Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 — biggest upgrades

The differences between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 might matter more than ever before. With competition in wearable computing only growing and getting better, the Galaxy Watch 5 looks to up the ante.

For nearly a year, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 was one of the best smartwatches, and the overall best smartwatch for Android. Not only was it the first device to launch with the unified version Wear OS, replacing Tizen, but it offered ample health upgrades and design options compared to earlier Galaxy Watch models.

How does the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 improve? Or what do the biggest upgrades over the Galaxy Watch 4 include? And, finally, how does the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro fit into all this?

Here’s everything you need to know about the Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 4, from the small changes in design and new features to battery upgrades and more.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 price and availability

The Galaxy Watch 4 started at $249 for the 40mm Bluetooth. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, with more premium materials, started at $349 for the 42mm Bluetooth model. Both versions have LTE variants as well. Only the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic will remain on sale, for those who want a physical rotating bezel.

This year, Samsung's prices went up. We're not that surprised, as the company hasn't used consistent prices for Galaxy Watches the same way we're fairly confident the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 will have the same $399 starting price as the Apple Watch Series 7 and generations of Apple Watch models before it.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 price starts at $279 for the 40mm Bluetooth model. The 40mm LTE model starts at $329. The price goes up to $299 and $349 for the 44mm configurations for Bluetooth and LTE, respectively. So, you're looking at a $30 price hike across the board for the standard Galaxy Watch 5. 

Finally, Tte Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro costs $449 for Bluetooth and $499 for LTE. It comes in a singular 45mm size. Both the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro are available as of August 26, 2022.

Take a look at our Samsung promo codes page for the latest offers and discounts. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 design

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 looked pretty similar to all the best Samsung watches of the past. That said, we saw some modern improvements including a slimmer build and more seamless transition from watch case to watch band.

how to set up Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic designs look quite different. The standard model shows as a sportier wearable, while the Classic model presents more like a traditional timepiece. It even retains the physical bezel introduced on the original Samsung Galaxy Watch in 2018.  

There's not much different in the Galaxy Watch 5 design, at least at glance. Hidden upgrades like a more scratch-resistant sapphire crystal display and redesigned bottom curvature are the only true changes. Otherwise you'll find a round, all-screen display (aka no physical bezel, it has a digital bezel instead) with two side buttons for navigation.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

The design differences between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro are more pronounced. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has a titanium casing that creates an elevated edge over the watch's display, better protecting it from scratches or other elements you might face during outdoor sports.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 features

Both the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 4 experiences are powered by Wear OS. Not only has the Galaxy Watch added Google Assistant support, but with many of popular Google services on-board, the watch is quite capable on-the-go. 

Images from Samsung Galaxy Unpacked August 2022

(Image credit: Samsung via YouTube)

Most feature upgrades revolve around new health- and fitness-tracking technology. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has a skin-temperature reader, and though it won't be functional at launch, it should contribute useful wellness insights in the near future. Samsung has proven ambitious with sensors, last year debuting the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 body composition feature and updating the activity interface for a great Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 workout test.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 also has a upgraded sleep coach. Depending on how well (or not) you catch zzz's, the sleep coach should provide actionable advice and sleep plans to maximize your rest. It's not quite the recovery tools we were hoping to get this year, but sleep is nonetheless essential to overall health.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 battery life compared to Galaxy Watch 4 battery life introduces multiple upgrades. As a reminder, the Galaxy Watch 4 is estimated for 40 hours of use, but we found we needed to charge it approximately every 24 hours with daily fitness- and sleep-tracking.

The Galaxy Watch 5 has a 15% bigger battery than the Galaxy Watch 4, with up to 50 hours of battery life. That’s about 10 more hours than before. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is rated for up to 80 hours, or double that the the Galaxy Watch 4. We've found in testing that the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro last longer than the Galaxy Watch 4.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 4: Are the upgrades worth it?

The Galaxy Watch 5 might not look all that different from the Galaxy Watch 4 (at least, for the standard models) but a couple of improvements make it a better smartwatch overall. The battery life does in fact last longer, and when the skin temperature sensor is functional, the Galaxy Watch 5 will be a stronger fitness tracker. You could wait until that feature goes live to make your purchase, but that doesn't make the Galaxy Watch 5 any less of a great value. 

There's one exception: The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. If you like the physical rotating bezel, Samsung has kept the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic available for purchase. 

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef. 

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