Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Professional Assessment: Smartwatch + Health Watch = a Good Combine

There’s quite a bit to love concerning the $450 Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Professional. Not solely does it have all of the trimmings of a smartwatch, but it surely provides additional sports activities capabilities that athletes might want — and for nearly half the worth of another out of doors watches with related building just like the $900 Garmin Epix 2. It additionally has a harder design and larger battery than the common Galaxy Watch 5. Simply do not count on it to be a real out of doors watch that you would be able to tackle multi-day adventures, as a result of the battery life is not as sturdy because the competitors.

Do not Like

  • Dim always-on show throughout out of doors exercises
  • Pores and skin temperature sensor not energetic but
  • Restricted restoration metrics
  • Just one 45mm dimension

Each the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Professional are Samsung’s second-gen Galaxy watches operating Put on OS 3. Till we see the brand new Pixel Watch and a spread of long-promised watches additionally on the brand new platform, they’re the very best Android watches you may get.

However the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional solely is available in one 45-millimeter case dimension, which could be too massive for smaller wrists. Be aware that although that is an Android watch, a few of Samsung’s key well being options require a Samsung cellphone to make use of. 

Robust design with a cumbersome match on the wrist

The Watch 5 Professional is extra sturdy than the common Galaxy Watch 5. It has a raised rim across the display screen, titanium building and stronger sapphire crystal glass on the display screen. With an IP68 ranking, it is also dust- and water resistant. Whereas I have never intentionally dropped it or tried to scratch it, I’ve taken it on a dusty bike trip, scuffed it in sand on the seaside and lifted weights that banged up towards the watch. It nonetheless seems to be model new, however solely time will inform the way it may get up in harder environments akin to building websites. 

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It solely is available in one 45mm dimension, which makes it harder for these with smaller wrists to put on, not like the 40mm and 44mm choices on the common watch. I’ve worn bigger watches earlier than — the Garmin Epix 2 involves thoughts, with its hefty 47mm body. However for folks with even smaller wrists than mine, it is going to most likely be too massive and presumably too heavy at 76 grams (2.6 ounces) with the included magnetic buckle strap. I am upset that the watch’s cumbersome design will inherently restrict its attraction. However the 1.4-inch AMOLED display screen is vibrant, sharp and reveals Put on OS (and Samsung’s One UI interface) in the very best gentle.

As an alternative of a bodily rotating bezel, the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional comes with a contact bezel that allows you to navigate menus alongside the touchscreen and aspect buttons. It is simpler to make use of on the Watch 5 Professional in comparison with the common Watch 5 due to the Professional’s raised edge. You possibly can nearly relaxation your finger towards it as you “flip” the bezel. It is nonetheless not as exact as having a bodily bezel that clicks into place, particularly in case you have moist or sweaty arms — which appears inevitable in case you’re actually utilizing this look ahead to its sports activities capabilities. 

I can see why Samsung opted to take away the bodily rotating bezel, given it is one other transferring half that would probably get broken or jammed in case you’re utilizing this watch in powerful environments. However I nonetheless miss having that possibility and really feel Samsung may have made different compromises as a substitute. For instance, I may think about utilizing the inside rim of the raised edge as a small rotating bezel as a substitute.

Galaxy Watch 5

Thickness comparability between the Galaxy Watch 5 (left) and Professional (proper).

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The Galaxy Watch 5 Professional makes use of the identical processor as final yr’s Galaxy Watch 4, slightly than the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 chip. Efficiency is snappy for probably the most half and the watch hundreds apps rapidly, although there have been just a few events when the raise-to-wake was somewhat sluggish in comparison with the common Galaxy Watch 5. There’s an LTE variant accessible that prices $499, although I have never examined that mannequin.

It shares the very same Put on OS platform and consumer interface because the common Galaxy Watch 5, which makes use of Google apps alongside Samsung companies like Samsung Well being. You possibly can learn extra about apps and performance in my full assessment of the Galaxy Watch 5.

Galaxy Watch 5 Professional observe again and sports activities modes

Each Galaxy Watch 5 variations can observe greater than 90 train varieties and may auto-detect sure exercises like operating, swimming and elliptical after 10 minutes of exercise. However the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional has just a few extra sports activities options. Do they warrant this watch’s “Professional” title? Possibly.

