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Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro hands-on: Still a classic?

Rugged, refined, and ready for adventure.
By
August 10, 2022

Update: Read our full Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review!


Samsung’s game plan for the summer 2022 Unpacked event seems to be, “refine, don’t rebuild.” Instead of reimagining its smartwatches and foldables from the ground up, it’s improving on existing designs to add power and longevity where it’s needed most. The Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro are great examples, and we’ve had the chance to spend a little time with the new wearables. Here are just a few of our first impressions.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Up to 2 days battery life • Advanced sleep tracker • Fast Charging
See review
$449.99 at Samsung
See review

Familiar faces

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 models on a table in various colors
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

If you strap the Galaxy Watch 4 on one wrist and the Galaxy Watch 5 on the other – as we did – you might have a tough time telling them apart. One thing is for sure, the physical bezel is well and truly dead. Instead, both the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro sport a digital ring if you want to navigate up or down your menus quickly. This isn’t a new feature – having been around since the Galaxy Watch Active days – but it feels more refined with each new generation.

Besides the matching controls, the Galaxy Watch 5 series just feels familiar. The standard model comes in two sizes, 40mm and 44mm, which match the previous generation perfectly. If you go for the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, it’s slightly larger at 45mm, but we noticed the change in build materials more than the increased size during our short time with the watches. The premium smartwatch adopts a titanium build instead of the Armor Aluminum of the Galaxy Watch 5, but both are tough as nails.

The Galaxy Watch 5 series is ready for adventure, but no matter the conditions — nor the model — you'll need to use the digital ring for navigation.

We didn’t have much chance to test the durability, but Samsung has also moved from a Gorilla Glass DX display to a new sapphire crystal for both of its Galaxy Watch 5 models. You’ll get an IP68 rating and MIL-STD-810G durability rating across the board too, which should offer peace of mind for those off adventuring.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro in silver color with fluoroelastomer strap showing rear sensors and buttons
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

One of the few differences you might notice with the Galaxy Watch 5 series is the upgraded rear sensor. The new “BioActive Senor” is meant to provide better contact with the skin, allowing for more accurate body temperature and heart rate measurements. It looks slightly different in the hand, but you’re not likely to notice the difference once it’s strapped on – we certainly didn’t.

Also familiar are Samsung’s available watch faces. We got to cycle through a few brand-new options, but there are plenty of old favorites in case you have a go-to from a previous Galaxy Watch. Likewise, the processor beating at the heart of the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro is the same Exynos chip found in its predecessor.

Wear OS is growing up

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in silver color with metal bracelet in hand showing apps closeup
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The Samsung-Google Wear OS partnership is pretty solid at this point, with the Galaxy Watch 5 series building on the Galaxy Watch 4’s software. Samsung’s previous-generation smartwatches didn’t support Google Assistant right out of the box, but the new models do, so you can send Bixby out to pasture right away. Voice navigation via Google Maps is another great feature – not an entirely new one for Wear OS, but an upgrade over the vibration directions that were added to the Galaxy Watch 4 series earlier this year.

Some of the Galaxy Watch 5’s best updates come from Samsung’s updated sensors. The more accurate readings offer a better look at your sleep, including sleep stages, breathing rates, and blood oxygen levels, which Samsung can then use to build a personalized sleep coaching plan. We haven’t worn (or slept in) the watch long enough to know just how the sleep coaching works, but we’ll try it as soon as we have a chance.

There are also a few new features that seem to be exclusive to the Galaxy Watch 5 series. For example, you can add GPX files to your Galaxy Watch for the first time, which means you can record your hiking or running route to share with fellow fitness enthusiasts. You can also grab routes from friends in case you want to beat their time. We didn’t get to leave with the watch during our hands-on session, but we’ll be sure to see how it compares to competitors like Garmin.

If you finish your adventure anywhere other than your starting point, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro even has a trackback feature that can guide you back the way you came. It didn’t take us far during our controlled time with the watch, but we’ll put it through some trails and around some city blocks to test the accuracy when we have it in for review.

Battery boost

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 with black and white strap closeup
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

One of Samsung’s biggest pushes with the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro is improvements to the battery. Of course, we didn’t have enough time to put the larger cells through their paces, but we should have a better feel by the time our full review comes out.

