Galaxy Watch5_Feature shot

Samsung Galaxy Watch5 – building on a good thing (review)


While on first looks the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 doesn’t appear all that different than its predecessor, the Watch4, there’s more beneath the skin including a new sensing capabilities, improved durability, longer battery life and a host of other improvements. We spent a week with the Galaxy Watch5 on our wrist to test out its new features, not to mention some fitness and sleep tracking.

Details: Samsung Galaxy Watch5

Price (RRP)Bluetooth only: $449 (40mm), $549 (44mm), Bluetooth + 4G: From $649
Product web pageSamsung Galaxy Watch5
Warranty2 years
Country of manufactureVietnam
AboutSamsung is a South Korean multinational conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It is the world’s largest Android smartphone maker

Look and feel

The first thing that stood out to us about the Watch5’s appearance is the large and bright circular display. It’s certainly roomy at 1.2 inches and the graphics and text are pin sharp. The screen is housed in a new sapphire crystal glass which Samsung says is 1.6x more scratch resistance.

Otherwise, the Watch5 has an attractive style that doesn’t try too hard, and feels slim and comfortable on the wrist. Ours had a brushed silver aluminum case with white silicone sports band, and this paired nicely with the silver buckle. There are two sizes – 40 and 44mm – along with four colours to choose from including Graphite, Silver, Sapphire and Pink Gold. The Sappire case is only available in 44mm and Pink Gold only comes in the 40mm size. There are plenty of colourful watch faces to choose from, and these can even be matched with the colour theme that you have on your Galaxy smartphone.


In terms of connectivity, there are both Bluetooth + Wi-Fi and Bluetooth + Wi-Fi + 4G options to choose from, with the latter priced about $100 more.

Otherwise, the case has an IP68 rating, meaning it’s dust resistant and can manage 5ATM of water immersion. The bottom of the watch is curved to have more contact with your skin, which is presumably also better for the various biometric sensors.

This includes a heart rate sensor, 3-in-1 BioActive Sensor (for heart rate, blood oxygen, body composition, etc). The latest addition for the Watch5 is a skin temperature sensor, however, it will be enabled “some time soon” via a software update. This sits in stark comparison to the new Apple Watch Series 8, which also has a temperature sensor that is enabled, so it’s odd to introduce a new feature this way.

Fitness and health

Many will choose a smartwatch because of its GPS and fitness tracking capabilities, and the Galaxy Watch5 has this covered. There are 90 workout activities including but not limited to walking, cycling, running, exercise bikes, treadmills, indoor and outdoor swimming, circuit training and weight machines. Some of the workouts include form guides as well coaches that provides suggestions along the way, such as the running coach. There are also auto-pause sensing which will stop the timer when you stop, say at the traffic lights, and automatically resumes when you start moving.

A really nice function is the automatic exercise tracking feature the senses when you start walking or running so you don’t miss out on closing your rings, even if you forget to start the exercise. It might take about 7 or 8 minutes to sense a brisk walk, for example, but then starts tracking and adds your elapsed time.

And of course your heart rate will be monitored during exercise as well as periodically throughout the day. The Watch5 uses either an optical sensor for heart measurements including blood pressure or its built-in ECG. The ECG uses and electric circuit to provide a more accurate heart reading and pairs with the Samsung Health Monitor app for reviewing and sharing your results.

We wore the Galaxy Watch5 on one wrist and the Apple Watch Series 8 on the other during a stationary bike workout. The heart rates were reasonably comparable, with the Watch5 reporting 110 beats per minute and the Apple Watch saying 106.

You can also check your body composition levels with the BioActive sensor, which is a handy way to keep an eye on things like body fat, bone mass, skeletal muscle weight, body water, etc. While the accuracy is a little questionable, as the results are a little off my Withings Body+ smart scale, it’s still useful information for keeping track of significant changes.

Better sleep

A new addition to the Galaxy Watch5 is enhanced sleep tracking and advice. The idea is that, based on your personalized sleep analysis, you are presented with a sleep score and practical advice about how to improve it. The sleep trainer will even assign you one of 8 sleep animals that represents your sleep type.

