The Galaxy Watch 5 is quiet, stylish, and very smart. Everything about it is impressive, from its ability to run third-party apps to its fitness features. The main problem is that the battery only lasts one day, so if you don’t want to charge it every night, you should get the Pro or something less smart.
If you’ve used a Galaxy Watch 4 before, you’ll feel right at home with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. Even though the 4 and the 5 are similar, people who are upgrading from a Galaxy Watch 3 or earlier will enjoy the differences, with the 5 feeling like a really shiny and new toy. Watch 4 users won’t notice the change as much.
The Galaxy Watch 5 is a powerful smartwatch that runs Google’s Wear OS. It came out at the same time as the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Z Fold 4, and the new Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. That means it comes with a lot of apps and works well with your phone, though not as well as the Apple Watch.
The Watch 5 comes in two sizes and a lot of colors, just like the Watch 4. We tried the 40mm option, which was smaller. You can also get the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, which has a longer battery life and is built to last longer.
The Galaxy Watch 5 brings back the distinct, modern look of the Watch 4, which came out last year. But everything is very different if you’re coming from a Galaxy Watch 3 or Watch 4 Classic. You can’t see a rotating bezel; instead, you use an invisible digital bezel around the screen to control things.
If you’re new to the Galaxy Watch line, the main screen is on one side of a polished metal disc, while the heart rate monitor and other health sensors are on the other side. The polished disc looks great next to the brushed aluminum frame, which holds it in place and also holds the two buttons on the right and the arms that connect the watch body to the bands.
The 40mm model comes in Graphite (black), Pink Gold, or Silver, while the 44mm model swaps Pink Gold for Sapphire (a muted mid-tone blue). With Samsung’s Bespoke service, which you can find on samsung.com, you can choose from a lot more than just these four colors.
Bespoke is a service that lets you mix and match straps with the watch body. It’s not just for wearables, though. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 lets buyers customize their foldable. After picking a case color for the Watch 5, you can choose from a variety of bands. There are 11 Sports Band colors (the Sports band is the default band that comes with the Watch 5), two D-Buckle Sports Bands (the default band type that comes with the 5 Pro), a Global Goals band, a Hybrid Leather Band, Ridged and Extreme Sports Bands, and a Milanese Band.
The silicone band on the Watch 5 is also good for hairy wrists, and its always-matte finish keeps it from pulling on the skin. For someone who has never worn a smartwatch before, the Watch 5 is a comfortable way to start. It’s not too big, and it stays in place with the default Sports Strap.
Both sizes of the Watch 5 have circular Super AMOLED screens. The 40mm model has a 1.19-inch screen, while the 44mm model has a 1.39-inch screen.
At 330ppi, it’s a little sharper than the Apple Watch 7. It’s interesting that Samsung didn’t go with a square or rectangular design like most of its competitors, like Amazfit’s GTS series, Huawei’s Watch Fit, and Fitbit.
The display on the Watch 5 is very good. It can get as bright as 1,000 nits, which makes it easy to see outside, and the fun watch faces from Samsung make it look lively and full of life. In fact, the whole interface is made up of brightly colored elements on top of deep blacks that blend into the bezel. This makes for an interesting interface.
The big change in the Watch 5’s screen is not in its technology, but in the materials it is made of. Samsung says that it uses a sapphire crystal that is 60% stronger than the cover glass on the Watch 4, and as we’ve already said, after a few bumps, it seemed strong enough for us.
Google and Samsung are still finding their way in the smartwatch market with their Wear OS 3 watches. The operating system has more apps and features than semi-smartwatch competitors like the Huawei GT 3, but it doesn’t have the same level of polish as Apple’s watchOS.
Samsung’s interface is called “One UI Watch,” and if you’ve used another smartwatch, you’ll find it easy to use. Swipe to the left to see your notifications, and keep swiping to the right of the watch face to see your tiles. These are like rich widgets that give you a look at an app or feature or a quick way to get to the whole thing.
Swiping from the top of the watch lets you quickly change settings, and swiping up brings up your apps tray, just like on an Android phone. If you want to change the face of your watch, you can either long-press it or use the app on your phone.
As for the smartphone app(s), you’ll need to download the Galaxy Wearable app to sync the Watch 5 with your phone. Even though the Watch 5 runs Google’s Wear OS, the Wear OS app won’t work with it.
If you don’t have a Samsung phone, you can get Galaxy Wearable from the Play Store and use it to pair and customize your Watch 5’s smart features. Still, you’re not done. Before you can really use your wearable, you’ll need to download a different app, Samsung Health, to use any of its health tools. You’ll also need the Watch 5 Plugin.
You know about the little black dress, right? This is the little black watch. It’s simple, clean, and classy, so it goes with everything. The Samsung Galaxy Watch is the Apple Watch of Android. It runs Wear OS, so it has better app support than the Huawei GT and Amazfit GTR series. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is not a sports watch in the usual sense. Its battery won’t last through a triathlon. Still, it has powerful fitness-tracking features, so if you run a 10k every other day and go to the gym every other day, it could be perfect for you.