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Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review: The best Samsung watch for battery life

Here's what it's like to use Samsung's most rugged smartwatch

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is a great choice for those who want a full-featured Android smartwatch with good battery life and some outdoor sports-friendly perks. It's quite bulky for an everyday smartwatch, though.

Pros

  • +

    Great included watch band

  • +

    Track back GPS feature works well

  • +

    Auto start and pause for workouts

  • +

    Better battery life than Galaxy Watch 5

Cons

  • -

    Very bulky

  • -

    Skin temperature reader not active

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro specs:

Starting price: $449
Colors: Black Titanium, Gray Titanium
Size : 45.4 x 45.4 x 10.5 mm
Weight: 1.64 oz
Display: 1.4 in, 450 x 450
Processor: Exynos W920
Memory: 1.5GB RAM + 16GB
Battery life (rated): 80 hours
Durability:
5ATM + IP68
Connectivity: Bluetooth, LTE, NFC, GPS
Compatibility: Android 8.0 or higher

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro takes aim at Garmin watches — even if it really shouldn't. Despite being the first Galaxy Watch of its kind, the 5 Pro isn't really one of the best GPS watches for outdoor sports enthusiasts.

Instead, compared to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has a more durable design, a few GPS tools and a longer battery life. Yes, all things worth appreciating. These perks have the making of a great everyday smartwatch; not just a sports watch. Some might lament the lack of rotating bezel, but that's what the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is for.

An added skin temperature sensor is another draw of Samsung's 2022 smartwatch lineup, but it doesn't work yet. In the meantime, for this Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review, tested the device as I do all the best smartwatches with added biking and hiking adventures to put some of the new features to use.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro costs $449 for Bluetooth and $499 for LTE. It comes in a singular 45mm size unlike the standard Galaxy Watch 5, which comes in 40 and 44mm sizes.

Speaking of, 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. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic remains on sale as well.

Both new watches became available on August 26, 2022.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review: design

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is somewhat of a new design for Samsung. It doesn’t get the rotating bezel like the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic did last year (controversial, I know) but it does keep on with presenting a more premium alternative to the flagship Galaxy Watch. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Looking at the two watches side-by-side, the biggest visual differences are the size and the titanium chassis. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro comes in a singular and very formidable 45mm size, with a case that’s uniquely elevated around the display. I’m guessing this is to protect the sapphire crystal display from scratches, but it does make the smartwatch very thick.

Galaxy Watch 5 vs. 5 Pro sizes

(Image credit: Future)

I didn't realize just how bulky the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro would feel. But having tested the regular Galaxy Watch 5 first, it felt like I doubled the size of the device on my wrist. Personally, it's just too large for me. I had a hard time wearing it to sleep every night.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro comes in 2 colors: Black Titanium and Gray Titanium. This version of the watch also ships with what Samsung is calling the D-Buckle Sport Band. It’s a sophisticated-looking, yet sporty strap that I was able to adjust to fit my wrist perfectly. It ended up being my favorite thing about the design. I would consider buying the $79 D-Buckle separately for the regular Galaxy Watch 5.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review: Outdoor sports tracking

For the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, I sought some adventurous workouts as I do when I test the best Garmin watches. I took the Watch 5 Pro hiking and outdoor biking during the week I wore it for this review.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

My hiking trail was rather easy to navigate, but the watch helped me track my metrics and effort, namely time elapsed, distance, altitude and heart rate. I didn't feel worried about roughing up the watch in the wooded parts of the hike, either. That's where the concave bezel offers some peace of mind for durability.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro supports GPX files, which basically lets you share geographic information with others and keep a reliable track of your routes. You'll need to import GPX data from a third-party app like Strava, though. If I had my route loaded, I could get turn-by-turn directions for my hike. Again, I didn't need help finding my bearings, but the Track Back feature also worked well when I tried to get back to where I parked my car.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

I could better appreciate the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro's large display on my bike rides. With the always-on display enabled, glancing down to check my speed and distance was a breeze. The watch also called out my mileage at certain milestones, and kept my pace accurate with auto-pause. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Auto-pause actually works for most Galaxy Watch 5 Pro workouts. It's a feature I wish the Apple Watch offered for more than just running and biking.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: Other health and fitness tracking features

Another fitness tracking feature I've found Samsung does very well is automatic workout tracking. As soon as I've been walking or moving for 10 minutes, the watch prompts me to launch a workout.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, it can do basic activity tracking like counting steps and giving you a nudge to get moving when you've been sitting for a while.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has both Samsung’s 3-in-1 BioActive sensor (heart rate, SpO2 and body composition via BIA) and the new temperature analysis sensor. Looking at the rear of the watch, you can see the skin-temperature reader sits slightly off-center on the bottom of the Galaxy Watch’s case. Unfortunately, it doesn't work at the time of this review, but I'll issue an update when the feature goes live. In the meantime, here's what I know about the Galaxy Watch 5 skin temperature reader.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review: Wear OS

Like the Galaxy Watch 5, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro runs Wear OS powered by Samsung. Though it’s the same foundational Google’s smartwatch software that will come on the Google Pixel Watch, Samsung layers the experience with many of its in-house apps, watch faces and menus. The added skin should also let the smartwatch pair and sync effortlessly with other Samsung devices in the same user ecosystem.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

The biggest benefit of Wear OS 3 smartwatches is how they get Google services, namely Gmail, Google Maps and, more recently for Galaxy Watch devices, Google Assistant. The best smartwatches for Android have been a bit disjointed over the years, but moving towards unifying the software the way it is for smartphones should make for a better collection of smartwatches on the market overall. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Software-wise the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro are almost identical. I can't help but wish there were more exclusive software features to justify the higher price on the Watch 5 Pro, though. Here's a full breakdown of the differences between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review: Battery life

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro claims up to 80 hours of battery life with 590mAh battery capacity. That’s about 30 more hours than the standard Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and double the expectancy of the Galaxy Watch 4.

Does that actually pan out? Yes and no. I do believe the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro could last almost 5 days, but that would be without the always-on display enabled, continuous SpO2 monitoring and frequent GPS usage. On my hikes and bike rides, the Watch 5 Pro's battery life drained more quickly. With what I would consider regular use, I got a little more than 3 days with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro before needed to recharge it. 

That's about a full day's worth of use more than I experienced with the regular Galaxy Watch 5. I have to say, not worrying about a daily charge with this year's Galaxy Watch devices was a game-changer.

Still, the battery life is no match for that of many Garmin watches. The Garmin Instinct 2 Solar with infinite battery life comes to mind. The watch is not meant to last you a week in the wildnerness. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review: Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is a curious smartwatch. Coming for Garmin’s sports watches was an unexpected choice for Samsung, a brand I wouldn’t previously connected to outdoor sports in any way. Perhaps rumors of a rugged Apple Watch Series 8 Pro steered what was just a premium version of this year’s Galaxy Watch into a more adventurous device, but that’s just speculation.

Even if the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the best Samsung watch for outdoor sports, it pales in comfort and battery life to Garmin watches. Though I enjoyed testing it on outdoor hikes and bike rides, the features are actually quite limited compared to dedicated GPS watches. 

Instead, I see the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro as the choice for those who like a substantially sized smartwatch, several days of battery life, and enjoy occasional trysts with outdoor sports. The "glamper" instead of the camper, if you will.

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.