Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Review: The best gets better


After years of neglect, Google lastly gave Put on OS a lift final yr, and that arrived with the assistance of Samsung and the Galaxy Watch 4. Lastly, good {hardware} gave the platform an opportunity to thrive, which is simply getting higher now. How will you observe up the watch that tripled platform gross sales in only one yr? With the Galaxy Watch 5, Samsung solutions that query with some comparatively minor enhancements.

{Hardware} | 

The identical system, now in new colours

The Galaxy Watch 5, greater than virtually any product I’ve seen lately, is kind of actually its predecessor with a contemporary coat of paint from a visible perspective. The Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 5 are visually an identical at a look, from the aspect rails to the buttons. The one key change is that, now, there are some new coloration choices, a few of which look actually good.

I’ve been utilizing the Blue model of the 44mm Galaxy Watch 5, which has a light-weight blue tint to the metallic and appears glorious in individual – a lot so, that it’s the colour I bought myself. 

The only real grievance I’ve is that the shade is simply gentle sufficient in individual, particularly in out of doors settings, that I fear it received’t match any band apart from the blue sport band it got here with. My typical go-to brown leather-based band feels misplaced at a look. Besides, blue isn’t the one coloration alternative, and each the grey and silver choices look glorious in individual. In case you plan to modify bands recurrently, or have already got an intensive assortment, I’d in all probability advocate avoiding the blue colorway – it’s out of inventory on Samsung’s web site on the time of publishing anyway.

The 40mm mannequin additionally is available in silver and grey, in addition to a pink gold choice that appears equally nice and is extra common than the blue on the 44mm. However as with final yr, I want Samsung would provide all of those colours on all fashions. You shouldn’t must commerce display screen measurement and battery life simply to get the gold choice, nor do you have to sacrifice a compact measurement simply to get the blue.

It’s noticeably thicker

Maybe the one factor you may discover concerning the Galaxy Watch 5 that’s completely different from the Watch 4 is its bodily measurement in your wrist. This smartwatch is claimed by Samsung to be the identical thickness as its predecessor, however it most definitely isn’t. 

Simply strapping on the watch it feels noticeably thicker on the wrist, as a result of it’s. Samsung says the Watch 5 is 9.8mm thick, however it’s truly nearer to 13mm when measured. The identical state of affairs is utilized to the Watch 5 Professional, however in a way more exaggerated vogue on that gadget versus this one.

Now, this isn’t to say that the Galaxy Watch 5 is too thick. It’s not. After a few hours, the thickness by no means crossed my thoughts once more, and luxury is well equal to final yr. Plus, that thickness comes for a cause, as Samsung says that it helps the well being sensors make higher contact along with your pores and skin, and it in all probability additionally helps make room for the bigger battery – extra on that later.

Sapphire is the most important improve you’ll hopefully by no means discover

However on the {hardware} entrance, the precise greatest improve comes within the glass overlaying the show. Samsung has moved previous Gorilla Glass and on to sapphire, a significantly stronger materials that ought to make sure the watch stays mainly scratch-free over its lifespan. With no raised lip to cowl the show and the way frequent it’s to by accident smash your watch into one thing you’re strolling previous, that is nice to see. And if all goes properly, it’s one thing you received’t technically discover.

The sapphire glass overlaying the show feels and appears identical to a typical glass show, too. It has the identical coating that picks up fingerprints continually – one thing I’d like to see Samsung deal with in future fashions – and the identical fundamental feeling below your finger.

Maybe the one factor I seen in my time was that the “rotating bezel,” aka the contact delicate strip outdoors of the show itself, feels worse this yr. It jumps by means of the software program faster and requires extra accuracy to reliably use. Numerous instances a swipe on the bezel has resulted in an unintentional interplay with the app on display screen. 

This might be a change in Samsung’s software program, or because of the change in supplies. In both case, it’s irritating.

How’s the sturdiness? Properly, that’s onerous to guage in solely a few weeks. I can say that there’s not a single scratch on the show to this point, and that’s not the results of me being significantly cautious. In a single occasion, the Galaxy Watch 5 went into battle with the aspect of my automotive, and the Watch received. There was some paint swapped that simply rubbed off of the Watch, although there was no noticeable harm to the automotive both. Nonetheless, my Galaxy Watch 4 picked up scuffs fairly rapidly final yr, so I’m glad to see the Watch 5 is understanding pretty much as good, if not seemingly higher to this point.

