Galaxy Watch 5 Review: Better and Better

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The Galaxy Watch 5 is the second generation of Samsung’s smartwatch to come with Wear OS installed. With some small improvements including battery size, the smartwatch is even more interesting than its predecessor.

Among the novelties, the BioActive sensor stands out, responsible for monitoring bodily functions which has become larger. On the other hand, a long-awaited improvement disappoints a bit: the battery.

See below all the details of the Galaxy Watch 5 in the Unlocky’s analysis, which received the 40 mm model from Samsung itself to test.

Design and Construction

  • 40mm Case: 39.3 x 40.4 x 9.8mm; 28.7g;
  • 44mm Case: 43.3 x 44.4 x 9.8mm; 33.5g.

The Galaxy Watch 5 looks very similar to its predecessor with a circular case and buttons in the same position, and a small red band to indicate the one that also helps with reading the electrocardiogram.

galaxy watch 5

The appearance of the Galaxy Watch 5 is very close to its predecessor

Changed the finish a bit. The screen is now protected by a sapphire crystal, which is up to 60% stronger than previous-generation Gorilla Glass. The material, incidentally, is second only to diamond in resistance.

The body itself is aluminum and the strap that comes in the Galaxy Watch 5 box is silicone, but has a standard fit. You can exchange it for other options at a watch store, but it’s good to be careful with the size of the box.

The smart watch maintains IP68 protection against water and dust and 5 ATM resistance. Therefore, he is prepared for the practice of water sports.

Screen

The Galaxy Watch 5’s screen is 1.19-inch or 1.39-inch, in the 40mm and 44mm cases respectively. The image has an approximate density of 330 dots per inch, slightly better than the Apple Watch.

The Super AMOLED display manages to offer very good visibility even in very bright environments on sunny days. And it’s possible to reduce it enough to not bother your eyes at night — and that’s more than 3 levels, inclusive. Auto brightness is set by default.

Galaxy Watch 5 screen

Galaxy Watch 5 screen appears brighter than its predecessor

The only change in the Galaxy Watch 5 screen to its predecessor is the protection, already mentioned in the topic above. The sapphire crystal is really tough, and yet the display is more attractive to the eye.

Configuration and Performance

The Galaxy Watch 4’s Samsung Exynos W920 is inside the Watch 5, too. It’s a good processor for smartwatches but there are slightly better solutions on the market, like the Snapdragon W5.

At least the processor is powerful enough for the proposal, which is to monitor health and physical activities, and also inform about time, agenda, weather and the like. The Galaxy Watch 5 manages to deliver fluid and stutter-free performance.

Samsung saved the improvements for what makes the difference in everyday life. The BioActive sensor, responsible for bioimpedance analysis, electrocardiogram and optical heart rate sensor, is physically larger and, therefore, more accurate.

The Galaxy Watch 5 has 16GB of storage, half of which is occupied by the operating system. The rest is enough to store enough music for offline listening during physical activities.

Usability

This is the second generation of Samsung watches to run Wear OS. That means you have a wide range of apps to install and customize the watch as per your needs.

The interface, however, is still very similar to models that run Samsung’s Tizen. The good news is that it’s a simple system to navigate, quite intuitive. The digital crown around the screen is also pretty simple to navigate, but you can drag your finger across the screen, just like your phone, if you prefer.

There are several interface options for the watch face. And you can switch between your favorites directly on the smartwatch, or use your cell phone to add new displays.

You can still use the Galaxy Watch 5 to listen to music with Spotify  pay with Google Wallet, use the Google Assistant and much more.

Physical Accompaniment

Unfortunately, the biggest news in physical monitoring is still disabled on the Galaxy Watch 5. It is an infrared temperature sensor. At least the BioActive sensor is bigger and therefore more accurate.

He is responsible for the electrocardiogram, optical heart rate sensor and bioimpedance analysis. In the latter, the watch reports body fat, skeletal muscle, fat mass, BMI and even the amount of water in your body.

I found the sensor more accurate. On the Galaxy Watch 4, it crashes sometimes even if you manage to stay very still. On Watch 5, the reading was performed the first time.

Galaxy Watch 5 BioActive sensor

BioActive sensor is bigger on the Galaxy Watch 5

In addition, there is an improvement in sleep tracking, with classification of your sleep type using eight symbolic animals. The analysis of sleep stages, which recently arrived on the Apple Watch, has been present since the first generations of Samsung watches.

Moreover, the Galaxy Watch 5 monitors more than 90 types of physical activity, counts your steps and is able to monitor the menstrual cycle and track blood oxygenation.

Connectivity

The Galaxy Watch 5 uses Bluetooth 5.2 to communicate with the cell phone. Additionally, there is a WiFi option to pull notifications if you are away from your smartphone for some reason. The third option is 4G, available only on LTE models.

Please note that activation of the mobile network must be done with your operator. In the case of the Bluetooth model, password access to the WiFi network is required, it is not possible to simply take advantage of a signal to connect remotely to the cell phone.

Samsung’s smartwatch is compatible with virtually any smartphone on the market. The Galaxy Wear app is required to control the watch, and some functions may not work on non-Samsung devices.

Battery and Charging

We tested the 40mm model of the Galaxy Watch 5, which has a slightly smaller battery life than the 44mm version. At least Samsung has slightly increased the capacity compared to its predecessor.

The promise of duration is up to 40 hours, but I couldn’t get close to that during the tests — possibly it would be with a very basic use. I couldn’t go much of 24 hours without having to take the watch off my wrist and take it to the charger.

Galaxy Watch 5 battery

Galaxy Watch 5 has a slightly larger battery than its predecessor, but the increase in usage time is not as significant

This with heart rate monitoring and active sleep, notifications from the main mobile apps, about an hour of physical activity and Always on Display turned off. It is already an improvement, since the predecessor does not reach all this in my day to day.

And take advantage of the shower and other times when he is not so necessary to do small loads during the day.

Direct Competitors

Competitors for the Galaxy Watch 5 are Apple Watches and their own predecessors. It is difficult to actually find smartwatches in the US market, since most of the products advertised in this way are, in fact, monitoring wristbands.

The Galaxy Watch 4 can now be found for values ​​between $169 and $369, depending on the model and box size. That is, the most complete one is more affordable than the Watch 5 currently, which is still not found for less than 329 USD.

If you want an Apple watch, you’ll have to shell out even more. The Watch Series 7 is not less than 500 USD. The most affordable is the Watch Series 3, which is no longer officially supported by Apple and it is not recommended to buy it now.

Galaxy Watch 5: is it worth it?

There’s no big news on the Galaxy Watch 5. But depending on the Samsung watch you currently have — if you own one — it might be interesting to make the switch. Or think hard about the Watch 4, while it’s still available at a good price.

Of course, before making this decision, you need to consider whether body composition analysis is important for your use. If so, the Galaxy Watch 5 is your go-to, regardless of the price difference right now.

If you want something more robust, you can check out the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, Samsung’s big watch with enviable battery life.

The Galaxy Watch 5 is on sale online retail for prices starting at $169 at the moment. That’s for the 40 mm model in the Bluetooth version. If you add 4G and increase the box, the value can reach 269 USD.