It’s been a while since I reviewed a Samsung watch. In fact, the last Samsung watch I used was still on the older TizenOS. So, when the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro arrived for review, I was interested to see how this would perform and more importantly, I was keen to try out WearOS as well. This year, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is meant for those who want a more rugged smartwatch from Samsung, with better battery life, and durability. It also commands a more premium price of Rs 44,999 for the GPS-only version. The LTE + GPS variant I have for review is Rs 49,999. But is the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro worth the money? Here’s my review.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: What’s different?
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has a Sapphire Crystal display (the watch only comes in a 45 mm size) and a Titanium body. The Watch 5 Pro also gets a bigger 590 mAh battery compared to the 410 mAh on the Watch 5 (44 mm size). The Watch 5 Pro will also support the ability for ‘route-based’ workouts where a user can import GPX format files from their phone and get turn-by-turn directions during a hike. This is a feature aimed at those who spend a lot of time hiking or going on long bike rides.
There’s also a temperature sensor on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, but it appears this cannot be used at the moment. There’s no fixed purpose for this, though perhaps Samsung might activate the sensor later on. It also comes with the more BioActive Sensor from Samsung which can measure heart rate, etc. But again the ECG feature is not yet available in India, which is disappointing. It is still a mystery why Samsung has not yet rolled this out in India.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: What’s good?
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro will definitely appeal to someone looking for a premium smartwatch. It also comes with a different ‘D-Buckle Sport Band’, which has a magnetic clasp system for a better fit. I have to admit, it took me a few tries to figure this out I am not used to the system, but most users who have a regular premium watch with such a system should have no trouble. But this band definitely is more premium compared to what I used from Samsung in the past. I just wish Samsung had another band size option in the box itself. The in-box band is a larger size for someone with my bony wrists, but thanks to the magnetic clasp, I’ve been able to use the watch without too much discomfort.
The touchscreen display on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is a bright AMOLED one. I kept the brightness to a bare minimum when using this indoors and it is visible outdoors as well. Remember, if you keep the Always-On display turned on at all times, it will consume more battery.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro comes with two dedicated buttons; the top one has a red accent to it. With the lower button, you can go back, while the top button is the Home Key and the power key. A long press also activates Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant.
Most of the navigation on the watch can be handled by swiping left, right, up and down on the touchscreen. Swiping up from the bottom will open up all the apps. You can download apps like Spotify, Google Maps, etc and also access new Watch Faces, if needed, from the Play Store itself. From a smartwatch perspective, there’s a lot to offer here. I could easily use Spotify from the Watch itself but had to connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones. The Watch 5 Pro has a speaker and with LTE connectivity you can make calls directly from this.
I used the watch with the Galaxy Z Flip4 and it connects to the Samsung Health and Galaxy Wearable app. The fitness data can be seen on the Health app. The Wearable app can be used to access more Watch Faces, tweak the watch’s Quick Panel for some of the settings, etc. You can also adjust which tiles appear when you swipe right on the watch from the home screen.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro delivers quite well on the fitness front. The step count is very accurate, in fact, an improvement on what I’ve seen from Samsung in the past. I also used it for swim sessions as well and the watch was spot on when it came to the exact lap count. While I could not go ‘hiking’ with the watch, I did use it for a few long weeks and short runs. The watch shows a vast amount of data, including heart rate zones, after an exercise session, which will appeal to folks who are more into fitness.
But the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has more to offer than just accurate fitness. You can also use the Watch to track sleep and whether you are snoring. However, for this snoring data to be detected you will need to keep the phone to which the watch is connected near where you sleep. I did keep it near me for one night, but it showed no snoring data. I’m assuming I’m not a snorer, despite what my spouse insists. The sleep data it records was also accurate in my experience, though given the size this is not a comfortable watch to wear to one’s sleep.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro will also measure your body composition-showing just what percentage of body fat, BMI, fat mass, skeletal muscle, etc you are carrying. The data is in line with what I’ve seen from other weighing scales—the fat percentage is certainly right I would say. But measuring the body composition requires you to place the middle and ring finger on the two buttons and stay still while keeping the armpits open. It took a few tries to get this right because Samsung wants you to ensure that the fingers only touch the buttons and no other part of the watch, which can be difficult to achieve.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro also has options for blood oxygen monitoring which did give me a scare when it showed 93 per cent initially. But the next round of measurements showed 96 per cent so I’m guessing it was a temporary glitch.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: What’s not good?
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s battery is big at 590 mAh but if you’re pushing it with lots of activities, you will be lucky to get a day’s worth of battery life. I noticed the day I went swimming in the morning and for a quick 10-minute walk in the evening, the watch was down to 10 per cent by end of the day. Do keep in mind, there are minimal notifications on the watch since it is not connected to my primary device. And if you keep LTE on, then the battery might drain faster. The Watch 5 Pro also takes forever to charge. I used a 20W charger with this, but prepare to put aside 2-3 hours to get this to 100 per cent.
I also noticed that there were times when the Watch 5 Pro’s response time was a bit slow. For instance, when I wanted to search for apps on Google Play Store and tapped on the Search symbol, the keyboard took that extra few seconds to appear. At times, the Watch had a distinctly slower response to the touch commands, though this was not always the case.
Finally, it is disappointing that some of the more premium features such as ECG are not yet available in India. Also, the fact that there’s a temperature sensor but it doesn’t yet do anything seems like a missed opportunity.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: Should you get it?
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro commands a premium price with the LTE version for nearly Rs 50,000. For those looking to get a premium Wear OS smartwatch, beyond the Apple universe, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro remains a solid option in the market.
But you need to be sure that all of the features packed in here are something you require in a smartwatch. This watch is not meant for every user, and the price point also ensures that distinction. If you’re someone who is in sports, hiking in a big way, and also want all the smart features that a Garmin might not offer at times, then the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro fits the bill.