Thursday, Dec 08, 2022

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Review: A Solid Android Smartwatch With Google’s Smarts

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Review: A Solid Android Smartwatch With Google’s Smarts

The Watch 5 is far cheaper than the Watch 5 Pro (at ₹44,999) but comes without all the bells and whistles

Thanks to its insanely good battery life and striking looks, the Galaxy Watch 5 from Samsung has been overshadowed by its sibling, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. At a starting price of ₹27,999, the Watch 5 is going to be the one leading the brigade heading into the festive season. 

The Watch 5 is far cheaper than the Watch 5 Pro (at ₹44,999) but comes without all the bells and whistles. It’s a minor update from the Galaxy Watch 4. The Watch 5 does have some new features, to its credit, like the improved sleep tracking and skin temperature sensor (not available yet), that give it some weightage over its predecessor. 

The Galaxy Watch 5 doesn’t raise the bar over its predecessor but does it do enough to justify its place in a seemingly crowded smartwatch market? Let’s find out. 

What’s new about the Galaxy Watch 5: 

Let’s start the review by talking about some of the changes that Samsung has brought about in 2022.  

The Watch 5 comes with a flat top case (unlike the raized bezels on the Watch 5 Pro) but comes with sapphire crystal on top for much-improved scratch resistance. Then there’s the larger battery on both the 40mm (284mAh) and 44mm (410mAh) models. 

Just like the Watch 5 Pro, the Watch 5 comes with much-improved sleep tracking and a skin temperature sensor that hasn’t currently been enabled. Finally, the Watch 5 Pro gets Bluetooth 5.2 (an upgrade from version 5.0 on its predecessor). 

What’s good with the Galaxy Watch 5: 

Samsung and Google is the partnership we’ve all been waiting for. To finally see it shine through with the Watch 5 series is a huge relief. Galaxy smartwatches of the past came with spectacular hardware but were held back by their software (and lack of easy access to Google apps). All that changes with the partnership. 

Pair Samsung’s top-of-the-line hardware with Google’s software and you have a winning combo. Having access to the Play Store, instead of the Galaxy Store, makes a world of difference.[Text Wrapping Break] 

The Galaxy Watch 5 may look like its predecessor but the weight and feel are worlds apart. Thre’s the same Exynos W920 processor, 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Turn the smartwatch around and that’s where the difference is. The Watch 5’s bottom has been flattened out to make it more comfortable to wear for longer periods. It also helps improve the contact between the health sensors and your skin. This, in turn, means that the various readings are much more reliable.

The 44mm model comes in at 33.5g, while the smaller 40mm variant weighs just 28.7g. With a solid build quality and sleek looks, the Galaxy Watch 5 fits the bill for both a run, as well as an informal get-together in the evening. It’s also a much more digestible size for most, unlike the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro that is “too big and bulky” for some out there. 

The partnership between Samsung and Google shines through in day-to-day performance. The OS is very responsive to any number of swipes I throw at it daily. The haptics also gets a thumbs up as they are subtle but do their job. 

The best part about the Watch 5 is the easy access to Google apps as I mentioned above. The fact that I could replace the Bixby and Samsung Pay shortcuts with Google Assistant and Google Play got my attention. I can also install plenty of apps in a jiffy as the Watch 5 provides easy access to the Google Play Store. It’s a familiar feeling more than anything. 

One last thing I’d like to talk about is the fact that Samsung has finally embraced the fast-charging tech on its smartwatches. It’s seriously a comfort knowing that I’d seldom run out of battery as I can juice it up in a flash. 

Samsung claims that you can charge the Watch 5 from zero to 45 percent in just 30 minutes. For me, it took slightly over 30 minutes, which is quite good. A full charge took me about 85 minutes. This helped with battery anxiety and also allowed me to track fitness and sleep for longer periods. 

Something is missing with the Galaxy Watch 5 

Top of the list of where the Galaxy Watch 5 doesn’t live up to the mark is concerning battery life. The battery life on the Galaxy Watch 5 is strictly decent. For my usage patterns, I had to reach for the charger once every 24 hours. It’s even worse if you keep the always-on-display on and/or have Google Assistant set to “always listen”. 

My usage patterns include constantly checking my notifications, tracking a workout daily, constantly skipping to the next song and more. The battery life comes nowhere near to the Watch 5 Pro and that’s a shame. If you’re coming from an Apple Watch though, then you’re in for the surprise of your life. The Watch 5 easily outshines the Apple Watch in terms of battery life. 

The other thing that keeps the Galaxy Watch 5 from being truly great is the fact that you need a Galaxy smartphone to use some of the high-end features. You can’t monitor your blood pressure or ECG if you’re using a non-Galaxy Android smartwatch. 

Less of importance, but still something that needs to be mentioned is that the Galaxy Watch is incompatible with an Apple iOS smartphone. 

Verdict: Is the Galaxy Watch 5 for you? 

With the lack of many Wear OS 3 smartwatches on the market, the leader of the pack is clear. There is the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro smartwatches from Samsung and the Montblanc Summit 3. The latter costs much more than the Samsung smartwatches. Mobvoi is coming up with its latest TicWatch and Google with the Pixel Watch, but how good they are, is to be seen. 

It’s clear to me that Samsung is pushing consumers towards the Watch 5 Pro, with its exclusive tracking features and its crazy good battery life. That being said, the Watch 5 is a pretty good Android smartwatch for most people. From the latest Wear OS 3 software, the durable Sapphire Glass, and new and improved sleep tracking features, the Watch 5 does have a lot going for it. 

If you’re coming from the Watch 4, then there is little to no need to upgrade. If you own anything older than that, then the Watch 5 becomes much more attractive. 

On its own, the Watch 5 does prove to be one of the best in the market. It retails at a much more affordable cost, comes with some of the latest features, and looks good both for workouts and evening get-togethers. If you’re in the market for an Android smartwatch, then the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro should be on top of your list.  

Figure out your use case and you’ll instantly know which one to go for. All the talk is rightfully with the Watch 5 Pro as it is the battery champ (something that is deeply important to smartwatch users) in today’s market.