The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro are Samsung’s answer to Apple and Garmin’s smart wearables. It’s for folks who want a tiny computer on their wrist with all things premium and everything in between. We’ve already done a full review of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro which is the crème de la crème version of this watch. You can read more about it here if you want to know our experience with the software. Both watches share the same software features so we won’t repeat that here, although, there are some fun differences that make the Pro slightly better than this base variant.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review
Very tempting to not Pro here
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is built with Armor Aluminium material as opposed to the Pro variant which comes wrapped in Titanium metal. Even the Watch 5 has slightly less durable glass than the Pro variant. There is Sapphire crystal glass on both watches but the quality is slightly different in terms of durability. All these itsy-bitsy upgrades to the Pro watch make it slightly more premium than this Watch 5 but unless we don’t tell you, it’s hard to tell the two watches apart. You do get MIL-STD-810H certification which means you can toss this thing around without nicking it but after two months of using the watch, the metal ring around the display is starting to show some scratches.
It’s comfortable to wear the whole day and there’s not much happening with the buckle and strap. It’s a standard affair from the previous generation. The display is bright and colourful, although the chunky bezels make it look dated compared to the Apple Watch.
Much like the Apple iPhone 14, Samsung is reusing its older processor in this new product. I guess it shows that even the juggernauts of tech felt the pinch of chip shortages. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 5 have the same processor — Exynos W920. It’s not as slick as the competition. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 takes a second or two to execute commands and even scrolling through the Watch UI is laggy. After two months of using it, the software updates have fixed the initial bite that made us delay this review.
I’ve been using an Apple Watch Series 4 and that thing doesn’t lag even now. Not in the slightest. So when it comes to UI performance, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 started off on the wrong foot (pun intended). It’s smooth now but we still wish it was a bit more responsive.
The software is pretty much fleshed out with Google’s WearOS bringing in more app support and functionality to the Samsung Watches. We really miss the rotating bezel from the previous Galaxy Watches.
Maybe touching the UI is a bit unsophisticated for the price you put down but Samsung has hit home with the tracking. Samsung says the sensor under the watch is better than last year and makes better contact with the skin. It can track anything under the sun. It can even track football activity but someone at the Samsung HQ thought of naming it soccer instead so we’ll remove one brownie point from Samsung’s basket. Jokes aside, the tracking is on par with the Apple Watch, and we mean the Apple Watch Series 8. This less expensive Samsung Watch is somehow a better value than the Pro version and the only thing you’ll be missing is GPX file support to import personal hiking trails and even a trackback feature to get you home safely. And of course the rugged build quality of the Pro. The Watch 5 is also lighter than the Pro model and also comes in two sizes.
Body Composition tells you how much fat you need to burn to fit in those old pairs of jeans. The reading was consistent every time we checked but don’t replace these readings with the ones from your medical equipment. Just like any heart rate monitor on any smartwatch (Apple or otherwise), this data is meant for knowing a rough estimation of your bodily functions.
That said, Sleep Tracking is also done quite well. It’s surprisingly informative and comprehensive at tracking your sleep. The Samsung Health app will give your sleep analysis and even break it down into Awake, REM, Light and Deep sleep.
It doesn’t have the three or four-day battery life of the Pro version. The Galaxy Watch 5 comes with a smaller battery capacity which means it’s smaller, lighter and needs to juice up every day. This is the only reason to grab the Pro version but if you’re short on cash, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 makes a compelling argument to be picked over any other Android smart wearable. It’s smarter than a 5th grader and can rub shoulders with an Apple Watch. It’s also one of the only Google WearOS smartwatches that are dominating the market, especially in India where the Pixel Watch was a no-show.
Little updates don’t offer much to existing users but it’s the one and only WearOS watch that does it all
|Exynos dual-core 1.18GHz
|33.5g for 44mm, 28.7g for 40mm