Samsung’s latest watches, the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro, will arrive on August 26. They have longer battery life and skin temperature sensors, and promise more durability.
why it matters
Last year’s Samsung Watch was the debut of Google’s new Wear OS, and smartwatches are looking for better battery life. But Google’s Pixel Watch will also be available this fall.
Samsung’s watch pre-orders are open now, but stay tuned for our full review. Meanwhile, more competing watches are expected later this year.
Galaxy Watch 5 unveiled at Samsung’s launch eventWednesday was the company’s latest attempt after last year’s launch of the ultimate Android watch . This time it comes with the larger Pro model, both of which are set to release on August 26th alongside the new model , and .
Last year’s watch was the debut of a new Google product– Co-developed by Samsung – and while it’s not perfect, it includes an ambitious new line of health sensors designed to bring wrist-based bioimpedance and fat measurement to Samsung Health.
2022 is a whole new story.Google hasArriving this fall, it promises a fusion of Fitbit and Google’s automatic intelligence and design. Meanwhile, Samsung’s new watch promises better battery life than last year, a skin temperature sensor and a supposedly more durable sapphire crystal instead of Gorilla Glass. The Pro model’s super-strong battery promises days of use between charges, a trend Apple will reportedly follow This fall.
Is the Watch 5 worth it? Or, the Pro model? Or should you wait and see what the Pixel Watch is all about? Samsung made its debut on the watch wave this fall, so let’s break down what it has. We can’t compare the others yet, because they haven’t shown up yet. But compared to last year, the upgrade to Samsung’s latest watch appears to be more modest, with only a few notable changes.
Price: Wide range with some discounts
Samsung’s Bluetooth-only Watch 5 starts at $280 (£269, AU$495), and the LTE version starts at $330. But the titanium-encased Pro model with a larger battery starts at $450 (£394, AU$725), or $500 for the LTE version. Samsung is offering some trade-in discounts for pre-orders: $75 off the Watch 5, $125 off the Pro if you trade in a “qualifying” watch, and $50 in accessories credit. Other retailers may also end up getting sales and trade-in discounts.
Battery life: an extra boost
The previous Watch 4 had a 361 mAh battery in the 44mm size, and the 40mm version had a 247 mAh battery. The Watch 5 has a 44mm battery with a capacity of 410mAh, and the smaller model has a 284mAh capacity. In theory, this should improve battery life, though who knows how much; the last Watch 4 tended to last around two days on my wrist.
An even bigger leap comes from the new Watch 5 Pro model, which has a massive 590 mAh battery. That could mean three days of battery life, depending on usage. Samsung is marketing the oversized Pro (more expensive, titanium case) to runners using GPS or outdoorsmen who may need extra durability and battery life.
Skin temperature: Another watch joins the bandwagon
Samsung’s Watch 5 has the heart rate sensor, bioimpedance electronic sensor, and electrocardiogram sensor of the previous Watch 4, but the infrared-based skin temperature sensor is new — at least for Samsung watches. Temperature sensing is the latest trend in wearables:It’s been several years, the band has it, It has it, and Apple’s next watch reportedly has it too.
Skin temperature will be added to Samsung’s other health metrics to establish different ways of sensing health changes, but it’s unclear how it might develop. From previous experience with other skin temperature sensors, here’s how they work: The results are relative, not specific, more concerned with changes over time than any specific thermometer-like reading. I’ve found it can help pre-sensing possible illnesses, but it remains to be seen how Samsung uses it.
Design: Familiar (bigger for Pro)
The Watch 5 looks similar in size to the last Watch 4 model, but both sizes are a few grams heavier. Color options include graphite, sapphire, rose gold and silver.
Meanwhile, the Watch 5 Pro, with its larger battery, is significantly larger, a millimeter thicker and a millimeter longer and wider than the 44mm Watch 5. At 46.5 grams, it’s noticeably heavier and almost twice as heavy as last year’s 40mm Watch 4 (25.9 grams). The titanium case is designed in black or grey with a D-buckle on the sports strap.
In addition to last year’s already excellent collection, Samsung has added a bunch of new watch faces this year. Regardless, these dials and their colors will provide most of the custom look to most people.
One thing that does seem to disappear, though, is the physical rotating bezel on the classic Watch 4 design. Samsung’s touch bezel is now the default interaction, but if you want a watch with a physical dial, Samsung is keeping the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic in the lineup.
Samsung has switched to sapphire crystal for the Watch 5, which promises a 60 percent increase in hardness. Does this mean better scratch resistance, or greater shatter durability?
Of course, the Watch 5 Pro promises a better sapphire crystal, as well as a titanium case around the watch (versus the aluminum case on the regular Watch 5).
Both watches have optional LTE models, onboard cellular (no 5G this year, though neither do other watches), plus 5 ATM water resistance for swimming. Both models have the same array of health sensors, including ECG, heart rate, temperature and bioimpedance sensors. The watches also include 16GB of storage for music or apps, dual-band Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.2.
It’s worth noting that neither watch uses Qualcomm’s recently announcedchip, which promises better battery life and is heading for other later this year. Instead, Samsung uses its own dual-core Exynos W920 1.18GHz processor, which looks the same as last year’s Watch 4. A watch processor isn’t the kind of thing most people are eagerly waiting for, and it’s unclear just how good Qualcomm’s new chipset might be.
Android only, but more built for Samsung phones
Like last year’s Galaxy Watch 4 (and every other new Wear OS 3 watch we know of), the Watch 5 doesn’t work with iOS. It only works on Android phones (Android 8 or higher, with more than 1.5GB of RAM, according to Samsung). But, more specifically, its ECG, stress and bioimpedance sensors only work with Samsung phones. Last year, those health features also required Samsung phones to work.
If that’s still true, the Watch 5’s appeal to most Android phone users will be a big limitation: it’s worth waiting for Google’s Pixel Watch (expected to launch by the end of the year) to see how its health features compare. The biggest difference with Samsung’s latest watch this year is that it’s no longer the only Wear OS 3 watch.