More rumors point to a premium Galaxy Watch 'Ultra' with a MicroLED display

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Pro (left) and Apple Watch Ultra (right) side-by-side.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro (left) and Apple Watch Ultra (right) (Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A report claims that Samsung is working on a "Galaxy Watch Ultra" model, similar to the Apple Watch Ultra. 
  • Allegedly, it will use MicroLED display materials found in Samsung TVs and will cost "an arm and a leg."
  • We've previously heard rumors that both Samsung and Apple are developing MicroLED watch displays. 

After leaving behind the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro for the Watch 6 Classic, we've long suspected that Samsung might switch back to a Pro design next generation. But if this latest rumor is to be believed, Samsung may release a Galaxy Watch Ultra, either in addition to or in place of the Watch 7 Pro.

Gizmochina claims via an unsourced "rumor" that Samsung is developing a Galaxy Watch Ultra that will use a MicroLED panel produced by Samsung Display. This display wouldn't come to the standard Galaxy Watch 7 due to how expensive it'll be to produce. 

MicroLED, as the name implies, uses clusters of inorganic LEDs smaller than 50μm that generate their own light instead of relying on a backlight. By all accounts, the technology is meant to produce much better color richness, contrast, brightness, and energy efficiency than OLEDs, with no burn-in potential. 

MicroLED is currently used in Samsung TVs; Samsung recently announced that it would use the technology for 76-inch, 89-inch, 101-inch, and 114-inch TV sets. There's nothing to suggest in its recent press releases that it can use the technology for smaller devices, however. 

Earlier this year, a SamMobile report suggested that Samsung "has started to commercialize MicroLED technology for smartwatches" and that its microLED task force "hopes to complete the development within this year."

We also saw this report from DSCC CEO Ross Young (via iMore) claiming that Apple wants to add microLED to the Apple Watch Ultra by 2025 and that it won't come to mainline Apple Watches "until cost falls significantly."

These past reports mostly validate Gizmochina's rumor. On the one hand, it's clear that Samsung is developing the technology and would not be able to add it to the Galaxy Watch 7 without massively increasing the price — making a "Galaxy Watch Ultra" more likely. Samsung could easily make the name work, too, given how popular the Galaxy S23 Ultra is. 

On the other hand, it would be an extremely fast turnaround for Samsung to beat Apple to the punch and launch a Galaxy Watch Ultra by next year. It's possible that Samsung won't have the display technology ready quickly enough and will have to stick with a standard AMOLED display instead. 

If Samsung does launch a Galaxy Watch Ultra, it could easily outshine the best Android smartwatches and challenge Apple at its own game. We simply have no way of knowing how much a MicroLED watch would cost yet, however. It could easily climb above the current Apple Watch Ultra 2's $800 price tag. 

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.