Samsung means business with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. The smartwatch has got enough heft to stand out on your wrist but you won’t mind too much: it’s a classy looking thing, complete with a traditional D-Clasp band.
The bulk is there for a reason. It houses a massive screen, a decent battery and a powerful sensor.
Released at a similar time as the Apple Watch Ultra, there is a seismic shift size-wise happening in the smartwatch world but does the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s ambitions match its dimensions? Here are five things to know…
1. It's all about the size
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has a 45mm case that’s 10.5 mm thick. Well, actually it’s a little bit thicker than this as that doesn’t take into account the slight sensor bulge. Despite its size, it weighs a rather light 46.5g. The main display is 1.4" (34.6mm) in size and Super AMOLED.
To make sure that it can handle a bump or two, it’s been given an enhanced Sapphire display. The big change here, other than size, is the main display. Samsung has opted to get rid of the rotating bezel, which was found on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Pro 4. We can't say we didn’t miss the thing, as it was a joy to use, but it isn’t needed on the Watch Pro 5.
Given the bulk of the Watch 5 Pro, the screen isn’t the biggest we’ve used - especially not on a fitness-focused smartwatch. The likes of Garmin can push screen sizes into the 50mm plus territory.
2. It's designed for daredevils
Samsung opting for a D-Strap (or D-Buckle as Samsung has named it) is a good move. It gives the Watch 5 Pro a stylish feel and means that the watch fits better on the wrist. It’s a classy clasp that suits the rest of the smartwatch’s design.
What we really like about the Watch 5 Pro is that it’s built for performance but doesn’t look that way. The Sapphire glass display is toughened and this is flanked by a tough-as-nails titanium chassis. And this is where the lack of rotating bezel makes sense - it’s far more durable to just have an unbroken bezel.
It’s IP68-rated water resistant, too, so can be submerged in a metre of water for up to 30 minutes. The D-Buckle adds an extra bit or precision to how you wear your watch. For us, it offered a snug fit that a standard band with eyelets doesn’t offer (they are usually too tight or loose for us).
There are only two buttons on the chassis; the top one has a neat red strip around it. This isn’t just an aesthetic flourish but helps you see at a glance which button is which. They are also key to the biometrics you can view on the device - you have to push them to get a reading.
3. It's features more than measure up
The screen is big, bright and hugely responsive. Samsung’s AMOLED tech is some of the best around and it really shows on the Watch 5 Pro.
The interface is really well designed, and the demo when you use the device proves how simple everything is. Flip through the screens and you soon come to a heart-shaped icon that helps you keep in check your step count, workouts and the like. Using the watch as a fitness companion works well, thanks to the depth of the options available and the simplicity with which the watch buddies up with the Samsung Health app.
Once you have gone through the laborious (but essential) process of allowing your watch access to certain data points, there’s a lot that you can do with the Watch 5 Pro. Features of note include the much-welcomed route workout, where you can chart your run before you go (via a GPX file).
Turn by turn navigation is also on board, as is Track Back so you can, with a press of a button, get back to your original location if your travels have gone a little awry.
The two buttons on the side of the device can also measure your body composition which is a really neat feature. And if you aren’t happy with your body composition (reader: we are not) then you can set yourself goals to make sure the next time you use the feature, the numbers are more in your favour.
Another feature we used a lot was sleep tracking. The graphs you get when this is on are detailed and the sleep score is easy to understand as it mixes in how much sleep you have had and the type (whether it’s REM, light or deep sleep).
Alongside this, you get some tips on sleep improvement which we found genuinely helpful and can embark on a six-week sleep programme - although we aren't too sure about the 'animal' you are assigned - if you really want to change the way you rest.
Bixby is still here one the Watch 5 Pro - a long press of the top button gets the feature up. And Samsung Pay is present with a long press on the bottom button. Beyond this, though, it feels like the WearOS experience closer to the front, with Samsung’s flourishes more subtle.
4. There is a focus on fitness
If you are looking for a smartwatch that has fitness as its focus, then the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is packed with decent and useful tools. Some fantastic animated sequences await you when you dive into the exercise tracking in the watch. Here you will find myriad workouts you can track - including a running coach, weights, cycling, swimming and the like. And the tracking is precise.
The watch's 3-in-1 sensors mean that you can track heart rate, heart health and blood pressure at a glance. Its water resistance and tough chassis also means that you won’t mind wearing this one on hikes and where you might get into a scuff or two.
In our tests we slightly scraped against a wall taking a corner too tight when running and we were thinking the worst when looking down at our review sample but there wasn’t even a scuff. Our heart rate spiked with fear, according to the watch, but all was good.
The D-Buckle also works extremely well in keeping the watch in place when out on a jog or a cycle. The Track Back feature really does work and we were impressed with the big, full-colour map that comes up to get you back to where you came from. Unfortunately, this feature only seems to work with cycling and hiking - we reckon it should be available for runners, too.
The automatic workout recording is fantastic, too. It always kicked in during the school run, making us happy that we had already done a workout before work started in the eyes of the watch. The ‘get moving’ prompt works well, too. Yes, it's annoying but does get you up and about if you have been sitting down for too long.
5. The battery hits the big time
These new-fangled fitness features are all well and good but if they are built into a watch that needs charging every single night then there are big problems. Thankfully, Samsung knows this and one of the reasons for the chunk is that it has a massive battery inside.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has a great battery life. The watch has a 590mAh battery, which is 60% bigger than what was found in the Watch 4. This translates to around four days’ moderate use before you have to charge the thing.
In our tests, we used the GPS for running (it also clocked up our school runs and walks automatically), took myriad notifications and kept the screen nice and bright. When the battery did get very low, there is an option to dumb down the smarts on the watch so that it is just a watch.
If you are the type of person who likes to fully immerse yourself in an extreme weekend every weekend then expect the battery to reduce further. Granted, this doesn’t beat the likes of Garmin, Coros or other dedicated fitness watches but we were impressed in our tests.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review: final verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro utterly impressed us in our tests. It’s been our wrist-warmer for around a month now and we can’t think of a better WearOS smartwatch out there.
The key here, though, is WearOS - if you are looking for a true sports wearable, then your head will be still turned by others in the market that are dedicated just to this.
It’s got enough sports features to keep most fitness buffs happy, though - as long as you aren’t chasing a medal - but its WearOS smarts mean that it also goes way beyond being a fitness tracker and becomes, simply, your watch.
- Want to get your heart rate going? Head to our best 80s movie montages guide.