Galaxy Watch 5 Review: Pros and Cons

Galaxy Watch 5 Review: Pros and Cons

The Galaxy Watch 5 from Samsung can easily be considered one of the best smartwatches in 2022 and even in the next two years. It is reasonably priced. The device also complements a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. It also has a slew of features and functionalities that make it both a smartwatch and a sports watch.

Pros of Galaxy Watch 5: What Can You Do With This Smartwatch and Why Should You Get One?

Samsung announced its Galaxy Watch 5 on 10 August 2022 and made it available in retail stores on August 22 alongside the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. It succeeds the Galaxy Watch 4 and offers new upgrades to its health and fitness applications.

This smartwatch is powered by a dual-core Exynos W920 clocked at 1.18 GHz and based on the Cortex-A55 architecture. It also runs the WearOS dedicated operating system for wearable Android devices and the specific One UI Watch interface of Samsung. There is also 1.5GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage based on flash memory.

Key sensors make it a true smart wearable device. These sensors are for heart rate monitoring, bioelectrical impedance analysis or BIA, and skin temperature, as well as a specific accelerometer, barometer, gyro sensor, geomagnetic sensor, and light sensor.

The Galaxy Watch 5 is also a communication device. The non-cellular version has Bluetooth 5.2, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, near-field communication, and several global positioning components. The cellular version has the same communication components in addition to a dedicated component for 4G/LTE connectivity via an eSIM.

Health and Fitness Features: From Tracking Workouts, Vital Signs, Body Composition, and Sleep

One of the biggest selling points and advantages of the Galaxy Watch 5 is its multitude of features and functionalities for tracking workouts, biometrics, and sleep using the sensors mentioned above. It is a capable health and fitness device.

For starters, it can track over 100 workouts. These include tracking simple activities such as steps and specific workouts such as running and cycling to more complicated workout movements such as push-ups and bicep curls. The device can also provide form guides and track heart rate, calories burned, and workout duration.

The multiple sensors represent one of the defining features of the Galaxy Watch 5. Samsung collectively calls them “BioActive Sensor” and it powers the sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen measurement, blood pressure monitoring, electrocardiogram, and body composition analysis features of this device.

Note that even the Apple Watch Series 8 and the Apple Watch Ultra do not have blood pressure monitoring and body composition analysis capabilities. The specific feature for analyzing body composition is powered by its BIA sensor.

The device can essentially measure bone density, body fat percentage, and water retention, as well as the body mass index and basal metabolic rate of its user. BIA works by firing a small electrical current that moves through bone, fat, and muscle. It measures body composition based on the rate at which the electrical current travels through the body.

Sleep tracking is another strong point of this device. The system monitors different phases of sleep including REM, Light Sleep, and Deep Sleep while also providing insights about the sleep type of its user and tips to create healthier sleep habits.

Overall Design and Display: Classic Overall Look and Feel With Durability Considered in Its Built-Quality

The Galaxy Watch 5 borrows several design principles used in the Watch 4 and previous generations of the Galaxy Watch. It looks both classic and contemporary at the same time. The sleek design makes it a conventional wristwatch.

It is also available in 44mm and 40mm. The 44mm model with a 1.2-inch screen is available in graphite, silver, and sapphire color variants while the 40mm with a 1.4-inch screen is available in graphite, silver, pink, and blue. The entire chassis is made from aluminum while the OLED display components are protected by a sapphire crystal display.

This smartwatch is also durable. Note that sapphire crystal is stronger than glass. It also provides better transparency. The entire device is also water-resistant with a rating of up to 50 meters of underwater depth under the ISO standard 22810:2010.

A selection of watch faces makes this device highly customizable. There are faces that mimic the design of an analog watch. Some have a modern look and feel similar to digital watches. This smartwatch may look athletic to some but the versatility of adding watch faces from the selection of watches faces can give it an added layer of character.

The device also comes with a silicone strap based on the chosen color option. There are also other straps to choose from. Samsung and third-party manufacturers sell straps of different designs and materials such as nylon and leather.

Note that the decision to retain the round OLED screen is also an interesting point to discuss. Apple Watches have been using rectangular screens while devices from Huawei and Fitbit are going to the same rectangular-orientation route. A rounded screen gives the Galaxy Watch 5 a more familiar feel reminiscent of classic wristwatches.

The bottom of the main disc has a curvature that has been reshaped to increase its surface area. It now fits the wrist more naturally and comfortably. The increased skin contact from the larger surface area also improves the accuracy of sensor readings.

