Samsung is far from new to the smart/sports watch market, so it’s not surprising that to expand its lineup, it decided to release a more expensive model – the Galaxy Watch5 Pro. The watch received a titanium case and sapphire glass, but whether this is enough to meet the needs of users, we will find out in the review.
Galaxy Watch5 Pro specifications
|Materials and color||
Titanium case, sapphire glass, D-Buckle sports strap
Black titanium, gray titanium
|Dimensions and weigh||45.4 x 45.4 x 10.5 mm, 46.5 g|
|Display||1.4-inch (34.6 mm) with a resolution of 450×450 pixels, touch screen Super AMOLED, Always On Display|
|CPU||2-core Exynos W920 with a frequency of 1.18 GHz|
|Memory||1,5 GB RAM and 16 GB built-in memory|
|Charger||Wireless 10 W|
|OS||Wear OS 3.5 with One UI Watch4.5 interface|
|Sensors||Samsung BioActive Sensor (optical pulse + heart electrical signal + bioelectrical impedance analysis), temperature sensor, accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor, light sensor|
|Comms||Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Beidou/Galileo, LTE (for eSIM version)|
|Protection||5ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810H|
|Compatibility||Android 8.0 or higher, and more than 1.5 GB of RAM|
15 499 UAH for Wi-Fi version
16 999 UAH for LTE
The watch is sold in a small box, in which you can find the device itself with a strap, a USB Type-C cable with magnetic charging and documentation.
Design and strap
In the Galaxy Watch5 Pro, Samsung used the traditional round shape of the dial for its watches, but the design of the model’s case is still noticeably different from its predecessors. In the past, the company had two versions of the watch in different sizes – Classic and regular. In this generation, Samsung abandoned the classic design with a mechanical bezel, so the Pro version received a more sporty design.
Another big innovation in the Galaxy Watch5 Pro was the use of stronger materials, such as titanium alloy and sapphire glass. The latter is slightly recessed into the case to provide additional protection against shocks.
The case of the watch in general has several certifications at once, including IP68 water and dust protection, separately 5ATM water protection, which provides for the possibility of swimming while wearing the watch (theoretically, it can be submerged to a depth of 50 meters for up to 10 minutes), as well as MIL-STD-810H. The latter means that the watch has passed some military endurance tests, but is not intended for extreme conditions of use.
Overall, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro has a nice minimalist design, with the main focus being on the dial and of course the strap. Together, they allow you to significantly change the appearance of the model. As before, the watch uses standard 20 mm straps, you can install a sports silicone one, or take a classic leather one.
I’ll dwell a little on the supplied silicone strap, which is generally well made, but its fastening mechanism with a magnetic lock is quite large and it is easy to catch on something. In my case, that “something” was usually the case of the laptop while typing, so I even decided to change the strap for the testing period. However, if you are a more careful user, then perhaps such a feature of fastening the strap will not be a problem for you.
I also note that the strap itself holds the watch very well on the wrist. I’ve played football and basketball wearing the Galaxy Watch5 Pro out of ten times, and despite all the intensity of the game, the watch never fell off my hand. Ordinary jogging or yoga will not be a problem for it.
Despite the fact that the Galaxy Watch5 Pro goes a little into Garmin’s territory, it is a fairly compact model with dimensions of 45.4×45.4 mm. The thickness is a little more complicated because according to the official specifications from Samsung, it is 10.5 mm, but here the company used a trick, it indicated the thickness not of the unit with sensors and heart rate monitor, but simply the height of the side face. In fact, the thickness of the Galaxy Watch5 Pro is 14.39 mm. The weight of the watch without a strap is 46.5 grams.
Galaxy Watch5 Pro display and platform
The watch received a Super AMOLED touch screen with a resolution of 450×450 dots (321 ppi), which shows a high-quality picture and has a high level of brightness. In the sun it is additionally increased by the activation of the light sensor. In general, the screen is of very high quality and can be read from any angle without any problems.
By default, the watch display automatically turns off to save battery, but there is an Always-on Display option that will only slightly dim the brightness. This of course affects battery life, but this way you can always see the watch face.
Like the previous generation of Samsung smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro uses a platform with a 5nm 2-core Exynos W920 chip that runs at a frequency of 1.18GHz. It is complemented by 1.5 GB of RAM and 16 GB of built-in memory.