The primary is observe again. This works with hikes and out of doors biking, serving to route you again to your begin level on the identical path. Simply swipe over to the settings cog, discover observe again and the watch will present a map on display screen together with your present location, turn-by-turn steering and distances. The trail you traveled to reach at your present location is proven in blue, and it is overlayed in inexperienced as you begin navigating again. It is easy to make use of, with the watch both buzzing or offering audible notifications when you might want to make your subsequent flip. It routed me again residence on precisely the identical path I hiked in on once I tried it out on a path I’ve by no means taken earlier than. Possibly a future software program replace may deliver this to different out of doors GPS exercise varieties like runs and walks, as it is a useful characteristic.

Galaxy Watch 5 Pro routes

A route displayed on the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional display screen.

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You may as well import routes to the watch and get turn-by-turn navigation. It solely works with hikes and bike rides in the intervening time, but it surely’s very easy to import a GPX file. I exported a earlier trip from Strava and uploaded it to the Watch 5 Professional in seconds from the Samsung Well being app. Like observe again, the map (which makes use of Google Maps) seems to be nice on the display screen and it is simple to view. You may as well export routes you’ve got carried out on the watch from the Samsung Well being app, too.

The Samsung Well being app solely offers two recommended routes for biking and mountaineering, simply in case you have no routes of your personal saved but, however they’re based mostly in New York and London, so not tremendous useful in case you do not stay in both of these cities. However I do not thoughts as a result of the mapping interface is cleaner and simpler to learn than another sports activities watches I’ve used because of Google Maps. The watch additionally provides turn-by-turn navigation, which might information you thru a route with voice, vibrations and on-screen alerts.

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A few of the observe again and mapping options on this watch aren’t new to the world of devoted operating watches — even watches that price half as a lot. But it surely would not actually really feel like Samsung is making an attempt to place this watch to be a substitute or direct competitor with the likes of higher-end Garmin watches anyway. Should you’re a critical athlete, you’d need extra in-depth evaluation and options than what the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional can present with its first-party exercise apps.

Additionally, the always-on show is fairly dim whenever you’re in direct daylight. I needed to squint in a pair conditions to see elapsed time or my tempo, which prompted me to cease and faucet the display screen to wake it as much as test my stats. Fortuitously, I did not have any points with visibility indoors or in shaded situations.

Galaxy Watch 5 Pro track back

Monitor again on the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional.

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Sensor accuracy is nice for exercises, however temperature is TBD

I examined the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional’s optical coronary heart charge sensor towards a chest strap to see how it could fare by means of a spread of cardio exercises.

For an out of doors bike trip, which entails additional variables like bumps within the street and extra arm motion that you simply would not get on a stationary bike, the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional did job preserving near the readings from the chest strap. There have been solely two small intervals throughout the nearly 2-hour exercise the place it deviated barely from the management sensor, as you may see within the chart under. For a extra regular cardio walkout like a daily stroll, the watch additionally did job of sticking near the center charge monitor. Not like another operating watches, you may’t pair an exterior heart-rate monitor with the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional. 

Galaxy Watch 5 Pro heart rate

The Galaxy Watch 5 Professional (purple line) in comparison with a chest strap (blue line).

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GPS accuracy is admittedly good on each Galaxy Watch 5 fashions. I had no points locking on to a sign inside 5 seconds in San Francisco, both with or with out a cellphone in vary.

The infrared sensor is what units the Watch 5 collection other than final yr’s fashions. But it surely’s not energetic but and we do not have an ETA on when it is going to get switched on through software program replace. Samsung says it is going to be used nightly whereas sleeping. Rivals like Fitbit and Oura use the infrared sensors on their units for pores and skin temperature monitoring throughout sleep. It provides extra insights into whether or not or not it’s possible you’ll be operating a fever, or to provide perception into menstrual cycles. 

This is not the primary time a wearable has been launched with out a key characteristic or sensor energetic. Fitbit’s Cost 5 launched with out its key day by day readiness rating energetic, and the ECG on Samsung’s earlier Galaxy Watch 3 was unlocked a couple of month after launch as soon as it obtained FDA clearance. I am upset that we do not have an excessive amount of additional element about how Samsung or third-party builders may use this temperature sensor but, as a result of it is the primary new characteristic of each Galaxy Watches. I hope on the very least when it does launch that it reveals nightly sleep temperature developments like these different wearables I discussed.

