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Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 could miss out on major upgrade — can it keep up with Apple Watch 8?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a wrist, showing a body composition analysis
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 or Samsung's next-gen smartwatch might skip on an expected health sensor, according to a respected tech analyst.

While providing an update on the Apple Watch 8 via Twitter, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Samsung's plans to introduce a body temperature sensor to the Galaxy Watch 5 could be thwarted by "algorithm limitations."

Following a thread about rumored Apple Watch 8 body temperature sensor troubles, Kuo tweeted (opens in new tab), "Unlike previous media reports, I think Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in 2H22 might not support the body temperature measurement."

Though we haven't seen many leaks about Samsung's upcoming smartwatch, one circulating rumor was that it would have a body- or skin-temperature reader to challenge this year's Apple Watch, believed to get the same feature.

While a report last month from Bloomberg tipster Mark Gurman suggest both the Apple Watch 8 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 were on track for body temperature readings, Kuo's newer intel casts doubt.

It seems Apple and Samsung are both struggling with accuracy. Differentiating skin temperature from the temperature of external factors from the smartwatch's typical wrist position is the assumed challenge. Fitbit seems to have figured it out though, as both the Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Charge 5 track body temperature overnight to let you know if anything is amiss.

We can't imagine either smartwatch will launch with skin temperature reading as a standout feature if the readings or algorithms powering the readings didn't offer correct data consistently. 

That said, if problems can be solved on the software side, it's possible these contenders for best smartwatch of the year could include a dormant body temperature sensor. The companies could later turn on or employ the sensor with OS updates. 

Or, the sensor can be skipped all together for two of 2022's most anticipated smartwatches. If that's the case, we'll be interested to see how either smartwatch plans to stand out. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is likely to see some new features courtesy of a new Wear OS update (likely to be announced at Google I/O 2022 next week) while we'll learn more about watchOS 9 at WWDC 2022.

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.