The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is pitched as an all-new pedigree of Samsung smartwatches, but it’s a bit confusing who the device is meant for. Despite the Pro-labeled watch being branded as a companion for outdoor sports, it seems to have just as much purpose for those who don’t call themselves adventurers.
Key differences between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro are the latter’s longer 80-hour battery life, more durable titanium casing and collection of GPS-specific features. Price is a rather striking difference, too — the standard Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 starts at $279, while the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro starts at $449 (or slightly lower with the right Samsung promo code).
Does the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro have enough upgrades to justify a $170 premium? Looking at the specs alone, I happen to think so. Yet I’m not really the most “outdoorsy” person, so seeing the watch touted as a rival to the best Garmin watches makes me think it’s not for me.
But I know that even without my inclination for adventure the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has a lot of perks. The question is whether those perks mean you should buy it.
Who is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro for?
Yes, it’s easy to say the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is for those who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking. Though the 80 hours of battery life will be lessened by the use of constant GPS out on trails, it should last considerably longer than the regular Galaxy Watch 5.
But if you compare the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro instead to the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar, which also costs $449, you might not see as strong an outdoor sports watch. The Garmin Instinct 2 Solar actually has infinite battery life in certain applications, thanks to being topped off by the sun.
I could list several examples of Garmin watches with incredible battery life. Anyone who takes outdoor sports seriously (as in, it’s part of their daily routine, or they plan regular camping trips) should stick with a Garmin device if they want a smartwatch that can truly keep up.
That’s my way of saying that I don’t think the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is going to be one of the best GPS watches for outdoor sports enthusiasts. I guess I get what Samsung is going for, especially with the Apple Watch Series 8 rumored to come in a new rugged version, but I’d like to offer a refined recommendation to anyone in the market for a new Galaxy Watch.
You should buy the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro if...
You should buy the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro if you like the feel of premium materials and the look or fit of the included D-buckle strap. For what it’s worth, that strap feels a lot nicer than the one that comes with the regular Galaxy Watch 5.
You should also buy the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro over the regular Galaxy Watch 5 if you care about battery life. With normal use, you’ll get a few days, which is a huge improvement over the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
Finally, you should buy the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro if you use GPS to get around, whether or not it's on the occasional hike or other rugged outdoor activity. The turn-by-turn directions and track back features will come in handy to anyone who even dabbles in outdoor exercise.
If none of those things apply to you, don't buy the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. And again, if you're a genuine outdoor sports enthusiast, I'd also recommend against this watch — at least, for now. When I finally get the chance to try out this watch on hikes or outdoor bike rides, I might change my mind. But I honestly think it's an attractive enough device without the wilderness agenda.