A lot of the different well being options and sensors stay largely unchanged from the Galaxy Watch 4. You continue to get that bioimpedance sensor to measure physique composition, plus a blood oxygen sensor and ECG. However to make use of the ECG and blood stress sensor (solely accessible in choose international locations), you will have to pair with a Samsung Galaxy cellphone.

Galaxy Watch 5 ECG

The Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Professional want a Samsung cellphone to make use of the ECG. That is what you will see in case you pair with another Android cellphone.

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I’ve had blended outcomes from the blood oxygen sensor, which tends to learn somewhat decrease than each a pulse oximeter and different wearables, particularly at evening. At instances, I’ve had each the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Professional say my lowest blood oxygen degree was wherever from 80 to 87% which is especially low and will point out indicators of sleep situations like sleep apnea. No different wearable has ever given me such low readings, particularly once I charted the identical evening’s sleep with each the Fitbit Cost 5 and Oura ring. Blood oxygen sensors are typically not medically cleared, so take their readings with a grain of salt and at all times seek the advice of a medical skilled for correct steering. I’ve reached out to Samsung concerning the mysteriously low readings and can replace this assessment once I hear again.

Restoration metrics are the lacking piece of the puzzle

One of many greatest benefits of sporting a smartwatch lately is studying extra about how your physique recovers after a exercise or from sickness. There are restricted restoration metrics accessible in Samsung Well being and on the watch itself, together with a sleep rating and stress readings that do not actually inform you a lot past a scale of excessive, common or low. What does that imply? It is as much as you to work that out.

You may as well observe sweat loss after an out of doors run, plus restoration coronary heart charge whenever you set physique composition targets. However once more, the onus is admittedly on you to interpret this information, and the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional would not go so far as the competitors in making all this straightforward to grasp.

Garmin provides the Physique Battery, which takes into consideration coronary heart charge variability, sleep and exercise ranges to find out in case you can push your self to do one other exercise or ought to take it straightforward. Equally, Fitbit has the Every day Readiness Rating that additionally provides you recommended exercises to do based mostly in your rating. Even when the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional had a restoration time metric to let you know the way lengthy your physique wants between exercises, that might be higher than nothing.

The most important battery on a Galaxy Watch, however I would like much more

The Galaxy Watch 5 Professional has the most important battery from the 2022 vary at 590 mAh. Samsung claims it may last as long as 80 hours in whole with common use, or 20 hours with GPS. I did a 2-hour hike with airplane mode energetic to make sure I used to be utilizing GPS-only, and the battery dropped by simply 10% even with the always-on show energetic. That is promising efficiency, and below these situations the watch would meet the 20-hour declare with GPS alone. (I wasn’t fairly able to do a 20-hour hike to check steady drain.)

With common utilization, together with cellphone notifications, always-on show, sleep monitoring, steady coronary heart charge monitoring and a 1-hour GPS exercise daily, the Watch 5 Professional lasted for two.5 full days, or somewhat over 58 hours. That is higher than final yr’s Galaxy Watch 4 vary, however nowhere close to equally priced rivals just like the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, which might attain per week or extra between prices. Samsung claims a most of 80 hours of use below regular situations, which you may meet in case you do fewer out of doors exercises and switch the always-on show off.

Fortuitously, each the common Watch 5 and Watch 5 Professional help sooner charging and may attain 45% cost in half-hour. I examined this with the Watch 5 Professional and recharged from flat to 42% full in half an hour. It takes somewhat over 2 hours for the watch to completely juice up from flat. However you want a 25-watt USB-C charger to make the most of this sooner cost velocity and, identical to the Apple Watch, there is not any charging brick included within the field.

The Galaxy Watch 5 Professional can even make the most of reverse wi-fi charging in case you have a Samsung cellphone, but it surely’s difficult to get the watch to lie flat with the magnetic buckle strap, so I normally find yourself counting on the included charging puck.

Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro side by side

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Galaxy Watch 5 Professional: ‘Professional’ in title, nearly sufficient in observe

Samsung has a legacy in sports activities watches, together with the Gear vary. But it surely appears like the corporate may have gone one step additional in making this a real health watch with much more sports activities options. That stated, it is a actually sturdy smartwatch with a sturdy building to swimsuit informal athletes or anybody who wants a harder wearable.

So it is simple to suggest the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional in case you’re searching for an Android watch that skews extra to being a real smartwatch with just a few sports activities options thrown in, slightly than a health watch. I might additionally choose this over the common Galaxy Watch 5 just because it has higher battery life.