Samsung’s ability to make an attractive smartwatch has never been in doubt, and it’s always matched up well with the Apple Watch and Google’s Wear OS army. So when Samsung switched to Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 4 last year, it felt like a seismic move.
So the launch of the Galaxy Watch 5 is particularly interesting, to see how Samsung could push the platform forward once again. We got hands-on time with the new Galaxy Watch 5 – here are our points of view.
Samsung has opted for the same design with the Galaxy Watch 5 as it did with Galaxy Watch 4. In fact, they are so similar that if you put them side by side, you won’t be able to figure out which one is Watch 5 and which one is Watch 4. There are 40mm and 44mm, which are the same size options we got with the 4.
The only real physical difference with the Watch 5 is the 3-in-1 BioActive Sensor on the bottom, which is larger than before to get you more accurate health data. The Watch 5 is also slightly heavier, with the 40mm model weighing 28.7 grams compared to the 25.9 grams of heft for the 40mm Watch 4.
The Galaxy Watch 5’s 40mm model gives you a 1.2-inch 396 x 396 screen, while the 44mm ramps things up to a 1.4-inch panel with a 450 x 450 resolution. Regardless of which size you choose, both versions feature a Super AMOLED display with “full color, always on” functionality.
Samsung is using Sapphire Crystal Glass, the second hardest mineral after diamond, on all the models of the Watch 5 series for better protection of the display. Looking at the Galaxy Watch 5 and its predecessor side by side, it’s difficult to tell what’s different. Both smartwatches have the same chipset, nearly identical designs, similar health features, etc.
But look a little closer, and you start to see what makes the Galaxy Watch 5 tick. It boasts a larger battery, faster charging, a more durable design, and improved accuracy for health tracking.
The screen is very good with superb brightness to quickly glance at the time with its always-on setting. During workouts, a flick of the wrist shows your current metrics, and I found it easy to read in direct sunlight.
The WearOS. The Galaxy Watch 5 runs on Google’s WearOS-based OneUI 4.5 software. It was also packed with the same chip as last generation Watch 4 models, and that’s the Exynos W920 chip with 1.5Gb ram and 16GB of ROM. While this chip has been smooth on the Galaxy Watch 4 series, we will have to test it on the Watch 5 series before claiming the same for it.
Fitness & Tracking. The Watch 5 excels at basic fitness tracking with its built-in GPS allowing for tracked runs, walks, and cycles, and other modes such as swimming, treadmill running, and a running coach-mode.
Tapping go on a run initiates a clear screen with duration, distance, and pace, with pause and end options to the left and an audio control screen to the right. Its GPS locks onto a signal impressively fast and the best thing about the Watch 5 is it keeps out of your way (once you’ve turned off the in-run audio updates). Viewing workout data in Samsung Health is clear and interesting.
This is a simpler data collection deal, though wear it to be for a week and you get simple sleep coaching tips. If you can bear to wear the watch at night, Samsung’s sleep tracking is decent, accurately recording sleep patterns and wake-ups. You can even have it tap into your phone’s microphone to record your snoring, which you can pinpoint to the minute and even listen back to. The watch can measure your body composition and you can also indulge in breathing exercises and log your stress on the watch. The weather, calendar, and notification functions all work very well, and the fitness tracking is on call when you need it. I really like the auto-workout detection, which works flawlessly.
Samsung claimed that its latest smartwatch can get 40 to 50 hours of battery life per charge. Combined with a battery increase from 361 mAh in the Watch 4 to a 410 mAh cell in the Watch 5, all the makings are there for legendary endurance.
What’s In The Box
Just like the last year’s Galaxy Watch 4, the Galaxy Watch 5 comes in a tall, narrow plastic box. Once you remove the seal and lift the top lid, you’ll find the Galaxy Watch 5 laying flat inside the box. There’s another narrow box inside, in which you’ll find the wireless charging puck with a USB Type-A connector. The charging puck can output up to 10W power, a step up from the Galaxy Watch 4’s 5W charging pad.
Samsung doesn’t include a USB adapter inside the box, neither with the Galaxy Watch 5 nor with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. However, any of your existing wall adapters should work just fine.
Overall. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has a new skin-temperature reader, a more scratch-resistant display, and a longer-lasting battery life. It’s the best version of Samsung’s smartwatch we have seen so far.
For those with Samsung phones looking for the best wearable accessory, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is a no-brainer. It looks great and is a capable fitness tracker, priced at RM 1099 (for 40mm), which is a fair value. As for the 44mm, it was not available in Malaysia yet. Hopefully it will be soon.
The new Galaxy Watch 5 series comes in several exciting colors, including the brand new Bora Purple, Sapphire, Pink Gold, and a new Gold Edition version. If you would like to know more, check out Samsung’s official website at https://www.samsung.com/my/watches/galaxy-watch/galaxy-watch5-40mm-silver-bluetooth-sm-r900nzsaxme/