When I tried out the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro for the first time, I felt good about it. I liked how it looked on my wrist, how it was made, and how it was put together. It was a good sign that I wanted to wear it again.
But the more I thought about it, the less sense it made. Samsung was trying to make me think about adventure and the outdoors, but the more I thought about it, the less sense it made.
That’s a Luxury Smartwatch
When I initially wore the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, I thought “luxury.” Screen is thick sapphire crystal, casing is titanium. Titanium makes fantastic timepieces, but not because it’s sturdy. It’s soft, light, and makes steel and plastic feel harsh and cheap.
It’s strong, but how much stronger than steel, resin, or polymer combination is unclear. Garmin’s Fenix 7 sports a titanium bezel, but the case is reinforced polymer. Garmin’s Marq Adventurer has a complete titanium case and is highly costly.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is somewhat larger and thinner than the 44mm Galaxy Watch 5. The border goes above the screen. This could protect the phone from drops, however the screen is sapphire and the case is titanium. If greater protection doesn’t matter, isn’t it a design issue?
The Pro works best with new, high-end magnetic D-Buckle straps. Change the fold-over clasp in seconds without tools. The magnet works and looks excellent. It thickens the strap’s underside, which can catch on items.
My titanium watch with a sapphire crystal, 45mm case, and elegant clasp is absolutely not an adventurer’s watch, Samsung.
The outdoors are an afterthought
How can you sell an outdoorsy type a nice Galaxy Watch 5? You call production and ask for a clip-on plastic case. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s rubber band can compete with Casio’s GSW-H1000 G-Shock smartwatch. It’s odd to put cheap plastic over a pricey titanium case.
The watch’s lack of a plastic case seems like an afterthought. Why not incorporate it if you’re making an adventurer’s watch? Or integrate bezel and button protection into the watch instead of covering a titanium casing with plastic. There are no huge buttons for donning gloves. This is a typical feature on complicated watches.
Samsung’s GPX navigation tool is popular. Hikers, cyclists, and marathoners can share their routes. It also includes turn-by-turn directions for getting home. The Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro share the same GPS and processor. It’s a software feature, therefore it should operate with a standard smartwatch. Is it being withheld to advance the plot?
The larger case contains a 590mAh battery to track more time-consuming GPS activities, but there are no options to extend battery life on longer trips. Garmin, Suunto, and Huawei all have this feature.
The Watch 5 Pro is an excellent sports smartwatch, but it lacks many capabilities that hard-core explorers search for in rival models. The standard Galaxy Watch 5 is certainly technically adequate for the occasional hiker, cyclist, or weekend adventurer.
If I’d been informed the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro was a premium version of the Watch 5, I would have embraced it. If I’d been shown the plastic case and informed it would protect the premium case, I’d have agreed.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has higher-quality materials than the Galaxy Watch 5. As I browsed Samsung’s promotional website, I saw a section focusing on the design and how it’s excellent for a “run or the runway.” I’m as baffled as Samsung about the Watch 5 Pro.
Then I recalled the Apple Watch. Apple may introduce an Apple Watch Pro, a harder version of the expensive “Edition” models. The Apple Watch Pro may have a titanium case, shatter-resistant glass, and improved hiking and swim-tracking. Battery life may improve.
I’m no conspiracy theorist, so I know it’s a coincidence that the luxury Galaxy Watch 5 Pro seems marketing-wise set to compete with such a smartwatch later this year. Switching from Watch Classic to Pro isn’t fishy either. Never.
But not for adventuring.
Samsung’s awkward promotion of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro as a smartwatch for adventurers risks relegating it to an even smaller niche than if it were dubbed a premium alternative to the Watch 5. The specs don’t back up what we’re being told the wristwatch is for.
Does this mean I’m over the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro? Nope. When you ignore Samsung’s advertising and consider of it as an aesthetically unique addition to Samsung’s smartwatch range constructed with luxury materials derived from traditional watchmaking, it makes more sense and becomes enticing.
I enjoyed wearing the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and can’t wait to do so again. Don’t get that terrible plastic case if you’re ordering one. As a luxury smartwatch, as intended.