Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review: Still the Android king

The Galaxy Watch 5 represents Samsung’s second go-around with the revamped Google Put on OS, after the 2 forces mixed final yr to ship a extra severe smartwatch expertise.

Whereas the Galaxy Watch 4 was a relative success, it wasn’t with out its drawbacks. And now, with Samsung’s Tizen OS platform firmly up to now, the newest era arrives as soon as once more arrives to showcase the easiest of Google’s present software program.

It stays moderately priced for a top-end smartwatch, with the most cost effective Galaxy Watch 5 coming in at $299/£269 and the LTE model priced rather less than the latest Apple Watch.

Is it top-of-the-line smartwatches you should purchase, or is it one to keep away from? Here is our complete tackle the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

By Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 stays the most effective smartwatch for Android customers, due to the improved Put on OS 3. However the modifications between it and the Galaxy Watch 4 are so small that this is not one to hurry to improve to. In the event you’re an Android telephone proprietor on the lookout for a smartwatch that really behaves like one, it is nonetheless an awesome choice. In the event you’re on the lookout for a mixture of good and health expertise, although, t. are higher choices elsew..

  • Good core smartwatch options
  • Bustling app retailer
  • Comfy to put on
  • Some good health monitoring parts
  • Not massively completely different from Watch 4
  • Battery life worse than Professional mannequin
  • Nonetheless a mean sports activities watch

A minor improve

We’re lucky to nonetheless have the Galaxy Watch 4 in our possession, and it truly is a case of recognizing the distinction .. These watches are just about similar. T. are some variations, however they’re very minor within the grand scheme of issues.

That is not essentially a foul factor, as we did just like the old-gen design, however, for anybody hoping for giant modifications, you are going to be disenchanted.

You are still getting the selection of 40mm and 44mm case sizes, with each sizes out there in Bluetooth and LTE fashions and that includes an aluminum case as an alternative of the titanium one included on the larger Galaxy Watch 5 Professional.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 v Galaxy Watch 5 design

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (left) and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (proper)

You may take away the bands, however the fashion of lug connectors means you are going to get the most effective match with Samsung’s personal official bands. We truly had a really good blue band, however needed to abandon it because it was too large, and as an alternative swapped within the new D-Buckle strap Samsung included with the Watch 5 Professional.

T. are nonetheless two flat bodily buttons on the precise facet of the case, and, whereas the sensor array across the again appears the identical, it is now barely raised, which appears to enhance . with the pores and skin.

Issues have modified within the display division, too, with Samsung swapping Gorilla Glass for a sapphire crystal to assist make the show extra scratch-proof.

We won’t say the Watch 4’s display ever felt at nice danger of getting scratched, nevertheless it’s all the time to see issues being upped within the sturdiness division.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 v Galaxy Watch 5 Pro design

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (left) and Galaxy Watch 5 Professional (proper)

Samsung has retained the digital bezel current within the Watch 4, which has advanced from the rotating one which featured on its older Tizen smartwatches.

You may nonetheless swipe your finger across the fringe of the display, and the small haptic vibrations will let you understand you’ve got made good . with it. It additionally means you may simply scroll by Tiles (Put on OS widgets), or scroll up and down the app display in the event you’re not a fan of swiping throughout the show.

It seems like a characteristic that is caught round for loyal Samsung smartwatch followers, nevertheless it would not really feel prefer it provides a lot worth with Put on OS operating the software program present now.

That show on the 44mm Watch 5 we needed to take a look at is a 1.4-inch, 450 x 450 decision Tremendous AMOLED, whereas the 40mm model packs a 1.2-inch, 396 x 396 Tremendous AMOLED display. These are the very same screens discovered on the corresponding Galaxy Watch 4 fashions.

You are still getting an exceptionally vibrant show with correct colours, and it actually elevates animated parts within the UI like watch faces and Tiles. T. is an always-on show mode, as properly, which is accompanied by raise-to-wake gesture help that may usually really feel a bit sluggish in operation.

