I don’t snore. Or so my Galaxy Watch5 Pro tells me. You see, there’s very little it can’t do. From measuring BMI to making calls and almost everything in between, it does it all. Samsung was one of the early entrants into smartwatches and fitness trackers, and its latest flagship, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro is a seriously loaded wearable. I tried out the smartwatch for a few days and here’s my opinion on what all works in its favour, and what doesn’t.
The Galaxy Watch5 Pro comes in a titanium case, and feels classy right from the get-go. The chunky 45mm case features a magnetic clasp attached to a grey silicone strap. Silicone bands might be sporty and work well for outdoor activities, but don’t usually feel premium. Thanks to the magnetic clasp mechanism though, Samsung has been able to add some class to the sportiness. And despite the large size, the Watch5 Pro isn’t too heavy either.
The 1.4-inch, 450 x 450 pixel Super AMOLED display is a visual treat. It gets very bright and is legible under harsh sunlight as well. It’s quite responsive to the touch, and since it’s surrounded by raised borders of the case, stays protected from corner knocks and bumps. The screen is covered with sapphire crystal, so should be able to keep scratches at bay too.
The Watch5 Pro runs Wear OS infused with Samsung’s own Tizen OS. Thanks to the Google Play Store and support for Wear OS, one gets access to the plethora of watch faces and other apps available for the platform. The watch doesn’t work with iPhones unfortunately, and you’d need to download the Galaxy Wearable app and Samsung Health on your Android smartphone (Samsung phones have the requisite functionality and apps baked in) to configure the watch and sync health data.
Unfortunately, the Watch5 Pro doesn’t come with the rotating jog dial its predecessors were known for, but you do get a digital one which works in a similar fashion and allows you to scroll through lists and menu items by running your finger along the edges of the display. And thanks to the brilliantly-implemented haptics, the device gives you the impression of using a physical jog dial. Other than that, the usage is swipe driven and you can use the two side buttons to jump to the Home Screen or go back, or access Samsung’s Bixby smart assistant via a long press.
I have the LTE model of the Watch5 Pro with me, and this baby comes with eSIM functionality that can handle calls without a paired smartphone. But even if you choose to go for the Bluetooth model, you’ll get the full gamut of smart features like Bluetooth calling, built-in GPS, access to turn-by-turn navigation on your wrist via Google Maps, local storage and direct playback for music and photos, and all the usual functions like weather, alarms, stopwatch, timer, calendar, voice notes etc. The watch displays notifications from smartphone apps dutifully and you can even reply to some of them using preset messages, using the tiny onscreen keyboard or voice dictation.
Health and fitness features
As Samsung’s flagship wearable, the Watch5 Pro hardly leaves any stone unturned when it comes to offering a full bouquet of health and fitness features. Of course, you can expect all the usual ones such as a step counter, sleep tracker, heart rate monitor, etc, support for a bunch of different activities and auto workout detection. There’s also a bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor that measures body fat percentage, BMI, skeletal muscle etc — all useful metrics.
Another noteworthy aspect is the ability to make use of GPX files. These files typically contain GPS location info, waypoints etc, and the Watch5 Pro can use these to guide you on a hiking or cycling route. However, getting hold of GPX files that you can really make use of isn’t super-easy, and fitness apps like Strava use premium tiers to let users create these. You do have the option of exporting your existing workouts in the Samsung Health app as GPX files and import them onto the watch (or share them with other Watch 5 Pro users), with the functionality being limited to hiking and cycling modes. I’m not too sure how useful all of this is at the moment, but it’s a step in the right direction, and hopefully, the functionality can be made more useful for users in the future.
What’s not so good
No ECG and skin temperature
Despite everything the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro brings to your wrist and all the functionality it offers, it misses out on ECG and skin temperature features, leaving a bit of a void in its all-roundedness. Whatever the reason might be, it’s time Samsung sorted this out and make sure its flagship smartwatch doesn’t leave out any feature that makes it feel weaker than the competition.
The Watch 5 Pro is a chunky device, and while that bodes well for those who like big and thick watches, its bulk makes it uncomfortable to wear to bed. Maybe it’s just me, but I did find it a tad difficult to use it to track my sleep patterns just because of this.
The strap with its magnetic clasp looks great, is both sporty and premium, and is easy to wear and remove too. However, it isn’t so easy to adjust its tightness on the fly, unlike conventional bands that use the pin-and-hole mechanism. Basically, if you want to loosen the strap quickly (say, while getting into bed), or tighten it (while taking BMI or SpO2 readings), the clasp mechanism it uses doesn’t make it easy to do so.
With my usage, which involved default settings, keeping the always-on display feature off, keeping the watch paired with my smartphone all day, and using it for 30-minute workouts daily, I got about 3 days of use out of it before needing to charge it again. It’s not too bad, but with AoD on and longer workouts, the battery life can dip substantially, so this is something that does need improvement.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro will set you back by Rs 44,999 for the Bluetooth model, and if you want to make use of LTE, be ready to spend Rs 49,999 on it. Features like ECG and skin temp measurement would be great to have, but the fact is, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is already a very loaded wearable without those. It looks great on the wrist, comes with a lovely AMOLED display, and packs almost all the features one wants in a flagship lifestyle smartwatch. While Apple continues to raise the bar with its Apple Watch each year, Samsung sets the benchmark for smartwatches for Android users, and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Solid build and premium looks
- Gorgeous AMOLED screen
- Wear OS app ecosystem
- Misses out on ECG & skin temp
- Battery life could be better