Samsung has two new smartwatches this year. The first is the Galaxy Watch 5, which carries over most of the features of last year's Galaxy Watch 4. The second is the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, which replaces the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, and seems like a deliberate attempt at pre-empting Apple’s long-rumored “rugged” Apple Watch Series 8 “Pro”.
Like the other devices announced at Samsung’s Unpacked event today, these new Wear OS smartwatches are refinements rather than genuinely new takes on the space. But the improvements should still be meaningful for anyone looking for better durability or battery life out of their smartwatch.
Galaxy Watch 5 — The biggest functional change to the Galaxy Watch 5 will likely be how Samsung has reshaped its multi-purpose “BioActive” sensor. The back glass of the smartwatch now appears rounder, with a wider surface area Samsung says should offer better skin contact and even more accurate readings.
A new skin temperature sensor — a feature that Apple has reportedly also been exploring for the Apple Watch — means the Galaxy Watch 5 can unlock additional health insights as well. Look to devices like the Oura Ring for some clues at what’s possible. For now, Samsung is highlighting the same “advanced sleep coaching” and snore tracking it included in its previous smartwatches.
Rounding out the technical improvements, Samsung is using a stronger and more scratch-resistant sapphire crystal for the front and back of the Galaxy Watch 5, a 13 percent bigger battery with the ability to fast charge to 45 percent battery in 30 minutes, and IP68 dust and water resistances. Samsung is also boasting that 8 minutes of fast charging can power the Galaxy Watch 5 for up to 8 hours of sleep tracking.
Design-wise, the Galaxy Watch 5 isn’t all that visually different from the Galaxy Watch 4. There are two sizes: a 40mm option with a 1.2-inch display, available in Pink Gold, Graphite, or Silver, and a 44mm version with a 1.4-inch display, available in Sapphire, Graphite, or Silver.
Bluetooth-only Galaxy Watch 5 starts at $279.99 and LTE Galaxy Watch 5 starts at $329.99.
Galaxy Watch 5 Pro — The new 45mmm Pro version of Samsung’s smartwatch loses the tactile, rotating bezel of the previous Galaxy Watch 4 Classic but not its comparatively gigantic size. In this case, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s chunky look — with the sunken 1.4-inch watch face intact — seems to mostly be for added battery life.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro uses sapphire crystal rather than traditional glass, has the same new skin temperature sensor as the Galaxy Watch 5, and also comes with an IP68 rating. The difference is all of these are jammed in a stronger titanium case and powered by a 590 mAh battery (versus the 284 mAh in the 40mm Watch 5 and 410 mAh in the 44mm Watch 5). Samsung says that larger battery lets the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro get an impressive 80 hours of battery life, one of the longest in this premium smartwatch category.
Samsung imagines the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro being used by active, outdoorsy types, or “explorers of every kind.” Which should maybe just be translated to anyone looking for a giant smartwatch that’s less likely to break, and far more expensive than the non-Pro models.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is available in either Black Titanium or Gray Titanium in a single 45mm size, with the Bluetooth-only model starting at $449.99 and the LTE version starting at $499.99.
Golf Editions of the Galaxy Watch 5 series — with some custom watch faces, an unlimited membership to the Smart Caddie app, and a two-tone finish — are available in Bluetooth versions of all three sizes (40mm Watch 5, 44mm Watch, and 45mm Watch 5 Pro) starting at $329.99.
All of the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro will go on sale August 26.
Read our hands-on with the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro for even more.