The water resistance ranking stays the identical because the Galaxy Watch 4, additionally, which implies you may maintain it on within the bathe and swim with it as much as 50 meters in depth.

Residing with Put on OS 3.5

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Wear OS

The Galaxy Watch 5 runs on Put on OS 3.5, with Samsung’s Watch UI laid on high of it. That very same Put on OS 3.5 has since rolled out to the Galaxy Watch 4, and we won’t say t.’s truly any actually noticeable distinction between what we skilled on that watch and this one.

We have been utilizing it whereas paired up with a Samsung smartphone, which implies you will have the entire key apps at your disposal to get essentially the most out of the Watch 5. That is the Galaxy Wearable, Samsung Well being and Samsung Well being Monitor apps.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 on wrist

On the watch, the software program appears nice and feels slick. Swiping up, down and left to proper from the principle watch face will get you to these key elements of the working system. Down under is the app display w. you may discover a mixture of Google and Samsung apps, and issues like Samsung Pay, Google Maps and the Galaxy Buds controller app are all current.

Accessing and downloading apps from the Google Play Retailer from the watch is not as fiddly as it would first look, both, and we managed to rapidly seek for issues like Google Pockets and Spotify.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 notifications

Probably the most notable new Google addition is Google Assistant, which is a large improve on Samsung’s personal Bixby by way of responsiveness. We truly discovered it helpful to have out there to ask in regards to the climate or occasions which might be arising in your calendar.

Samsung’s method to letting you view and work together with notifications has all the time been a spotlight, letting you reply rapidly to a message or letting you view photographs which were shared in messages – and that does not change ..

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Spotify

You might have roughly 7GB of the 16GB of storage included, which implies a good quantity of room for issues like footage and, after all, music. T. are Spotify and . Music apps to allow you to retailer playlists offline (so long as you are paying up for these streaming providers).

We used it with Spotify’s Put on OS 3 app, and it felt nice to make use of. In the event you’re simply controlling music taking part in in your smartphone, that is supported very properly, too.

Samsung does additionally provide LTE connectivity at an added value ., as properly, however that is not one thing we needed to put to the take a look at.

Finally, the expertise of utilizing the Galaxy Watch 5 as a smartwatch is superb general. Once you evaluate it to what you may at present expertise on the Galaxy Watch 4, it is barely any completely different.

Nonetheless not a sports activities monitoring powerhouse

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 sports tracking

We have all the time felt that Samsung’s smartwatches have been okay sports activities watches and extra dependable health trackers, and the Galaxy Watch 5 would not actually alter our opinion on that entrance.

As a sports activities watch, you’ve got bought Samsung’s personal native app and in addition entry to third-party apps. That native app definitely appears good, however, performance-wise, it is positively hit-and-miss and would not really feel like essentially the most intuitive app to make use of.

It covers issues like strolling, operating and swimming (pool and open water), with modes additionally current for indoor exercises just like the train bike and boxing. Samsung features a operating coach for these trying to make velocity and endurance enhancements with their operating.

T.’s additionally some automated train monitoring help supplied for exercises like strolling and operating, and t.’s rep counting as properly for some actions like crunches and press-ups.

We did some operating, indoor rowing and cardio exercises, discovering the expertise to all be very acquainted. GPS monitoring wasn’t all the time tremendous correct, coronary heart charge monitoring was high quality for steady-paced exercises and your greatest wager is to make use of a third-party app to trace your exercises as an alternative of Samsung’s personal.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 running tracking test

GPS monitoring in contrast: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (left and middle) and Garmin Epix 2 (proper)

On outside runs towards the Garmin Epix 2, distance monitoring got here up brief on all runs – seemingly resulting from Garmin’s very correct multiband monitoring mode. Metrics like common tempo, although, appeared typically constant, whereas coronary heart charge common and most readings weren’t far off a Garmin HRM-Professional chest strap on steady-paced runs.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 heart rate tracking test

Train HR in contrast: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Professional (left) and Garmin Epix 2 with chest strap (proper)

Publish-run information within the Samsung Well being app additionally breaks down superior operating metrics like . time, flight time and asymmetry, utilizing a easy, color-coded system to point whether or not they had been good, nice or needing enchancment.