You’ll need to wear the watch for 5 nights in order to get a baseline, which is the same as the Apple Watch Series 8’s sleep tracker. Once you establish a baseline, you can see interesting stats (on your Samsung phone) such as time spent snoring, respiratory rate, time in REM sleep, blood oxygen (Sp02) and when you wake. We assume that temperature tracking will be added into the mix once available, and, if like on the Apple Watch Series 8, this could indicate health issues and predict ovulation via the Glow: Fertility app.

Interface and apps

Samsung’s latest smartwatches run Google’s Wear OS 3.5 operating system, rather than the Samsung-developed Tizen OS, which is still used on some fitness trackers and found on the Galaxy Watch3 and earlier. With Wear OS, Samsung then layers its own interface on top, called One UI, which adds a new look and more interoperability with Samsung’s products including its Galaxy smartphones Galaxy Buds.

The benefit of this is that you get access to Google’s services such as Gmail, Maps and Google Assistant should you want it, along with Samsung’s own services. Also, the Watch5’s interface is slick, responsive and a pleasure to use. While the physical rotating crown bezel from older Samsung watches is gone, you can still operate it in a similar fashion by swiping round the screen to access the different menus.

There’s actually been a recent update to the One UI, which is now version 4.5. According to Samsung, the new features include a “fuller typing experience, an easier way to make calls and a host of new intuitive accessibility features

And if you’re switching from a Galaxy Watch4, you can now use Samsung’s SmartSwitch migration tool and retain all of your data, however, if you have an older Tizen-based watch, you’re out of luck.

Battery life

When it comes to smartwatches, there’s a delicate balance between capability and battery life. More features tend to draw more power, and a watch is no good to anyone if it can’t last a day. It’s good to see that the Galaxy Watch5’s battery is 13% larger than the Watch4, with 50 hours of charge time, and it can now reach 45% charge with just 30 minutes of time plugged in. In real world use, the battery life will vary depending on what you’re doing, such as if you are a marathon runner and tracking your time and distance for hours, this will sap a lot of power. The same can be said if you are sleep tracking as well as wearing the watch during the day. For us, we managed nearly 2 full days between charges, but not without needing to set it in low power mode about 5PM on the second day. Still, it’s good that you can charge the watch to near half battery level in less than half an hour, so it’s easy to pop it on the magnetic charger for a bit while you’re cooking dinner or having a shower, for example. Another option would be switch off the always on display, but this would be a shame once you get used to having it on.

GadgetGuy’s take

The Samsung Galaxy Watch5 is an excellent smartwatch. While an incremental improvement over the previous Watch4, the net result is a class-leading combination of design, comfort, holistic health tracking and multi-day battery life. However, its tight integration with Samsung Galaxy phones means it’s not for everyone, especially iPhone owners, and Google’s launch of the Pixel Watch means that there’s new competition on the block in the Android space. We’re also not sure why the new Temperature sensor is included but not yet enabled.

Galaxy Watch5 Specifications

Type:Galaxy Watch5
Screen Size:44mm
ColourGraphite, Silver, Sapphire
SensorsPedometer, Heart Rate Monitor (optical + ECG/electrical) GPS, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro Sensor, Ambient Light, Compass
Water ResistantIP68 Compatibility
ConnectivityWi-Fi, Bluetooth
Operating SystemWear OS 3.5
ProcessorExyonos W920 (Dualcore, 5nm)
Battery LifeUp to 40 Hours
Dimensions (mm)Height: 43.3, Width: 44.4, Depth: 9.8
Weight. (g)32.8
Additional FeaturesWireless Charging, Sleep Coaching, Women’s Health Tracking, Personalised Tracking & Analysis
In The Box:Galaxy Watch 5, Charger

More smartwatch news and reviews on GadgetGuy

Samsung Galaxy Watch5
There's little to object to with Samsung's latest Watch5, as it offers an impressive combination of style, comfort, health tracking and Google app support.
Value for money
Ease of use
Almost 2 days worth of battery life
Bright, large and easy to view screen (44mm model)
Google Wear OS means it works with Google Assistant and Google apps
Sleek design, lightweight and comfortable to wear
New temperature sensor is nice to have but won't be available until later via a software update
No iPhone support, as opposed to older Samsung smartwatch models
It's really a watch for Samsung smartphone owners who will get the most out of the features