All-Around Wearable Device: Functionalities for Communication, Entertainment, and Productivity

A user can do a lot of other things with his or her Galaxy Watch 5. Samsung uses its One UI Watch interface placed on top of Android WearOS. It has a richer user interface and provides a user with an intuitive user experience.

The availability of several apps is another strong point. These include Spotify, Google Assistant, YouTube Music, Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter, and Samsung Pay, among others. It is a true smart wearable device that makes it either a standalone device or a perfect companion for Galaxy smartphones and other Android smartphones.

Both the Spotify and YouTube Music apps can be used to control the main apps running on a smartphone. Note that Spotify has an option for downloading tracks for offline playback through the built-in speaker of the smartwatch itself or paired wireless headphones.

Using social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on this device makes it a more portable device for browsing social networking sites, consuming content, connecting with online social contacts, and checking notifications. This device can be used to browse the internet or perform online-enabled queries via Google Assistant.

Remember that the Galaxy Watch 5 is a communication device for sending and receiving calls and messages. The non-cellular model pairs with a Galaxy smartphone or other Android smartphone while the cellular model is a standalone device.

Interacting with the user interface is similar to gestures and interaction inputs used on Android smartphones and tablets. For example, swiping down from the top of the screen would reveal quick toggle icons while swiping up from the bottom would open the apps tray. Long-pressing an app or area would open a sub-menu with additional options.

This smartwatch is also a perfect companion for the Samsung Health app that comes preinstalled in most Samsung Galaxy smartphones. The app allows a particular user to maximize to full features and functionalities of the Galaxy Watch 5.

Cons of Galaxy Watch 5: Why You Should Not Buy One and What Options Are Available For You?

Samsung claims that this new smartwatch has a 13 percent bigger battery than the Galaxy Watch 4. It also supports fast charging with an estimated 30-minute charge time from 0 percent to 45 percent using a 25 watts power adapter. A full charge would take about 2 hours or less depending on the remaining charge and internal and external temperatures.

However, despite claiming improvements in battery performance, battery endurance is one of the disadvantages of the Galaxy Watch 5. This device struggles to remain operational on a single charge for more than 18 hours under above-average usage.

Several users have also raised concerns about the accuracy of its biometric sensors. However, for its blood pressure measurement and body composition analysis, it is important to note that it is impossible for this device to achieve 100 percent accuracy. Individual and environmental factors can also affect the preciseness of its sensors.

The skin temperature sensor remains deactivated as well. Samsung noted that it would activate this feature in future upgrades and once relevant apps are available. The Apple Watch Series 8 and Watch Ultra have a working skin temperature sensor.

Another notable drawback of the Galaxy Watch 5 and a reasonable deal-breaker is that it is optimized for Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Users can still pair it with other Android smartphones but they would not be able to use its full features and functionalities without the Samsung Health app which is exclusive to Samsung smartphones.

The difference between this newer Galaxy Watch and the previous Galaxy Watch 4 is also minimal. Both smartwatches have the same health and fitness features. Of course, the newer one has the most improved system and overall reliability.

Several users of previous Galaxy Watches would find the absence of a rotating bezel to control the navigation of the user interface a big disappointment. This bezel had set these previous smartwatches apart from their competitors. The newer generations now use a digital bezel that replicates the feel and function of the physical rotating bezel.

However, the digital bezel can appear poorly implemented. It tries to mimic the experience of a physical bezel through haptic feedback but the overall feel is not the same. The digital bezel also eats a sizeable amount of the screen real estate.

Verdict and Final Thoughts: A Rundown of the Critical Pros and Cons of Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is still one of the best smartwatches for 2022 and its longevity can extend in the next 2 years. You should definitely buy it if you are coming from a Galaxy Watch that is two or more generations older, if you are a former user of those semi-smartwatches from other brands, or if this is your first time to own one.

Remember that the biggest strength of this device is that it is an all-around smart wearable that has relevant health and fitness features in addition to functionalities for communication, entertainment, and productivity. The classic and modern design of this smartwatch also gives it a more neutral look and feel that makes it easier to match with different outfits.

Of course, if battery life is important to you because you are always outside most of the day with little time to spare for charging, then this smartwatch is not for you. Another reason not to buy the Galaxy Watch 5 is if you are a non-Android user or even a Samsung smartphone user. This device is best paired with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

Posted in Articles, Science and Technology and tagged , , , .