by Abhik SenguptaSmartwatches are becoming fairly common these days, and the Indian watch market has a lot to offer at different price points. While good smartwatches are plentiful, the search for a useful package continues.
In some ways, Apple smartwatches can be considered a crème de la crème, but they are still not immune to blemishes. For example, Apple Watches only work with iPhones. Second, it’s notorious for poor battery life. In the Android space, Fossil is making some decent smartwatches with Google WearOS, but it still doesn’t deliver the immersive ecosystem that Apple provides with nearly all of its products. Fitbit and Garmin also produce some high-quality wearables, but they’re meant for the full-time fitness enthusiast.
In this case, Samsung is closest to Apple when it comes to an immersive ecosystem, and this year, it’s taking the game to a higher level.
A few weeks ago, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro – its most unique smartwatch to date. As with all gadgets with the Pro title, the price increases dramatically, and the Watch 5 Pro costs 44,999 rupees (Bluetooth) in India – which is as expensive as some premium smartphones. And for those who like the extra features, there’s the LTE variant for Rs 49,999, which I received for this review.
To justify this price tag, Samsung has used premium hardware. For example, the port case is made of titanium, which improves its durability and is also more leather-friendly. In terms of software, Samsung made a big leap last year by ditching its own TizenOS and adopting WearOS from Google. This makes the watch a lot friendlier to Android smartphones, and the trend continues this year as well.
But Samsung made it clear that its Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is built for fitness enthusiasts. If you have the money, I still think it’s a great buy for all kinds of customers. But is it the best smartwatch in the Android world right now? Let’s find out in this review.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro screen: The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro features a round 1.4-inch Super AMOLED display, which makes it slightly larger than most smartwatches with a 1.2-inch screen. As you would expect, the larger screen provides more viewing area. This is especially useful if you’re checking for notifications or even typing responses right on the screen.
Samsung has also used sapphire glass, which makes them more durable than regular glasses on smartphones (and most watches). While I cannot be certain of the exact composition of the sapphire used here, I can vouch for its durability. In the 1 month period of use, I’ve been wearing the watch almost every day, which also means it hit many surfaces (accidentally), not a single scratch on the surface.
If your work requires you to be outside more, the watch will automatically adjust the screen brightness, which matches the harsh sunlight. Furthermore, you can also swipe through notifications wearing your gloves. Other than that, you get all the goodies of a smartwatch, which means that users can customize watch faces or even set up their own avatars.
Samsung made a big change this year by ditching the rotating bezel, which I didn’t want to see. Customers who buy a Galaxy Watch for the first time will not be bothered. But I still feel that it was a good addition that made Samsung smartwatches unique from its competitors.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro design: In terms of design, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is not your cup of tea at all. Since it is designed for fitness enthusiasts, its sturdy look may not suit customers who prefer a glamorous look.
That doesn’t mean it looks bad by any measure, and you can still wear it with casual or formal attire – like I did. The dial comes in two colors – gray and black, and I received the first for this review. On the right, Samsung has added two buttons that help users manage the device. I like the size of the buttons because it would be convenient for hikers with gloves on.
The strap that comes with the watch has a magnetic strap, and it can be a little tricky to adjust at first. However, I got used to it in a short time. This magnetic strip can be a boon if you want to remove your watch in bed in the most awkward position – especially while sleeping. Speaking of sleeping, I wore the watch to sleep and the size might bother some users. I’m generally fine wearing watches this size when sleeping, and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro again didn’t bother me too much.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro performance: Like most new Samsung wearables, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro does not work with iPhones. If you have an Android or Samsung smartphone, you are good to go.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro remains among the few smartwatches that can function well without a smartphone. Of course, users will need to pair and set up via the Samsung Wearable app. I used it with Galaxy Fold 4. Watch 5 Pro worked smoothly.
In terms of features, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro allows users to change watch faces, make calls, view and send messages, and check health metrics. A detailed analysis is available on the Samsung Health app, which, in my opinion, is problematic because it forces users to download a separate app. Samsung could consider integrating Wearable and Health apps in the future.
But thanks to WearOS, the watch gets a built-in Play Store to allow users to download apps like Strava, Calm, and Bitmoji. There is also a Spotify app for the Galaxy Watch to help users manage music and podcasts.
Health-wise, I compared the step and heart rate data to a Fitbit smartwatch and the results were mostly similar. However, sleep data differed by a large margin and Fitbit appears to have an advantage. Samsung can also take cues from Fitbit by offering sleep profiles to help users understand their sleep cycle. Another feature it can borrow is the Daily Fitness Score which basically analyzes users’ breathing and sleep. Then it fetches the result to let users know if they should go easy or walk an extra distance.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s automatic tracking capabilities, at least outdoors, were perfectly smooth. I was upset when I found out that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro couldn’t track my movements during my workouts in the gym. It can be improved with a series of OTA updates, but we will have to wait for them.
Finally, if you are planning to get the LTE variant in India, it is important to remember that Vi eSIM services do not work on the watch. In this case, you will have to rely on Jio or Bharti Airtel eSIM to make calls or send messages.
Overall, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is packed with features, and I’m still discovering new features every day, which is a good thing. However, I feel there is a lot of potential in terms of the user interface. At the moment, the user interface looks more rustic and, frankly, very masculine. Samsung could work even harder to make the user interface more friendly to a wide range of audiences.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Battery: Galaxy Watch 5 Pro delivers the best battery life of any smartwatch. It has a 590mAh battery unit that easily lasts for several days with standard use. However, I used the watch with LTE and AoD enabled, as well as other sensors running in the background. Despite this, it worked for 36 hours, which is great when compared to most competitors.
The package includes a magnetic charger with USB-C connector. Samsung strictly follows its sustainable goals, and the package does not include a charging brick. I used a Lenovo 30W PD charger, and my Galaxy Watch 5 Pro reached a full charge within an hour, which is almost standard for smartwatches.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro verdict: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is undoubtedly a feature-packed smartwatch, but it remains an expensive piece of hardware in the market. Design and build, I have no complaints, but its sturdy look probably won’t sit well with some customers who prefer the shiny look.
If you are picky about the build quality, its titanium and sapphire glass finish will surely appeal to you. But I still feel that Samsung needs to improve the user interface to make it more friendly with a wider audience.
Otherwise, if you have 50,000 rupees to spare and want a reliable smartwatch with the best battery backup, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is a great choice. If you want to try something similar at a lower price, the regular Watch 5 (LTE) is your choice – at least in terms of software. Coincidentally, these two Galaxy watches are the only good options you have in the Android space, as most other smartwatches run on a proprietary interface. And the newly launched Google Pixel is still not available in India.
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