The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the best sporty smartwatch available. It stands up against the Epix Pro when it comes to accuracy and sports tracking and is smarter thanks largely to the excellent App Store. However, it lacks training analysis and only lasts two days on a charge.
- Great app store
- More customisation
- No training analysis
- Shorter battery life
- Limited navigation features
The Epix Pro has a bright AMOLED display and all of Garmin’s top features, which include training analysis and navigation tools that are well beyond what you get from the Apple Watch Ultra 2. It’s also a little cheaper in the Black Friday sales, though it’s usually more expensive than The Ultra 2.
- Cheaper in the sales
- Training analysis
- Great navigation features
- Longer battery life
- No cellular version
- Limited app store
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Garmin Epix Pro are two of the best sports watches available, and both are reduced in the Cyber Monday sales. You can get the standard Epix Pro for $699.99 down from $899.99 at both Garmin and Amazon, while Amazon has reduced the Apple Watch Ultra 2 from $799 to $739.
Garmin Epix Pro: was
$899.99, now $699.99 at Garmin
Save $200 The Epix Pro was launched in May this year and is the top AMOLED watch in Garmin’s line-up (ignoring the crazily expensive MARQ range). It’s probably the best sports watch in the world, so any discount available is worth looking at, and both Garmin and Amazon have reduced the Epix Pro to its lowest-ever price in their sales.
Apple Watch Ultra 2: was
$799, now $739 at Amazon
Save $60 It’s not a huge discount, but the latest version of Apple’s flagship smartwatch only came out in September, so getting any kind of deal on the Ultra 2 is a pleasant surprise. The Ultra 2 is Apple’s sportiest smartwatch with an extra button you can use to take laps, a more rugged design and longer battery life than the Series 9, and multi-band GPS tracking.
Both are outstanding watches, but which should you get? I used both watches for several weeks when testing them for my reviews on Coach and have continued to use them since then. In my mind the choice will depend on how much you value the smarts of the Apple Watch versus the training analysis, battery life and navigation tools you get from the Garmin.
The Garmin Epix Pro has a bright AMOLED display and Garmin’s best smart features, including NFC payments through Garmin Pay and music storage with the ability to link up to streaming services including Spotify to wirelessly transfer your playlists across to the watch.
However, it isn’t a true smartwatch, with the Connect IQ app store being mostly limited to watch faces and data fields rather than useful third-party apps, and it doesn’t have cellular capabilities. Garmin Pay is also less easy to set up and use than Apple Pay, especially outside the USA.
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 obviously is a proper smartwatch, the best on the market in fact, with the most impressive App Store and cellular capabilities. Within the App Store you can also find loads of brilliant sports tracking and navigation apps, so while the native tracking on the watch isn’t quite as good as Garmin’s, you can get a Garmin-level experience from apps like WorkOutDoors and others.
However, what you can’t get from the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is more than two days of battery life, or the detailed training analysis you get from the Garmin Epix Pro. Garmin is also well ahead of all other watch brands with regards to its navigation tools. The Epix Pro has color maps on the watch and can create routes on the fly, or you can load routes onto it to follow from your wrist.
I used both watches side by side during testing and I’d say they are among the best watches available with regards to GPS and heart rate accuracy, with both having multi-band GPS, though on both counts I’d just give the edge to the Garmin Epix Pro as the slightly more accurate watch.
Normally the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has another advantage in being cheaper, but that has been turned on its head during the Cyber Monday sales, because the Epix Pro is reduced by $200 and comes in $40 less than the Apple Watch.
I’d say unless you really need the cellular capabilities of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 in particular, the Epix Pro is the smarter buy in the sales. It’s a little larger on the wrist than the Apple Watch Ultra 2, but the latter is not a small watch either, and as an added bonus the Epix Pro has built-in flashlight so you always have a light handy for your adventures.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.