Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 – The Best Android smartwatch?

More personal than a phone, but almost just as capable, a smartwatch arguably straddles the world of fashion and tech more than any other device which means that design carries more weight and importance than almost any other device.

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5, introduced in 2022, comfortably straddles this line by not making any significant cosmetic changes from its predecessor, the Galaxy Watch 4 series (unless you’re looking at the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro which has dropped the rotating bezel found on Watch 4 Classic). The most significant changes are under the hood.

Much like their flagship lineup of phones, including the Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4, the Watch 5 looks to be playing it safe, but in an uncertain period in the global economy, is that a bad thing? While I’m perfectly happy with the brand recycling the design of the Watch 4 series, what irks me about it is that Samsung is the epitome of hypocrisy for mocking Apple for recycling designs when it does the same thing.

That aside, I happen to quite like the design of the Watch 5 as it’s sleek, unobtrusive, and inconspicuous in an understated, elegant way.

Available in either a 40mm or a 44m, the watch is available in a variety of colours with some impressive specs as well:

Material & ColourArmor Aluminum case with Sport Band
– 44mm: Graphite, Sapphire, Sliver 
– 40mm: Graphite, Pink Gold, Silver 
Dimensions1 & Weight2– 44mm: 43.3 x 44.4 x 9.8 mm, 33.5g
– 40mm: 39.3 x 40.4 x 9.8 mm, 28.7g
DisplaySapphire Crystal 
– 44mm: 1.4″ (34.6mm) 450×450 Super AMOLED, Full Color Always On Display
– 40mm: 1.2″ (30.4mm) 396×396 Super AMOLED, Full Color Always On Display
ProcessorExynos W920 Dual-Core 1.18GHz
Memory1.5GB RAM + 16GB internal storage
Battery(typical)3– 44mm: 410mAh
– 40mm: 284mAh
ChargingFaster Charging (WPC-based wireless charging)
OSWear OS Powered by Samsung (Wear OS 3.5)4 
UIOne UI Watch4.5
SensorsSamsung BioActive Sensor (Optical Heart Rate + Electrical Heart Signal + Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis), Temperature Sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Light Sensor
ConnectivityLTE5 , Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Beidou/Galileo
Durability5ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810H
CompatibilityAndroid 8.0 or higher and with more than 1.5GB of RAM6 

As with most smartwatches today, there’s a focus on fitness and wellbeing.

First introduced on the Galaxy Watch 4 series, the BioActive Sensor is also available on the Watch 5 and uses a single unique chip that combines three powerful health sensors – Optical Heart Rate, Electrical Heart Signal and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis – to deliver extensive readings that include heart rate, blood oxygen level, and even stress level*. You’re also able to get a deeper understanding of your heart health by monitoring blood pressure** and ECG3 – right from your wrist***.

Samsung says that thanks to increased surface area and more direct contact with your wrist, the Galaxy Watch 5 tracks health metrics now with greater accuracy than Galaxy Watch 4.

There’s also a Body Composition measurement tool as well as recovery data – including post-cardio heart rate after an intense workout**** – and customised recommendations on water consumption based on sweat loss*****.

Ramping up the wellbeing aspects of the watch are Sleep Scores that monitor stages of sleep, along with snore detection*v and blood oxygen levels as well as the ability to improve your sleeping habits with advanced Sleep Coaching.

One of the standout features of the watch is its SmartThings integration, which means that the watch automatically sets connected lights, AC units, and TVs to predetermined settings that make for an ideal sleep environment **V.

My favourite safety feature is the enhanced fall detection that ensures an emergency contact is notified if you or your loved one stumbles at home or falls out of bed ***V.

All of these features are impressive for such a well-designed, compact device and even more so when you take into consideration that it’s all packed in essentially the same body as its predecessor.

All these extra features haven’t compromised battery life but that doesn’t mean that it’s great. Despite including a 13% larger battery than the Watch 4, the Watch 5 is still unfortunately a device that you’ll need to charge every day.

Arguably my biggest gripe is that unlike the Watch 3 series, the Watch 5 (like the Watch 4) no longer works with iPhone. This is due to software but come on Samsung, having worked with Google on developing the software for Android smartwatches, you could’ve done something about this if you wanted to. Using a Samsung smartwatch with an iPhone could even be a gateway to converting iPhone users to join team Galaxy.