Despite the fact that the chip is not new, I can’t say anything bad about its speed, the WearOS 3.5 operating system with the Samsung OneUI 4.5 proprietary interface works quickly, the same can be said about the built-in (e.g. Google Maps) and third-party applications (Spotify, Outlook). The system interface works smoothly, and the only thing I don’t really like about it is Samsung’s inherent duality of applications, such as two programs for reading SMS messages and two voice assistants – Bixby and Google Assistant. While the latter can be uninstalled, Bixby and another messaging app cannot be uninstalled.
In general, the merger of the operating system Tizen and Wear OS benefited the company, it greatly expanded the capabilities of Samsung smartwatches. Google Maps is an indispensable application that allows you to lay out walking routes around the city and navigate without taking your smartphone out of your pocket. And Google Pay support is important.
You can find many different watch apps in the Google Play Store, both useful and not-so-useful, but most of what you need is already out of the box. These are Samsung Health for counting steps and tracking other physical activity, weather, calendar, alarm clock, stopwatch, compass, reminders, Spotify, and YouTubeMusic for listening to music, podcasts, and the aforementioned Google Maps. In addition, you can install the popular application Strava for tracking runs, cycling, and other active sports, Google Keep for notes and Google Home for controlling smart home devices. There are other interesting applications, but in general, this set is more than enough to start with.
Another important function of the watch is the display of notifications from the smartphone. It can be anything that comes to his mind, but in order to save his nerves, I would advise him to limit it to a few of the most necessary. Also, Galaxy Watch5 Pro allows you to receive calls and speak via handsfree directly from your hand. This is sometimes convenient when the smartphone is not at hand, but you need to answer quickly. There is one external speaker in the watch and it is located on the left side, it is not very loud, but it is usually enough for phone calls.
Other capabilities of the Galaxy Watch5 Pro platform include sensors – firstly, Samsung’s BioActive Sensor, which includes an optical heart rate monitor, an electrocardiogram, and bioelectrical impedance analysis (an assessment of body composition, in particular fat and muscle tissue). Secondly, it is traditional for watches accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, geomagnetic and light sensor, as well as GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, and BDS for location determination. There is another sensor that is not yet used in the Galaxy Watch5 Pro – it is a thermometer. Samsung plans to activate it for the Natural Cycles fertility tracking app, which it recently invested in.
Bluetooth 5.2 is used to connect the watch to a smartphone, and there is Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n for direct connection of the Watch5 Pro to the Internet. This is sometimes required, for example, to download songs to Spotify and YouTube Music for offline listening. Ukraine also sells a version of the watch with eSIM support, which is already supported by lifecell and Kyivstar.
Bluetooth 5.2 support also allows you to directly connect headphones to the watch and listen to music or podcasts. This is convenient if you go for a run or to the gym and don’t want to take your smartphone with you.
Galaxy Watch5 Pro also uses Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone and requires an Android smartphone running the Galaxy Wearable app to set it up. In the past, Samsung also supported iOS with varying success, but it seems that the closedness of the system finally pushed the company to cancel this project, because its Gear application for iPhone has not been updated for more than a year.
Anyway, Galaxy Wearable on Android allows you to set up the watch for the first time and later change its various options and update the firmware. The program is quite convenient and intuitive, so there are unlikely to be any problems with it.
In general, the platform on which the Galaxy Watch5 Pro is built provides all the basic features that you would expect to see in a smartwatch, providing a fast interface, useful built-in applications, and the ability to install applications from third-party developers.
Tracking physical activity and health
Galaxy Watch5 Pro’s built-in accelerometer and gyroscope allow the watch to count the number of steps you take and generally monitor physical activity, which can help you discipline yourself better and move more. The basic capability of the model is the counting of steps, minutes of activity and burnt active calories. These three indicators are represented in the interface by pleasant graphics in the form of a heart, which is filled as they are completed.
Another important function for modern sports watches is heart rate measurement, which continuously records the user’s heart rate and can warn of its sudden increase or decrease. In addition to the heart rate, the BioActive Sensor set can measure the amount of oxygen in the blood and the electrical activity of the heart, which is a non-medical version of the EKG. The last indicator allows the watch to determine one of the types of disorders – atrial fibrillation.
Of course, these are only advisory data, on the basis of which you should not draw any conclusions, and in case of deviations, consult a doctor.
