Google will release its new Pixel Watch and most of the top Wear OS watches will get Wear OS 3 as soon as this summer. But all of these will have to contend with the Galaxy Watch 5, which will allegedly revamp its predecessor’s middling battery life, bundle in a new health sensor, and add a brand-new, ultra-large “Pro” model with premium materials.Below, we’ll break down when we expect the Galaxy Watch 5 to arrive, how it’ll differ from the Galaxy Watch 4, and everything else you need to know.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Design and models
We’re big fans of the Galaxy Watch 4 classic, which has a more traditional, stylish look and a useful rotating bezel for navigating through Wear OS. But recent rumors have indicated Samsung will abandon its Classic design for the Galaxy Watch 5.
A recent leak suggested Samsung will sell three Galaxy Watch 5 models, codenamed Heart-S, Heart-L, and Heart-Pro. The first two models correspond with the two standard Galaxy Watch 4 case sizes, while the third “Pro” model will have a massive battery and use premium materials: sapphire glass and a titanium case.
It appears all three watches will use the same capacitive touch bezel as the base Galaxy Watch 4. The Heart-S case size will likely be 40mm, while the Heart-L would fall at 44mm — both the same size as the Galaxy Watch 4 models.
We don’t know yet whether the “Pro” version will grow even larger or sit around the same case size as the Heart-L. But as we’ll discuss below, it’s rumored to have a massive battery increase, which you’d assume would correspond with an even larger case.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Specs and sensors
Samsung made some significant upgrades with the Galaxy Watch 4 in terms of both performance and health sensors. But there’s reason to assume the Galaxy Watch 5 will be more of an iterative upgrade.
First, the processor: while we’ve heard no rumors on this front, we believe it’ll use the same Exynos W920 chip as last year’s watch. We’ve heard no rumors about Samsung working on a new chip, and it used the same Exynos 9110 chip for the first three generations of Galaxy Watches. That’s why we wouldn’t be surprised if it stuck to the W920 for another year or two.
The Galaxy Watch 4 uses 1.5GB of RAM and has 16GB of storage. Given most Android smartwatches only have 1GB, 1.5GB is arguably plenty, and Samsung may stick to the same memory as before. We’ve heard the Pixel Watch could use a 2GB/32GB build with the older 9110 chip, so it’s possible Samsung will upgrade here as well. Currently, however, we suspect it’ll stick to the status quo.
Instead, Samsung will likely increase the battery size in the Galaxy Watch 5. One battery leak suggested the smallest model would have a 276mAh battery, nearly 30mAh more than the cell found in the 40mm Galaxy Watch 4. And a second battery leak (opens in new tab) disclosed that the larger model would have a 391mAh battery, 30mAh more than the Galaxy Watch 4 44mm.
As for the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, a separate battery capacity leak indicated this model would have a 572mAh battery, about the size of the battery in the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS. Where the Galaxy Watch 4 only lasts a day or two on average, the large TicWatch consistently persists for three days even with 24/7 heart rate and blood oxygen tracking. Of course, with a battery this size, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro may be just as bulky and heavy as the Pro 3 Ultra by necessity.
In terms of Galaxy Watch 5 sensors, we have every reason to believe it’ll retain the same 3-in-1 BioActive sensor with optical heart rate, blood oxygen, blood pressure, ECG, and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis. That’s already better than most smartwatches besides the Fitbit Sense. But could it add one more sensor?
Back in March, we heard the Galaxy Watch 5 could also receive an infrared thermometer, which could be used to track your skin temperature overnight and help to judge sleep quality and health.
But recently, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple canceled the feature in the Apple Watch Series 7 due to difficulties with getting the algorithm right, and said he suspects Samsung “might not” use the sensor either “due to algorithm limitations.” He’s only speculating but has a solid track record with leaks.
(3/3)Samsung is facing this challenge as well. Unlike previous media reports, I think Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in 2H22 might not support the body temperature measurement due to algorithm limitations.May 1, 2022
Otherwise, unless Samsung adds an EDA sensor for stress monitoring, there isn’t much left that the company could add. Its sensor suite is fairly definitive.
