There’s so much to love in regards to the $450 Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Professional. Not solely does it have all of the trimmings of a smartwatch, however it provides additional sports activities capabilities that athletes might want — and for nearly half the worth of another out of doors watches with related building 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 count on it to be a real out of doors watch that you could tackle multi-day adventures, as a result of the battery life is not as sturdy because the competitors.
- Good coronary heart price accuracy throughout exercises
- Broad number of apps by way of the Play Retailer
- Battery lasts longer than Galaxy Watch 5
- Robust building
Do not Like
- Dim always-on show throughout out of doors exercises
- Pores and skin temperature sensor not lively but
- Restricted restoration metrics
- Just one 45mm measurement
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 variety of long-promised watches additionally on the brand new platform, they’re one of the best Android watches you will get.
However the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional solely is available in one 45-millimeter case measurement, which is likely to be too large for smaller wrists. Observe that despite the fact that that is an Android watch, a few of Samsung’s key well being options require a Samsung cellphone to make use of.
Robust design with a cumbersome match on the wrist
The Watch 5 Professional is extra sturdy than the common Galaxy Watch 5. It has a raised rim across the display, titanium building and stronger sapphire crystal glass on the display. With an IP68 score, it is also dust- and water resistant. Whereas I have never intentionally dropped it or tried to scratch it, I’ve taken it on a dusty bike trip, scuffed it in sand on the seaside and lifted weights that banged up in opposition to the watch. It nonetheless seems to be model new, however solely time will inform the way it would possibly get up in harder environments reminiscent of building websites.
It solely is available in one 45mm measurement, which makes it harder for these with smaller wrists to put on, in contrast to the 40mm and 44mm choices on the common watch. I’ve worn bigger watches earlier than — the Garmin Epix 2 involves thoughts, with its hefty 47mm body. However for individuals with even smaller wrists than mine, it’ll most likely be too large and probably too heavy at 76 grams (2.6 ounces) with the included magnetic buckle strap. I am disenchanted that the watch’s cumbersome design will inherently restrict its enchantment. However the 1.4-inch AMOLED display is shiny, sharp and reveals Put on OS (and Samsung’s One UI interface) in one of the best gentle.
As an alternative of a bodily rotating bezel, the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional comes with a contact bezel that allows you to navigate menus alongside the touchscreen and aspect buttons. It is simpler to make use of on the Watch 5 Professional in comparison with the common Watch 5 due to the Professional’s raised edge. You may nearly relaxation your finger in opposition to it as you “flip” the bezel. It is nonetheless not as exact as having a bodily bezel that clicks into place, particularly if in case you have moist or sweaty palms — which appears inevitable when you’re actually utilizing this look ahead to its sports activities capabilities.
I can see why Samsung opted to take away the bodily rotating bezel, given it is one other transferring half that would doubtlessly get broken or jammed when you’re utilizing this watch in robust environments. However I nonetheless miss having that possibility and really feel Samsung might have made different compromises as an alternative. For instance, I might think about utilizing the internal rim of the raised edge as a small rotating bezel as an alternative.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Professional makes use of the identical processor as final 12 months’s Galaxy Watch 4, fairly than the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 chip. Efficiency is snappy for probably the most half and the watch hundreds apps shortly, although there have been a couple of events when the raise-to-wake was a bit of sluggish in comparison with the common Galaxy Watch 5. There’s an LTE variant out there that prices $499, although I have never examined that mannequin.
It shares the very same Put on OS platform and person interface because the common Galaxy Watch 5, which makes use of Google apps alongside Samsung companies like Samsung Well being. You may learn extra about apps and performance in my full evaluate of the Galaxy Watch 5.
Galaxy Watch 5 Professional observe again and sports activities modes
Each Galaxy Watch 5 variations can observe greater than 90 train varieties and might auto-detect sure exercises like operating, swimming and elliptical after 10 minutes of exercise. However the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional has a couple of extra sports activities options. Do they warrant this watch’s “Professional” title? Perhaps.
The primary is observe again. This works with hikes and out of doors biking, serving to route you again to your begin level on the identical path. Simply swipe over to the settings cog, discover observe again and the watch will present a map on display along with your present location, turn-by-turn steering and distances. The trail you traveled to reach at your present location is proven in blue, and it is overlayed in inexperienced as you begin navigating again. It is easy to make use of, with the watch both buzzing or offering audible notifications when it is advisable to make your subsequent flip. It routed me again house on precisely the identical path I hiked in on after I tried it out on a path I’ve by no means taken earlier than. Perhaps a future software program replace might carry this to different out of doors GPS exercise varieties like runs and walks, as it is a useful characteristic.
You can even import routes to the watch and get turn-by-turn navigation. It solely works with hikes and bike rides in the intervening time, however it’s very easy to import a GPX file. I exported a earlier trip from Strava and uploaded it to the Watch 5 Professional in seconds from the Samsung Well being app. Like observe again, the map (which makes use of Google Maps) seems to be nice on the display and it is simple to view. You can even export routes you have achieved on the watch from the Samsung Well being app, too.
The Samsung Well being app solely offers two urged routes for biking and climbing, simply in case you have no routes of your individual saved but, however they’re primarily based in New York and London, so not tremendous useful when you do not reside in both of these cities. However I do not thoughts as a result of the mapping interface is cleaner and simpler to learn than another sports activities watches I’ve used due to Google Maps. The watch additionally gives turn-by-turn navigation, which may information you thru a route with voice, vibrations and on-screen alerts.
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.
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