Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Review: Bigger and Slightly Better

When it comes to smartwatches, taking operating systems and ecosystems out of the equation, the Apple Watch still sets the standard. There is a reason why the Apple commanded an estimated 36 percent of the smartwatch market during the first quarter of this year.

Following at a rather distant second is Samsung and then Huawei to round up the top three, but in our experience the two-week long battery life of smartwatches from the latter company have given it an edge over the South Korean outfit.

That said, Samsung does have a bit of a feather in its cap, as its recent Galaxy Watch series have featured Google Wear OS. The same goes for the latest offerings, and in particular the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, which we have been reviewing for the past couple of weeks.

Priced at R12 999 for the LTE version locally, the Pro model does not come cheap. This as it features a slightly different design, harder wearing materials, bigger battery and a unique strap mechanism compared to the regular Watch 5.

Billed as a smartwatch for the outdoors, a bit like Apple’s recent Ultra option, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is designed to be a slightly more rugged smartwatch for those wanting more functionality from their wrist-bound wearable.

Here is what we learned after two weeks with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

Subtle cues

We start as always, with design, and here in terms of aesthetics, it is the subtle differences that make the Watch 5 Pro stand out from its brethren. Here Samsung has not gone for anything radical, but the size of the 5 Pro is noticeable compared to past iterations we have encountered.

It is slightly thicker at 10.5mm, which does not seem like a lot given the regular Watch 5 is only 9.8mm, but sitting on your wrist, it does feel like a larger device.

Speaking anecdotally, the size of the smartwatch was one of the first things that other people highlighted once they spotted the Watch 5 Pro on our wrist. That said, it goes not feel ungainly or clunky, and despite weighing more than the regular model at 46.5g, the Watch 5 Pro still feels relatively lightweight while wearing it.

The slightly heavier body is thanks to the titanium case of the 5 Pro, with the regular model using aluminium. This material makes the smartwatch better at handling scraps, knocks, temperature fluctuations and in general, is more hard wearing.

While we did not stress test it, the design of the Watch 5 Pro never made us feel like it was a delicate wearable that costs R13k, which we guess is the feeling that Samsung were going for.

The other notable element of the design is the D-Buckle Sport Band as Samsung christens it. It is the first time we have encountered such a mechanism on a smartwatch, and while its moniker notes sports band, we immediately thought of a chronograph when we slipped it on. It helps to make 5 Pro feel a little more grown up, not that smartwatches are toys, but there are certainly tiers in terms of quality and the D-Buckle is a nice touch.

As a side note, the buckle is great to fiddle with and while it is a bad habit, we found ourselves fidgeting with the mechanism when bored or distracted. It is certainly not a feature, but definitely something we enjoyed playing around with.

As for the watch face, it is a 1.4″ Super AMOLED screen that yields a 450×450 resolution. Samsung says it supports up to 16 million colours, so it should cater to a rather rich gradient. There is a good deal of brightness too, even at the lower settings.

If there was one issue, it is the responsiveness of swiping, especially when scrolling through notifications and menu options. There is also a slight lack of precision when working through the app cloud and trying to select an application, but they may have more to do with our pork sausage fingers.

Either way it is one aspect of the experience that stood out to us, and something that would need addressing in future iterations.


Shifting to the features and capabilities of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, and this wearable is packing everything you expect from a smartwatch these days.

On the tracking side of things, the usual array of sensors are present to measure steps taken in a day, calories burned and distance travelled for a number of different fitness apps and workout modes. Real-time heart monitoring is onboard too, and while it is accurate when compared to a pulse oximeter, the ability to track it is a little spotty.

This may be down to the digital watch face we went for, but live read outs of our heart rate displayed erratically on the main screen. Heading into the dedicated heart rate monitor yields results without a glitch though.

One of the aforementioned features that distinguishes the Pro from the regular model is the battery. It is a 590mAh option which is a fair deal larger than the 410mAh one on the 44mm Watch 5. According to Samsung the battery is said to yield up to 80 hours worth of battery life, which translates to a little over three full days.

In our experience, this estimate is fairly accurate, with three full days of life available before a recharge is needed. This is only when not using any of the power intensive functions, however, such as tracking long runs or workouts. When you start doing this, the battery life drops to about two days.

It is still nowhere near the two weeks that most Huawei smartwatches boast, but definitely more than you get from an Apple Watch.

While it does not get close to Huawei’s offerings on battery life, an area where the Galaxy watch 5 Pro excels is is its ecosystem. Having reviewed smartwatches running Huawei’s HarmonyOS, the Wear OS one is far more user friendly in terms of enabling a fully fledged Google experience.

If Google apps are part and parcel of what you do every day, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is simply better suited to that ecosystem than other wearables.

Final verdict

At R 12 999 (RRP), the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro does not come cheap. It is easily one of the more expensive Wear OS-powered options out there. That said, it is one of the most complete options too.

Asking anyone to spend nearly R13k on a smartwatch is a tall ask, but if they are so inclined and do not wish to go the Apple route, the Watch 5 Pro is definitely the best of the current crop.

The only aspect missing here is battery life. While Samsung have upped the battery capacity here, it is still lagging far behind what Huawei can muster. As such, those eyeing a non-Apple smartwatch will need to weigh up ecosystem and battery life when comparing the two brand’s latest offerings.

If for you, it is the latter, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro  is the best all-around experience right now.


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