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Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Review

An excellent smartwatch with a great screen, communication, health, and smart features
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Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Review
Credit: Samsung
Price:  $310 List
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Manufacturer:   Samsung
By Jessica Riconscente and Jared Eastlick  ⋅  Jan 24, 2023
80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8.5
  • Smart Function - 30% 8.1
  • Display - 15% 8.5
  • Health - 20% 7.6
  • Battery - 20% 7.5

Our Verdict

We have found that the Samsung Galaxy Watch Series delivers high-quality functionality at a reasonable price and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is no different. Overall this smartwatch is the best smartwatch for Android users of today. The top features of this wearable are that it looks great, has a great battery life, and has solid smart and health features. The digital crown scroll is responsive and smooth, giving the watch a refined flavor. We think the 45mm titanium case gives the Galaxy Watch 5 an enlightened modern aesthetic that is stylish and polished. The app diversity is somewhat lacking compared to Apple products, but you will likely not find a better option for Android. Compare it to top competitors in our review of the best smartwatches.
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent display quality
Responsive touch screen
Easy charging
Great call quality
REASONS TO AVOID
Lackluster app library

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Bottom Line Android users will not be disappointed with this product. Samsung improves upon previous models while maintaining what they have done wellThis juggernaut of a smartwatch blew our testers away with the sheer performance of its smart and health featuresGoogle's first smartwatch has a lot going for it but lacks a competitive edgeA worthy choice if you are looking for a top-tier Android-compatible option, but definitely not the best model we have testedThis wearable doesn't have much going for it, we recommend looking at other options
Rating Categories Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Apple Watch Series 8 Google Pixel Watch Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Mobvoi Ticwatch E3
Ease of Use (15%)
8.5
9.1
8.6
4.6
4.4
Smart Function (30%)
8.1
9.4
7.3
6.4
6.0
Display (15%)
8.5
8.1
7.7
6.7
5.3
Health (20%)
7.6
8.6
7.4
6.5
4.5
Battery (20%)
7.5
6.6
7.5
7.7
5.3
Specs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Apple Watch Series 8 Google Pixel Watch Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Mobvoi Ticwatch E3
Water Resistance 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM IP68 and pool swimming suitable IP68 and pool swimming suitable
NFC (contactless payment) Samsung Pay Apple Pay Google Pay Google Pay Google Pay
GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Built-in Microphone Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Built-in Speaker Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Display AMOLED Always-On Retina LTPO OLED AMOLED with DCI-P3 color Dual Display LCD over Retina AMOLED HD 2.5D curved
Resolution 396 x 396 pixels 396 x 484 pixels 450 x 450 pixels 454 x 454 pixels 360 x 360 pixels
HR Monitor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Other Sensors Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Barometer
Ambient Light
Compass
ECG
Blood Oxygen
Blood Oxygen
ECG
Skin Temperature
High-g accelerometer
Gyroscope
Compass
Altimeter
Ambient Light
Compass
Altimeter
Blood Oxygen
Multi purpose electrical
ECG
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient Light
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Blood Oxygen
Low Latency Off-Body Sensor
Barometer
Ambient Light
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Blood Oxygen
Low Latency Off-Body Sensor
Processor Exynos W920 (Dualcore, 5nm) S8 SiP with 64-bit dual-core processor Exynos 9110 SoC · Cortex M33 co-processor Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 4100 Platform and Mobvoi dual processor system Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 4100 Platform and Mobvoi dual processor system
Operating System WearOS watchOS WearOS WearOS WearOS
Available Sizes 40mm, 44mm 41 mm, 45mm 41mm 48mm 47mm
Size Tested 40mm 45mm 41mm 48mm 47mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Galaxy Watch 5 is an excellent smartwatch that will satisfy most needs. It comes with an array of smart and health functions that are reliable and easy to use. The new sapphire crystal glass gives the screen a glistening aura while at the same time being high-quality and responsive. Compared to Apple, some of the health features are not up to par, but it compensates in other ways. We believe there is no better option as of today for Android users than the Galaxy Watch 5.

Performance Comparison


samsung galaxy watch 5 - the galaxy watch is adjustable for all wrist sizes.
The Galaxy Watch is adjustable for all wrist sizes.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Smart Function


The bread and butter of any smartwatch are its smart features. A well-established product line like the Galaxy Watch series improves upon the high standards we expect. Our tests evaluated the Galaxy Watch 5 performance in app diversity, communication capabilities, music control, NFT options, and cellular availability.


The Galaxy Watch 5 has a selection of over 580 apps. For the average person, this selection is more than enough to satisfy most smartwatch needs but pales in comparison to the selection of Apple products. Unfortunately, some noteworthy apps, such as Facebook Messenger, are not available for download on this device.

samsung galaxy watch 5 - the galaxy watch 5 has access to the google play store.
The Galaxy Watch 5 has access to the Google Play store.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Even with this shortcoming in mind, the Galaxy Watch 5 performs other smart functions just as well. Call and text perform at the high standards we expect from a respectable firm like Samsung. Our testers were particularly impressed with the clarity of the call quality and how it can minimize background noises. Other essential features include music control, find my phone, noncontact payment options, and cellular capability.

samsung galaxy watch 5 - the galaxy watch 5 has some of the best smart features available for...
The Galaxy Watch 5 has some of the best smart features available for Android users.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Health


Next, we rated the Galaxy Watch 5 performance in health and fitness capabilities. Our testers evaluated the performance of this device's step counting, workout tracking, HR monitoring, the utility of safety features, and the performance of additional health features.


