Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review: battery madness!

Samsung made one of the most significant changes to its smartwatch lineup last year. The Galaxy Watch 4 ditched Samsung’s Tizen OS in favor of the Android-powered Wear OS. This meant that users could finally get Android apps and eventually even use Google Assistant on their smartwatches.

The company usually releases two new models of its smartwatch. It has a different strokes for different people approach to the lineup. Nowhere is that more evident than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. Although it has the same technical specifications as the Galaxy Watch 5, the Pro is aimed at those with an adventurous and active lifestyle.

Is it everything Samsung makes of it? Could it be the perfect companion on your hiking, biking and caving adventures? That’s the question we’ll answer in our Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review.

TL;DR

Design

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is a smartwatch that announces its presence on your wrist. Available in just the 45mm size, it’s far from a discreet smartwatch that slips under the cuff. The titanium housing is not only extremely durable, but also gives an understated sophistication. The durability credentials are further supported by the device’s IP68 water and dust resistance rating and MIL-STD-810G certification. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is far from delicate.

Feels nice and sturdy with an overall refined look

The new D-Buckle Sports Band deserves an honorable mention here. It goes a long way in improving comfort when wearing the watch for extended periods of time. This is just another example of how Samsung draws inspiration from long-standing solutions for conventional watches to enhance the smartwatch experience.

Unfortunately, one of those solutions that the company previously embraced has now been thrown out. Because Galaxy Watch fans were scared, the physical rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is missing. You also get a thicker, curved inner ring with a digital spin that never fails to deliver the satisfying clicks and full control that the physical ring offered.

This touch-based navigation is good enough, but it could be much better. Sometimes there is a little lag when rotating at a certain speed and speed. It won’t be as seamless if a lot of sweat has built up after exercise. That’s just one of the quirks of the digital bezel, something Galaxy Watch Active users are all too familiar with.

Despite its rugged appearance, Samsung offers options to personalize the look of your Galaxy Watch 5 Pro using bands and watch faces. The company has introduced several new watch face with improved complications for ease of use.

Performance

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has basically the same internal specs as the Galaxy Watch 4. It is powered by the Exynos W920 chipset and is paired with 1.5GB of RAM with 16GB of internal storage. Given the “Pro” designation, you’d have thought it would at least have more RAM and storage than the regular Galaxy Watch 5, but sadly that’s not the case.

Still, it’s great to see that the software and hardware are in complete harmony. There is hardly any delay when navigating through the different screens or launching apps. Fitness tracking features activate quickly and start doing what they’re supposed to do right away. It’s safe to say you won’t miss this smartwatch in the performance department.

Convenience marriage between One UI and Wear OS works well

One UI makes this device clearly Samsung, while Wear OS offers unparalleled app compatibility and Google Assistant, which most users will surely replace Bixby for. Look out for Google Maps voice navigation support expected later this year.

One UI Watch 4.5 brings new accessibility features and more customization for other visual elements. You must use the smartwatch with a Galaxy device for the best possible user experience, even though the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro can be paired with any Android device running version 8.0 or higher. There is no support for iOS.

Display

The 1.4-inch Super AMOLED display with 450 x 450 resolution of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is absolutely gorgeous. There’s always little going on when it comes to Samsung’s smartwatch displays and this year is no different. It is also protected by sapphire crystal for extra durability. Samsung says it is 60% compared to the Gorilla Glass found in previous models. This is a step in the right direction as users don’t have to worry too much about accidentally damaging the screen.

One of my most favorite things about the smartwatch is how the 1.4-inch OLED screen is clear and touch-sensitive.

Excellent haptic feedback also deserves a special mention

It only made me navigate around the watch for the sake of the watch and it also made it a lot less annoying when I got notifications from my Galaxy Fold 4 as an extension of it as my phone is usually on silent and or only vibrating while working hour.

Couple

The One UI Watch 4.5 interface delivers an exceptional standalone software experience. Notifications are quick and easy to access with great haptic feedback. Navigating and swiping through the interface is smooth and fast. The app grid at the bottom is easily accessible and rearranged. Swipe from the top to access quick settings for important tasks, such as adjusting brightness, network connectivity, and turning on Do Not Disturb mode.

