Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is tethering on the verge of being too big. At 45mm, the Watch 5 Pro may be the right size for me but may not be for other potential customers. Some people I’ve talked to say that the Watch 5 Pro is a tad too big for their liking. Some may describe the Watch 5 Pro as “big and bulky” but it’s actually “smaller” than the fitness watches - from the likes of Garmin - it is competing against. The Watch 5 Pro will appeal to those with medium-sized wrists or those who dig the oversized look.
The Watch 5 Pro, offered in only one 45mm size, is Samsung’s latest rugged smartphone for the Android crowd. It’s got Google’s Wear OS 3 smarts and a Qualcomm chip under the hood.
At ₹44,999, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro doesn’t come cheap but does enough to differentiate itself from the Galaxy Watch 5 base model. It does have a bigger battery than its sibling, the regular Galaxy Watch 5. It also has a tougher (stronger sapphire glass) and a more rugged (titanium build) design for those who like to take their smartwatch on many adventures. The Watch 5 Pro comes with a fancier magnetic buckle strap (which took longer to get used to than I’d have liked) and some exclusive tracking features.
A tough design that is lighter than its predecessor
Samsung’s smartwatches of the past featured the iconic rotating bezel. For 2022, that’s been done away with. The Watch 5 Pro has a new sapphire glass display and a concave transition from the glass up to the edges. This helps with swiping up and down. Samsung has chosen sapphire glass to prevent the display from getting scratched. It does add to the thickness though. The Watch 5 Pro gets an IP68 rating, meaning it’s dust and water-resistant. It weighs a hefty 76 grams (2.6 ounces), which again, may not be to everyone’s liking.
The touch bezel (that replaces the physical rotating bezel) is there to help you navigate the menu. You can either rotate to navigate or swipe up and down. There are also two buttons on the right-hand side; home and back. It’s easy to rest your finger against the raised case to “turn” the bezel. Not as accurate as a physical bezel, but it does the job.
The new buckle design is much more secure than any other I’ve tried before on a Galaxy Watch. It took me ages to figure out how to adjust it and close the buckle, but once I did, I never felt at any moment that it would unbuckle and fall off. It’s a soft silicone band which feels quite comfortable on the skin. You have to adjust it by sliding open the latch, fitting the band and then locking in the latch.
The downside is that Samsung is using the same processor as last year’s Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung could have opted for the new Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 chip, but alas, they didn’t.
A gorgeous AMOLED display
We all know that Samsung’s smartphone displays are the best in the business. This translates over to the 1.4-inch Super AMOLED display on the Watch 5 Pro. It’s simply gorgeous with brilliant colours, crisp text and a seamless touchscreen experience.
Tapping and swiping on the Watch 5 Pro was a flawless experience. I never noticed any delays and lags, except once or twice, and the watch faces popped out at all times.
How is Wear OS on a Galaxy Watch?
The Watch 5 Pro may still have bits and pieces of Samsung’s Tizen OS but the smartwatch is proudly rocking Google’s Wear OS. The latter makes the watch much better than it would have been otherwise. I was a huge fan of Tizen OS on the previous editions of the Galaxy Watch, but having Wear OS just makes things that much easier on a day-to-day basis. Having access to Google apps is a major boost for the Galaxy Watch and that is something I don’t say lightly.
Previously, I would not have Google Maps, Google Assistant (having to rely on Bixby), Gboard (you can have a keyboard for your watch), Google Fit, and so much more. These are some of the most used apps by Android smartphone consumers and having access to them on the Watch 5 Pro is a game changer.
Open the app store on your Watch 5 Pro and you’re greeted with many watch-compatible apps, and the list only grows day by day.
Wear OS isn’t perfect, but layered with Tizen OS features, make this the best software on any non-Apple smartwatch out there.
Using the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro as a daily activity tracker
I found the Watch 5 Pro to be mostly accurate whenever I would go for a long walk or turn in for a snooze after a long day. The Watch 5 Pro can track up to 90 exercises, a lot of which can be auto-detected after just 10 minutes of activity.
The Watch 5 Pro has some exclusive sports features that separate it from its sibling, the Watch 5. There’s track back that works with hikes and outdoor cycles. This helps you route back to your starting point on the same path. The watch shows you a map on the screen with your current location and turn-by-turn navigation on how to get back to the starting point. It’s very easy to use and a welcome feature if you’re the one going to places you’ve not been to before. One hopes that this feature is brought to other outdoor GPS workouts like walking or running.
In terms of daily tracking, I found no issues tracking my walks or my sleep. The new and improved heart rate sensor is welcome and quite good. Sleep tracking has also been vastly improved for the Watch 5 Pro. The new sensor can track your skin temperature overnight but Samsung hasn’t yet said when this will become functional.
The Watch 5 Pro’s GPS also locked in on a signal within 15 seconds. Quite impressive, if I may say so.
A day out and about in Mumbai
I was in Mumbai for about a week attending an event and then just working out of various cafes. At 590 mAh, this is the biggest battery ever in a Galaxy Watch. Samsung rates it at 80 hours of regular use or 20 hours with GPS. I tested both claims and they were fairly accurate.
With my regular usage, I was able to eke out a little over three days of battery life. With a minimum of 1-hour GPS workout every day, constant heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and many notifications, I was able to get around 72+ hours of usage. No matter where in Mumbai I would go, having to not reach for a charger daily was a welcome relief.
The Watch 5 Pro doesn’t last nearly as long as some of the competition - Garmin Venu 2 Plus - but it's a welcome upgrade from last year’s models.
The Watch 5 Pro supports fast charging and can reach 45 percent charge in just 30 minutes. To fully juice up the Watch 5 Pro takes a little over two hours. A 25-watt USB-C charger is needed to make use of the faster-charging speeds, and unfortunately, there’s no charging brick included in the box.
What’s not to like
To my surprise, the only major downside to the Watch 5 Pro is the Always-On-Display. I’ve had two major issues with it on my Watch 5 Pro. First, it doesn’t always stay on. Even if it does stay on, the screen is too dim to be used in direct sunlight. So when you’re on a long walk or run, even checking the time becomes a pain.
Second, and much more importantly, is that the always-on-display kills the battery. I’ve noticed a reduction of up to 12 hours and more when the always-on-display has been turned on. That’s half a day of battery wiped out with a feature that ideally should be using lesser power.
GPS tracking also is a major drain on the Watch 5 Pro. 1-hour of GPS tracking kills about 10 percent of the battery.
Verdict: Is the Watch 5 Pro from Samsung the one to buy?
For Android users, there’s nothing better on the market than Samsung’s Watch 5 Pro. The gorgeous AMOLED display is Samsung’s USP here. The D-Buckle band (once you get used to it) is comfortable, looks great, and stays in place at all times.
The battery life has been vastly improved from last year's model, and easily beats any Apple Watch on the market (besides the Apple Watch Ultra, which I’m yet to try).
It may not be the best fitness smartwatch out there but for any average consumer out there, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro can do it all and then some more. It may not be ‘Pro’ enough for some people out there but I think the Watch 5 Pro has all the makings of a top-tier smartwatch. With many promised updates from the company (Samsung is one of the few companies to deliver timely updates), the Watch 5 Pro’s future looks bright.
Android users needn’t look at Apple’s Watch anymore. They’ve got a top-of-the-line smartwatch thanks to Samsung. The Pixel Watch from Google launches in a few days and that’s one to watch out for. For now, though, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro from Samsung is the best watch for Android users. Period.