Haptics want work

One factor I’m upset to see unchanged is the haptic motor. Whereas it was simple to forgive a subpar haptic motor on final yr’s mannequin, it’s changing into more and more troublesome to disregard it. The haptics on the Galaxy Watch 5 really feel low cost, hole, and aren’t very robust. Apple may be very very far forward right here, and it’s baffling that Samsung is ignoring this.

Software program & Efficiency |

One UI 4.5 cleans up an already-great expertise

Samsung’s tackle Put on OS 3 continues to be the one one clients can simply entry, as the one different smartwatch at the moment working the platform is a whopping $1,300. 

However actually, that’s not a nasty factor. One UI Watch over prime of Put on OS 3 continues to be a terrific expertise, as we detailed in our assessment final yr.

And it’s solely higher this time round. One UI Watch 4.5 launched in beta on the Galaxy Watch 4 earlier this yr, and it’s out there out of the field on the Watch 5.

What’s new? There are a bunch of accessibility enhancements akin to coloration correction and the flexibility to take longer for actions earlier than the display screen goes clean, that are nice to see, in addition to dual-SIM connections, QWERTY assist for the inventory keyboard, and new performance for watch faces. The system additionally feels only a bit extra cohesive and polished this time round.

General, although, the expertise feels largely the identical. One UI Watch 4.5 and the underlying Put on OS 3.5 present the identical fundamental feel and appear to the software program, and the identical performance. It’s very a lot a top quality of life replace, and there’s nothing incorrect with that. Most individuals will simply respect that this stays a superb smartwatch, and the accessibility enhancements Samsung has added will solely open that have to extra individuals.

On prime of that, Samsung has additionally added a handful of recent watchfaces to the Galaxy Watch 5. Samsung’s assortment has at all times felt somewhat bland to my eyes, however the Watch 5 features a handful of recent choices that stand out a bit extra. “Kinetic digits” is my private favourite, as pictured all through this assessment, however “Information brick” and “Professional analog” are equally nice choices with a very good stability between design, info density, and readability. I’m additionally an enormous fan of the watch face selector now displaying an inventory of favorites first, then the complete listing. It’s rather more user-friendly.

Nonetheless Samsung-first

However should you have been hoping {that a} yr within the fingers of customers would in some way enhance the Galaxy Watch 5 to be an Android-first, paired-device agnostic smartwatch, I might cease pondering that manner instantly. 

The Galaxy Watch 5 continues to be very a lot a Samsung-first smartwatch, it’s only one that continues to supply increasingly more alternative.

Don’t wish to use Bixby? That’s cool, Google Assistant is right here now! However Bixby continues to be enabled by default out of the field. Don’t wish to use Samsung’s keyboard? Advantageous! However it’s nonetheless enabled by default, and extra usable this time with the QWERTY structure that made Gboard so engaging final time. Don’t wish to use Samsung Pockets? No downside, Google Pockets works simply tremendous, however Samsung’s choice will nonetheless take up an unchangeable {hardware} shortcut that Google Pockets can’t use. Plus, there are nonetheless some well being monitoring options that may’t be used except you’ve got a Samsung cellphone. 

Not like different Put on OS 3 watches, too, there’s no sooner pairing on the broader Android ecosystem, solely on Samsung units, and it nonetheless has the identical headache-inducing Galaxy Wearable setup course of on all units – as I’ve mentioned on a number of events, I shouldn’t must obtain 2-4 completely different apps simply to get my smartwatch up and working. It’s annoying and messy, and simply not a nice expertise when establishing a brand new gadget. Fortunately, it solely occurs a handful of instances in the course of the Watch’s lifespan (hopefully, that’s).

Battery life

Longer-lasting

My greatest downside with the Galaxy Watch 4 final yr was with its battery life. It was fully manageable, however was a sore level when utilizing the look ahead to sleep monitoring. With the Galaxy Watch 5 collection, Samsung boosted the battery measurement by round 10%, which leads to a treasured few hours of endurance.

