In my Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review, I called it the best smartwatch for Android users, and fortunately, most of it still holds true for its cheaper but equally competent sibling - The Galaxy Watch 5.
My expectations were modest for obvious reasons as I tested the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro before switching to the Watch 5. I had assumed that the less expensive Galaxy Watch 5 would provide an inferior experience, but wow, was I wrong. In fact, I’ve worn the Galaxy Watch 5 more often than the Watch 5 Pro, mostly because of its lighter weight, more comfortable design, and simpler interface (more on that later).
Despite being a minor upgrade to the Galaxy Watch 4, the Galaxy Watch 5 offers a refined experience that very few smartwatches in the Android space can match. Let’s start with the review.
More comfortable than Galaxy Watch 5 Pro but with a caveat
Unlike the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, which only comes in a 45mm case size, the Galaxy Watch 5 features a stunning AMOLED display and is offered in two case sizes: 40mm and 44mm. It is not just noticeably lighter than the Watch 5 Pro, but it also sits flusher with the skin, giving you a sense of security that I was unable to get from the Watch 5 Pro.
The Galaxy Watch 5’s housing is made of aluminum rather than the titanium that the Pro edition offers, but as long as you don’t accidentally bang your smartwatch up against a wall or anything else, the aluminum construction should hold up well to wear and tear. I haven’t noticed any wear on my device yet after testing it for about a month.
And that brings me to scratch resistance. Akin to the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, the Galaxy Watch 5 offers a sapphire crystal display that is magical at avoiding micro scratches. I’m yet to notice a scratch on my display, and mind you, I haven’t babied the watches. I put them through thorough testing and let everyday grime and dirt accumulate only to clean them at the end of the day. So, it’s safe to say that I’m very impressed with the durability both the watches offer.
The Galaxy Watch 5 offers a phenomenal AMOLED display with a peak brightness of 1,000 NITS, making it ideal to see even under the bright sun of Rajasthan. I simply loved the displays on Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro. In fact, I would rate the displays higher than the Apple Watch Series 8, thanks to noticeably sharper text and a much better colour rendition.
Unfortunately, Samsung did remove the physical rotating bezel that the older Galaxy Watch 4 Classic offers but using the touch bezel is alright. Samsung offers good haptic feedback to emulate a click, but the strength of the haptics compared to the Watch 5 Pro feels slightly muted.
Also, using the touch bezel on the Galaxy Watch 5 was far easier compared to the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, primarily due to the flat screen and no protective housing on the edges.
Overall, I quite like the design and build of the Galaxy Watch 5. With excellent tactile buttons, a comfortable watch band and a light footprint, the Galaxy Watch 5 Watch is ideal for my smartwatch needs.
Battery life: Good, but could be better
Despite lasting longer than previous iterations, the Galaxy Watch 5 offers noticeably less battery longevity compared to the Pro variant. But wait a second, if you haven’t experienced the battery life of the Pro variant yet, the battery life that the Galaxy Watch 5 offers is decent. I have the 44mm variant with a 410 mAh cell and as per my testing, the watch comfortably lasted me a full day with heavy usage (workout tracking and waking), and almost a day and a half with light to moderate usage.
Ideally, you’ll have to charge your Galaxy Watch 5 every 24hrs. If you choose to turn on the Always On Display, the battery life drops by nearly 4-5 hours on average.
Going by industry standards, the Galaxy Watch 5 offered me a slightly better battery life than the Apple Watch Series 7 45mm.
Samsung claims that you can fast charge the watch to roughly 45% in 30 minutes. I, for one, plugged the included magnetic puck into Apple’s 18W fast charger and got similar results. The watch was charged to 36% in less than half an hour. You don’t get a adapter in the box, and if you don’t have an adapter with a type-c input, you’ll have to buy separately.
Convenient Features make it the ideal smartwatch
Despite having a slew of sensors to track all kinds of metrics, the Galaxy Watch 5 is yet to receive an update that enables things like ECG and body temperature tracking. In my Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review, I stated that having the ECG sensor enabled could have saved me a trip to the hospital, but oh well, here’s to hoping that we get to see it soon once Samsung gets clearance from the Indian government.
Nevertheless, regular smartwatch features like workout and step tracking, measuring body composition, making and receiving calls are executed fairly well.
During my testing, I was also using the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, which is a dedicated fitness smartwatch for runners and athletes, and while the Galaxy Watch 5 doesn’t provide by the second heart rate, the metrics and overall data, matches the Garmin and that is a great indicator for the accuracy you can expect from the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
One UI 4.5 is a joy to use
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 runs One UI, with Wear OS 3.5 at the helm and Boy Oh Boy, it is one smooth smartwatch. The watch flies through everyday tasks and you get an experience that will keep reminding you that you are using a Samsung watch, not one based on Wear OS and I feel, that’s a good thing. Right from the setup process to syncing data with Google apps, the experience is seamless.
Replying to texts is also rather easy, thanks to the great in-built keyboard.
Verdict: If I were you, I’d pick the Galaxy Watch 5 over the Watch 5 Pro
Yes, it might be shocking to some of you, but despite the lower price and a comparatively barebones experience, I’d pick the Galaxy Watch 5 over the Watch 5 Pro if I were in the market for a new smartwatch to pair with my Android phone.
The Bluetooth version of the Galaxy Watch 5 costs Rs 27999 and Rs 30,999 for the 40mm variant and 44mm variants respectively, and Rs 32,999 and Rs 35,999 if you want LTE connectivity.
For the price, I feel, the Galaxy Watch 5 offers a better value proposition than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, and for most people, the shortcomings wouldn’t have an effect on justifying the extra money the Pro watch warrants.
Personally, I would choose the Galaxy Watch 5 due to its lighter, more comfortable design, which is a feature that very few smartwatches manage to achieve. The Galaxy Watch 5 is an easy option for you to consider if you can get beyond the lack of an ECG, put up with a somewhat lower but still respectable battery life, and mediocre watch faces, just like its more costly sibling. Anyone who purchases a Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 to use with their Android phone ought to have a great time.
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