Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Professional Assessment: Smartwatch + Health Watch = a Excellent Combine
There is a lot to love concerning the $450 Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Professional. No longer best does it have all of the trimmings of a smartwatch, nevertheless it provides additional sports activities purposes that athletes would possibly need — and for just about part the cost of another outside watches with identical development just like the $900 Garmin Epix 2. It additionally has a harder design and larger battery than the common Galaxy Watch 5. Simply do not be expecting it to be a real outside watch that you’ll tackle multi-day adventures, for the reason that battery existence is not as sturdy as the contest.
- Excellent middle charge accuracy right through exercises
- Large collection of apps during the Play Retailer
- Battery lasts longer than Galaxy Watch 5
- Tricky development
Do not Like
- Dim always-on show right through outside exercises
- Pores and skin temperature sensor no longer lively but
- Restricted restoration metrics
- Just one 45mm dimension
Each the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Professional are Samsung’s second-gen Galaxy watches operating Put on OS 3. Till we see the brand new Pixel Watch and a spread of long-promised watches additionally at the new platform, they are the most efficient Android watches you’ll get.
However the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional best is available in one 45-millimeter case dimension, which may well be too large for smaller wrists. Notice that even supposing that is an Android watch, a few of Samsung’s key well being options require a Samsung telephone to make use of.
Tricky design with a cumbersome are compatible at the wrist
The Watch 5 Professional is tougher than the common Galaxy Watch 5. It has a raised rim across the display, titanium development and more potent sapphire crystal glass at the display. With an IP68 score, it is usually dust- and water-proof. Whilst I have never intentionally dropped it or attempted to scratch it, I have taken it on a dusty motorbike experience, scuffed it in sand on the seashore and lifted weights that banged up in opposition to the watch. It nonetheless appears to be like emblem new, however best time will inform how it could get up in harder environments reminiscent of development websites.
It best is available in one 45mm dimension, which makes it harder for the ones with smaller wrists to put on, in contrast to the 40mm and 44mm choices at the common watch. I have worn greater watches sooner than — the Garmin Epix 2 involves thoughts, with its hefty 47mm body. However for folks with even smaller wrists than mine, it is going to more than likely be too large and in all probability too heavy at 76 grams (2.6 oz.) with the incorporated magnetic buckle strap. I am upset that the watch’s cumbersome design will inherently restrict its attraction. However the 1.4-inch AMOLED display is vivid, sharp and presentations Put on OS (and Samsung’s One UI interface) in the most efficient mild.
As a substitute of a bodily rotating bezel, the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional comes with a marginally bezel that allows you to navigate menus along the touchscreen and aspect buttons. It is more straightforward to make use of at the Watch 5 Professional in comparison to the common Watch 5 on account of the Professional’s raised edge. You’ll nearly relaxation your finger in opposition to it as you “flip” the bezel. It is nonetheless no longer as exact as having a bodily bezel that clicks into position, particularly if in case you have rainy or sweaty palms — which turns out inevitable if you are truly the use of this look forward to its sports activities functions.
I will be able to see why Samsung opted to take away the bodily rotating bezel, given it is some other shifting section that might probably get broken or jammed if you are the use of this watch in difficult environments. However I nonetheless pass over having that possibility and really feel Samsung can have made different compromises as a substitute. As an example, I may just believe the use of the interior rim of the raised edge as a small rotating bezel as a substitute.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Professional makes use of the similar processor as final 12 months’s Galaxy Watch 4, moderately than the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 chip. Efficiency is snappy for essentially the most section and the watch quite a bit apps temporarily, even though there have been a couple of events when the raise-to-wake used to be somewhat gradual in comparison to the common Galaxy Watch 5. There is an LTE variant to be had that prices $499, even though I have never examined that type.
It stocks the very same Put on OS platform and consumer interface because the common Galaxy Watch 5, which makes use of Google apps along Samsung services and products like Samsung Well being. You’ll learn extra about apps and capability in my complete assessment of the Galaxy Watch 5.
