Do you want 90% of the hardware, capabilities, and software features of the Apple Watch Ultra without shelling out $800? You might believe that wearing Apple’s largest, most feature-rich wristwatch to date is your only option if you want to take advantage of everything the alternative Apple Ultra Watch has to offer. That’s not exactly accurate, though.
For $352, or less than half the cost of the Ultra, we created a Frankenwatch modeled after the Apple Watch. And that’s how we went about it.
The best part is that it’s still an alternative Apple Ultra Watch.
You’re probably thinking that we’ll just link to a generic tough smartwatch sold on Amazon and call it a day. Not at all, no. The outstanding and highly suggested Apple Watch SE 2 is where we begin. The S8 dual-core 64-bit CPU and WatchOS 9 software are the two main similarities and differences between the Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch SE 2. In other words, you have a remarkably similar foundation upon which to build your Apple Watch..
The Apple Watch SE 2022 offers the following features: fall detection and crash detection, alerts for abnormal heartbeats, sleep and cycle monitoring, GPS (but just L1, not L1 and L5 like the Watch Ultra), and the possibility of a cellular connection. Along with the same accelerometer and gyroscope, you also receive a compass and an altimeter. Although there are numerous similarities between the two, it differs from the Watch Ultra in some important ways.
What are the key distinctions? Instead of titanium, aluminum is used to make the Watch SE 2. The Watch Ultra sports a bigger 49mm casing as opposed to 40mm or 44mm and a brighter screen protected by sapphire crystal. The Watch SE 2 lacks an Action Button, an IP6X rating, and a MIL-STD designation for ruggedness. The SE 2 lacks any diving functions and is only waterproof to 50 meters, not 100. (including the depth gauge). The Watch SE 2022 can’t measure electrocardiogram (ECG) or blood oxygen levels, and it lacks a temperature sensor as well as the updated heart rate sensor included in the Apple Ultra alternative Watch.
Despite the disparities in hardware, Watch OS 9 is what matters in this case. Do you wish to monitor a variety of exercises, the Backtrack tool, Compass waypoints, Low Power Mode, heart rate zones, and running power? All of these features are part of WatchOS 9, which is compatible with the Watch SE 2 and all other Apple Watch models that support it. The greatest smartwatch software available is called WatchOS and boasts unwavering dependability, a tonne of useful features, and extensive notification support. The Watch SE 2’s screen isn’t always on, so you’ll need to raise your wrist each time you want to check the time.
Making the Frankenwatch
All of these variations shouldn’t deter you. Simply get the Apple Ultra alternative Watch if you want all of the capabilities listed above. However, it can be argued that many of the features you’re “missing out on” are extremely niche and few people will ever if ever, use them. Instead, the Frankenwatch is for people who only want a portion of the Ultra’s appearance and functionality, along with a little more sturdiness and the appropriate strap, for a lower price.
What do we have, then? The Amizee Rugged Case from Amazon, which costs $10, is attached to a 44mm Apple Watch SE 2, which retails for $329. The raised bezel will provide the screen with additional scratch protection, while the TPU plastic construction offers shock and drop protection. Although it’s not the same side as the one on the Apple Watch Ultra, there is a vivid orange button cover there.
This is not one of those; the Alpine Loop strap is a strap option for the Apple Watch Ultra and can also be bought separately for $99. It is a generic copy that can be purchased on Amazon for a much more affordable price of $13. Naturally, nothing at this price is made of titanium, and the quality does not match that of Apple’s unquestionably outstanding strap. However, the Frankenwatch focuses on conserving money rather than spending it. Apple’s band is easily accessible through the Apple Store if you want the real thing.
The Frankenwatch you see here costs a total of $352, which is a significant $497 less than the Apple Watch Ultra so you don’t have to get out the calculator. No, it cannot share any of the materials or match some of the hardware specifications, but there aren’t many internal variances, and the software is the same.
A rugged and powerful Apple Watch for a whole lot less
It truly is about toughening it up to provide the same experience for the more casual weekend adventurer with the Apple Watch SE 2022 since watchOS 9 is so competent and offers all of the Apple Watch Ultra’s software capabilities. Spending so much money on the Apple Watch Ultra might not be feasible if you occasionally want to enjoy a weekend hike. It makes far more sense to spend roughly $23 to make the SE 2 more durable. Additionally, it may be readily returned to “normal” after your weekend trip. You haven’t invested much in it, and it won’t cost much to replace if the strap snaps or the case gets dirty.
But does making your own Frankenwatch make sense? The inexpensive strap is considerably superior to what I had anticipated, and I adore the vivid orange hue and the sturdy metal hardware. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to break any time soon, feels comfortable on my wrist, and hasn’t started sweating. It’s astonishing how similar it appears to be up close at the absurdly low price.
The Apple Watch SE 2022 will unquestionably be shielded by the case from imminent danger. The Digital Crown is protected and covered while yet being accessible for pressing and rotating. The orange button is made entirely of cheap plastic, and I wished I had picked the silver finish rather than the Starlight one so that it wouldn’t seem nearly as gold. Additionally, it is extremely unattractive. But it doesn’t important if I can shield the Watch SE 2 from injury during the one weekend a year when I travel close to a big hiking trail.
If you opt to go full Apple Watch Ultra with your activities, our Frankenwatch invention will safeguard the Apple Watch SE 2, but without the Apple Watch Ultra on your wrist or the need to spend a lot of money on one. With the addition of $23 in more robustness and a thicker strap, it has all the same software functions. If you’re serious about outdoor activities, we don’t recommend that you purchase the Apple Watch SE 2022 instead of the Apple Watch Ultra, but if you only hike occasionally, the less expensive, more practical Apple Watch SE 2022 will likely work just as well for you.