The Galaxy Watch5 Pro is the Android-powered smartwatch I’ve been waiting for. For the last ~5 years, give or take, the WearOS (née Android Wear) ecosystem has been sorely lacking, especially here in NZ. Hamstrung by high prices, limited distribution, and inefficient, outdated, power-hungry chipsets, things looked bleak compared to the ever-improving Apple Watch. So, when Samsung picked up the torch in 2020 and catapulted WearOS to new heights with the Watch4 range powered by its own silicon, I crossed my fingers that the future would hold a wearable that ticked my specific boxes. The Watch5 Pro is it.
Smartwatches are deeply personal. It’s one thing to get the same phone as anyone else, customise it to meet your needs, and put it in a unique case – it’s quite another thing to wear a piece of technology on your wrist every day. Part fashion, part high-tech, and now part quantified-self health tracker, smartwatches continue to evolve in exciting ways each year. I see there being three core angles on these:
- Watch Plus
- For folks who used to (or still do) wear traditional watches, a smart watch must first and foremost tell you the time. Prioritises long battery life and always-on display.
- Phone Minus
- For folks who didn’t wear a traditional watch. It’s like a smaller phone strapped to your wrist. Prioritises smart features.
- Fitness First
- The angle the big brands have taken – pushing health features as the gateway to owning a smartwatch. Prioritises ever-increasing, ever-more niche fitness tracking.
Let’s be honest – we’re not all pro athletes. Don’t get me wrong, health is near and dear to me (my wife is chronically ill), I enjoy tracking my steps and sleep. But that’s not what I really care about in a smartwatch: I’m in category number one.
I want my smartwatch to triage my notifications, offer useful media controls, perhaps NFC payments, to look good, be comfortable – ideally with readily-available standardised strap sizes, offer deep customisation (especially third-party watchfaces) and most importantly, to have a long-lasting battery. While you can get glorified fitness trackers in a smartwatch form factor with ~2 weeks battery life from some brands, the key benefit of WearOS to me is the ability to act on your notifications. You can mark an email as read, quickly reply to a message, screen your calls, control your music, and so much more. In the thick of a busy workday with hundreds of emails flying, that becomes a mission-critical productivity tool, and one I rely on. If you’re an Android user, this is the platform you want.
The Galaxy Watch4 series delivered everything I was looking for except longevity. So when Samsung announced the Watch5 Pro, with its titanium build, advanced GPS, sapphire glass screen, and up to 5-day battery life, I saw the Garmin-esque adventure watch as something else entirely: A WearOS smartwatch with enough battery life for me.
With my moderate use of the fitness features and extensive use for notification triage, the Watch5 Pro can and does last me up to 5 days off the charger. I can wear it for sleep tracking, use whatever watch face takes my fancy from the Play Store, quickly and easily tell if that email is from the boss, and manage my workday right from my wrist. While you’ll get the best experience pairing it with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, the WearOS platform means it plays nicely with Xiaomi, OnePlus, OPPO, ASUS, Motorola, Nothing, and many more. Choice is choice.
With its weight and styling, the Watch5 Pro isn’t for everybody. But after years of Android smartwatches with ~1 day of battery life, it’s absolutely for me. If you’re an Android user who demands more endurance from a smartwatch, this may just be the one you’ve been waiting for too. Head to your nearest PB and try it out. You’ll be glad you did.
Galaxy Watch5 Pro
- $749 RRP for 45mm Bluetooth version, $849 RRP for 45mm Bluetooth + eSIM version
- Available in Black or Grey
- Voice assistant – Bixby is on board along with Google Assistant – control smart
- home, use your voice for messaging
- Apps – download new apps from the Google Play Store
- Maps, navigate from your wrist with turn-by-turn directions
- Watch faces, download your new favourite from the Play Store
- Payments – Google Pay on your wrist
Advanced health and fitness tracking
- Sleep tracking + coaching – log a full week of sleep and it will offer a six-week
- programme to improve it
- Heart rate
- BMI/body composition
- 90 exercises/activities supported
- “Track Back” traces your steps back to where you started
- Special watch faces with built-in compass
- Biometric sensors built into the side buttons for easy scanning
- Samsung BioActive sensor on the underside, redesigned to sit closer to your skin for
- better accuracy
- Sapphire glass screen for enhanced durability
- IP68 sweat and water resistant
- MILSTD810H durability
- Larger battery, faster charging than the previous model
- 20mm strap compatible
- Optional standalone 4G LTE connectivity via eSIM – currently only compatible with Spark, Spark wearable plan required
Think the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 could be for you? Head over to the Samsung brand store to check it out!