Speaking of things no longer possible with the Watch 5, I miss the rotating bezel found on the Watch 4 Classic. The touch sensitive bezel on the Watch 5 is ok but it’s nowhere near as great or as tactile as the physical rotating bezel. The Watch 5 doesn’t need a rotating bezel but it was one of my favourite ways to interact with the Galaxy Watch and a feature that I wish more companies had included on their smartwatches.

The biggest caveat of Samsung Galaxy smartwatches is that while they’re amongst the best Android smartwatches, you’ll only get access to their best features if you use them with a Galaxy phone.

Overall, the Watch 5 is a solid upgrade to the Watch 4 series, but one that’s more iterative than anything else. If you’re looking to get an Android smartwatch right now, there are few options better than the Galaxy Watch 5, especially if you’re using a Samsung phone. If you’re looking to save some cash and don’t need all the features of the Watch 5, get yourself a Watch 4 or hold out for the Galaxy S23 Unpacked event rumoured to be taking place in February 2023 and see if Samsung unveils the Watch 6 series which should see the Watch 5 to drop in price.

If you’re looking for a smartwatch that works across Android and iOS then I’d highly suggest the Fitbit Versa 4 which I named as smartwatch of 2022 in Business Day’s Wanted magazine.

Measured without health sensors.
2 Measured without strap.
3 Actual battery life may vary depending on network environment, usage patterns and other factors.
4 Wear OS Powered by Samsung works with phones running the latest version of Android (excluding Go edition and phones without Google Play Store). Supported features may vary between platforms and markets with compatibility subject to change.
5 LTE connectivity only available in LTE models.
6 Device activation is only available after connecting to a smartphone that supports Google Mobile Services. Compatible devices may vary by market, operator or device brand.

* These features are intended for general wellness and fitness purposes only. Not intended for use in detection, diagnosis, or treatment of any medical condition or disease. Availability of these features may vary by market or device. Requires Galaxy smartphone with Android 8.0 or later, 1.5GB RAM or more and the latest version of the Samsung Health app (version 6.22 or later).
** The Blood Pressure feature is only available in select markets. To ensure accuracy, users should calibrate their device every four weeks with a traditional blood pressure cuff. The BP app cannot diagnose hypertension, other conditions, or check for signs of a heart attack. This app can only be used for measuring in ages 22 and over. It is not meant to replace traditional methods of diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional.
*** The ECG feature is only available in select markets. The ECG app is not intended to replace traditional methods of diagnosis or treatment. The ECG app is not intended for users with known arrhythmias other than atrial fibrillation or users under 22 years old. Users should not interpret or take clinical action based on the device output without consultation of a qualified healthcare professional.
**** Due to market restrictions in obtaining approval/registration as a medical device, Blood pressure and ECG only works on watches and smartphones purchased in the markets where service is currently available (however, service may be restricted when users travel to non-service countries). Check out https://www.samsung.com/apps/samsung-health-monitor for more information and latest update on service markets.
***** Intended for general wellness and fitness purposes only. Not intended for use in detection, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring or management of any medical condition or disease. Any health-related information accessed through the device and/or application should not be treated as medical advice. Users should seek any medical advice from a physician. Do not measure your body composition if you have an implanted pacemaker or other implanted medical devices. Do not measure your body composition if you are pregnant. Measurement results may not be accurate if you are under 20 years old.

*V To record your snoring, wear your watch while you sleep and place your phone on a stable surface near your head, such as a nightstand, with the bottom of the phone pointed toward you.
**V Requires the latest versions of Samsung Clock mobile app (v. 12.1.10.5 or higher), Samsung SmartThings mobile app (v. 1.7.59.23 or higher) and SmartThings Framework mobile app (v1.4.1 or higher). Available on smart devices that are registered to SmartThings.
***V To notify an emergency contact, a network connection is required. GPS accuracy may be affected by obstructions to the satellite signal, such as buildings.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 – The Best Android smartwatch?
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
SmartThings connectivity, Enhanced fitness and health tracking, Fall detection.
The Good
Disappointing battery life, Samsung exclusive features, incompatible with iPhone.
The Bad
7.5

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