One minute review
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is Samsung’s latest and possibly best smartwatch to date. As befits the new “Pro” distinction, the watch is bigger and better than the rest of the Watch 5 line, with a bigger battery, more powerful capabilities and exclusive features.
The Watch generally uses this newfound power to add more fitness credentials, with additional GPS features, including new route generators for endurance training, and a reinforced case that ensures the 5 Pro is fully aimed at the adventurers and athletes.
Otherwise, the Watch retains all of its younger sibling’s more holistic health kits, including improved sleep tracking and body composition, alongside great smart functionality thanks to Wear OS, take and receive calls, music controls, and an Exynos W920 dual-core 5nm chipset that powers the whole thing. At this early stage, it certainly seems like everything you want in a fitness-focused Wear OS watch.
Enthusiastic about all the stuff that will be released during Samsung Galaxy Unpacked? Check out our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: price and availability
The watch was unveiled as part of Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event on August 10, where it launched alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 foldables, as well as the standard Galaxy Watch 5 and the new Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is available for pre-order ahead of the Watch’s August 26 release date, along with the other devices in Samsung’s lineup.
In the US, it costs $449 for the Bluetooth version and $499 for the LTE 4G version. Compared to $279.99 for the Bluetooth version of the standard Watch 5 and $329.99 for LTE, that’s a big leap forward in design quality, bigger battery and improved GPS features.
In the UK, the Watch 5 Pro will cost £429 (Bluetooth) and £479 (LTE).
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: design
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is a great looking device. The first thing you notice is the screen: it’s bright, crisp and we found it buttery smooth to swipe through. It’s a large 1.36-inch display surrounded by a raised bezel on the titanium case to protect the watch from impact. It certainly took up a lot of real estate on our wrists, but considering someone was wearing fat Garmins, it didn’t feel unnatural. The sapphire crystal glass and titanium case is also said to be twice as durable as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, making it equipped for adventures.
Fittingly, for Samsung’s strongest watch yet, the raised bezel gives it a rugged feel, adding to its otherworldly character. The silicone strap with a hinged d-buckle strap is also exclusive to the Watch 5 Pro as this sporty strap is not available with the standard Watch 5. It’s a practical piece of equipment and it looks sleek with the Black Titanium colorway watch we’ve tested, but we expect leather straps for more social occasions to be on the way in the near future.
The Watch 5 Pro is IP68 water resistant, so it can be submerged for over 30 minutes at depths over a meter. This is a step up from many regular smartwatches and adds to the watch’s fitness credo. Your Garmins, Suuntos, Amazfits and even Casio digital watches should all withstand the rigors of seawater, whether you’re trying your first triathlon or going surfing for an hour with some friends. The Watch 5 Pro can effectively join those ranks.
The UX is also satisfactorily designed. The watch comes with a range of different face options, the familiar heart-shaped equivalent of the Apple Watch’s activity rings, and even the activity profiles offer little animations when selected, which is a nice touch. For example, the little stick figure runs when the ‘running’ profile is selected and swims when you swipe to the next activity size. The two buttons on the watch side are not only there to echo Garmin, but also act as sensors, allowing bioelectrical impedance analysis scans to be performed by pressing your fingers against them for a minute. More on this later.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: Features
The Watch 5 Pro offers a wide range of health products, beyond the standard model. Exclusive to the Pro is the GPS “route training” feature, which allows you to plan your route (which you can share with your friends to run the same route together at different times, comparing times as if you were racing).
The route workout function offers turn-by-turn navigation thanks to haptic vibration signals so you don’t have to look at your watch while running and cycling, and Track Back to avoid getting lost. Simply activate Track Back and the watch would guide you back to your starting point via the safest possible route.
It all sounds very Garmin, and it’s nice to see features like this on a Wear OS watch. We obviously didn’t get a chance to test these features during our brief hands-on with the watch, so we’re looking forward to really putting the Watch 5 Pro to the test over some long runs.
What we were able to look at was the watch’s body composition, which is said to have improved since the Watch 4’s introduction. This is the aforementioned bioelectrical impedance analysis scan, the same method that smart scales use to determine your body composition. . Simply place your fingers on the buttons and start the function on your phone, sending a current of electricity through the body, at different rates through fat, muscle and bone. The current calculates these speeds and estimates the ratio of fat, muscle and bone in your body. This time, you can set body-comp goals, and the watch helps you stay motivated and achieve those goals through exercise reminders, activity tracking, and regular BIA tests. The BIA sensor was very easy to use and gave me a reading very quickly during my first tests. I’d like to compare it to some smart scales to really measure the accuracy of the function.
Both the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro also get improved sleep tracking: As is common with most smart fitness watches, the Watch 5 and Pro both monitor your sleep in terms of how much time you spend awake, in REM, light and deep sleep, and provide you with a total “sleep score”. The watches also regularly measure blood oxygen levels and monitor your snoring.
What I’m really impressed with, though, is that unlike many of its contemporaries, Samsung gives you actual guidance to improve your sleep, rather than simply overloading you with data. Assigning you a sleep profile represented by a cute animal (coincidentally, just like Fitbit’s new feature), it offers 28-day sleep coaching programs with “daily missions”, which use your sleep analysis report to help you with processes to improve your sleep.
I’ve wondered before about the use of sleep tracking data without actionable advice, so it’s a good move to use the data to make a positive change. There was no word yet on what the actual “sleep missions” might involve, other than adjusting your bed/wake times.
Otherwise, the watch offers all the usual bells and whistles, such as notifications, accept/reject calls, and even automatic fall detection. Third-party apps can be accessed easily enough from the Play Store, and up to 16GB of RAM is enough to store enough music.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: battery life
The Watch 5 Pro offers a 60% larger battery than the Watch 4, thanks to a 590mAh battery, compared to the Watch 5’s maximum 410mAh for the 44mm version. What that means in terms of the watch’s time between charges is about 80 hours, essentially double that of the Watch 5.
However, if you take full advantage of the always-on display and increased power of the GPS and activity tracking tools, we’re just not sure if that impressive figure will pass in testing. Stay tuned for a more comprehensive overview once we spend more time with the watch.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: early verdict
After using the watch for less than an hour, we can’t tell you whether you should buy it or not. But at a glance, it looks like the best fitness-focused Wear OS watch yet, though it’s certainly not cheap. It clearly has the power and chops to outperform any of its contemporaries and goes with the Apple Watch in terms of performance, if not quite style.
With rumors of a rugged Apple Watch 8 on the horizon, it’s interesting that Samsung got there first with the adventure-focused Watch 5 Pro. But will true outdoor enthusiasts ditch their Suuntos and the best Garmins en masse and embrace Wear OS? We’ll have to spend more time with this watch to find out.