What is happening
Samsung’s newest watches, the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro, will be unveiled on August 26. They have better battery life and skin temperature sensors and promise more durability.
Why is it important?
Last year’s Samsung Watch was the debut of Google’s new Wear OS, and smartwatches are looking for better battery life. But Google’s Pixel Watch is also coming this fall.
Samsung’s pre-orders for the watch are starting now, but stay tuned for our full review. Meanwhile, many more competitive watches are expected later this year.
The Galaxy Watch 5 was launched at SamsungWednesday is the company’s latest attempt to build on last year’s Android watch . This time it comes with the new model as well as the larger Pro model, both of which will be available on August 26. , and .
Last year’s watch was the debut of Google’s new model— co-developed by Samsung — while not perfect, Samsung Health includes an ambitious set of new health sensors that aim to bring wrist-based bio-impedance and fat measurements.
2022 is a whole new story. There is GoogleComing this fall, Fitbit and Google promise a mix of automatic smarts and design. Meanwhile, Samsung’s new watches promise longer battery life than last year, a skin temperature sensor and a more durable sapphire crystal for the watch face instead of Gorilla Glass. The Pro model’s extra-strong battery promises to last for days between charges, a trend Apple is following. this fall.
Is the Watch 5 worth buying? Or the Pro model? Or should we wait to see what the Pixel Watch is all about? Samsung was first out of the gate in this year’s fall wave of watches, so let’s break down what it is. We can’t compare the others yet because they aren’t here yet. But Samsung’s latest watch model appears to be a more modest improvement over last year, with only a few notable changes in the equation.
Price: Wide range, with some discounts
Samsung’s Bluetooth-only Watch 5 will start at $280 (£269, $495), while the LTE version will start at $330. But the titanium-bodied Pro model with a bigger battery starts at $450 (£394, $725), or $500 for the LTE version. Samsung is offering some shopping discounts on pre-orders: $75 off the Watch 5, or $125 off the Pro if a “qualifying” watch is sold, with a $50 accessory credit. Other retailers may also have sales and trade discounts.
Battery life: An extra boost
The previous Watch 4 had a 361mAh battery for the 44mm size or 247mAh for the 40mm version. The Watch 5 has a 410 mAh battery in the 44 mm size, and a 284 mAh battery in the smaller model. This should theoretically give a bit more battery life, though who knows exactly how much; the last Watch 4 lasted about two days on my wrist.
A bigger jump comes in the new Watch 5 Pro model, which has a large 590 mAh battery. That could mean up to three days of battery life depending on usage. Samsung is pitching the oversized Pro (with its higher price and titanium case) to GPS-using runners or outdoorsmen who want extra durability and battery life.
Skin temperature: Another watch joins the trend
The Samsung Watch 5 has the previous Watch 4’s heart rate sensors, bioimpedance electrical sensor, and ECG sensor, but the infrared-based skin temperature sensor is new, at least for Samsung watches. Temperature sensing has been a recent trend in wearables:for several years there are groups, this and Apple’s next watch is said to have this watch as well.
Skin temperature will be added to the rest of Samsung’s health metrics to create different ways to sense health changes, but it’s unclear how it will evolve. Based on previous experience with other skin temperature sensors, this is how they work: results are relative, not specific, focusing on changes over time rather than readings like any specific thermometer. I’ve found it can help detect a possible illness in advance, but it remains to be seen how Samsung uses this.
Design: Familiar (and slightly larger for the Pro)
The Watch 5 has similar dimensions to the recent Watch 4 models, but is a few grams heavier for both sizes. Color options include graphite, sapphire, rose gold and silver.
At the same time, the Watch 5 Pro, with its larger battery, is noticeably larger than the 44mm Watch 5, with a thickness of more than a millimeter and an extra millimeter in length and width. Weighing in at 46.5 grams, it’s significantly heavier and weighs almost twice as much. last year’s 40mm Watch 4 (25.9 grams). The titanium case design comes in black or gray with a D-buckle on the sports band.
Samsung is adding a bunch of new watch faces this year to a collection that was pretty cool last year. These watch faces and their colors will provide most of the individual looks for most people anyway.
One thing that seems to have disappeared, though, is the physical rotating bezel from the classic Watch 4 design. Samsung’s touch bezel is now the default method of interaction, but if you want a watch with a physical face, the company will keep the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic in the lineup.
Samsung has switched to sapphire crystal for the Watch 5, which it promises is 60% tougher. Does this mean better scratch resistance or increased break resistance?
The Watch 5 Pro promises better sapphire crystal, of course, plus a titanium case around the watch (compared to aluminum on the regular Watch 5).
Both watches have optional LTE models with cellular connectivity (no 5G this year, though no other watch has 5G either), plus 5 ATM water resistance for swimming. The same array of health sensors is available on both models, including ECG, heart rate, temperature and bioimpedance sensors. The watches also include 16GB of storage for music or apps, dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.2.
Note that neither clock uses Qualcomm’s recently announced clockschip, promising better battery life and other income later this year. Instead, Samsung uses its own dual-core Exynos W920 1.18GHz processor, which is the same as last year’s Watch 4. Clock processors aren’t what most people are looking forward to, and it’s still unknown how good they are. Qualcomm may have new chipsets.
Made for Android only, but mostly Samsung phones
Like last year’s Galaxy Watch 4 (and other new Wear OS 3 watches we know of), the Watch 5 won’t work with iOS. This is only for Android phones (Samsung, Android 8 or higher, with more than 1.5 GB of RAM). But to be more specific, its ECG, stress and bioimpedance sensors only work with Samsung phones. Last year, Samsung phones were also required for these health features to work.
If that holds true, that’s a big limitation on how attractive the Watch 5 will be to most Android phone owners: it’s worth waiting for Google’s Pixel Watch, expected later this year, to see how its health features compare. The biggest difference with Samsung’s newest watch this year is that it will no longer be the only Wear OS 3 watch.