I replaced my iPhone with the Apple Watch Ultra — here’s what happened

Normally, I don’t go wherever with out my iPhone. Over the years, I’ve come to depend on it to get by way of the day. But whereas testing the new Apple Watch Ultra —  Apple’s most premium smartwatch so far — I began to appreciate it might probably do numerous what my iPhone does.Priced at $799, the Apple Watch Ultra prices as a lot as the entry-level iPhone 14. So, might somebody get by utilizing the Apple Watch Ultra as their cellphone? Determined to search out out, I ditched my iPhone for twenty-four hours and depended solely on a smartwatch with mobile assist to remain linked. After locking my iPhone away, I set out on an everyday routine of errands and actions with the Apple Watch Ultra secured to my wrist. Here’s the way it went.CommunicationThe Messages app is the largest wrongdoer in my iPhone’s display screen time report. I’m continuously texting my family and friends, whether or not it’s to make plans or keep in contact with those that stay far-off. And whereas I’ve lengthy used the Apple Watch to ship occasional texts by way of dictation, not having my iPhone meant I might solely ship messages from my wrist.Luckily, the Apple Watch Ultra’s 49-millimeter show made the QWERTY keyboard extra usable. Side-by-side with the 45-millimeter Apple Watch Series 8, the keyboard letters are the identical dimension however they’re spaced barely farther aside, making it simpler to kind with out errors. (Image credit score: Future)That stated, I nonetheless couldn’t ship texts as rapidly as I can by way of my iPhone, even with a mix of typing and voice-to-text. This inspired me to make extra cellphone calls than I usually do. Pairing my Apple Watch with the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) provided the greatest expertise, however I additionally put the Apple Watch Ultra’s built-in audio system and microphones to the take a look at. In order to really exchange my cellphone, the watch must be appropriate for cellphone calls independently, in spite of everything. I in contrast the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Ultra’s native name high quality by leaving voicemails by way of every smartwatch. Not solely did the Apple Watch Ultra’s beefier audio system make it simpler to listen to the mailbox tone, however listening to the two recordings, the Ultra did a noticeably higher job at filtering out background noise by way of the microphones. Even although I made the calls from a busy space in midtown, solely my voice got here by way of on the Ultra’s voicemail. On the Series 8, I might hear extra wind and ambient noise.NavigationWhether it’s for strolling instructions or subway info, I need assistance navigating New York City every day. I normally use Google Maps or Apple Maps on my iPhone to verify my route choices and attain my vacation spot; with solely the Apple Watch Ultra, I nervous I’d find yourself misplaced. (Image credit score: Future)Yet when I needed to search out the nearest Best Buy to select up a brand new SD card for my digicam (since I didn’t have an iPhone to take pictures, clearly), the watchOS model of Apple Maps labored higher than I anticipated. It let me seek for the retailer’s location after which led me there with turn-by-turn instructions. Helpful haptics on my wrist warned me when I wanted to make a transfer.My subsequent cease, Central Park, required me to get on the subway. My Apple Watch Ultra took me to the proper subway station, knowledgeable me which practice to get on and even let me understand how far-off the subsequent practice was. Once on the practice, it alerted me one station forward of the place I wanted to get off that I ought to put together to exit. As somebody who has missed my cease earlier than, I discovered this characteristic extraordinarily useful.Once on the practice, it alerted me one station forward of the place I wanted to get off that I ought to put together to exit. As somebody who has missed my cease earlier than, I discovered this characteristic extraordinarily useful.But it was additionally on the practice when I first missed my cellphone. I love to do the New York Times Crossword or verify emails throughout my commutes. If I had deliberate higher, I may’ve introduced a e book; as an alternative, I resorted to listening to an Apple Fitness Plus audio meditation downloaded in the Apple Watch’s Mindfulness app. PaymentsTo purchase my SD card and pay my subway fare, I used Apple Pay by way of NFC on the Apple Watch Ultra. Checking out at Best Buy felt just about the identical as testing with my Apple Pay on my iPhone — I raised my wrist to the POS terminal, and double-clicked the aspect button (not the Ultra’s third Action button) to substantiate cost with my Apple Card.For the subway, I arrange categorical transit pay on my Apple Watch. In markets the place cell funds are supported, categorical transit enables you to faucet your cell machine at the stile to pay your fare. I use this characteristic by way of New York’s OMNY program on my iPhone virtually each day, however I hadn’t tried it with my Apple Watch earlier than this problem. No shock, it’s simply as easy.Apple Cash is the last approach I examined paying with the Apple Watch Ultra. I normally favor Venmo or Zelle for peer-to-peer funds, however neither have Apple Watch apps. So, when it got here time to pay my pal for my portion of the dinner invoice, I opened my textual content dialog with them and used the in-text app menu to ship them the cash by way of Apple Cash.Safety(Image credit score: Future)Walking dwelling from dinner in the darkish with out my iPhone gave me some nervousness. It wasn’t a very perilous journey again to my house, however as a girl in an enormous metropolis, my private security is a everlasting precedence. In an ideal world, I might