Last year, Samsung launched its first range of smartwatches with Wear OS, Google’s operating system for wearables. Twelve months later, here we are with the next version of that device, the new Galaxy Watch 5.
If that of the previous model had been an important step in the direction of a more open system and able to offer a good user experience even to non-Samsung smartphones – while maintaining an interface and quality in continuity with those of the South Korean house – this year’s proposal continues in that groove without breaks, with the intention of improving what good had already been done.
The range of smartwatches presented by Samsung at the Unpacked 2022 event is in fact composed of two devices: the top of the range Galaxy Watch 5 Pro designed for outdoor activities and the Galaxy Watch 5, a direct descendant of the Galaxy Watch 4. For a fortnight I was able to try the second, which in the face of a conservative design introduced some novelties such as the infrared sensor for temperature measurement and a slightly larger battery. Here’s how it went.
ELEGANT DESIGN AND EXCELLENT BUILD QUALITY
To say that the design of the Galaxy Watch 5 is in line with its predecessor would be an understatement, since putting them next to each other, at first glance, it is difficult to distinguish them. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since we find the positive aspects that we had already appreciated last year, from the minimal lines to the excellent build quality.
The materials convey a feeling of solidity, and in these two weeks of use they have withstood the stresses of a fairly intense use without reporting any scratches. The case is made of Armor Aluminium, the same developed by Samsung to increase the strength of its folding devices such as the Galaxy ZFlip4 (here our review) and the Galaxy ZFold4, and follows clean lines that make the Galaxy Watch 5 suitable for all occasions.
Two sizes available, 40 mm or 44 mm, just like for the Galaxy Watch 4; I tested the smallest, which fits well on my wrist quite slender, in gray color; the others available are silver and lilac.
There are only two physical buttons, located on the right side of the dial, with functions that can be customized via app. Instead, the bezel that in one of the versions of the Galaxy Watch 4 allowed you to navigate the menus has disappeared, replaced by a digital system that uses haptic feedback; a choice that some fans may regret, since it allowed you to use the smartwatch more easily even in the shower or in conditions that do not allow you to use the touchscreen.
Another change also concerns the shape of the lower part of the case, the one that houses the sensor, which has become more rounded to better adhere to the wrist and detect the parameters with more accuracy; looking carefully you can also see the newly introduced infrared sensor. The changes do not affect the ergonomics, which remains excellent. To this also contributes the soft rubber strap with classic pin buckle without loop, really comfortable.
The conservative design has made it possible to maintain a weight in line with the predecessor – we are talking about 33.5 grams for the 40 mm version, that is, 3 grams more than before – and the resistance up to 5 ATM and IP68 protection return, so good for sports.
BRILLIANT DISPLAY, CONFIRMED HARDWARE
Excellent performance that of the 1.2″ super AMOLED display (another confirmation compared to the Galaxy Watch4), which remains clearly visible in all light conditions and is protected by the new sapphire crystal glass like its older brother, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, where the size of the displays rises to 1.4 ”.
The color rendering is vivid, with deep blacks – forget those displays from the black a bit ‘fake – and vibrant colors; excellent presence of the sensor for automatic brightness adjustment that works efficiently (but if you prefer to adjust it manually you just have to scroll down the curtain with a swipe down from the top frame of the display).
As on the previous one we find the Always On display and the activation by rotation of the wrist; since the second works in a punctual way I used practically only the one preferring to deactivate the AoD and save a bit of autonomy. Interesting are the new watchfaces, from the one with the “guide” animal that represents the user’s type of sleep to those with bears and flower gardens, all customizable in graphics and data to be shown on the dial.