The Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro is the culmination of seven years worth of ironing the wrinkles out of the Galaxy Watch line since the series launched in 2015.
This year, Samsung opted for two watches, and we’re looking at the upgraded Galaxy Watch5 Pro, which boasts a few extra features, including a slightly larger screen, a much larger battery, a tough-as-nails sapphire glass display, and a titanium watch case. That all adds up to a smart watch that’s a solid Android-friendly alternative to Apple’s new Ultra watch, and best of all, it comes in at a fraction of the cost – it’s currently for sale for $399 for the Wi-Fi version or $429 for the 4G LTE version.
Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro – Photos
Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro – Design and Features
While the Samsung Watch5 Pro seems built for outdoorsy types, you’d never know by looking at it. The design is unassuming, with a large circular face and two hardware buttons along the chassis. The build quality is exceptionally sturdy, and the watch’s titanium body feels luxurious. These buttons are large but nowhere near as prominent as pictures make them out to be.
That’s not to say the watch looks particularly slick. It’s one of the bulkier watches I’ve ever tested – and far more chunky than an Apple Watch or Pixel Watch. This thing is thick, with a bulging sensor array and a protruding bezel around the always-on 1.4” AMOLED display. It’s one-size-fits-all, and that size is a bit too chunky for me – and it’ll likely be way too large for anyone with small wrists.
While I found the watch’s design to be a bit masculine (it looks a bit like a Tag Hauer to my eye), it can be adorned with various band styles and colors, from pink sporty options to faux leather. The model I reviewed came with a simple black D-buckle rubberized band, which was easy to put on and take off after a single adjustment.
Under the hood, you’ll find an enormous 590mAh battery (more on that later) and the aforementioned health-sensor array, complete with a heart rate monitor, ECG for measuring the rhythm of your heartbeat, a bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor for measuring body composition, and continuous Sp02 for measuring oxygen saturation. It’s impressive stuff, but none of it is new – it was all here in last year’s version. Fortunately, this year it steps it up through software, adding more advanced sleep-tracking features, heart recovery, stress monitoring, and the ability to import GPX files for navigating the great outdoors.
A skin temperature sensor also lets you know if you’re warmer or colder than usual. But unfortunately, this feature hadn’t been released at the time of testing, so I’m not sure how helpful it is.
The Watch5 Pro comes with various Google and Samsung apps – like Google Maps, Google Pay, and Google Assistant – and their Samsung counterparts (Samsung Pay, Samsung Messages, Bixby, etc.). Fortunately, the Watch5 Pro doesn’t require a Samsung phone, and you can turn off Bixby.
There’s a lot to love, but this year it also loses one of its trademark features: a rotating, analog bezel that was unique among all other wearables on the market. Instead, Samsung has opted for a concave touch bezel that should, in theory, let you swipe and scroll simply by touching the bezel, but it wasn’t as accurate as I hoped.
Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro – Performance
One of the Galaxy Watch5 Pro’s hallmark features is its 590mAh battery. It can easily last two full days of moderate usage – more than double what the Pixel Watch can achieve. Still, that comes at a price, and I found myself occasionally annoyed at the watch’s size – especially when attempting to test sleep-tracking features.
Fortunately, the watch’s bulkiness rarely bothered me during workouts. I lifted weights, ran, walked, rode bikes, and more. And while its provided exercise activities are more limited than the Apple Watch’s, it returned nearly identical metrics for the available exercises. For example, I went on an hour-long walk with both watches. I received almost identical results, with my average heart rate registering the same, my calories burned very similar, and my overall distance just a measly .06 miles different. Like the Apple Watch, you can earn achievements or compete with your friends in fitness challenges.
The Touch bezel, however, really rubbed me the wrong way. The turning bezel (still available in the non-Pro model) is a unique highlight of the device, whereas I found the touch bezel too often unresponsive to my swipes. Plus, because the screen sits in its recess, I felt my finger was constantly covering the screen while I used it – it seemed much more noticeable than on my Apple Watch.
Fortunately, the Watch5 Pro doesn’t rid itself of all physical buttons. There’s still a Home and Back button. You can customize what the Home button does with a double press, which is extremely helpful for quick checkouts at the grocery store or calling up Google Assistant for a quick question.