Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 series offers evolution, not revolution

The watch wants to become a fitness coach on your wrist.


We’ve known since early July that Samsung was preparing a gentle upgrade to its Galaxy Watch series this time around. After all, the Watch 4s were the first to get the new-and-improved WearOS after Google and Samsung decided to collaborate on its development. Consequently, the words of the day are evolution and refinement on the Watch 5, rather than anything too gee-whizz, with better sensors used to drive better data, and therefore give you a clearer picture of your overall health.

Both watches, for instance, get a reshaped back design with a larger surface area for better contact with your wrist. Samsung says the tweak will offer more accurate readings for your vital statistics, alongside a new infrared temperature sensor which can measure the ambient heat as well as what your skin’s throwing out. The BioActive sensor which drives many of the health features on the watch first made its debut on the Watch 4, but Samsung says the data it provides is far smarter now.

For instance, users can expect to see snapshots of their overall health, as well as personalized workouts that’ll help them get closer to their goals. Hell, you’ll even get recommendations on how much water to drink when you’re cooling down, based on how much sweat the watch thinks you’ve produced during your efforts. Similarly, a month-long guided sleep program is designed to help you get better rest (and will tailor your home accordingly if you’ve got the right gear).

The watch crystal has been swapped out for a tougher, sapphire crystal glass that Samsung says is significantly stronger than its predecessor. The batteries in both the 40mm (284mAh) and 44mm (410mAh) Watch 5 models are bigger, and both will get enough juice to track eight hours’ of sleep with just eight minutes on the charging pad. Both will run Wear OS 3.5, with One UI 4.5 sat on top, which has already been floating around for about a month or so at this point.

Image of the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro

Of course, Samsung also has a watch just for the more serious adventurers among us, the Watch 5 Pro. The big difference between the Pro and its vanilla siblings is the materials used in its construction, with a titanium body and a sport band. What the Pro has going for it otherwise is its bigger 45mm display and its longevity, since there’s a 590mAh battery nestled inside. You’ll also get some smarter navigation features for when you’re out and about and want to rely on your watch when your sense of direction might not cut it.

Now, let’s talk price. The Watch 5 will set you back $280 for the 40mm Bluetooth version, and $330 for the LTE model. The Watch 5 Pro, meanwhile, costs $450 for Bluetooth, and $500 if you want LTE thrown in for your trouble. All models are available for pre-order today from Samsung, Amazon and other retailers. If you’re the sort of person who has opinions about averages, tees and, uh, I’ve run out of Golf terms, you can also get a Galaxy Watch 5 Golf Edition. That ships in the same case sizes as the regular Watch 5s, but you’ll get a different strap, custom Golf-themed faces and an unlimited subscription to the Smart Caddie app thrown in.

Samsung is also throwing in a bunch of retail incentives for pre-order customers, including a Wireless Charger Duo if you lay down cash early for a Watch 5 Pro. It’s expected to hit store shelves on August 26th, and the company adds that you can also use Samsung’s bespoke studio to customize your phone and watch styles if you’re looking for something a bit more personal.

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