Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro hands-on: Still a classic?

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro hands-on: Still a classic?

Update: Read our full Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review!


Samsung’s game plan for the summer of 2022 seems to be the Unpacked event, “Refine, don’t rebuild.” Rather than reinventing its smartwatches and foldables from the ground up, it’s improving on existing designs to add power and longevity where it’s needed most. The Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro are great examples, and we got to spend a little time with the new wearables. Here are some of our first impressions.

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

Extended battery life • Wide range of activity tracking features

$449.99 on Samsung

familiar faces

Chris Carlone / Android Authority

If you strap the Galaxy Watch 4 to one wrist and the Galaxy Watch 5 to the other – as we did – you might have a hard time telling them apart. One thing’s for sure, the physical bezel is fine and really dead. Instead, the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro both sport a digital ring if you want to navigate your menus up or down quickly. This isn’t a new feature – the Galaxy Watch Active has been around for days – but it feels more refined with each new generation.

Aside from the matching controls, the Galaxy Watch 5 series just looks familiar. The standard model comes in two sizes, 40mm and 44mm, which perfectly matches the previous generation. If you go for the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, it’s a bit big at 45mm, but we saw a change in construction material more than the increased size during our short time with the watches. The premium smartwatch adopts a titanium build instead of the Galaxy Watch 5’s armored aluminum, but both are tough as a nail.

The Galaxy Watch 5 series is ready for adventure, but no situation — nor model — will require you to use a digital ring for navigation.

We didn’t have much chance to test the durability, but Samsung has shifted from Gorilla Glass DX displays to a new sapphire crystal for both of its Galaxy Watch 5 models. You’ll also get an IP68 rating across the board and a MIL-STD-810G durability rating, which should provide peace of mind for those far from adventure.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro in silver color with fluoroelastomer strap showing rear sensor and buttons

Chris Carlone / Android Authority

One of the few differences between the Galaxy Watch 5 series is the upgraded rear sensor. The new “Bioactive Senor” is meant to provide better contact with the skin, allowing for more accurate body temperature and heart rate measurements. It looks a little different in the hand, but you’re unlikely to notice a difference once you strap it on—we certainly didn’t.

Samsung’s available watch faces are familiar, too. We got a chance to cycle through some of the new options, but there are plenty of old favorites if you want to go by the previous Galaxy Watch. Similarly, the processor at the heart of the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro is the same Exynos chip found in its predecessor.

Wear OS is getting bigger

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in silver color with metal bracelet in hand showing apps closeup

Chris Carlone / Android Authority

With the Galaxy Watch 5 series building on the Galaxy Watch 4’s software, the Samsung-Google Wear OS partnership is pretty solid at the moment. Samsung’s previous generation of smartwatches didn’t support Google Assistant right out of the box, but newer models do, so you can send Bixby to pasture right away. Voice navigation via Google Maps is another great feature – not entirely new to Wear OS, but an upgrade over the Vibration Direction added to the Galaxy Watch 4 series earlier this year.

Some of the best Galaxy Watch 5 updates come from Samsung’s updated sensors. More accurate readings provide a better look at your sleep, including sleep state, breathing rate and blood oxygen levels, which Samsung can then use to create a personalized sleep coaching plan. We haven’t worn (or haven’t slept on) the watch long enough to learn how sleep coaching works, but we’ll give it a try when we get the chance.

There are also some new features that appear to be exclusive to the Galaxy Watch 5 series. For example, you can add GPX files to your Galaxy Watch for the first time, which means you can record your hiking or running route to share with fellow fitness enthusiasts. You can also get routes from friends if you want to beat their time. We didn’t get to leave with the watch during our hands-on session, but we’ll be sure to see how it compares to competitors like Garmin.

If you end up with your adventure somewhere other than your starting point, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro also has a trackback feature that can guide you on your way back. It didn’t take us very far during our controlled time with the watch, but we’ll put it through a few trails and a few city blocks to test accuracy when we have it for review.

battery boost

samsung galaxy watch 5 black and white strap with closeup

Chris Carlone / Android Authority

Samsung’s biggest push with the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro is battery improvements. Admittedly, we didn’t have enough time to put the larger cells through their pace, but by the time our full review comes out, we should have a better experience.

