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Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Two minute review
If you have used a Galaxy Watch 4 before, the operations on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 will be very familiar to you. Because of the similarities between the 4 and 5, those upgrading from the Galaxy Watch 3 or higher will appreciate the differences, and the 5 will truly feel like a shiny new toy. The jump won't be that big for Watch 4 users.
Launched alongside the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Z Fold 4 and the new Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the Galaxy Watch 5 is a powerful smartwatch running Google's Wear OS. That means plenty of apps out of the box and good smartphone integration, though it doesn't beat the Apple Watch.
Like the Watch 4, the Watch 5 is available in two sizes and a multitude of colors. We tried the smaller 40mm option. You can also get the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, which promises better battery life and a more durable build.
When you unbox the Watch 5, you'll notice its subtle, neutral styling. The sturdy metal frame is paired with a sapphire crystal front that's tougher than ever, certainly tough enough for everyday life these days.
Interacting with the watch, and with Wear OS in general, was fairly intuitive. The 40mm option might be too small for clumsy fingers, but we had no problems with it, especially once we got used to the buttons and touch controls.
One gripe we have with the Watch 5 is a lack of data sync between Samsung's fitness features and Google Fit, despite a lot of overlap between the two services. It would have been nice if exercise logs including step count could be easily shared between the two. That said, once you've decided which tracking service you want to use, the options are plentiful, with the MapMyRun and Strava apps downloadable via the Google Play Store, plus other tools like MyFitnessPal and Lifesum.
Still, the Watch 5 has a lot going for it, including the most accurate sleep tracking we've ever used in a smartwatch, beating the Withings ScanWatch Horizon. The Galaxy Watch 5 also offers accurate heart rate monitoring, compared to data acquired via a chest strap, and generally impressive GPS on runs. So it's definitely a powerful laptop, despite its compact size.
What keeps Samsung's latest wearable perfectly, at least in its 40mm version, is subpar battery life. If you can handle a daily load and want a small, subtle digital watch with support for smart apps, the Galaxy Watch 5 might be for you. For anyone who wants all the features of the Watch 5 and superior battery life, the new Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the way to go.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 on Amazon for €229.99 (opens in a new tab)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: price and availability
- Available in two sizes: 40mm and 44mm
- From € 269 / € 279.99 / AU € 499
- Also available with LTE (via eSIM)
(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / TechRadar)
The Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro are available to buy now, with retailers including most of your usual suspects and Samsung's online store.
Prices have risen across the board for Samsung's Watch range since last year's Watch 4 and, as with last year's launch, the Galaxy Watch 5 comes in two sizes, each available in cellular-only Bluetooth configurations. and Bluetooth plus LTE.
The smaller 5mm Watch 40 starts at $269 / £279.99 / AU$499, and if you want to buy the LTE version, the price will jump to $319 / £329.99 / AU$599. For anyone who likes the Watch 5 larger at 44mm, it costs €289 / £299 / AU$549 in its base configuration and €339 / £349 / AU$649 with LTE.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: design
- Light weight 28,7g (40mm) / 33,5g (44mm)
- The watch body of each size is available in three colors.
- A range of strap options available
The Galaxy Watch 5 brings back the distinctive, contemporary styles that we were introduced to with last year's Watch 4. However, if you are coming from a Galaxy Watch 3 or Watch 4 Classic, everything is very different. There is no rotating bezel in sight; instead, it interfaces with an invisible digital bezel around the screen.
If you're new to the Galaxy Watch range, the watch's main screen is one side of a polished metal disc, while on the back is the heart rate monitor and other health sensors. A brushed aluminum frame contrasts nicely with the polished dial, holding it in place, while housing the two buttons on the right side and the arms that connect the watch body to its straps.
(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / TechRadar)
The smaller 40mm model comes in graphite (black), rose gold or silver, while the larger 44mm version swaps the rose gold for sapphire (a muted medium blue). With Samsung's personalized service, available at samsung.com, the range of color options goes far beyond these four options.
Bespoke is a service that lets you mix and match straps with watch bodies, and it extends beyond wearables, with the Galaxy Z Flip 4 allowing buyers to customize their flip watch. On the Watch 5, once you've chosen your case color, you can choose from a range of straps: there are 11 sport strap colors (sport is the default strap that comes with the Watch 5), two sport buckle straps D (the default strap type that comes with the 5 Pro), a Global Goals strap, a hybrid leather strap, ribbed and extreme sports straps, and finally a Milanese strap.
