Smarwatches
7 Big WearOS 5 Features That Make the Galaxy Watch Ultra a Real Apple Watch Rival

Everything from weather at a glance to more detailed specs for runners.

Samsung's wearables lineup
Samsung

Google already teased its Wear OS 5 features earlier this year, but now, with the unveiling of Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Ultra, we have a more complete idea of what the upcoming OS will look like.

It’s been a whole year since Wear OS 4 also debuted with the Galaxy Watch 6, and Google has clearly been working on some big changes, including better battery life, more detailed running metrics, and even a watch face that shows the weather.

These are the seven Wear OS 5 features that should help the Galaxy Watch Ultra compete against the Apple Watch.

1. Improved Battery Life

The Galaxy Watch Ultra has the longest battery life within Samsung’s smartwatch lineup.

Samsung

According to Samsung, the Galaxy Watch Ultra can go up to 100 hours on a single charge in Power Saving Mode. It’s mostly the battery itself that contributes to that impressive longevity, but Wear OS 5 also provides improved battery life optimization. Google even claims that you’ll use 20 percent less power running an outdoor marathon compared to the previous OS.

2: Grid-Based App Launcher

Wear OS 5 is taking a page out of Apple’s smartwatch UI.

Apple

Instead of scrolling through a list to get through your apps, Wear OS 5 introduces a grid-style app launcher to Samsung’s latest smartwatches. You can still choose between a list view or a grid view, but the update offers a much better way to open your apps similar to Apple’s honeycomb grid.

3. New Flavors

More ways to customize are always welcome.

Google

Wear OS 5 gives you more control to get your watch face to look exactly the way you want with the Flavors feature. The tool gives you several configuration options — like including a heart rate monitor or step count — and helps you visualize them before confirming the design.

4. New Complicatons

Wear OS 5 makes it easier to count your steps on a smartwatch face.

Google

With Wear OS 5, Google added complications that are better suited for tracking goal progress and weighted elements. For example, if you set a goal to hit a certain number of steps per day, your watch face is able to show your progress in a percentage with the latest OS.

5. Weather at a Glance

Check the weather for the next few hours just by looking at your watch face.

Google

Google has finally listened to its users since Wear OS 5 shows glanceable weather data on the watch face. The new feature lets you get a quick idea of the current weather, but also what the forecast looks like in the next few hours or days.

6. More Detailed Running Metrics

Samsung’s Galaxy Ultra Watch and Ultra Watch 7 could tell you how to fix your running form.

Google

If you’re trying to up your running game, Wear OS 5 might be able to help. The latest smartwatch OS tracks new metrics like ground contact time, stride length, vertical oscillation, and vertical ratio, so you can see what specific areas of your form need improvement.

7. Debounced Goals

No more annoying alerts that distract you from getting in the zone.

Samsung

Runners also get another major quality-of-life upgrade with Wear OS 5’s debounced goals. For anyone looking to maintain a specific heart rate during their workout, this new feature prevents constant alerts that you’ve dropped below your specific level and only warns you when that’s happened for a set amount of time.

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