There are new keyboard inputs that are intended to make the typing experience easier. While it helps, typing on a device with a 1.4-inch screen will never be a pleasant experience. Dictation and handwriting are more convenient if you want to record quick texts with the device.

You will feel right at home

If you’ve been using Samsung smartwatches for a few years, you’ll feel right at home with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s interface. If this is your first time, the controls feel very intuitive and easy to understand.

Health and fitness

This is where the Pro really comes into its own. Let’s get all the stuff you’d expect there out of the way. It has all the same sensors as the Galaxy Watch 4, so it offers heart rate and electrical heart signal monitoring, EKG, blood pressure monitoring, body composition, sleep tracking and blood oxygen monitoring. Samsung did say that the sensor package has been upgraded and is now closer to the skin for greater accuracy.

The only new addition to this package is the infrared temperature sensor. At the moment it doesn’t yield much other than just giving a temperature reading. Apparently it should improve sleep tracking, but we have yet to see that implemented. This sensor is open to developers so that third-party apps can use it to provide additional health and fitness features. That will take some time though, so we can’t comment on it for now.

The sleep tracking with snore detection worked really well and impressed me because it was accurate in knowing when I was sleeping and for how long, and gave a nice detailed overview of my sleep stages in the Samsung Health app. It shows you a detailed breakdown of the total amount of time you snored and also a recording of the times it was picked up. Trust me, hearing a rendering of yourself snoring is both scary and embarrassing, but I appreciate how well it works on the Watch 5 Pro and the detailed breakdown it gives in the app.

Track Back is a great new feature that Samsung introduced with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. If you’re halfway through a walk on a trail and want to go back to where you started, this feature will take you back to that same point. It works as advertised, but if you stray off the trail on your return, the watch may not pick it up. So if you’re hiking somewhere with multiple routes, be extra careful.

This watch is for the serious outdoorsmen

The ability to load GPX files to navigate routes is a welcome addition. You can load hiking and biking routes, share saved routes and even share them with your friends. Simply download the GPX file on your phone and import it into Samsung Health. The app will automatically sync it to the watch and you’ll see a Route tile on it.

In addition to these exclusive walking navigation features, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is excellent at automatically tracking selected workouts. You can also rest assured that all your gym sessions, be it cardio or strength, can all be accurately tracked with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

Battery life

Samsung wanted this to be the smartwatch that takes you on your outdoor adventures without worrying about battery. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro packs a large 590mAh battery that delivers impressive battery life. It’s safe to say that the battery life exceeded expectations. The faster charging times are also appreciated. I wish wireless charging wasn’t such a hassle.

We all use our devices differently so your mileage will definitely vary with the battery. However, the battery endurance is noticeably better on this device. For the most part, it would be good for two full days with two full nights of sleep tracking without the need for another charge. This included outdoor GPS-tracked and indoor workouts in addition to general navigation.

Battery life is just insane

It was even possible to extend it to three days by disabling Always-On Display and auto-brightness. If you don’t track workouts or otherwise put stress on the watch, it can easily sail for four days on a single charge. That’s just insane coming from one of the older models. Since battery life is one of the concerns that keeps people from buying smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro definitely knocks that out the window.

verdict

This is arguably the most capable smartwatch we’ve seen from Samsung to date. With exceptional build and design, a great screen, improved durability, enhanced health and fitness features and great battery life, you can’t ask for much more from a premium smartwatch.

The question remains, should you buy it? At $449.99, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is by no means cheap. There are other smartwatches that offer similar hiking-focused features for less money. However, they don’t offer everything else that the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro offers and remain unable to tap into the full potential of the Samsung Health ecosystem.

Only buy it if your lifestyle allows you to take full advantage of its advanced functionality. Otherwise, a simple Galaxy Watch 5 will suffice. It has the same specs and software experience, just with a smaller battery. For someone who has the lifestyle to use everything the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has to offer, there is no better device on the market right now.

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