The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is an example of Samsung’s iterative revisions in 2022. Comparing the Galaxy Watch 5 to its predecessor is challenging. Both smartwatches have the same chipset, design, and health features.
Closer inspection reveals what makes the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 tick. Larger battery, faster charging, more durable design, and enhanced health tracking. None of these upgrades are new, but they underline Samsung’s leadership in Wear OS watches.
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Galaxy Watch 5 design
The Galaxy Watch 5’s design is iterative. My review device is 40mm, not 44mm. The Watch 5’s 3-in-1 BioActive Sensor is larger than before to provide more precise health data. The 40mm Watch 5 weighs 28.7 grams, compared to 25.9 grammes for the Watch 4.
The Galaxy Watch 5 is similar to its predecessor else. Not that I mind. Aluminum casing is sleek and minimalistic, how I like my timepieces. The Watch 5’s two power buttons are pleasantly clicky, the 20mm watch bands are easily swappable, and it’s comfy to wear all day. The Watch 5’s bigger bulk isn’t uncomfortable or tiring to wear. It’s a smartwatch you can wear and forget about.
If you prefer a bigger watch, choose the 44mm Watch 5 or Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. As someone with tiny wrists, I love that Samsung keeps the 40mm size to accommodate people like me. Many other Wear OS options neglect this, so it’s excellent that Samsung has something for everyone.
Swipe the Watch 5’s bezel to cycle between apps or menus, just like the Watch 4. It’s a terrific idea when it works, but I often struggled with it. The touch bezel sometimes works as expected. Sometimes it doesn’t register my finger or scrolls too quickly, forcing me to mess with it. It’s better than nothing, but I’d rather have a rotating crown/slug or Samsung’s rotating bezel.
The Galaxy Watch 5’s design is simple. It’s not the most creative or inventive smartwatch, but the execution is excellent. With a comfortable fit, superb buttons, and swappable bands, there’s little to dislike.
Screen, Galaxy Watch 5
The Galaxy Watch 5’s screen is also impressive. 40mm provides you a 1.2-inch 396 x 396 screen, while 44mm gives you a 1.4-inch 450 x 450 display. Both sizes have a “full color, always on” Super AMOLED display.
Samsung’s competence in smartphone screens translates nicely to smartwatches. I’ve been delighted with the 40mm Galaxy Watch 5’s screen for a week. The ambient light sensor automatically adjusts brightness, and the Watch 5 is easily viewable in direct sunshine. I was apprehensive about reading the screen while strolling the High Line in Manhattan’s sun, but I never had a problem.
The Galaxy Watch 5 has an always-on display, as mentioned. You may enable it from the Settings app. Most watch faces have colourful always-on modes, and if you launch an app and put your wrist down, a white clock appears.
The Galaxy Watch 5’s always-on screen is my sole criticism. After lifting your wrist to look at the watch, the display goes from always-on to fully engaged. Far from a deal-breaker, it’s something I observe daily.
Exynos W920 CPU, 1.5GB RAM, and 16GB storage power the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. These characteristics are identical as the Galaxy Watch 4.
The Galaxy Watch 5 performs well overall. Apps open swiftly, menus (occasionally) glide nicely, and Samsung Pay or Google Assistant are instant. The Watch 5 isn’t seamless.
I’ve seen UX discrepancies while wearing the Galaxy Watch 5. Swiping down to reveal fast settings takes numerous tries. In my tiles, glitchy animations are common. The Watch 5 performs what I ask swiftly, although it’s a little rough around the edges. The Exynos W920 chip is fine, but I wonder whether Qualcomm’s Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 would have been better.
Galaxy Watch 5 battery life/charging
Samsung claims its Galaxy Watch 5 can get 40 to 50 hours of battery life per charge, a huge improvement over the 18 hours Apple promises for the Apple Watch Series 7. Combined with the Watch 5’s 410 mAh battery, legendary endurance is possible.
In practice, the Galaxy Watch 5 has acceptable battery life, but not 40 to 50 hours. Most of my Watch 5 days were low-key. It records my steps, receives Galaxy Z Flip 4 notifications, and has an always-on display. After 14 hours and 12 minutes of use, I still had 41% battery life. After 22 hours and 37 minutes of use and 7 hours of sleep tracking, the Galaxy Watch 5 has 18% battery left.
If you use the Watch 5 for workouts, the battery will drain faster. After 17 hours and 24 minutes of use, the Galaxy Watch 5 has 24% battery remaining after six outside walking sessions and frequent notifications.