Battery life, briefly, is good. It’s nonetheless not nice, and also you’re nonetheless very a lot taking a look at a smartwatch you’ll must cost every day. However, that is battery life that’s only a bit much less anxiety-inducing. Over every week and a half of testing, the Galaxy Watch 5 solely gave me a “low battery” warning as soon as, with me charging up the battery every day whereas I used to be within the bathe/preparing. 30-45 minutes of charging every morning was sufficient to make sure I had sufficient energy to get by means of a full day plus sleep monitoring. 

Often, I’d begin the day with the 44mm Galaxy Watch 5 with between 60-80% of capability, and finish with between 20-30%. My every day use typically consists of notifications, lots of of them, whereas monitoring coronary heart fee 24/7, getting used for in a single day sleep monitoring, and monitoring a handful of strolling exercises all through the week. My major exercise is a spherical of disc golf 2-4x every week, which triggers the strolling exercise on Samsung Well being – that exercise additionally comes with utilizing the Watch 5 for scorekeeping utilizing the UDisc app. The general drain I see with these actions is round 40-50% per day, and as much as 70% if I throw any type of GPS monitoring in, whether or not that be a exercise or Google Maps. With always-on show within the image, I discovered {that a} full day plus sleep monitoring introduced the watch to round 35% by morning, which is appropriate in my e-book.

In case you do working exercises every day and use the look ahead to monitoring your route with GPS, and even depend on the watch absolutely for music and messages throughout that exercise, you’re certain to see rather more battery drain. On the 44mm variant, primarily based on my outcomes to this point and people on the Watch 4, I really feel you’ll nonetheless have a full-day watch with that degree of exercise. 

Whereas I do know many need their smartwatch to final 2-3 days with none charging, I simply don’t really feel it’s possible on true smartwatches with at the moment’s tech. Even the Apple Watch is a product that customers can count on to cost a minimum of as soon as a day. Samsung’s endurance, in my e-book, is completely acceptable, and really good for a full smartwatch. 

Now we have not had the chance to check the 40mm measurement, sadly, however it’s seemingly that it cuts these outcomes down significantly. Final yr, we discovered the 40mm watch couldn’t final a full 24 hours below related utilization, however the bump in battery measurement in all probability means it will possibly now efficiently handle sleep monitoring in case your utilization isn’t thought of “heavy.”

Quicker charging

However the battery life is simply good if the charging can again it up. Full-day endurance doesn’t imply a lot if it’s important to depart the watch off for 2 hours to get again that capability. 

Fortunately, Samsung has additionally sped up charging on the Galaxy Watch 5. The charging fee from the included charger is now 10W, double that of final yr. With my utilization, I discovered that the unique 5W charger was truly in a position to sustain with my use by means of every week, typically beginning the day on the similar degree because the earlier, if not a bit of greater. Presumably that’s attributable to sooner charging on the watch itself, however when utilizing the brand new charger included with the Watch 5, the enhance is even greater.

The charging cycle as an entire is just about an identical, at a bit of below two hours for a full cost. The place you’ll see a distinction is in a fast enhance. In case your watch is almost useless and also you throw it on the charger for 20 minutes, you’ll see a a lot greater share than on the Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung claims 45% in half-hour, which roughly traces up with our testing – normally we’d see rather less than this declare, as Samsung is assuming the watch is at a fairly low share to start out with.

However the vital observe concerning the new charger is that it makes use of a USB-C port to attract energy. The nice aspect of that’s that it will possibly draw extra energy from the wall and into the watch, and in addition that your cellphone can now plug that charger into its personal port, as a substitute of utilizing the inefficient and infrequently inconvenient reverse wi-fi charging function. 

The draw back, although, is that USB-C is much less frequent for the charging setups most smartwatch house owners have already got. My bedside desk, as an illustration, has a wi-fi charger with a USB-A port on it that I take advantage of to cost smartwatches, so I couldn’t use the Watch 5’s included charger. Quite, I’d must dedicate a complete plug to a brand new charging brick for the Watch 5, which can also be a bit inconvenient given the shorter size of the charging cable. I nonetheless applaud Samsung for lastly pushing this ahead, USB-C is what ought to be in place right here, however I can’t assist however be a bit of annoyed on the inevitable in-between I’m left with. USB-C is at the moment much less handy for this particular occasion, however it’s a transfer for the higher good.