We know for certain the Galaxy Watch 5 will also share these traits with its predecessor: 5ATM and IP68 water/dust protection, MIL-STD-810G protection, NFC, built-in GPS, and a Super AMOLED display. But we’re otherwise uncertain what other improvements Samsung will make.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Software
Samsung’s take on Wear OS 3 is a hybrid form of both Google’s Wear OS and its own Tizen / One UI Watch platform, taking elements of both. Given Google is still developing Wear OS 3 in preparation for a launch on the Pixel Watch and other Fossil and Mobvoi watches, we certainly shouldn’t expect Samsung to use “Wear OS 4.”
That being said, don’t assume Samsung will stand pat with its software. In fact, the South Korean company recently announced its first One UI Watch beta program, which will kick off on June 2 for Galaxy Watch 4 owners. Just as Google tests new features with its Android beta every year, Samsung evidently wants to let its die-hard fans try out experimental watch features months in advance of when the next watch ships. So if you want a sneak peek at the Galaxy Watch 5, you may want to sign up.
Samsung recently added Google Assistant to the Galaxy Watch 4, so you can expect it on the 2022 wearable as well. The same goes for other Google apps like Maps and Keep.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Release date and price
While we haven’t seen any leaks on this topic, it’s not hard to guess that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 release date will be sometime in August. The Samsung Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch Active 2, Galaxy Watch 3, and Galaxy Watch 4 each launched sometime in August, four years in a row. We don’t have a specific date yet, but you won’t have long to wait.
As for pricing, we can assume the price will match the Galaxy Watch 4 given they’ll have the same case sizes: $250 for the 40mm and $280 for the 44mm, respectively. There may be some slight variation, but nothing drastic given Samsung doesn’t seem to be making major changes this year.
Samsung will also sell an LTE upgrade for the Galaxy Watch 5 for (we suspect) a $30 surcharge.
As for the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro price, it would cost at least as much as the 46mm Galaxy Watch 4 Classic — $380 — but would likely cost much higher given its alleged sapphire glass and titanium casing. A titanium Apple Watch Series 7 costs at least $800, while Garmin watches with sapphire glass also cost in that price window.
We don’t know yet what Galaxy Watch 5 color options will be available across all three models.
Our Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 wishlist
It’s 2022, and many of us are either looking for fresh starts or improvements to various areas of our lives, including the tech we use. Of course, Samsung is one of the largest technology companies in the world, so there are high hopes for it.
With the Galaxy Watch 4 ushering in a new era for Samsung in its wearable lineage by dropping the homegrown Tizen OS in favor of Wear OS 3, of course, there were bound to be some bumps in the road. Despite these hiccups, the Galaxy Watch 4 series are fantastic smartwatches. This is thanks to excellent build quality, some of the most advanced health monitoring sensors, and many more reasons.
But despite its technical excellence, the Galaxy Watch 4 series had its issues. That’s why we’re hoping the Galaxy Watch 5 makes some upgrades and retains its position as the best Android smartwatch available. With that in mind, here are a few changes we’re hoping Samsung has in its sights for the Galaxy Watch 5.
Better battery life and faster charging
Longer-lasting batteries aren’t a wishlist item for Samsung alone. It is something we want across the board in terms of smartwatches. But, we’re talking about one of the most advanced technology companies globally, and we expect more from it. It shouldn’t be too much to ask that our smartwatch gets at least two days of use between charges while using the device to its full potential — yet here we are.
If you use a Wear OS watch, you know that you’ll need to charge it every night. Because unless you use one of Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro devices, you won’t be able to utilize your watch for sleep tracking — assuming it supports it — without charging it. To be fair, the TicWatch Pro watches achieve a long battery life by employing dual-layer screen technology.
Getting long battery life from a small computer on the wrist is a tough task, but along with solving that puzzle — please give us faster charging. While wireless charging is a great feature, Samsung’s implementation is slow. To go from 0 to 100, you’ll need about two hours to reach that point. Though it’s a different technology, the Fossil Gen 6 can get a full day’s use with less than 30 minutes on the charger — there’s no reason Samsung can’t at least match this on the Galaxy Watch 5.
