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Galaxy Watch5: the good and not-so-great tweak you’ll learn to live with

Samsung Galaxy Watch series is among the best Android smartwatch flagships in the market today, and the feature-packed Galaxy Watch5 is here to remind us how far the Korean tech giant has come in making them an integral part of our daily lives, most notably ensuring the average person become mindful of their health. Below are the good stuff that makes Samsung's latest flagship handset a must go-to; plus the one expectant not-so-great tweak that users would learn to live with nonetheless.

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Other than its direct rival, the iOS powered Apple Watch – which requires you to own an iPhone for it to work – the Samsung Galaxy Watch series is among the best Android smartwatch flagships you can buy today and pair it with any latest smartphone of your choice.

Likewise, the feature-packed Galaxy Watch5 is here to remind us just how far the Korean tech giant has come in terms of making them an integral part of our daily lives. It’s a must if you’re looking for a smartwatch that isn’t about fitness first, but is more of an all-round health companion.

Below are the good things – and the expectant not so great tweak – that makes the Watch5 your go-to handset.

The Galaxy 5 is available in two sizes (40mm and 44mm) and each size comes in three colours:graphite, silver, & Pink Gold.

Stronger / purer Sapphire Crystal lenses

Though the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 4, which I previously owned, are practically the same devices visually and, to an extent, physically, the Watch5 features a touch bezel with stronger Sapphire Crystal lenses than its predecessor. Usually only found on more expensive smartwatches, the quality of the Galaxy Watch 5 is so good that it outperforms the Apple Watch Ultra when it comes to far lower repair cost, which is reportedly nearly three times cheaper – as tested on YouTube.

This also means users may need not worry much about having a screen protector as I came to learn when it comes to things dents and scratches; unless they’re prone to situations where things might drop onto the watch, and they want to be safe since the Sapphire Crystal is said to be prone to shattering than glass.

While the previous models came with the iconic rotating bezel, the Watch 5 uses a touch bezel; you need to swipe around the edge of the screen with the tip of your finger to scroll between apps and screens. As a big fan of the physical rotating bezel, which was intuitive and enjoyable to use as it required one to not worry about memorising the zillion things to do to get going, this is the one feature I do really miss.

Compelling health wearable

Packed with the usual list of health tracking tech, the two Galaxy Watch 5 variants share most of the same fitness tracking technology, including the BIA sensor for surveying body composition, continuous SpO2 monitoring, and a new skin temperature sensor.

Both using the standard 20mm watch straps, Samsung claims to have improved the fit of the standard bands.

Both using the standard 20mm watch straps, Samsung claims to have improved the fit of the standard bands. The alleged improvements aid the accuracy of sensors when monitoring core health metrics, it says.

Effectively turning the Watch5 into the Apple Watch of Android, among our top picks is the FDA-cleared ECG (electrocardiogram), which has been a staple of every Apple smartwatch since 2018 and has now made its way to the Galaxy Watch5. 

The ECG feature allows users to monitor heart irregularities (Atrial fibrillation). However, it’s important to note that the device can only track signs of AFib — and data taken from it should not be taken as a medical diagnosis without proper consultation with a medical practitioner. 

Overall, this feature, combined with the blood oxygen and sleep monitors, not only makes the Watch5 a compelling health wearable. It’s a good example of how fitness wearables have made a successful towards a holistic health approach.

Training-friendly built-in GPS

Though it still spots a few other similarities with its predecessors (Watch 3 and Watch 4), including a trio of sensors for monitoring heart rate, aka BioActive sensor, similar sports band, as well as 16GB of internal storage & 1.5GB of RAM, and the sleep coaching system, the phoneless feature which is entirely new for both the entry Watch5 and the Pro version, comes handy when out on a jog or listening to music and is thanks to the built-in GPS. This means you can play your favorite music, track your workout goals and still be reachable in case something urgent pops up on your watch screen along the way.

The track back feature is yet another one of my favourites new training-friendly tool that helps you find your way home if you happen to stray away. One exclusive feature for the Pro version that will sure please cyclists, hikers and runners alike is the turn-by-turn navigation guide, which uses GPS data and GPX maps without needing a cellular connection. By importing this features, users can follow their old routes or export routes from their friends’ workouts and challenge themselves to match them.

Snazzy fashion statement

The Watch5 makes quite a snazzy fashion statement with your latest Galaxy smartphone – as it’s the case with this matching beige Z Fold4 hue at hand. I also like that when it’s time to venture outdoors for a workout, you can go phoneless without ever feeling limited in any way, especially if you own a massive mobile gadget like the Z Fold4.

To enable this mode, you’ll need to reset the watch when you turn it on for the first time. However, it’s also important to note that some features won’t be available when you use your Galaxy Watch without connecting to a mobile device.

The Galaxy Watch5 makes a snazzy fashion statement, particularly when paired with this matching beige Z Fold4 hue.
Suttle colors specially designed to complete your look. 

Expansive Galaxy ecosystem for seamless connectivity

Last but not least, the new Galaxy Watch5 can be a life saviour, particularly for smaller to medium-sized businesses owners. The latest update to the popular Galaxy Watch series, when synced with your Galaxy smartphone such as the as Galaxy Z Fold4 or z Flip4, and the Galaxy Book laptop, the Watch5 goes a long way if you’re looking to save time and enhance productivity.

Prove that wearables aren’t just for workouts, but also come in handy for workplace productivity, any incoming calls, texts and emails will appear on your Watch5; so you won’t need to unlock your phone. Available in either a 44mm or 40mm lens, you can answer right from your watch by simply tapping it to pick up a call, sending a short default text response.

Less time-consuming through and through, when you turn on your Watch5 for the first time, it automatically connects to your Galaxy smartphone as long as the phone is nearby and Bluetooth is enabled. 

Galaxy Watch5; the not-so great tweak you’d learn to live with

Not so ‘ayoba’ batterybut you can live with it

Althouth there’s exciting minor improvements many would welcome as mentioned above, I can’t help but feel Samsung made a major slip up when it comes to battery life.

Contrary to the promised 40 to 50 hours of battery power, in my case it hardly achieves more than half of that when out on jog or run with notifications on. In comparison, it is a far cry to the two to three days I use to consistently get with the Watch 4.

It does help, however, that the Watch 5 supports 10W faster wireless charging, thanks to the included fast USB-C charger. You approximately need not more than 75 minutes to go from zero to 100 percent, plus you can now plug it into a standard USB-C brick.

Furthermore, if you’re pressed to keep your almost depleted battery going in order to record the last bit of your remaining workout (i.e. walking/jogging distance and steps), you can put the ‘Watch Only’ mode on, which literally turn your Watch5 into a ‘dumbwatch’.

Once turned on, your Watch5 will automatically restart and displays nothing else but the time, and you’ll have to press the Home button to see it.

*Pricing from the Samsung online store for the Galaxy Watch5 lineup at R5 999 (40mm ladies) / R6499 (44mm guys, while Galaxy Watch5 Pro starts at R 10 499 upon release.

Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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