Health & well being

Higher, however not as a result of something has truly modified

Health is the primary space Put on OS has lengthy struggled, and it was one thing the Galaxy Watch 4 solved to some extent. Samsung Well being presents a complete health suite with step monitoring, coronary heart fee monitoring, ECG, sleep monitoring, and stable exercise monitoring as properly. It even helps Physique Composition, one thing no different smartwatch brings to the desk. 

And like final yr, the Galaxy Watch 5 presents that full suite of options, and so they nonetheless work very properly. In comparison with the Fitbit Cost 5 that was on my different wrist all through the assessment interval, the Galaxy Watch 5 had related outcomes throughout all factors, with maybe a 5-10% margin of error between the 2 in areas like step or sleep monitoring. Fitbit nonetheless feels general extra correct, however Samsung is on the identical fundamental degree.

Actually, you received’t discover a lot new in core well being metrics on the Galaxy Watch 5 should you’ve used any Samsung smartwatch prior to now few years.

The one factor that will have an even bigger impression on this watch is the thicker design, which as talked about Samsung claims ought to assist let the sensor make higher contact along with your pores and skin and, in flip, higher outcomes. Whether or not or not that’s true, I don’t suppose could be seen rapidly. Sleep monitoring additionally will get a slight enhance with on-device snore detection – nice to see, however nonetheless not significantly should you sleep with a companion and even pets. It caught “me” loud night breathing on a couple of events, however the recording makes it onerous to listen to.

The one new “massive” change Samsung made to the well being and health suite on the Galaxy Watch 5 is the addition of a temperature sensor. This sensor is designed for use to trace your physique temperature, so the rumors claimed, however Samsung isn’t truly utilizing it for something significant at this level. The corporate says that the sensor will bolster sleep monitoring to some extent, however you may’t get your temperature on demand, or actually use it for the rest. I don’t personally see that as a giant downside, however its presence ought to have completely no weight in your consideration of this smartwatch.

Remaining Ideas

The most effective will get higher, however it’s not price upgrading

The Galaxy Watch 5 is the very best Put on OS has to supply, and that’s as a result of it’s an improved model of the watch that was already the very best on Google’s platform. Improved battery life, higher sturdiness, a slight enchancment to the well being sensors, and a more moderen software program model. How may or not it’s something however higher?

For the foreseeable future, there’s no higher smartwatch to purchase if in case you have an Android cellphone, particularly with its terribly affordable $279 beginning worth. Samsung’s trade-in credit solely sweeten the deal, with a minimum of $75 for no matter smartwatch you at the moment have by means of August 26. However even with out the offers, it’s only a good worth for a very good watch.

The one individuals who shouldn’t be contemplating the Galaxy Watch 4 are those that personal a Galaxy Watch 4. The enhancements are noticeable, however to not the purpose the place it’s price upgrading a single technology – except you’re additionally getting a brand new Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4, which below the proper circumstances can get the Watch mainly without cost.

Is it price getting a Galaxy Watch 5 Professional as a substitute?

The Galaxy Watch 5 isn’t alone in Samsung’s lineup this yr, with the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional being a drastically completely different smartwatch by comparability. They run the identical software program and the identical core specs, however these are very completely different experiences.

As our Damien Wilde defined in his assessment, the battery life on the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional simply achieves three days, and my expertise with the Watch 5 Professional since ending Watch 5 testing has backed that up. By way of basic use and exercise, I’ve solely drained the watch all the way down to 60% after 2 full days. Granted, that’s on fairly gentle utilization.

My greatest downside with the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional over the Watch 5 is the sheer measurement of the gadget. The 15mm thickness is extremely annoying to put on in something however basic use. Being energetic outdoors, strolling round city, and many others, that’s no downside. Working from a laptop computer or a desk is straight away uncomfortable largely because of the very thick clasp on the band. Sleep monitoring is completely out of the query for a similar cause.

Plus, the clasp band is fairly annoying for charging.

For me, the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional isn’t a higher product, it’s a vastly completely different one. The battery life is large and that deserves numerous credit score. If you need a multi-day true smartwatch, the Watch 5 Professional is what you’re in search of. However for me a minimum of, the Watch 5 Professional isn’t a product I’d purchase as a substitute of the Watch 5 in any context.

The place to purchase the Galaxy Watch 5

Initially printed August 24, 2022, up to date on August 28 with further context across the Watch 5 Professional.

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