Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Review31.08.2022
The $450 Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has a lot of great features. It has all the bells and whistles of a smartwatch but also adds sports functions that athletes might need — for nearly half the price of other outdoor watches like the Garmin Epix 2 (which costs $900).
The Galaxy Watch 5 has a more rugged design and a larger battery. It is not as waterproof as other watches, so don’t expect to use it for long-term outdoor adventures.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, both Samsung’s second-generation Galaxy watches run Wear OS 3. They’re the best Android watches available, and we will not see the new Pixel Watch or a long-promised range of watches on the new platform until then.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is only available in a 45-millimeter size case, which may be too large for those with smaller wrists. You should note that this watch is Android, but some of Samsung’s most important health features require you to have a Samsung phone.
The tough design is combined with a snug fit at the wrist
The Watch 5 Pro is stronger than the Galaxy Watch 5. The Watch 5 Pro has a raised screen, titanium construction, and stronger sapphire glass. It has an IP68 rating which makes it dust- and water-resistant. Although I haven’t dropped it or scratched it, I have taken it on a bike ride, scuffed in sand at beach, and lifted weights that impacted the watch. Although it still looks new, only time will tell if it can withstand harsh environments like construction sites.
The watch is only available in a 45mm size. This makes it difficult to wear for people with smaller wrists, as opposed to the 44mm and 40mm options. I have worn larger watches in the past, including the Garmin Epix 2, with its 47mm frame. It will likely be too large and heavy for smaller wrists than mine at 76g (2.6 ounces) when combined with the magnetic buckle strap. The watch’s bulky design will limit its appeal. The 1.4-inch AMOLED screen, however, is sharp and bright. It shows Wear OS (and Samsung’s One UI) in its best light.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has a touch bezel instead of a rotating bezel. This allows you to navigate menus and use side buttons. Because of the Pro’s elevated edge, it’s much easier to use the Watch 5 Pro than the regular Watch 5. It’s almost as easy to rest your finger on it while you “turn” its bezel. However, it’s not as precise as a physical bezel that clicks in place. This is especially true if your hands are wet or sweaty.
It’s understandable why Samsung decided to eliminate the rotating bezel. This is another moving part that could get damaged or jammed in harsh environments. However, I miss that option and think Samsung could have made other compromises. As an example, I could see the inner edge of the raised edge being used as a small rotating bezel.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has the same processor as the Galaxy Watch 4 and does not use the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 chips. The watch is fast and loads apps quickly. However, there were some instances when the raise-to wake was slower than the regular Galaxy Watch 5. The LTE version costs $499 but I haven’t tried it.
It uses the same Wear OS platform as the Galaxy Watch 5 regular model, and shares the same user interface.
Galaxy Watch 5 Pro trackback and sports modes
Both Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro versions can track over 90 types of exercise and can automatically detect certain workouts such as running, swimming, and elliptical activity after 10 minutes. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro offers a few additional sports features. These features are worthy of the watch’s “Pro”. Maybe.
Track back is the first. This is useful for outdoor cycling and hiking, as it helps you get back to the starting point by following the same route. Simply swipe to the settings button and find track back. The watch will display a map with your current location, turn by turn guidance, and distances. Blue is the path that you took to get to your current location. It’s also shown as an overlay in green when you navigate back. The watch is simple to use. It can either buzz or give you audible alerts when it’s time to turn. It sent me home along the exact same route I used when I first tried it on a trail that I had never been on before. It’s an excellent feature and may be added to future software updates.
It is possible to import routes into the watch for turn-by-turn navigation. At the moment it only works for hikes and biking rides, but you can import a GPX files very easily. Strava exported my previous ride and I uploaded it to the Watch 5 Pro from the Samsung Health App in seconds. The map, which uses Google Maps, looks great on the screen. It’s also easy to see. The Samsung Health app allows you to export routes that you have done on your watch.
Samsung Health only suggests two routes for hiking and cycling, in case you don’t already have them saved. However, they are based in New York City and London so may not be very helpful if your home isn’t in one of these cities. The mapping interface on the Samsung Health app is easier to use than other sports watches thanks to Google Maps. Turn-by-turn navigation is also available on the watch. This allows you to navigate a route using voice, vibrations, and on-screen alerts.
The track back and mapping functions on this watch are not new to dedicated running watches, even those that cost half the price. It doesn’t feel like Samsung is trying position the watch as a direct competitor to higher-end Garmin watches. You’d expect more detailed analysis and features from the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro if you are a serious athlete.
The always-on screen is very dim in direct sunlight. To see the elapsed times or my pace, I had to strain my eyes in several situations. This prompted me stop and tap on the screen to get my stats. I was able to see well indoors and in shaded areas.
For workouts, sensor accuracy is great. However, temperature is not yet known.