Better than my Apple Watch Series 7. If you disable the always-on screen, limit notifications, and reduce brightness, you may get 50 hours of use. If you use the Galaxy Watch 5’s features, expect 24 hours or less. Good durability, but not what Samsung advertises.
Samsung’s charging claims are correct. Samsung says 10-watt charging speeds may add 45% to the Galaxy Watch 5’s battery in 30 minutes. The Galaxy Watch 5 charges faster.
The Galaxy Watch 5 adds 20% battery life in 12 minutes. My Galaxy Watch 5 gets over 60% battery after 30 minutes of charging, more what Samsung claims. 1 hour and 12 minutes is needed to get the watch to 100%. I used my 61W RavPower charging brick and the Galaxy Watch 5’s charging wire. Depending on the charging adapter you use,
Software for Galaxy Watch
Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 runs Wear OS 3.5 and One UI Watch 4.5. The interface is similar to the Watch 4, with movements to navigate. Basics:
View Quick Settings by swiping down
Swipe up for apps
Swipe right for alerts
To cycle tiles, swipe left.
Hold the watch face to change it.
After learning the movements, One UI Watch 4.5 is easy to use. Everything is accessible from the watch display, the software is attractive, and the two physical buttons may start apps, trigger a voice assistant, and more. Google Assistant is accessible out of the box, unlike the Watch 4. It’s effective! Holding down the top button brings up the Assistant, which answers my questions/commands instantly.
One UI Watch 4.5 isn’t a major change from One UI Watch 4.0 on the Watch 4, although there are some. You can now reply to messages using a tap-and-swipe QWERTY keyboard. Swipe typing is difficult, but tapping characters, along with autocorrect, is quite good. You can also switch input methods. Swipe up to choose between voice dictation, handwriting, and emojis.
One UI Watch 4.5 also has better input. This latest version of the software offers dual-SIM switching, quicker access to accessibility features, and additional watch face personalization possibilities.
This gives Wear OS a fully complete smartwatch platform. Except applications.
It’s been a while since I wore a Wear OS watch daily, so I hoped the app choices had improved. Not so, it seems.
Galaxy Watch 5 monitors health
The Galaxy Watch 5 tracks health like other smartwatches nowadays. The Watch 5’s biosensor drives its health-tracking features. Step tracking, auto workout identification, manual workout tracking for 90+ exercises, and built-in sleep monitoring with Sleep Coaching produces individualised sleep plans. There’s also 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, SpO2 tracking, an ECG app for A-fib detection, and the same Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis sensor from the Watch 4.
This year’s new health sensor is a skin temperature sensor, but I know nothing about it. Watch 5 owners can’t utilise the sensor. It’s an interesting addition that Samsung hasn’t yet implemented. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait months to use Google Assistant on the Galaxy Watch 4.
Samsung makes this information easy to grasp. The Samsung Health app on the Watch 5 stores your daily activities, steps, sleep, heart rate, etc. You may also employ health-related tiles, such as sleep, body composition, exercise, and more, adjacent to your watch face.
All of the Galaxy Watch 5’s statistics seemed accurate. My pulse rate was constantly within range, step tracking looked fantastic, automatic workout detection worked perfectly, and sleep monitoring was also good. The Galaxy Watch 5 tracks sleep duration, sleep phases, calories burnt, and blood oxygen level. It can even track your snoring using your Samsung Galaxy phone.
As a casual fitness person who likes a few walks and runs each week, I’m delighted with the Galaxy Watch 5. It tracks workouts, sleep, and fat mass.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 price/availability
Now available: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. 40mm Wi-Fi models cost $280. LTE costs $330 on the 40mm Watch 5. The 44mm Galaxy Watch 5 with Wi-Fi and LTE costs $310 and $360.
Galaxy Watch 5 review
The Galaxy Watch 5 is one of the top Wear OS watches. The Watch 5 keeps its crown because its predecessor was so good, not because it’s fresh or intriguing. So much of the Watch 5 is a repackaging of the Watch 4’s design, display, chipset, and health-tracking sensors. If Samsung’s smartwatch formula peaked last year, the Watch 5 confirms it.
That’s not a really fascinating description, but it works well in practice. All of the Watch 4’s best features remain. With Samsung’s enhancements, such a larger battery and faster charging, it’s one of the best Android smartwatches.
Should everyone buy a Galaxy Watch 5 now? No. If you have a Galaxy Watch 4, don’t upgrade. But, If you can wait, check out Google’s Pixel Watch this fall. If you need an Android smartwatch now, we recommend the Galaxy Watch 5.