You are now additionally getting an estimated sweat loss studying, generated throughout runs solely and needing coronary heart charge to be measured for 80% of the exercise time.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 sweat loss comparison

It additionally appears at physique measurement, age, gender and exercise depth to ship these estimates. So, on a 50-minute run, it stated we might misplaced 890ml of sweat and wanted to drink 1,335ml to interchange 150% of that loss in moisture and sweat. Useful.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 treadmill tracking comparison

Treadmill monitoring in contrast: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (left and middle) and Garmin Epix 2 (proper)

Heading indoors for some treadmill time, you are turning to the accelerometer movement sensors to trace the operating motion. Distance monitoring was, once more, fairly far off our calibrated Garmin Epix 2, whereas coronary heart charge information was 10bpm greater in comparison with a chest strap monitor – with a giant distinction in most readings, as properly. These estimated sweat loss readings aren’t generated whenever you run indoors, both.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 rowing machine test

Indoor rowing information in contrast: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (left) and Garmin Epix 2 (proper)

Transferring away from runs, we put the Watch 5 to the indoor rowing take a look at, which, like cheaper smartwatches, would not provide activity-specific metrics like stroke counts or common tempo. As a substitute, you may get information like exercise period and coronary heart charge information, which fell roughly according to a coronary heart charge monitor chest strap.

Samsung has promised a brand new real-time restoration mode that kicks into motion a couple of minutes after a cardio exercise, although it did not appear to be in operation for us after we put the Watch 5 to the cardio take a look at.

T. remains to be that odd quirk that appears to stick with Samsung’s sports activities monitoring, and that is the lack to acknowledge whenever you’ve by accident recorded very brief exercises – and it would not provide a fast strategy to delete them. It isn’t a dealbreaker, however that does not make it any much less annoying.

Flipping over to health monitoring, that is w. Samsung’s smartwatch feels extra comfy. It will probably observe parts similar to step counts reliably, let you understand whenever you’ve been inactive, and t.’s a heart-shaped widget to comply with your progress in the course of the day.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 step tracking

Step monitoring in contrast: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (left) and Oura Ring 3 (proper)

Samsung has sought to enhance issues on the sleep monitoring entrance, as properly, including new sleep teaching options as soon as you’ve got logged sufficient sleep time to entry them.

These similar options, like following 4-week plans and being assigned a sleeping animal, have rolled out to the Galaxy Watch 4 already, so this is not one thing you are gaining over the older Samsung smartwatch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 sleep tracking

Sleep monitoring in contrast: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (left and middle) and Oura Ring 3 (proper)

Accuracy-wise, we have been sporting the Watch 5 alongside the Oura Ring 3, and located that information (like whole sleep period and precise sleep instances) was very comparable. Sleep stage breakdowns had been roughly in the identical ballpark. Total, it is a stable sleep tracker, and the watch itself is comfy to put on in mattress and would not really feel cumbersome.

As we stated, our emotions have not actually modified about Samsung’s method to sports activities and health monitoring. It is positively higher suited to the latter, and you will get a richer stage of sports activities monitoring from rivals like Huawei and Amazfit for much less cash.

Bringing extra of a Fitbit affect into the Put on OS expertise won’t essentially enhance that, nevertheless it may make health and sleep monitoring extra partaking and significant.

A robust well being watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 blood oxygen

One thing Samsung does tremendously have in its favor is what it might probably provide by way of severe well being monitoring. This can be a smartwatch that may observe coronary heart charge, blood oxygen and stress, and can ultimately observe temperature when Samsung places its infrared-based sensor dwell.