Galaxy Watch 5 Professional monitor again and sports activities modes
Each Galaxy Watch 5 variations can monitor greater than 90 workout sorts and will auto-detect positive exercises like operating, swimming and elliptical after 10 mins of job. However the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional has a couple of extra sports activities options. Do they warrant this watch’s “Professional” identify? Possibly.
The primary is monitor again. This works with hikes and outside biking, serving to direction you again on your get started level at the similar trail. Simply swipe over to the settings cog, in finding monitor again and the watch will display a map on display along with your present location, turn-by-turn steerage and distances. The trail you traveled to reach at your present location is proven in blue, and it is overlayed in inexperienced as you get started navigating again. It is simple to make use of, with the watch both humming or offering audible notifications when you want to make your subsequent flip. It routed me again house on precisely the similar trail I hiked in on once I attempted it out on a path I have by no means taken sooner than. Possibly a long term tool replace may just carry this to different outside GPS exercise sorts like runs and walks, as it is a useful characteristic.
You’ll additionally import routes to the watch and get turn-by-turn navigation. It best works with hikes and motorbike rides nowadays, however it is truly simple to import a GPX record. I exported a prior experience from Strava and uploaded it to the Watch 5 Professional in seconds from the Samsung Well being app. Like monitor again, the map (which makes use of Google Maps) appears to be like nice at the display and it is simple to view. You’ll additionally export routes you might have performed at the watch from the Samsung Well being app, too.
The Samsung Well being app best supplies two recommended routes for biking and climbing, simply in case you have no routes of your personal stored but, however they are based totally in New York and London, so no longer tremendous useful if you do not reside in both of the ones towns. However I do not thoughts for the reason that mapping interface is cleaner and more straightforward to learn than another sports activities watches I have used because of Google Maps. The watch additionally provides turn-by-turn navigation, which is able to information you thru a direction with voice, vibrations and on-screen signals.
Some of the track back and mapping features on this watch aren’t new to the world of dedicated running watches — even watches that cost half as much. But it doesn’t really feel like Samsung is trying to position this watch to be a replacement or direct competitor with the likes of higher-end Garmin watches anyway. If you’re a serious athlete, you’d want more in-depth analysis and features than what the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro can provide with its first-party workout apps.
Also, the always-on display is pretty dim when you’re in direct sunlight. I had to squint in a couple situations to see elapsed time or my pace, which prompted me to stop and tap the screen to wake it up to check my stats. Fortunately, I didn’t have any issues with visibility indoors or in shaded conditions.
Sensor accuracy is great for workouts, but temperature is TBD
I tested the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s optical heart rate sensor against a chest strap to see how it would fare through a range of cardio workouts.
For an outdoor bike ride, which involves extra variables like bumps in the road and more arm movement that you wouldn’t get on a stationary bike, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro did a good job keeping close to the readings from the chest strap. There were only two small intervals during the almost 2-hour workout where it deviated slightly from the control sensor, as you can see in the chart below. For a more steady cardio walkout like a regular walk, the watch also did a good job of sticking close to the heart rate monitor. Unlike some other running watches, you can’t pair an external heart-rate monitor with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
GPS accuracy is really good on both Galaxy Watch 5 models. I had no issues locking on to a signal within 5 seconds in San Francisco, either with or without a phone in range.
The infrared sensor is what sets the Watch 5 series apart from last year’s models. But it’s not active yet and we don’t have an ETA on when it will get switched on via software update. Samsung says it will be used nightly while sleeping. Competitors like Fitbit and Oura use the infrared sensors on their devices for skin temperature tracking during sleep. It gives more insights into whether or not you may be running a fever, or to give insight into menstrual cycles.
This isn’t the first time a wearable has been launched without a key feature or sensor active. Fitbit’s Charge 5 launched without its key daily readiness score active, and the ECG on Samsung’s earlier Galaxy Watch 3 was unlocked about a month after launch once it received FDA clearance. I’m disappointed that we don’t have too much extra detail about how Samsung or third-party developers could use this temperature sensor yet, because it’s the main new feature of both Galaxy Watches. I hope at the very least when it does launch that it shows nightly sleep temperature trends like those other wearables I mentioned.
