Galaxy Watch 5 hands-on review - PhoneArena

Galaxy Watch 5 hands-on review

Galaxy Watch 5 Intro

The Galaxy Watch 5, albeit not as head-turning as its “Pro” brother, is actually shaping up to be a great nifty smartwatch that could be a great pick for those unphased by the imposing footprint of Samsung's larger wearable.

Indeed, the Galaxy Watch 5 is a slight refresh of last year's Galaxy Watch 4 generation, which brought to us the reinvigorated Wear OS platform, co-developed by Samsung and Google.  

Well, the changes aren't many, but are important - the base Galaxy Watch 5 now comes with a sapphire crystal screen and a larger battery, as well as a bunch of new software features.

Overall, similarly to the Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4, the Watch 5 feels like a slight refresh of the wearable lineup, with Samsung evidently satisfied with the mix of hardware and software features. 

Pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Galaxy Z Fold 4, and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro!

It's so easy to reserve your Galaxy Z Fold 4 or Z Flip 4 right now, as Samsung has made the process truly effortless. If you're interested in the company's upcoming foldables in any way, there's no better time to reserve your Galaxy Z Flip 4 or Z Fold 4 other than right now!

Table of Contents:

Galaxy Watch 5 Specs

Galaxy Watch 5 Design, Models & Sizes

No beating around the bush - you will be hard-pressed to find any major visual differences between the old Galaxy Watch 4 and this new here Galaxy Watch 5. Both were available in 44mm and 40mm versions. We get a slim and lightweight wearable that sits great on the wrist and is extremely comfortable to wear, and alongside its thin profile, this one could be worn in just about any occasion, without introducing any major issues for the user. 

The digital bezel that allows for some useful interface interactions is retained on the Galaxy Watch 5, and that's good news for fans of Samsung's wearables: while it's no rotating physical bezel, this one still allows for some extra interactivity. The side buttons are unchanged. 

Unlike the Watch 5 Pro, the Watch 5 has a completely flat top case, with no raised bezel for extra protection, but at least it comes with sapphire crystal as well. In with the new, out with the Gorilla Glass of old!

Sadly, there's no titanium case here, as Samsung has opted for Armor Aluminum instead. In case that one doesn't ring a bell, here's a refresher: it's the same material that makes up the frame of the Galaxy S22-series. It's a lightweight metal that's pleasant to the touch, so all is good in the world. 

There’s no moving parts on this watch, but it still retains the capacitive bezel around the display for some added interface interaction. It still doesn't feel too great to use this one, as it feels like it takes away from the ease of use and creates more problems than it solves. Surely, if we had a hardware rotating bezel, things would have been completely different, but that one wouldn't fit with the lightweight sport nature of this wearable.  

Speaking of the display, it’s the same 1.4" Super AMOLED panel as the one you'd find on the Galaxy Watch 5, as well as on the 44mm Galaxy Watch 4. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it's just as bright and vivid as you would expect from a Samsung device with an AMOLED screen. It's bright, vivid, and perfectly legible under any lighting conditions, making on-screen content simply pop!

The 44mm version of the Galaxy Watch 5 will be available in Graphite, Sapphire, and Silver colors, while the 40mm one can be had in Graphite, Pink Gold, and Silver. All of those look quite snazzy in person, and all of the wearables will arrive with a regular sport band in tow.

Galaxy Watch 5 Software & Features

The Galaxy Watch 5 is running Wear OS 3.5 with Samsung's One UI Watch 4.5 on board. The wearable comes with some new watch faces, eight in fact, as well as 88 new watchface complications. The watch faces range from quirky and expressive, to super-informative and detailed. Using the smartwatch is intuitive and logical, with not much interactions required to get to the desired feature or menu.

The Galaxy Watch 5, like its predecessor, features an innovative Bioactive sensor that combines a host of specialized health sensors to provide users with the most accurate health data and wellness insights. Biometric analysis has been upgraded - in addition to performing a comprehensive body composition analysis, the watch will now provide you useful advise on how to attain your objectives, remind you to rehydrate after an intense cardio session, and much more...

Samsung has also significantly improved sleep tracking. Aside from redesigning the UI to make it more user-friendly, it's also collecting more detailed sleep data, and to top it all off, users are paired with a sleep spirit animal of sorts. If the Galaxy Watch 5 detects that you have reoccurring sleep disorders, like as sleep apnea, it will notify you so that you may take the required action. The updated sleep monitoring feature will also provide a sleep coaching plan with individualized checkpoints, targets, and milestones.

Have in mind that some exclusive Galaxy Watch 5 Pro features, like the nifty Trackback feature are not available on the Watch 5, which is only natural.

And just like the Galaxy Watch 4 family, the Galaxy Watch 5 is only compatible with Android devices, and its best features like ECG, are exclusive for Galaxy smartphones.

Galaxy Watch 5 Battery and Charging

Due to its slimmer profile, neither version of the Watch 5 can boast a battery as large as the one on the Watch 5 Pro, which clocks in at the impressive 590mAh. On the other hand, the smaller wearables feature 284 and 410mAh batteries instead, which are still larger than their immediate predecessors. Naturally, this hints at better battery life on the Galaxy Watch 5 in comparison with the Galaxy Watch 4, given that the rest of the internals are the same. 

We expect the larger Watch 5 to last a day, a day and some change on a full charge, while the 40mm version of the Galaxy Watch 5 would probably endure up to a full day of usage. If you need more, you would probably want to go for the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. 

Charging is improved, with the watch supporting 10W wireless WPC-based charging. Samsung says you should expect around eight hours of battery life after eight minutes on the charger, or 30% faster than the Galaxy Watch 4, which is a big improvement!

Galaxy Watch 5 Summary and competitors

Overall, the Galaxy Watch 5 feels like an iterative and not-so-major refresh of Samsung's wearable selection. With improved screen durability and larger batteries, as well as faster charging, the Galaxy Watch 5 could be the perfect lightweight wearable for someone who's about to join Samsung's wearable ecosystem. However, if you're using the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, there's a very hard case for upgrading: you probably won't get that much extra value.

We can see this one match up quite well against the Apple Watch 7 and the upcoming Apple Watch 8, though it's not a rather fair comparison as you can't use a Galaxy Watch with an iPhone, and vice versa. Still, someone who's in-between ecosystems could definitely see the utility of the Galaxy Watch 5 in comparison with the current Apple Watch offering.
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