Samsung was happy to talk about a 15% increase in the capabilities of both the 40mm and 44mm Galaxy Watch 5. It claims that the increase can lead to 10 additional hours of battery life, up to around 50 hours in total. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is even more impressive with a 590mAh cell, which should be good for around 80 hours or 20 hours of continuous GPS use. Again, we couldn’t test those limits, but our wearables team is ready to get our hands on the watches.

Samsung has tried to address some of the Galaxy Watch 4’s battery concerns with the Watch 5 Duo.

We were also reminded of that classic headache where your watch doesn’t have enough battery to track your sleep throughout the night. You can usually pop it on a charger and get enough juice, but no one likes to delay bedtime. Now, the Galaxy Watch 5 series supports charging so fast that just eight minutes on a magnetic charger can give you eight hours of sleep tracking. If you’re only charging for an average day, you should get about 45% off in half an hour.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Series Specs

samsung galaxy watch 5 samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

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samsung galaxy watch 5

44 mm: 1.4-inch
Super AMOLED
450 x 450 Resolution
Sapphire crystal

40 mm: 1.2-inch
Super AMOLED
396 x 396 resolution
Sapphire crystal

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

45 mm: 1.4-inch
Super AMOLED
450 x 450 Resolution
Sapphire crystal

Dimensions and weight

samsung galaxy watch 5

44mm: 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm
33.5g

40mm: 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm
28.7 grams

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

45mm: 45.4 x 45.4 x 10.5mm
46.5g

color and material

samsung galaxy watch 5

armor aluminum case
Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold (40mm only), Sapphire (44mm only)

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

Titanium Case
black, gray

battery

samsung galaxy watch 5

44mm: 410mAh

40mm: 284mAh

WPC based wireless charging

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

45mm: 590mAh

WPC based wireless charging

Processor

samsung galaxy watch 5

5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz

to hit

samsung galaxy watch 5

1.5GB

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

1.5GB

storage

samsung galaxy watch 5

16 GB

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

16 GB

connectivity

samsung galaxy watch 5

LTE (available in select models)
bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS / GLONASS / Beidou / Galileo

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

LTE (available in select models)
bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS / GLONASS / Beidou / Galileo

sensor

samsung galaxy watch 5

accelerometer
barometer
gyroscope
geomagnetic sensor
light sensor
Samsung Bioactive Sensors: Optical Heart Rate (PPG), Electrocardiogram (ECG), Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Sensor (BIA)

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

accelerometer
barometer
gyroscope
geomagnetic sensor
light sensor
Samsung Bioactive Sensors: Optical Heart Rate (PPG), Electrocardiogram (ECG), Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Sensor (BIA)

Tolerance

samsung galaxy watch 5

5ATM + IP68
mil-std-810g

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

5ATM + IP68
mil-std-810g

software

samsung galaxy watch 5

Wear OS
samsung one ui watch

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

Wear OS
samsung one ui watch

compatibility

samsung galaxy watch 5

Android

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

Android

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro hands-on: A refined experience

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs Watch 5 Pro

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro (L) and Galaxy Watch 5 (R)

Samsung’s smartwatches may have gone “pro,” but there’s clearly a lot of iteration on the innovation with the Galaxy Watch 5 series. Still, the Galaxy Watch 5 pair makes for an impressive pair, and we can’t wait to test them out for a full review very soon.

But now, for the important bit: When can you actually get your hands on the Galaxy Watch 5 series? Both the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro are currently available for pre-order through Samsung until August 25. Wider availability opens on August 26, but you’ll miss out on some of Samsung’s pre-order bonuses.

As for pricing, the Galaxy Watch 5 stops at $279 for the 40mm Bluetooth version only and jumps to $329 for the LTE version of the same size. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 Pro starts at $449 for the Bluetooth version or $499 for the LTE model. If you’re an avid golfer, you can also check out the special Galaxy Watch 5 or 5 Pro Golf Edition, which starts at $329. It has exclusive watch faces, an exclusive two-tone band, and an unlimited Smart Caddy subscription, but (understandably) Samsung won’t let us swing golf clubs indoors.

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro

Extended battery life • Wide range of activity tracking features

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is geared towards outdoor enthusiasts with new training features and the promise of longer battery life.

samsung galaxy watch 5

Much better battery life • Full compatibility with more phones • A slim design

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 improves on most aspects of the smartwatch form-factor. A sophisticated feel in a familiar design.


What do you think about the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro? Cast your vote below and let us know in the comments.

Is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 worth it?

288 votes


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