Most of the other health features and sensors remain largely unchanged from the Galaxy Watch 4. You still get that bioimpedance sensor to measure body composition, plus a blood oxygen sensor and ECG. But to use the ECG and blood pressure sensor (only available in select countries), you will need to pair with a Samsung Galaxy phone.
I’ve had mixed results from the blood oxygen sensor, which tends to read a little lower than both a pulse oximeter and other wearables, especially at night. At times, I’ve had both the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro say my lowest blood oxygen level was anywhere from 80 to 87% which is particularly low and could indicate signs of sleep conditions like sleep apnea. No other wearable has ever given me such low readings, especially when I charted the same night’s sleep with both the Fitbit Charge 5 and Oura ring. Blood oxygen sensors are generally not medically cleared, so take their readings with a grain of salt and always consult a medical professional for proper guidance. I’ve reached out to Samsung about the mysteriously low readings and will update this review when I hear back.
Recovery metrics are the missing piece of the puzzle
One of the biggest advantages of wearing a smartwatch in recent years is learning more about how your body recovers after a workout or from illness. There are limited recovery metrics available in Samsung Health and on the watch itself, including a sleep score and stress readings that don’t really tell you much beyond a scale of high, average or low. What does that mean? It’s up to you to work that out.
You can also track sweat loss after an outdoor run, plus recovery heart rate when you set body composition targets. But again, the onus is really on you to interpret this data, and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro doesn’t go as far as the competition in making all this easy to understand.
Garmin offers the Body Battery, which takes into account heart rate variability, sleep and activity levels to determine if you can push yourself to do another workout or should take it easy. Similarly, Fitbit has the Daily Readiness Score that also gives you suggested workouts to do based on your score. Even if the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro had a recovery time metric to let you know how long your body needs between workouts, that would be better than nothing.
The biggest battery on a Galaxy Watch, but I want even more
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has the biggest battery from the 2022 range at 590 mAh. Samsung claims it can last up to 80 hours in total with regular use, or 20 hours with GPS. I did a 2-hour hike with airplane mode active to ensure I was using GPS-only, and the battery dropped by just 10% even with the always-on display active. That’s promising performance, and under those conditions the watch would meet the 20-hour claim with GPS alone. (I wasn’t quite ready to do a 20-hour hike to test continuous drain.)
With regular usage, including phone notifications, always-on display, sleep tracking, continuous heart rate monitoring and a 1-hour GPS workout every day, the Watch 5 Pro lasted for 2.5 full days, or a little over 58 hours. That’s better than last year’s Galaxy Watch 4 range, but nowhere near similarly priced competitors like the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, which can reach a week or more between charges. Samsung claims a maximum of 80 hours of use under normal conditions, which you might meet if you do fewer outdoor workouts and turn the always-on display off.
Fortunately, both the regular Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro support faster charging and can reach 45% charge in 30 minutes. I tested this with the Watch 5 Pro and recharged from flat to 42% full in half an hour. It takes a little over 2 hours for the watch to fully juice up from flat. But you need a 25-watt USB-C charger to take advantage of this faster charge speed and, just like the Apple Watch, there’s no charging brick included in the box.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro can also take advantage of reverse wireless charging if you have a Samsung phone, but it’s tricky to get the watch to lie flat with the magnetic buckle strap, so I usually end up relying on the included charging puck.
Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: ‘Pro’ in name, almost enough in practice
Samsung has a legacy in sports watches, including the Gear range. But it feels like the company could have gone one step further in making this a true fitness watch with even more sports features. That said, this is a really strong smartwatch with a durable construction to suit casual athletes or anyone who needs a tougher wearable.
So it’s easy to recommend the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro if you’re looking for an Android watch that skews more to being a true smartwatch with a few sports features thrown in, rather than a fitness watch. I’d also pick this over the regular Galaxy Watch 5 simply because it has better battery life.