stroll dwelling with out worry, however an Apple Watch Ultra offers some peace of thoughts in the meantime.In an ideal world, I might stroll dwelling with out worry, however an Apple Watch Ultra offers some peace of thoughts in the meantime.One characteristic unique to the Apple Watch Ultra is a built-in siren that rings an 86-decibel alarm. It can apparently be heard as much as 180 meters away. Even figuring out the way to use the Apple Watch in case of emergencies, this siren affords a method to deliver consideration to a harmful scenario. While the alarm appears meant for the wilderness, it’s one thing I’m simply as glad to have in the huge metropolis. In reality, if I’m misplaced in a distant space, I’d relatively have the iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS by way of satellite tv for pc characteristic than the Apple Watch Ultra’s alarm. Health and health monitoringThe second day with out my iPhone, I woke as much as my Apple Watch Ultra’s alarm buzzing my wrist. Then I checked whether or not it took care of enterprise in a single day. My sleep-tracking knowledge populated rapidly, and in comparison with the knowledge from my Oura Ring and Amazon Halo Rise (what can I say? I like sleep-tracking tech), my overview checked out. The Ultra additionally has the new Apple Watch pores and skin temperature sensor, which is greatest utilized for ovulation predictions and cycle monitoring, but in addition can detect deviations for sleep monitoring.Once I wiggled away from bed, I bought dressed for the fitness center to get my exercise in and make some progress on my Apple Watch rings. These days, I use the Lululemon Studio Mirror, however I can’t search or launch lessons with out my iPhone. I suppose I might’ve put in the companion app on my iPad, however that appeared to go in opposition to the spirit of the problem. I settled on a brief run on the treadmill. I even tried Time to Run on Apple Fitness Plus for the first time, having fun with some old-school hip-hop whereas listening to working coach Cory give a historical past lesson on Savannah, GA. The better part? My fitness center’s machines are GymKit-equipped, so my Apple Watch’s metrics have been conveniently mirrored on the treadmill’s show.Since the Apple Watch is a full-featured health tracker, I can’t say I missed my iPhone for exercising that a lot. I take studio lessons from time-to-time, and it’s normally frowned upon to have your cellphone with you in any case. I additionally know now for an out of doors run, bike trip or stroll, I might depart my cellphone behind. The Apple Watch has new working options that make it extra geared up than earlier than for coaching, too.Battery life(Image credit score: Future)Whereas the iPhone 14 lasted an unremarkable 9 hours and 28 minutes in our newest battery take a look at, the Apple Watch Ultra is rated for 18 hours of battery life with steady LTE use — practically double. In my expertise, the Apple Watch’s estimate checks out. When I wakened the second morning of the problem, roughly 18 hours since I’d powered down my iPhone and locked it away, my battery life was down from 100% to eight%. If I needed the Apple Watch Ultra battery life to last as long as 60 hours as estimated with low energy mode, I’d should be extra aware about which options I use.Normally, the Apple Watch Ultra lasts practically 2 days on a full cost, making the greatest Apple Watch but when it comes to battery life. But frequent GPS use, LTE-powered cellphone calls and activity-tracking knowledge took a toll on the watch’s stamina. I enabled the Apple Watch low energy mode at dinner, since I didn’t want my look ahead to something throughout the meal, however it didn’t make a significant distinction when used for less than an hour. If I needed the Apple Watch Ultra battery life to last as long as 60 hours as estimated with low energy mode, I’d should be extra aware about which options I use.I ended up charging the Apple Watch Ultra in the morning earlier than my exercise. After about 20 minutes, I knew I’d have simply sufficient juice to get me by way of the finish of the problem. Replacing my iPhone with the Apple Watch Ultra: Would I do it once more?At the finish of 24 hours, I retrieved my iPhone from the locked cupboard at my workplace. But to my shock, I wasn’t overjoyed to be reunited with my smartphone and its flood of missed notifications. I had managed simply wonderful throughout this problem. I’ll go so far as to say I appreciated the break. I’m assured I checked my watch extra typically than normal, however not practically as a lot as I verify my cellphone out of behavior. Less display screen time, in my opinion, is an efficient factor. Don’t get me flawed,  there are many issues I couldn’t do with my iPhone. I couldn’t add any movies to the Tom’s Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab) or see any of my pal’s tales on Instagram. I couldn’t scan the menu QR code at the restaurant I went to for dinner, nor might I distract myself throughout my commute. I additionally couldn’t take any footage if I didn’t have a mirrorless digicam with me. I suppose one thing like Wristcam might be an answer – it’s an creative Apple Watch band with built-in, dual-facing cameras — however it prices $299, making for a relatively expensive bundle when paired with an Apple Watch Ultra.So, even with an extended battery life, bigger display screen and LTE, the Apple Watch Ultra is not any iPhone. Yet this problem confirmed me what number of of the issues it does simply in addition to a smartphone. In some use circumstances, I suppose the Apple Watch may even be higher than an iPhone. At the very least, the Apple Watch Ultra is the closest factor to an iPhone substitute I’ve ever seen. Today’s greatest Apple Watch Ultra offers


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