Samsung is returning with the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro after reintegrating Wear OS last year. The duo has elements of their predecessor’s DNA, but with modifications and omissions.
We’ve tried Samsung’s two new Android smartwatches. First up, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 comes in 40mm and 44mm display variants, and initially appears to be a modest upgrade on the Watch 4.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro replaces the Classic model with a 45mm display and other enhancements. One upgrade may make you channel your inner Philip J. Fry.
From afar, you may wonder what’s new with this combo, especially the Galaxy Watch 5. Aluminum chassis, same side-button layout, and similar size, shape, and weight.
The enhanced Sapphire display jumped out immediately; it’s twice as strong as the Watch 4, but it felt brighter and more colourful. Given that my Watch 4 is about a year old and worn in, this could be the placebo effect. We’ll evaluate if the circular panel has been changed or improved when we receive more hands-on time.
At first glance
No turning bezel on the 45mm Samsung Watch 5 Pro, which replaces the Classic.
Samsung will equip every Galaxy Watch 5 model with a sapphire crystal face, despite rumours to the contrary. That’s a tough thing for a corporation to put a lot of money in since buyers won’t immediately appreciate it. Not for what the watch does, but for what it won’t do: get scratched.
This improvement to the base Watch 5 is a significant win for Samsung and enhances the entire wearable line. The Watch 5 Pro’s sapphire is recessed in a thick bezel for added protection. That seems needless for a material this strong (and backwards), but the wearable’s titanium frame (an upgrade over the Classic’s steel) can take it.
Material toughness is trickier for the basic Watch 5. The sapphire screen may resist minor damage, but the aluminium body is still fragile. Most consumers undoubtedly fear a scratched screen more than a ding on the bezel, so this is a good step.
As much as I like this option from Samsung, it’s a bit of a “invisible” enhancement. The new Pro model aside, that’s pretty much the mantra for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5’s advancements. Some upgrades, like sapphire and faster wireless charging, aren’t obvious. We’ll have to see about others, like Samsung’s skin temperature sensor, but many modifications like these seem “behind the scenes.”
Samsung’s modifications aren’t perfect. Some of its software decisions appear unnecessary, like limiting the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s “find your way back” hiking ability. The company’s answer was “due battery capacity.” Even the tiniest Watch 4 tracked GPS well. The Pro’s materials, design, and internal components should differentiate your models.
80 hours battery both?
Battery life may seem like an unusual aspect to highlight first in our Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review. Samsung and Apple have continually disappointed us with runtimes.
I like last year’s Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, but its battery life can’t keep up with its many tracking features, especially compared to competing fitness trackers. Sleep-tracking is one of the watch’s best functions, but using it prevents you from charging it overnight to be ready in the morning.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s 590mAh battery is 63% larger than the largest Watch 4 Classic’s battery. While the cheaper Watch 5 can’t flex as much, it has a 15% capacity boost, which may mean we charge it less or leave the home with a “we can make it” mindset.
What’s new about Galaxy watch 5
The Galaxy Watch 5 and last year’s model are nearly identical. First, the watch frame has been redesigned for a more comfortable fit on the wrist.
The larger display makes it easier to tap and slide through apps and settings. The BioActive Sensor’s skin contact area has been enlarged, which should improve heart rate sensor, sleep monitoring, and more data if you were wearing the Watch 4 too tightly.
The display’s new Sapphire Crystal glass is 60% stronger. That inspires more confidence in Galaxy Watch 5’s exposed glass design, which left the clumsier among us anxious about the Watch 4’s durability — it’s why I went for the Classic version last year.
The Galaxy Watch 5’s battery is 15% larger than before, which isn’t much, but enhanced software may increase battery life. 40mm contains 284mAh, 44mm 410mAh.
As it powers a larger display, we don’t anticipate it to last longer. As with the previous model, despite looking enormous on smaller wrists, I’d choose the 44mm version because it makes reading smaller lettering or following Google Maps simpler.
This year’s basic Galaxy Watch 5 comes in two sizes and colours. The 40mm has Silver, Graphite, and Pink Gold cases and Bora Purple, Graphite, and Pink Gold straps. 44mm models have Sapphire, Silver, or Graphite cases and straps. Also, Galaxy Watch 4 bands will work with Watch 5 series.
What’s special about watch 5 Pro
Is Galaxy Watch 5 Pro merely the Classic renamed? Well, it’s the top-tier version of the flagship smartwatch series, but there are some noticeable design alterations.
Samsung has ditched the spinning bezel, as rumoured. I’m not persuaded its disappearance is a good thing, especially since you’re still paying a premium price for a flagship wristwatch that’s difficult to handle. The 45mm display scrolls between apps well with sideways swipes.
The titanium case extends above the screen, providing further protection from significant impacts. It did get in the way when I tried to use the screen’s quarter-circle swipes to switch tiles, so I may have to switch to swiping.