In the event you personal a Samsung smartphone, you even have entry to the Well being Monitor app to take and report ECG readings, that are used to assist detect indicators related to atrial fibrillation. You too can use that app to seize blood strain information, as soon as you’ve got calibrated the watch with a blood strain sensor and proceed to take action on common foundation..

These sensors make up Samsung’s BioActive sensor setup, which additionally features a BIA sensor to moreover analyze physique composition like a set of good scales. These similar options appeared on the Watch 4, however Samsung says it is elevated the floor space of that sensor on the Watch 5 to ship improved accuracy.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 heart rate monitoring

Each day HR in contrast: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (left) and Garmin Epix 2 (proper)

Delving into information like steady coronary heart charge, we discovered that steady coronary heart charge information and resting coronary heart charge insights at time 1-2BPM out from Garmin’s dependable monitoring, although, on some events, resting coronary heart charge felt abnormally low.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 blood oxygen comparison test

Blood oxygen monitoring throughout sleep: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (left) and Oura Ring 3 (proper)

The Watch 5 may regularly observe blood oxygen ranges, and we in contrast information insights with the Oura Ring 3 in the course of the sleep interval and Samsung’s smartwatch did counsel blood oxygen ranges had dropped at instances in a single day. On-the-spot readings towards a pulse oximeter additionally indicated decrease blood oxygen ranges, as properly.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 BMI data

BMI information in contrast: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (left and centre) and Garmin good scales (proper)

We put the physique composition evaluation to the take a look at towards a set of Garmin good scales to see how information like weight, physique fats and skeletal muscle matched up. You continue to have to enter your present weight to make use of this characteristic, and we discovered measurements like BMI and skeletal muscle mass comparable however not similar to readings from a set of scales.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review

The way in which you may use the ECG sensor and blood strain monitoring stays the identical, requiring Samsung’s Well being Monitor app to entry them. You’re taking an ECG studying by inserting fingers on the electrodes hidden within the high bodily button. After that, it should classify the measurement. We in contrast readings to a clinical-grade pulse oximeter, and the readings had been very correct on the entire.

Blood strain monitoring nonetheless requires calibration with a cuff-style blood strain monitor, although, and you will be notified when that calibration has expired within the Well being Monitor app.

Evaluating information captured by a Kinetik blood strain monitor, we discovered a replication of the expertise we had on the Watch 4, taking measurements usually takes a lot of makes an attempt and SYS and DIA numbers did not all the time match as much as a blood strain monitor days after from performing that calibration.

The battery life remains to be a serious problem

The Galaxy Watch 4 and even the Galaxy Watch 3 managed to final for a most of a few days – and that hasn’t modified with the Watch 5. It’s going to provide you with a stable day, whereas the power-saving mode will give you that little bit further with out sacrificing all options. The identical options, like utilizing GPS and turning the display to always-on, have an analogous drain to what we skilled with its predecessor.

Samsung quotes 40 hours, and that is what we might say we bought in our testing. With a mixture of notifications, steady well being and sleep monitoring, GPS-based exercises and taking on-the-spot physique composition and coronary heart charge readings, we noticed battery drop off to round 30% when utilizing it from round 9am with 100% battery.

The drop-off within the battery life when utilizing options like GPS is just like what we skilled with the Watch 4. It was a ten% dip for roughly an hour of operating, which might counsel about 10 hours of GPS battery life.

The Galaxy Watch 5 Professional, compared, comfortably manages two days and a bit further, so that’s one thing you are lacking out on . with the usual mannequin.

You do have that good energy saving mode, although, which does maintain a number of options nonetheless in use and would not merely go away you with a clean watch face to stare at. Samsung has additionally switched to a USB-C fashion charging cable, which remains to be linked to a small round cradle and can get you as much as 45% battery of a 30-minute cost.