Open up health monitoring features outside of Samsung phones
For years, Samsung wearables have required a plethora of separate apps to function on phones not made by Samsung. So while you could use your Tizen-based watch on any Android smartphone, it would work better, and in some cases, have more features on Samsung branded devices. Unfortunately, that didn’t get resolved entirely with the Galaxy Watch 4 running Wear OS — and that needs to change.
To take advantage of the ECG or blood pressure monitoring if available in your country, you need to be using a Samsung phone. There’s no reason that a feature with the potential to save someone’s life should only work with a particular brand of phone. When the FDA approved ECG monitoring for Samsung watches in September 2020, it required a separate app for this feature, and there are no reasons why this app and feature can’t work on any Android phone.
In addition to opening up these features to be accessed by all Android phone users, it would be great to see the Galaxy Watch 5 be the device that finally brings blood pressure monitoring to the U.S. This, of course, isn’t entirely up to Samsung as it requires FDA approval, but it’s a feature that can have a significant impact on people’s well-being. Hopefully, since the feature recently became available in Canada, it will be in the U.S. soon. By combining it with heart rate, blood oxygen, and the BIA sensor from the Galaxy Watch 4, the next iteration of Samsung’s smartwatch could be incredible.
Cohesive app design language
Yes, we know that this is an issue with Wear OS and not the future Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. But, Samsung is co-developing the operating system with Google, and if it wants to have its smartwatches in the same conversation as what Apple offers — this needs to happen.
Samsung smartwatches reside in the premium tier, and users should expect a premium experience, one that Apple Watch users have enjoyed for years. Samsung nailed hardware long ago, and even its Tizen OS had some premium aspects. Unfortunately, one of those wasn’t the apps.
By creating a cohesive app design language, Samsung and Google can offer users and developers the chance to use applications that perform and look great. For example, apps on the Apple Watch complement the hardware and provide consistency across the catalog. Wear OS watches come in various shapes and sizes, but by creating a common language and setting app standards, watches like the Galaxy Watch 5 can further improve their premium stance.
Offer an LTE version that actually works
One of the main reasons I returned my Galaxy Watch 4 LTE was because it, like many prior Samsung cellular watches, was a disaster when the LTE radio was active. These types of watches are supposed to offer the ability to leave our phone behind and still be able to receive notifications, calls, track workouts, and more. But Samsung has had a history of its LTE smartwatches struggling in several ways.
When I tried to use my Galaxy Watch 4 on a run, it couldn’t stay powered on long enough to track my workout. Powering off multiple times due to overheating, eventually, I left the watch off. That is unacceptable. Unfortunately, even when trying to leave my phone behind, not during a workout, and utilize a feature I bought the watch for, it would overheat. The Galaxy Watch 5 needs to resolve this issue.
Samsung develops the impressive hardware that we see and the internal parts that run the devices. There are many factors that come into play when dealing with cellular radios. Still, Samsung can achieve a smartwatch that can offer proper LTE connectivity, should it be a priority. If Samsung doesn’t, and it chooses to continue down the current path, just leave LTE out of the Galaxy Watch 5 entirely.
The first try was good, but the second will be better
Even though, after two tries, the Galaxy Watch 4 didn’t do enough to impress me, Samsung makes some of the best Android smartwatches. It gives other brands something to shoot for just as they continue to push Samsung. Wear OS gained a lot of mindshare when Samsung switched to it, and both are better for it. But the Galaxy Watch 5 has plenty of room for improvement.
Samsung’s first swing at a Wear OS watch went very well in many ways. It didn’t just slap on a different OS with the Galaxy Watch 4; it also brought in improved health monitoring features along with some new ones. The second attempt for its Wear OS 3 smartwatch needs to push the envelope in some areas and enhance the basics like battery life. The Galaxy Watch 5 will definitely be one to keep an eye out for, along with some other areas that Samsung needs to do better in 2022.