings for the Taptic Engine on an Apple Watch, which are default and prominent with the latter being stronger than the former. It honestly felt like I was set to prominent but I checked the setting at the dentist’s office and it set to the former. I guess that this would be handy if you want to ensure that you don’t miss some sort of notification.

I’ll highlight two other features that are not exclusive to the Apple Watch Ultra as it is available with the Series 8 as well. Both watches have a new wrist based temperature sensor. That enables insights for women’s health and advanced cycle tracking including retrospective ovulation prediction. As a side note, Apple in their presentation for the new Apple Watch models went way out of their way to say that this data is fully encrypted and not even Apple can see it which is a clear nod to the times that we currently live in. For men and women it records overnight temperature changes which you can see in the Health app. But it takes five days to surface that information in the Health app as it is trying to get a baseline of what is “normal” for you so that you can observe changes over time and use that to decide if you might be sick or not. Which is interesting as the app Athlytic surfaces this info after my first night with the watch. I also should note that there is no ability to do any sort of “on demand” temperature taking as there is no app for that on the Apple Watch. Likely because you don’t measure body temperature at your wrist normally as it would not be as accurate as doing it via your forehead or under your tongue for example.

Car crash detection is the second feature that isn’t unique to the Apple Watch Ultra as the Series 8 and the new Apple Watch SE has that as well. This is where the watch will call emergency services if you get into a car crash and don’t respond. I didn’t test this and I hope that I never need it. But I covered this in a bit more detail in my iPhone 14 Pro review as those phones have a similar feature as well.

The final thing that I will cover is charging. As I mentioned earlier, you get a charing puck that’s USB-C that enables fast charging. That’s important to keep in mind as there’s a version of the charging puck from Apple that doesn’t do fast charging. And not all third party and even first party accessories do fast charging. So keep that in mind when you buy your accessories for this watch.

In any case, Apple says that you can expect it to charge from 0% to 80% in “about” 1 hour. I tested that from 13% and got these results:

  • 13% – 50% : 42 minutes
  • 50% – 75% : 70 minutes
  • 75% – Full : 110 Minutes

My assumption is that in an effort to maximize battery health, Apple throttles back charging speed as you get more of a charge as they’ve done that with iPhones for some time. Thus I will say that this test makes Apple’s claims of 0% to 80% charge in “about” 1 hour plausible as I assume that the charge speed slowed down earlier because I started with a 13% charge. But it also means that you can put the watch on the charger for 30 minutes and get about a day’s worth of charge if you need to. Or more than that if you wait an hour or so.

While I’m on the subject of the battery, let me cover a couple of features to extend battery life more. Something that appeared with watchOS 9 is a low power mode feature that came to every Apple Watch that runs watchOS 9. That turns off the following:

  • Always On display
  • Heart rate notifications for irregular rhythm, high heart rate, and low heart rate
  • Background heart rate measurements
  • Background blood oxygen measurements
  • Start workout reminder

And if you don’t have your iPhone nearby, it turns off these features:

  • Wi-Fi and cellular connections
  • Incoming phone calls and notifications

And these features get affected:

  • Making a phone call can take longer
  • Background app refresh happens less frequently
  • Complications update less frequently
  • Siri can take longer to process a request
  • Some animations and scrolling might appear less smooth

On top of that, you also get a power saving mode that during workouts, the Apple Watch will dial back on heart rate and GPS readings. In the case of the latter, Apple uses mapping data to fill in the gaps which I discovered via my GPS testing earlier. According to Apple that will give you 60 hours of battery life on the Ultra. But from my testing, that’s at the expense of heart rate detail and GPS accuracy if you are not in a location that Apple Maps can work with. I’m likely to never turn on that feature as nothing I do would ever push the battery that hard. Also this feature only works if you use the built in workout app. Which for some of the sports that I do, I don’t use the built in workout app due to the fact that I want metrics that are specific to a sport like cross country skiing.

Now let’s go over to the elephant in the room. The question that I get asked the most is if this is a credible competitor to a Garmin or Coros watch. I would say no because of four reasons:

  • The first is battery life as I discussed earlier.
  • The second is that the Apple Watch Ultra does not natively pair to external sensors using Bluetooth or the ANT+ standard (which the Apple Watch doesn’t have) like Garmin or Coros watches do. The only exception is that a heart rate monitor will pair via Bluetooth with no issues to an Apple Watch Ultra, or any Apple Watch for that matter. Why is the lack of sensor support on the Apple Watch an issue? Triathletes for example will pair their Garmin watches for example to cadence, speed and power sensors on their bikes so that they can keep track of how fast they are going and how much effort they are putting out. Which is important in a race that lasts 8 hours or more if you’re trying to pace yourself so that you don’t blow up mid-race. If Apple is seriously aiming this watch at that crowd, the lack of native support for those sensors is a #fail.
  • Apple’s native Workout app doesn’t do mapping. By that I mean that you can create a map for say a 10K trail running race, download to your watch and follow that route and still see the metrics that interest you like speed and distance for example. This is something that Garmin and Coros watched have been doing since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. But the Apple Watch Ultra does not and is an absolute requirement for it to play in that space with Garmin and Coros.
  • Finally, the Apple Watch has always been amazing at collecting data. However it does a craptastic job of helping you to use that data to guide how you train and how you recover. Again this is something that Garmin and Coros watches have done for years.

In the those last three cases, some third party apps from the Apple App Store do fill in most those gaps which is the main strength that the Apple Watch has over those sports watches. And I will be covering some third party apps that I use to fill in the gaps that matter to me in a future article. But even with all of that, I would say this: Companies like Garmin and Coros do not have anything to worry about when it comes to the Apple Watch Ultra. At least not today. I say that because if Apple gets serious about addressing the above issues, and does so quickly, then Garmin and Coros might have something to worry about in the future. And if the battery life reaches anywhere near the same area as Garmin or Coros, then a lot of their users who have iPhones may ditch those watches for an Apple Watch Ultra. After all, life is better in the Apple ecosystem. Or so Apple would lead you to believe.

Let’s get to the price. The Apple Watch Ultra is $1099 Canadian with your choice of band. It only comes with cellular but you don’t have to activate it if you don’t want to. But to put that price in perspective, a stainless steel Series 8 starts at $899 Canadian which also only comes with cellular. Which means for “only” $200 more, you get a better screen, significantly better battery life, more durability along with some unique features. At that point it starts to look somewhat compelling from as Obi Wan Kenobi would say, a certain point of view.

But here’s the reason question: Should you get one? Let’s face facts. This watch is total overkill for 95% of people out there. And those people would be served just fine by a Series 8 or even an SE. And that includes yours truly. But if you do want the better battery life, or more durability, or you simply want your next Apple Watch to look different than the way Apple Watches have looked for years, then the Apple Watch Ultra is the watch for you. As long as you have the wrist to make it work for you.

UPDATE: A reader asked me for a picture of the Wayfinder watch face in night mode.

You enable and disable night mode by spinning crown until you either enter or exit night mode. Also, I should note that the inner bezel can be configured for elevation/incline as well.