The step-counting feature produced good results, averaging a 2.5 step differential over three trials. We are happy to see Samsung consistently releasing products that improve on previous models. Often it is difficult to notice a significant difference between two different products from the same product line. Even so, the HR monitoring capabilities of this device leave much to be desired. Sharp changes in heart rate due to varying intensity of a workout are not accurately recorded. HR monitoring is fairly accurate for regular activities like lunges and burpees, but this does not distinguish the Galaxy Watch 5 from its competitors.

There are many workout options to choose from with the Galaxy Watch 5. Activities offered range from standard exercises, such as boxing and burpees, to more obscure ones, like star jumps. Once an exercise is selected, data such as HR average, calories burnt, and duration will be displayed. From this screen, you can slide to the left to toggle music control. It is possible to pair this smartwatch with the Samsung Health app for additional health information.

samsung galaxy watch 5 - the galaxy watch 5 offers many workout tracking options.
The Galaxy Watch 5 offers many workout tracking options.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The bioactive sensor on the Galaxy Watch 5 can track skin temperature and blood oxygen levels. These measurements are useful for delivering accurate sleep data when activating bedtime mode. Additionally, there are helpful features like snore detection and sleep coaching. Sleep coaching can be activated through the Samsung Health app, giving you a 4-week sleeping plan to fix your schedule. Lastly, this smartwatch also features all the standard safety add-ons, such as SOS and fall detection.

samsung galaxy watch 5 - the bioactive sensor helps you get meaningful sleep data.
The bioactive sensor helps you get meaningful sleep data.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Battery


A strong aspect of this watch is its impressive battery capacity, given the quality of the health and smart features. We awarded points based on battery life, quick charge, and the total charge time for this metric.


Like every other type of battery, the duration depends on usage and other factors. The improved 284 mAh battery is a big jump compared to previous models in the Galaxy series. In our test, we found the Galaxy Watch 5 lasted about 32 hours after high usage.

Although this amount of battery life is nothing special, thanks to the new 10W USB-C wireless charger, this smartwatch can reach 45% in just 30 minutes. A full charge takes about 45 minutes extra, which is not too impressive. Additionally, this device will ping your smartphone once it reaches 100%.

samsung galaxy watch 5 - the galaxy watch 5 will send your smartphone a notification once it...
The Galaxy Watch 5 will send your smartphone a notification once it is fully charged.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


Those accustomed to Samsung products will find that operating the Galaxy Watch 5 will be like second nature. We analyzed screen responsiveness, crown scroll, charging setup, and water resistance to see if this watch meets the high standards that we are accustomed to. In this regard, it is clear that this smartwatch exceeds expectations.


You will likely not find many smartwatch products as responsive as the Galaxy Watch 5. Whether you want to navigate the menus quickly or slowly, the screen will act accordingly. With just a finger flick, you can scroll to the end of the page to get where you need to be. If you have larger fingers and find navigating smartwatch screens aggravating, have no fear, the digital crown scroll is in a class of its own and can act as a helpful substitute.

samsung galaxy watch 5 - the galaxy watch 5 has a very responsive display.
The Galaxy Watch 5 has a very responsive display.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

To charge the Galaxy Watch 5, simply attach the magnetic charger to the watch's underside. The charging port is small, but the magnet should easily adjust to the right position and charge. Thankfully, this watch is water resistant, so taking it out on a rainy day is not a problem.

samsung galaxy watch 5 - with a standard water resistance rating of 5 atm, you will not have...
With a standard water resistance rating of 5 ATM, you will not have to worry about water damage with the Galaxy Watch 5.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Display


For our last metric, we awarded points based on the quality of the display. We evaluated the auto-brightness, screen quality, and screen visibility under light.


The most striking feature of the AMOLED screen is its clear resolution and fine detail. With a screen about 31mm in diameter and a pixel density of 396 x 396, you won't need to strain your eyes to read small text. The auto-brightness adjusts nicely to the environment, making reading in the light a simple task.

samsung galaxy watch 5 - we were quite impressed with the display of the galaxy watch 5.
We were quite impressed with the display of the Galaxy Watch 5.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5?


We have come to expect a high standard from the Galaxy Watch Series, and this rendition exceeds expectations. The Galaxy Watch 5 weds high performance with an intuitive UI that anyone can use. Navigating through this watch feels organic, and the tracking capabilities are reliable. We recommend this product to anyone who has an Android phone and is searching to complement it with a top-tier smartwatch. In our opinion, Apple products have the edge, but the Galaxy Watch 5 is still a force of its own.

What other Smartwatches should you consider?


It is hard to beat the Galaxy Watch 5 if you are an Android user. Check out our Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3 if you want the best battery available. iPhone users should check out the Apple Watch Series 8 as this is the best watch available for Apple users.

samsung galaxy watch 5 - the galaxy watch 5 is a device that won't disappoint.
The Galaxy Watch 5 is a device that won't disappoint.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Jessica Riconscente and Jared Eastlick