Galaxy Watch 5: If only it had a battery
After years of hoping dreaming and waiting, we finally have an android smartwatch that can give the apple watch a run for its money, with the galaxy watch. Five faster performance, a refined touch, bezel, excellent battery life and no more compromises for android users who dont have a samsung phone after just one short year. Wear os 3 has reached its full potential chefs kiss thats. What i wish i could have said about the galaxy watch 5, but for better or worse, the watch 5 isnt that different from the galaxy watch 4. seriously, if it wasnt for the different colors id have a hard time. Picking these two watches apart, like the watch 4, the galaxy watch 5 comes in two sizes, 40 millimeters and 44 millimeters, and you can choose between bluetooth, only and lte versions. It has mostly the same sensors and health tracking features like built in gps, ecg readings, body, composition, analysis, blood, oxygen monitoring and advanced sleep tracking also got the same sleek minimalist design and the same exynos, w920, processor and sorry friends. No physical rotating puzzle here youll have to stick to the watch 4 classic. If thats a feature, you really want Music. I know it sucks, but more on that in a bit, youd need eagle eyes to spot the major design changes this time around. The back of the watch 5 is slightly curvier and thats so that the sensor array can make better contact with your skin, which, in turn is supposed to improve accuracy.
Despite the curvier back, i didnt notice much of a difference in how the watch 5 felt on my wrist. All that means is it still comfortable for everyday wear fitness and sleep tracking. The watch 5 also has a new infrared temperature sensor. The thing is it doesnt? Really do much yet it allegedly makes sleep tracking slightly more accurate, but samsung basically added it so that developers can tinker around with it for future health features. Speaking of sleep tracking samsung says the improved 3 in 1 bioactive sensor in the watch. 5 means you get more advanced sleep coaching features, though you have to wear the watch for a whole week before you get any tips or insights. Otherwise, the watch 5 will track. Breathing and heart rate data blood, oxygen levels and analyze your sleep stages. It can even detect if youre snoring, without needing your phone, like the watch for none of these things are particularly exciting and i get why the watch 5 is such an iterative update because, frankly, it can be until google launches its pixel watch later this year, samsung Doesnt have much if any real competition when it comes to android smart watches, the only other wear os 3 watches that are available right now are the galaxy watch 4, the galaxy watch 4 classic and the mont blanc summit 3., and that last watch is a whopping 1 290 dollars compared to the watch 5, which starts at 279.99. One of the biggest issues i had with the galaxy watch 4 is that you still got the short end of the stick.
If you didnt have a samsung phone, even though wear os 3 was supposed to give users the choice between samsung and google apps, the watch 4 was still very much a samsung product when it launched, because some google apps just werent ready yet but its been a Year since then, google assistant is available now, and that means you never have to put up with bixby again. If you dont, want to literally replacing bixby was one of the first things i did setting up the watch. I also immediately downloaded google wallet and didnt bother with samsung pay, ive never been able to customize services. To that extent, on a samsung watch at launch before thats fan, freaking tastic. Another thing i really dug were some of the updates on one ui watch: 4.5: Music. With one ui watch 4.5 samsungs added a ton of new accessibility features, and that includes visibility, enhancements like color filters and color correction and the ability to turn off animations or blur effects. I really appreciate that because i have such bad eyesight, so it lets me read things on a small screen. Much easier accessibility is one of the things that wearable devices really need to improve on. So this is great to see from samsung. Samsung also made it easier to type on the watch 5 with new keyboard options. You can now dictate swipe to type and use handwriting to text or search for apps in the play store.
But while these changes were awesome, i cant help but feel that samsung dropped. The ball when it comes to battery and the touch bezel lets start with battery life. This was the area where the watch 4 and watch 4 classic majorly disappointed. They were supposed to get 40 hours on a single charge, but i almost never actually got that most days i saw about 20 hours, so i was pretty hopeful when samsung said it increased the size of the battery on the watch 5 by 15 for the 40 Millimeter and 13 for the 44 millimeter. Unfortunately, i still had to charge this 40 millimeter review unit every day, with the always on display enabled youre simply not going to get anywhere near the 40 to 50 hour. Samsung promises for the watch five and if you enable the hey google wake word for google assistant on top of the always on display, youd be lucky to make it through the entire workday. On a day where i had both these features enabled i took the watch off its charger at 9am with a hundred percent and was left with about 9 at 5 p.m. That was a day with heavy usage and about 60 minutes of gps activity, but thats still not great bob youll get more mileage. If you turn off the always on display and make a conscious effort to save battery, but even doing all that i never got more than 24 hours with the 40 millimeter watch 5.
for some extra context, i turned off the always on display downloaded an offline playlist From spotify onto the watch 5 and went for a 30 minute gps run without my phone thats that battery by a whopping 21, i went on another 50 minute gps run with my phone and without the music, and that drained my watch 12. You might get better results on the larger 44 millimeter watch just because the battery is bigger, but i would never call this true. Multi day battery life that said, samsung has improved fast charging. It still takes about two hours to go from zero to 100, but you can get around 30 to 40 in about a half hour, thats enough to get you home or power a night of sleep tracking. It doesnt fully take the sting out, but it does make your charging schedule a bit easier. Another thing, samsung whiffed, is the touch bezel. It was finicky on the watch four, but it almost seems worse on the watch. Five. You have to move your finger slowly around the border. Everything just flies by really fast its also much too easy for your finger to slide off the edge, if youre not careful and forget about it. If youve got sweaty fingers from working out or just finished washing your hands, you just dont have any of these issues with the physical rotating bezel. I actually ended up turning off the touch bezel completely because you dont need it on wear os powered by samsung but ill admit, im, pretty sad about it as a health tracker.
The watch 5 gets the job done, but you have to make a few compromises. First off, you have to commit to using samsung health, its a fine app, but its a bit lacking in the social department. If youre someone who enjoys friendly competition, you also have to take accuracy with a grain of salt. There were several times where the watch 5 said: my sleeping blood oxygen levels dropped somewhere between 80 to 88. First of all, those are seriously abnormal levels that would warrant a trip to the doctor. Its also way off to what i got on the same nights from my aura ring. I also saw some big discrepancies with my sleep stages, though overall the watch 5 could reliably tell when i was sleeping versus when i was awake in bed Music. If youre wondering, if you should upgrade from the galaxy watch 4 hold, your horses youve already got everything thats good about the watch 5 on your wrist, and i just didnt see enough of an improvement in battery life to warrant the cost, its a different story. If you got a samsung phone and are currently on the galaxy watch, active or active 2. samsung will be ending support for those watches after this year and youre just going to get a better overall experience on the watch 5.. For all my quibbles and complaints, this is still hands down the best android smartwatch you can buy for now theres a hell of a lot of change coming to android wearables.
This fall on top of the pixel watch were also expecting to see smart watches from oppo and mobboy ticwatch that feature qualcomms snazzy new snapdragon w5 plus platform that chip might be even more powerful than what samsungs got in the watch 5 and the watch 5 pro Were also expecting fossil to come out with a whole new lineup and those watches might also support the w5 plus, not to mention googles, long promise that certain wear os 2 watches will get the upgrade to wear os 3 before the end of 2022. Android owners are about to get a lot more options on the wearable front and if youre not locked in samsungs ecosystem, it might be worth waiting to see how things shake out. Well, thats, all she wrote for the galaxy watch 5, but if youre curious about the watch 5 pro im about to get my hands on one of those, too drop a note in the comments about any features.