Above: Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 5. Image courtesy of Samsung.
BitDepth #1380 on November 14, 2022
There’s a lot to love about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. The screen offers plenty of room to spray all kinds of triggers and indicators, although it might be too big for a smaller wrist (I test the 44mm model, and there’s a 40mm version).
This is especially useful as the new Samsung smartwatch runs Google’s Android-based WearOS for its wearable operating system. company Last year he gave up his Linux-based Tizen OS.
Tizen has always felt a lot of work with choppy results in early Gear models.
The first Gear Fit I tested in 2014 ran Non-upgradable operating system.
Limited wearable support made for indulgences a questionable option for the serious fitness enthusiast.
second smart watch I tested it was Huawei’s Fit, who was a timekeeper designed for serious activity. It was also unmistakably submerged.
Despite the design limitations of Tizen OS, it is an effective swim tracker that works well in the pool.
To test the Galaxy Watch 5, I charged it and put it on. Except for recharges (which take about 50 minutes on the dedicated inductive charger), I’ve had it on my wrist for the past two weeks.
Battery life is reasonable for a device that runs on many sensors continuously, and falls short of only two days on a full charge.
Power saving mode extends that for about eight hours, but you give up some features (raising your hand doesn’t turn it on) and performance takes a slight hit.
Expect to waste a few hours browsing and trying to see watch faces on the device. Once the Watch 5 is paired with a smartphone, watch faces can be selected and customized more easily in the Galaxy Wearable phone app.
There is an astonishing array available, from pretend Rolex faces (BLE) to nearly intricate wrist dashboards that collect and display an intimidating profile of information.
It is not surprising to realize that the areas on the watch face that are available for different triggers and controls are actually called complications.
I configured and used three different watch faces before settling on one. Some of the faces are actually high-end apps that run on top of Wear OS and add more customization features to the screen but cost a bit more.
Why would you want to see all this information?
Because the smartwatch tells the time as a side hustle.
Smartwatch owners now have an array of screens that passively monitor your health and can be set to effectively track exercise activities.
The Watch 5 can do other great things, including answering calls (a plate and hard to work with, not Dick Tracy’s fantasy we all wanted), turning on the smartphone’s camera remotely and recording audio (fair quality), but the real value proposition is what works. The watch is constantly while you are wearing it, and keeps track of your heart rate, steps and sleep cycles.
Viewing all of this on the small screen isn’t terribly revealing, but the data, after syncing with the Samsung Health app on your Android phone, offers plenty of insights in exchange for just wearing the watch.
All of this connectivity to smartphones and the wider world is enabled by both Bluetooth and WiFi radios that create seamless connections with a paired smartphone, switching information back and forth between the larger screen of your mobile device and the view on your wrist.
But is the Watch 5 suitable for swimming?
Samsung is shy about it on its website. The smartwatch is IP68 rated, and it is resistant to a depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. The Watch 5 is also rated as water-resistant to five atmospheres, at a depth of approximately 50 metres.
These are the same specifications as the discontinued Gear Sport and Galaxy Wear Active watches that were explicitly marketed to swimmers.
Samsung now lists only four smartwatches for sale, the Galaxy Watch 5, Watch 5 Pro, last year’s Watch 4, and Watch 4 Classic. Older, newer models will receive software updates.
There is a swimming routine included in the workouts that you can track on the watch and activating it also triggers “water lock,” a subroutine that turns off the touch sensitivity of the screen.
When this mode is turned off, the speakers emit a deep sound intended to remove any remaining water from the watch.
The Watch 5 can track activity during water aerobics, kayaking, waterskiing, yachting, and windsurfing, all of which are very aggressive water activities, so it’s hard to break down what’s pre-set in Wear OS and what Samsung supports as its intended use.
It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to wear it if you’re going to be floating around sipping a margarita with your arms in the water for hours, but lap swimming seems to be supported. Somewhat. we will see.