Samsung was happy to talk about the capacities of both the 40mm and 44mm Galaxy Watch 5 growing by about 15%. It claims that the increase should lead to 10 extra hours of battery life, lifting the total to somewhere around 50 hours. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is even more impressive with a 590mAh cell, which should be good for around 80 hours or 20 hours of continuous GPS usage. Again, we couldn’t test those limits, but our wearables team is more than ready to get their hands on the watches.

Samsung has looked to solve some of the Galaxy Watch 4's battery concerns with the Watch 5 duo.

We were also reminded of that classic headache where your watch doesn’t have enough battery to track your sleep all night long. You can usually pop it on a charger and get enough juice to get by, but nobody likes to delay bedtime. Now, the Galaxy Watch 5 series supports fast enough charging that just eight minutes on the magnetic charger can give you eight hours of sleep tracking. If you’re just charging for an average day, you should get about 45% in half an hour.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series specs

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Display
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
44mm: 1.4-inch
Super AMOLED
450 x 450 resolution
Sapphire Crystal

40mm: 1.2-inch
Super AMOLED
396 x 396 resolution
Sapphire Crystal
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
45mm: 1.4-inch
Super AMOLED
450 x 450 resolution
Sapphire Crystal
Dimensions and weight
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
44mm: 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm
33.5g

40mm: 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm
28.7 g
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
45mm: 45.4 x 45.4 x 10.5mm
46.5g
Colors and materials
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Armor Aluminum case
Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold (40mm only), Sapphire (44mm only)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Titanium case
Black, Gray
Battery
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
44mm: 410mAh

40mm: 284mAh

WPC-based wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
45mm: 590mAh

WPC-based wireless charging
Processor
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
5nm Samsung Exynos W920
Dual-core 1.18GHz
RAM
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
1.5GB
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
1.5GB
Storage
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
16GB
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
16GB
Connectivity
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
LTE (available in select models)
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
LTE (available in select models)
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo
Sensors
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic sensor
Light sensor
Samsung BioActive sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic sensor
Light sensor
Samsung BioActive sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)
Durability
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810G
Software
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Wear OS
Samsung One UI Watch
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Wear OS
Samsung One UI Watch
Compatibility
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Android
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Android

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro hands-on: A refined experience

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs Watch 5 Pro
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro (L) and Galaxy Watch 5 (R)

Samsung’s smartwatches may have gone “Pro” but there’s clearly a whole lot of iteration over innovation with the Galaxy Watch 5 series. Nevertheless, the Galaxy Watch 5 duo make for an impressive pair, and we can’t wait to test them for a full review very soon.

But now, for the important bit: when can you actually get your hands on the Galaxy Watch 5 series? Both the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro are currently available for pre-order through Samsung until August 25. Wider availability opens on August 26, but you’ll miss out on a few of Samsung’s pre-order bonuses.

As for pricing, the Galaxy Watch 5 kicks off at $279 for the 40mm Bluetooth-only version and jumps to $329 for the LTE version of the same size. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 Pro starts at $449 for the Bluetooth edition or $499 for the LTE model. If you’re an avid golfer, you can also check out the special Galaxy Watch 5 or 5 Pro Golf Edition, which starts at $329. It has exclusive watch faces, a special two-toned band, and an unlimited Smart Caddie membership, but (understandably) Samsung wouldn’t let us swing golf clubs indoors.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Up to 2 days battery life • Advanced sleep tracker • Fast Charging
Samsung is building on the past, with small but significant steps in the right direction.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the best premium Wear OS to date, featuring multiple health and fitness tracking tools. Samsung upgraded its smartwatch with a bigger battery and a better navigation system.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Supports last Wear OS version to date • Improved battery life • Solid GPS accuracy
Rugged, refined, and ready for adventure.
The Galaxy Watch 5 smartwatch offers a bigger battery, and this increase, Samsung claims, leads to ten extra hours of battery life. It supports Google Assistance and Google Maps navigation, and the health-tracking updates are outstanding.

What do you think of the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro? Cast your vote in the poll below and let us know in the comments.

Is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 worth it?

326 votes