To test the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s optical pulse rate sensor, I placed it against a chest strap. This allowed me to compare how it performed in a variety of cardio workouts.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro was able to keep close to the measurements from the chest strap for outdoor biking, which has more variables such as bumps in the road or arm movement that isn’t possible on stationary bikes. The control sensor was only slightly off during the nearly 2-hour workout. These are shown in the chart below. The watch was able to keep the heart rate monitor in line for a steady cardio walkout. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro can’t be paired with an external heart rate monitor, unlike other running watches.
Galaxy Watch 5 Pro heart rate
Both Galaxy Watch 5 models have excellent GPS accuracy. With or without a phone, I was able to lock onto a signal in San Francisco in 5 seconds.
The Watch 5 series is distinguished by its infrared sensor, which sets it apart from the models last year. It’s not yet active and we don’t know when it will be switched on via software updates. Samsung claims it will be used while you sleep. Fitbit and Oura, competitors, use infrared sensors to track skin temperature during sleep. This gives you more insight into your menstrual cycle and fever.
This isn’t the first time that a wearable device has launched without any key features or sensors. The Charge 5 Fitbit was launched without its daily readiness score active. Also, the ECG on Samsung’s older Galaxy Watch 3 was not unlocked until about a month after it received FDA clearance. It’s disappointing that we don’t know more about Samsung or third-party developers using this temperature sensor, as it’s the most important new feature on both Galaxy Watches. It should, at most, show nightly trends in sleep temperature like the other wearables that I mentioned.
The Galaxy Watch 4’s other health features and sensors are largely unchanged. The bioimpedance sensor is still available to measure your body composition. There’s also a blood oxygen sensor, and an ECG. You will need to pair your Samsung Galaxy phone with the ECG or blood pressure sensor, which are only available in select countries.
The blood oxygen sensor has given me mixed results, particularly at night. It tends to read lower than a pulse oximeter, but it is still a good indicator of my health. The Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro have both indicated that my blood oxygen levels were between 80 and 87% at times. This could be a sign of sleep conditions such as sleep apnea. This is a rare occurrence with any other wearable, especially since I charted my night’s sleep using both the Fitbit Charge 5 (oura ring) and the Fitbit Charge 5. The readings from blood oxygen sensors are not usually cleared by doctors. You should always take them with a grain and consult a professional for guidance. I have reached out to Samsung regarding the strangely low readings. I will update this review once I hear back.
Recovery metrics are missing pieces of the puzzle
Wearing a smartwatch has many benefits, including learning about your body’s recovery after exercise or illness. Samsung Health and the watch’s own recovery metrics are very limited. They include a sleep score, stress readings, and a sleep score. These metrics don’t give you much beyond a scale from high, average, or low. What does this mean? That’s up to each of you.
Tracking your sweat loss and recovery rate after an outing can be done. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro isn’t as easy to use as its competitors in terms of making this information clear.
Garmin’s Body Battery takes into consideration heart rate variability, sleep, and activity levels. It determines if you should push yourself to get another workout in or if you need to take it easy. Fitbit also offers the Daily Readiness Score, which gives suggestions for workouts based on your score. Even if the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro had an indicator of recovery time to show you how long it takes for your body between workouts, that would still be a great feature.
This is the largest battery in a Galaxy Watch. But I want more
At 590 mAh, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s battery is the largest in the 2022 range. Samsung claims that the battery can last for up to 80 hours with regular use and 20 hours when using GPS. To ensure that I was using GPS-only, I went on a 2-hour hike with airplane mode activated. The battery declined by 10% even though the display was always on. This is a promising performance and the watch could meet the 20-hour claims with GPS alone. I wasn’t ready to hike for 20 hours to test the continuous drain.
The Watch 5 Pro was able to last 2.5 days or just over 58 hours with regular use, which included phone notifications, always on display, sleep tracking, continuous beat monitoring, and continuous heart rate monitoring. This is a better result than the Galaxy Watch 4 range last year, but not near comparable priced competitors such as Garmin Venu 2 Plus which can last up to a week between charges. Samsung claims that the device can be used for up to 80 hours in normal conditions. This might not apply if you exercise outside more and leave the display on.
Both the Watch 5 Pro and regular Watch 5 support faster charging. They can charge up to 45% in just 30 minutes. This was tested with the Watch 5 Pro. It charged from flat to 42% in less than half an hour. The watch takes just over two hours to fully charge from flat. To take advantage of the faster charging speed, you will need a 25-watt USBC charger. The box does not include a charging brick.
If you own a Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro can take advantage of reverse wireless charging. However, it is difficult to get the watch to lay flat with the magnetic buckle strap so I rely on the included charging puck.
Samsung is a leader in sports watches, with the Gear line. It feels like Samsung could have taken this watch to the next level by adding more sports features. This smartwatch is strong and durable, making it a great choice for casual athletes or those who need a more rugged wearable.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is a great choice if you are looking for an Android watch with sports features. This watch has a longer battery life than the regular Galaxy Watch 5.