The accuracy of measuring pulse and blood oxygen saturation in Galaxy Watch5 Pro is on par with other smartwatches that use new optical sensors. You shouldn’t expect ultra-high-quality measurements, but it’s quite realistic to be guided by these indicators. Of course, the accuracy will also depend on whether something prevents the optical sensor from reading the information. If there is a tattoo on the hand or water drops, the results may be distorted.
Along with ECG, the standalone app for Galaxy Watch5 Pro can also measure blood pressure, but this will require you to calibrate the watch with a medical device that measures blood pressure.
If you do not take off the Galaxy Watch5 Pro at night, it will automatically measure the user’s sleep, determining the phases of sleep and its quality. It is interesting that the watch can detect snoring and even record the sound on a smartphone if you put it next to the bed. If you argue with your partner about whether you snore or not, you can finally prove it in a practical way.
During walks, the watch can automatically record activity, for this you don’t even need to do anything, except walk somewhere longer than 10 minutes. And if you sit in one place for too long, it will vibrate and show on the screen that it’s time to stretch a little.
All the data about physical activity and sleep is synchronized with the Samsung Health app on the smartphone, and in my opinion, it remains one of the most underrated advantages of Samsung smartwatches. The fact is that the program not only collects and presents data to the user, which its competitors do with the same success but also provides free training. At Apple, for example, this is a separate paid service.
Separately, Samsung Health has a Mindfulness section, which integrates meditation programs of the popular service Calm. Many of them are only available with a premium subscription, but there are also free ones for beginners. This is quite convenient because you do not need to install a separate application.
One of the main functions of the Galaxy Watch5 Pro is the tracking of sports activities, the watch can do this automatically, as with a walk, or you can choose from a huge list of different exercises, from aerobics to grass hockey. Of course, most indicators are tracked for the most popular exercise such as running.
During a run, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro records standard indicators: distance, pace, maximum and minimum elevation, heart rate, heart rate zones, and how quickly it recovers to a normal rate. However, there are also additional metrics that allow you to work on not just running, but doing it right. The watch determines running asymmetry, foot contact time, time in the air, regularity, verticality, and stiffness.
Like previous models, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro is also able to predict how much fluid you lose through sweat and recommend the amount of water you should drink after exercise.
For most other sports, the metrics the watch tracks will be more general. For example, for basketball, it is only heart rate, duration and the number of calories consumed.
One of the innovations in Watch5 Pro related to sports is support for downloading GPX files with information about hiking and cycling routes. This allows you to find interesting routes in specialized services (for example, in Komoot) or simply on forums, transfer them to your watch, and receive step-by-step navigation, with the possibility of returning to the point where the route started.
The only problem is that it’s implemented in a bit confusing way. You need to download the GPX file to your smartphone, open it in the “My Files” file manager, and choose the type of route (cycling or hiking) and where to display it (on your watch or smartphone). Next, the route will appear on the Galaxy Watch5 Pro, not in applications, but in the form of a widget. It would be easier if Samsung made a separate application for GPX files with the possibility of synchronization via Samsung Cloud.
Galaxy Watch5 Pro battery life
The prefix Pro in the name of the watch indicates not only more durable materials but also a larger capacity of the built-in battery, which is 590 mAh. This made it possible to achieve the multi-day battery life of the Galaxy Watch5 Pro. And by “multi-day” I don’t mean 1.5 days, as is often the case with smartwatches. Depending on the mode of use, the watch can work from 2 to more than 30 days. At the same time, 2 days is the use of the Watch5 Pro with the screen always on and maximum brightness. On average, in this mode, you can count on 50 hours of work with one sport that involves GPS operation.
If you turn off the always-on screen and reduce the brightness, you can count on 3.5 days of work, which generally coincides with the 80 hours of battery life promised by Samsung. Enabling power saving mode, which limits performance, background processes, and connections can extend performance by an extra day.
And, finally, the most extreme option is to use the Galaxy Watch5 Pro as a clock, in this mode, when you press the side key, the time is simply displayed on the screen, and all other functions are disabled. This allows you to increase the battery life to more than 30 days, but it makes sense only if the charge is very low and there is no possibility to recharge the watch in the near future.
One can charge Galaxy Watch5 Pro from a compact magnetic docking station that connects to the power supply via the USB Type–C. The unit itself is not included, but for owners of Samsung flagship smartphones this will not become news. At the same time, the charging speed has increased to 10 W, now the watch is charged up to 45% in 30 minutes, and up to 100% in 90 minutes.