Galaxy Watch5 Pro review—Excellent prosumer watch for gifting this holiday
If you are still wondering about a holiday gift for your loved one, I have a perfect idea—Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro. It has a well-balanced mix of consumer and pro features for those who enjoy a nifty smartwatch and sometimes like to venture into the wilderness for serious outdoor activity. Advanced health monitors such as ECG and oximeter round it up as an excellent prosumer watch.
I used it for more than eight weeks to give a thorough spin and convince myself of its full potential. And for sure, this is a keeper.
Rugged build with stylish looks
Galaxy Watch5 Pro’s prosumer theme starts right from its build and looks. It has a solid titanium case and a strong Sapphire Crystal glass display, which gives it the ruggedness and the feel of a pro watch, similar to Garmin Fenix or Casio G-Shock. At the same time, its right-sized, bright color display, medium thickness, and lack of many large, flashy buttons make it look more like a consumer watch.
I used the watch as a daily driver and during rugged hikes. I even dropped it a couple of times. It escaped all the abuse without many scratches on the body or display. Although some complain about the missing rotating bezel in this model, I think its fixed elevated bezel makes it look sleeker while making the display even more secure.
The D-Buckle gives it a premium, distinctive look and makes it easy to put on and take off.
Everything that a consumer smartwatch needs
Watch5 Pro has almost every feature a typical consumer watch should have and some very advanced health features. It supports many activities, including walking, hiking, running, swimming, treadmill, elliptical, etc. I found its automatic activity detection to be very useful and highly reliable. Every time, it automatically started the activity and accurately identified the type if it was specific enough. E.g., it would differentiate walking from running, but not walking from hiking (when on flat trails without using hiking poles).
When paired with the phone, it displays configured notifications, allows accepting or rejecting calls, etc. The feature I found especially useful was replying to text messages from the watch itself without taking the phone out of pocket.
The health and fitness trackers are the highlight of Watch5 Pro, especially when paired with Samsung Health and Samsung Health Monitor apps installed on Samsung phones (Galaxy Fold4, in my case). The Health app provides comprehensive information regarding exercises as well as sleep. The sleep details were pretty eye-opening for me to understand how my patterns were irregular. Higher heart rates made me start yoga and meditation. The body composition details are informative and advised me to work out more!
Note: Checkout my Samsung Galaxy Fold4 and Galaxy Flip4 here
Support of the Electrocardiogram (ECG) is revolutionary. Fortunately, I had a normal heart rhythm on every occasion I checked. I also got to test the oximeter when I recently developed Covid-like symptoms. The readings from the watch were accurate and comparable to the fingertip oximeter. The watch also has a skin temperature sensor, but Samsung has not yet activated it.
Even though none of these trackers are considered clinical-grade or replace medical equipment, they indeed put a solid foundation for the future. A collection of such sensors can be utilized for ambient wellness monitoring and anomaly detection. For example, abnormal heartbeats and body temperature combined with other biomarkers could alert consumers to seek immediate medical attention, which they would have otherwise missed. Early detection might make a difference between life and death in cases like heart attack and stroke. So, although all these look like novelties now, they are the building blocks for that future.
Key features that pro users want
Apart from the rugged build, many other features make Watch5 Pro a good option for users that often engage in pro-like activities. I am that kind of a person; hence this watch is a perfect fit for me.
The most significant and hyped pro feature is GPX file support. I often used this while hiking locally here in San Diego and during our recent trip to Zion, Bryce, and Antelope Canyons. For reference, I compared this functionality with my brother-in-law’s Garmin Fenix 5, a top-rated pro watch, and the experience was comparable. For the most part, the feature lived up to its hype.
Most of the popular trails usually have GPX files on sights like AllTrails.com. It’s pretty easy to upload them onto the watch. GPX files are handy when going on new, low-traffic, or unmarked trails. Because of the continuously moving wrist, step-by-step directions are not perfect. But at crossroads on trails, they can be life savers. Watch5 Pro also warns if you veer off course. Again, accuracy may not be perfect, but it should give correct directionality.
Using the connected Samsung Heath app, you can also create GPX files from your own hikes. This is extremely helpful for finding your way back on unknown or unmarked trails, as well as for sharing your trails with others. In essence, with GPX files, you will not get lost in your outdoor explorations.
Although I only tested GPX files for hiking, they are helpful for other activities like biking, running, etc.
Good battery life and fast charging
Galaxy Watch5 Pro has a great battery life for a consumer watch. I consistently got three days or more with a single charge, with at least one hour of vigorous activity every day. The battery life largely depends on the GPS and display usage. This is where it lags behind pro watches like Garmin Fenix 5, which can last up to a week even with heavy GPS and display usage. But Watch5 Pro addresses this shortfall with fast wireless charging support. I did not accurately monitor charging times, but Samsung’s claims of zero to 45% in 30 minutes and zero to 100% in 90 minutes more or less seem to hold.
A few not-so-great things
Of course, I was not too fond of a few things about the Galaxy Watch5 Pro. One of them is the D-Buckle strap. It is cumbersome to set up and hard to adjust quickly. During steep climbs, when I wanted to loosen the belt because of sweat, I had to stop and readjust the buckle, upsetting my hiking rhythm. The buckle also makes charging the watch from the phone impossible. That means you always have to carry the charger.
Sometimes it can be quirky to come off from power-save mode. Once the watch is fully charged, it flashes the option to turn off power-save mode. If you miss it, the watch remains in that mode until you manually turn it off. Unfortunately, the automatic activity detection doesn’t work in the power-save mode. I missed counting many steps and hikes because of this.
Finally, Watch5 Pro’s price tag is on the higher side. Even with all the discounts, it will be more expensive than regular consumer watches. On the flip side, it is much cheaper than other pro watches. People might feel the bite even more if they don’t use pro features often.
Galaxy Watch5 Pro is a great prosumer watch, combining the best consumer and pro features. Its advanced health and wellness features put a strong foundation for future medical and healthcare uses. It is an excellent fit for people who like to use it mainly as a consumer watch but also frequently dab into serious outdoor activities.
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