The Watch 5's silicone strap material is also suitable for hairy wrists and has a perpetual matte texture that also prevents pulling on the skin. For someone who isn't used to wearing a smartwatch, the Watch 5 is a soft landing when it comes to comfort. It's not too big, and the default sport band keeps it in place.
Despite offering larger batteries in this year's lineup (making both sizes about 3 grams heavier), the Watch 5's footprint hasn't increased at all compared to the Watch 4 Side-by-side, however, the Watch's undercarriage sensors push slightly more than last year's model. It's not just about accommodating the larger batteries - Samsung says it results in more accurate tracking.
Interacting with the watch is fairly intuitive: it's a tale of swipes, taps, and button presses. The buttons on the right have a reassuring click response and the screen is responsive to touch, as is the digital bezel.
(Image credit: Future/Basil Kronfli)
The Samsung Watch 5 also features IP68-certified dust and water protection, 5 ATM swim resistance, and MIL-STD-810H approval, meaning it's tested to withstand harsh conditions, including bumps and drops. strong, extreme temperatures and more.
In our time with the Watch, we hit the screen against a metal table frame, and while we're sure it was crazy when we felt it, the Watch 5 came out completely unscathed. .
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Display
- The 5mm Watch 40 has a 1,19-inch display
- The 5mm Watch 44 has a 1,39-inch display
- High quality, bright, sharp and responsive
Both sizes of the Watch 5 have circular Super AMOLED screens, with the 40mm model's screen measuring 1,19 inches and the 44mm model's screen a larger 1,39-inch screen.
Slightly sharper than the Apple Watch 7 at 330ppi, it's interesting to see that Samsung eschews alternative square and rectangular designs, even though most of its competition - Amazfit with the GTS series, Huawei with its Watch Fit, and Fitbit - go for it. road.
The display quality of the Watch 5 is very good. It gets bright, up to 1,000 nits, so it's easy to see outdoors, and Samsung's fun watch faces look sharp and punchy. In fact, the entire interface constantly overlays rich, brightly colored elements over deep, inky blacks that disappear into the bezel, creating an attractive UI.
The improvement of the Watch 5's large screen is not in its technology, but in its materials. It uses a much tougher sapphire crystal that's 60% tougher than the cover glass found on the Watch 4, according to Samsung, and as we mentioned, after a few knocks it proved tough enough for us.
(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/The Comparison)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: software and performance
- Run Wear OS 3 with Samsung One UI Watch
- Powerful features and strong app support
- Optimized for Samsung but works with most Android smartphones
Running Wear OS 3, Google and Samsung are still finding their feet in the broader smartwatch space. The OS is richer in terms of apps and features than semi-smartwatch competition like the Huawei GT 3, but you don't get the watch polish that Apple brings to the table.
Samsung's interface is called One UI Watch, and interacting with it is very familiar if you're coming from another smartwatch. Swipe to the left screen to see your notifications, and keep swiping the screens to the right of the watch face to explore your tiles. They're kind of rich widgets, each of which gives you a preview of an app or feature, or a shortcut to the full experience.
You can quickly switch between items by swiping down from the top of the watch, and an upward swipe opens the app tray, just like on an Android smartphone. If you want to change the face of your watch, you can do so by pressing and holding or through the smartphone app.
(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/The Comparison)
As for smartphone apps, to sync the Watch 5 with your phone, you'll need to download the Galaxy Wearable app. Yes, while running Google's Wear OS, the Watch 5 won't work with the Wear OS app.
Once you've installed Galaxy Wearable from the Play Store (if you're using a non-Samsung smartphone), you can pair and customize the smart features of your Watch 5. You're not done yet, though. First, you need to download an entirely different app, Samsung Health, to take advantage of any of its health tools, and then you'll need the Watch 5 add-on before you can really start using your wearable.
If you don't have the watch paired with a Samsung phone, there are some trade-offs. The camera app is missing from the Watch 5, so you can't use your watch as a remote viewfinder and shutter for your smartphone. You too…