So far, most of Samsung’s products have gotten small changes in 2022, and the Galaxy Watch 5 is perhaps the best example of this. When you put the Galaxy Watch 5 and its predecessor next to each other, it’s hard to tell what’s changed.
Both smartwatches use the same chipset, look almost the same, have the same health benefits, etc.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Design
But if you look a little closer, you can start to see how the Galaxy Watch 5 works. It has a bigger battery, charges faster, is more durable, and can track your health more accurately. None of these changes are really big, but they show again that Samsung is one of the best companies for Wear OS watches.
Aside from that, the Galaxy Watch 5 is almost exactly the same as its model. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. The metal case is thin and simple, which is exactly how I like my smartwatches to look.
The two power buttons are very satisfying to press, the 20mm watch bands are easy to switch out for other styles, and the Watch 5 is very comfortable to wear for a full day. Even though the Watch 5 is bigger and heavier than the Watch 4, it has never been uncomfortable or hard to wear. It’s one of those trackers that you can just put on your wrist and forget about.
Galaxy Watch 5: Screen
The Galaxy Watch 5’s screen is another thing that is hard to find fault with. The 40mm model has a 1.2-inch screen with a resolution of 396 x 396. The 44mm model has a 1.4-inch screen with a resolution of 450 x 450. No matter which size you choose, both have a Super AMOLED monitor that works in “full color, always on” mode.
Samsung is known for making some of the best screens for smartphones, and the same is true for smartwatches. After wearing the 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 for a little over a week, I’ve been happy with every part of its screen.
The best way to describe the colors is that they are bright and bold. The ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness when you need it to, and the Watch 5 gets bright enough that you can see it even in full sunlight.
I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to see the screen while walking on the High Line in Manhattan when the sun was shining, but I never had any trouble reading the display on the Galaxy Watch 5.
Galaxy Watch 5: Performance
Samsung’s Exynos W920 processor, 1.5GB of RAM, and 16GB of built-in storage power the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. If those numbers sound like what was on the Galaxy Watch 4, that’s because they are the same.
Most of the time, the Galaxy Watch 5 does a great job. Apps open fast, menus (sometimes) scroll smoothly, and using the physical buttons to open Samsung Pay or Google Assistant takes no time at all. But the Watch 5 doesn’t offer a 100% smooth experience.
During the time I’ve worn the Galaxy Watch 5, I’ve noticed that the UX isn’t always consistent. Most of the time, it takes more than one try to swipe down to see the quick settings bar. When I scroll through my tiles, I often see movements that don’t work right.
The Watch 5 always does what I ask of it and usually does it very quickly, but it still feels a little rough around the edges. The Exynos W920 chip is fine for the watch, but I can’t help but wonder if Qualcomm’s Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 would have been better.
Galaxy Watch 5: Battery Life And Charging
If you look at Samsung’s marketing for the Galaxy Watch 5, you’ll see that the company says its newest smartwatch has a battery life of 40 to 50 hours per charge. This is a huge improvement over the 18 hours of battery life that Apple claims for the Apple Watch Series 7.
In addition, the battery in the Watch 5 has gone from 361 mAh in the Watch 4 to 410 mAh in the Watch 5. This is a recipe for famous durability.
In real life, the Galaxy Watch 5’s battery life is fine, but nowhere near the 40 to 50 hours Samsung says it will last. The Watch 5 didn’t keep me very busy most of the time. It keeps track of how many steps I take during the day, gets messages from my Galaxy Z Flip 4, and has an always-on display.
With this use and a few Google Assistant questions, I used my phone for 14 hours and 12 minutes and still had 41% left. After 22 hours and 37 minutes of use, the Galaxy Watch 5 still had 18% power when I woke up. This was after tracking my sleep for just under 7 hours.
If you want to use the Watch 5 for workouts instead of just tracking your steps throughout the day, the battery will die even faster. After 17 hours and 24 minutes of use, the Galaxy Watch 5 still had 24% battery life left after recording six outdoor walking sessions that took a total of 1 hour and 27 minutes. This was with regular notifications and an always-on screen.
Galaxy Watch 5: Software
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 ships with Wear OS 3.5 and Samsung’s One UI Watch 4.5 software layered on top. The interface is pretty much identical to the Watch 4’s, featuring a variety of gestures for you to get around. The basics are as follows:
- Swipe down to view your Quick Settings.
- Swipe up to see your apps.
- Swipe right to view notifications.
- Swipe left to cycle through tiles (aka widgets).
- Press and hold on the watch face to select a new one.
One UI Watch 4.5 is easy to use once you’ve spent a few minutes getting used to the different movements. Everything is easy to get to from the watch face, the software looks nice, and the two physical buttons can be used to open apps, call up a voice helper, and more. Google Assistant is also ready to use right out of the box.
The Watch 4 didn’t have this feature until months after it came out. And it works very well! When I press and hold the top button, the Assistant appears right away, and it responds to my questions or orders in less than a second.
Galaxy Watch 5: Health Tracking
Almost every device on the market today has a big part in tracking your health, and the Galaxy Watch 5 is no different. The health tracking features of the Watch 5 are run by the 3-in-1 BioActive Sensor on the back of the device.
This includes step tracking, automatic workout detection, manual workout tracking for more than 90 exercises, and built-in sleep tracking with a Sleep Coaching platform that makes personalized sleep plans.
It also tracks your SpO2, and heart rate, has an ECG app for detecting A-fib, and has the same Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis sensor as the Watch 4. This lets you see your body fat, skeletal muscle, body water, and other stats in a matter of seconds.
This year’s new health sensor is a skin temperature sensor, but I have nothing to say about it at the time of publishing. That’s because owners of the Watch 5 can’t actually use the monitor. It’s an interesting addition that hopefully will be turned on soon, but Samsung hasn’t said when that will happen.
Considering how long it took for Google Assistant to come to the Watch 4, don’t be surprised if you have to wait months to use it.
Even though that sounds like a lot, Samsung does a good job of making everything easy to understand. The main Samsung Health app on the Watch 5 stores all of your info in one place, like your daily activity, steps, sleep, heart rate, etc.
You can also put a number of health-related tiles next to your watch face, such as a sleep tile, a body composition tile, an exercise tile, and more, to get to these stats quickly.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Price And Availability
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is available for purchase now. Pricing starts at $280 for the 40mm model with Wi-Fi. Adding LTE to the 40mm Watch 5 increases the price to $330. There’s also the 44mm Galaxy Watch 5 with the same Wi-Fi and LTE configurations, which retail for $310 and $360, respectively.