Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 may not be the most revolutionary wearable the company has put out but it is a solid evolution of the series. The new watch comes with Wear OS 3 and a few new features, including a skin temperature sensor.
The watch is more durable. Although there has been no change to water resistance — it has an IP68 rating and is water resistant up to 5m — the display has been swapped for sapphire crystal, which should make it more resistant to scratches.
It comes in two sizes: the 40mm version and the 45mm case, and the standard strap is a silicone sports band. There are plenty of third-party options if you want a more formal looking band, or if — like many of us — silicone does not agree with your skin.
The touch sensitive display is easy to interact with, as long as you aren’t planning on sending any in-depth messages from your wrist.
This watch is purely for Android users, though, it doesn’t support the iPhone. The best features are limited to Samsung Galaxy phones too, although Android users can still get a decent experience with the watch but won’t be able to access blood pressure monitoring, for example, unless they are on a Samsung handset.
The Watch 5 also includes its predecessor’s bioactive sensor that combines optical heart rate, electrical heart signal and bioelectrical impedance analysis into a single chip. That helps monitor everything from heart rate to stress levels. Add into that the ECG function and you have a fairly decent health and fitness monitor on your wrist.
Samsung has included some fairly robust sleep coaching, following the trends in wearables. You’ll need several days of data before it can start making recommendations though, so you will have to be patient with this feature.
One disappointment was the battery life. I expected it to last much longer, although I could have eked it out longer by turning off a few connectivity features. That defeats the purpose of the watch though; the battery should be robust enough to cope with the demands of the system and still meet the minimum battery life projections.
However, the watch includes fast charging, so you can rapidly power up and be ready to go. It’s a handy feature.
The new watch is more comfortable than previous versions, sitting closer to your skin and with a better fit. That’s primarily because of a slight design change on the back of the device.
It is a good move considering one of the new features, a temperature sensor, is designed to read your skin temperature and track trends over time. It is a small addition but opens up possibilities in terms of health tracking, though that wasn’t available at launch.
Fast charging is a welcome addition, putting the Galaxy Watch 5 on a par with the Apple Watch.
The not so good
Essentially it is more of the same, so if you have a Watch 4 there is not much point in upgrading. The temperature sensor — which wasn’t active at launch — and fast charging aside, the Galaxy Watch 4 is a decent alternative.
The battery life isn’t quite as good as I thought it would be, or as good as Samsung claims. But the fast charging helps mitigate some of the pain.
The watch is fairly durable, and while the sapphire glass isn’t indestructible it certainly held up well against daily wear and tear. The water resistance is standard, and although this isn’t a rugged watch, it won’t shy away from a bit of abuse, and it looks good.
An evolution rather than a revolution, but a solid win for Samsung — as long as you are on Android, and preferably with a Galaxy handset.