Samsung is still making the only Android-based smartwatches worth using, and now it’s adding two more models to its lineup. The company introduced the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro at its Unpacked event today, along with its new family of foldables. While the Watch 5 is billed primarily as the “upgrade” to last year’s smartwatch, the Pro version seems tuned to compete with fitness-centric smartwatches from Garmin and Polar, at least based on its built-in features.
Let’s start with the Galaxy Watch 5, which is still available in 40mm and 44mm sizes—accommodating for most wrists. The new watch is a slight bump up from the existing Galaxy Watch 4 and introduces a few new colors to the lineup, including a new silver case with a purple watch strap for the smaller variant and a pretty blue sapphire color with a matching band for the larger size.
Speaking of sizes, the regular Galaxy Watch 5 has a 1.19” AMOLED display, while the bigger Watch 5 is a 1.36” screen. Samsung says its new sapphire crystal glass display is about 60 percent stronger than the screens on the Galaxy Watch 4 series. I probably won’t try this out because a cracked smartwatch is an unusable one, but it’s good to see Samsung prioritizing this kind of upgrade in physical reinforcement for wearable tech.
As for battery size, the 40mm watch has a 284mah battery while the 44mm has a 410mAh battery. Both battery sizes increase from last year’s models, and Samsung says there is 30 percent faster charging on the Galaxy Watch 5.
You can still swim with Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5. The 40mm and 44mm versions are rated IP68 for water resistance and up to 5ATM, meaning they can withstand water pressure up to 50 meters.
Samsung hasn’t revealed the processor inside the Galaxy Watch 5—only that there is 1.5GB of memory and 16GB of internal storage for music and photos. But Samsung did include its BioActive Sensor in the Watch 5 series, which bundles in the components needed for tracking heart rate and measuring ECG and body composition. The Galaxy Watch 5 also includes a temperature tracking feature, and it’ll be interesting to see how those measurements are integrated within the Samsung Health app.
The new Galaxy Watch 5 starts at $280 for the Bluetooth version and $330 for the LTE version. Both sizes are on sale beginning on Aug. 26. There is a Bespoke program for the Galaxy Watch 5 if you’re hoping to customize your smartwatch and get access to colors not available right out of the box.
Samsung wants to be more than just the smartwatch maker for Android users. It also wants some clout among the fit and hip, which is why it’s introducing the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
This smartwatch is much more rugged than the regular Watch 5. In addition to that sapphire crystal display, there’s a titanium casing encircling it to help protect it from life outdoors. And the Watch 5 Pro comes with a D-buckle sport band that’s more durable than the silicone band on the Watch 5. I wore one for a second and felt comfortable, but the buckling mechanism is not my favorite. Then again, I am hardly an athlete or the intended audience for this particular smartwatch. The watch comes in two colors: black titanium with a black strap or gray titanium with a gray strap.
The Watch 5 Pro has a larger battery than the other Galaxy Watch 5 models. It’s a 590 mAh battery pack with the same internal hardware specs as the rest of the lineup, including 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage for music and photos. Like the Watch 5, the Watch 5 Pro can also measure skin temperature, heart rate, ECG, and body composition. The pro model also has the same water resistance rating as the regular Watch 5.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the pricier model of the brood. It starts at $450 for the Bluetooth version and $500 for the LTE version. It goes on sale on Aug. 26.
Samsung Health is the Android app you’ll rely on if you opt for a Samsung-made smartwatch. The company has added updated features to the health suite, including better sleep tracking with Sleep Scores, which were introduced earlier this year through a Galaxy Watch software update. Samsung Health will also offer recovery data after a workout and custom recommendations on how much water to consume based on how you sweat.
But the best new feature is Route Additions, which takes a page out of popular training apps like Strava and lets you find your way around outside during a hike or run without pulling out your phone. We can’t wait to put this new feature to the test when we review the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.