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My introduction to smartwatches had been earlier this year with the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Ceramic. Featuring a beautiful white ceramic band, that watch was certainly on the more elegant and eye-catching side of things.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro, on the other hand (or wrist, to be specific), would be on the opposite end of that spectrum in the best way possible.

Coming in a sleek all-black colourway, this rugged watch is fitted with advanced health and fitness tracking services, appealing to those with active lifestyles.

While I don’t exactly partake in such lifestyles, this watch is definitely far from useless for someone like me, as it does offer quite the variety of features for non-fitness enthusiasts too.

After a week of usage, here’s what I think of the Galaxy Watch5 Pro.

Not as seamless as I would like

Perhaps exacerbated by the fact that I’m not a Samsung user, I found using the watch a little… inconvenient, to say the least.

I was frustrated by the fact that I had to switch between the Galaxy Wearable app and the Samsung Health app. I wish there was just one catch-all app for more seamlessness. It would be great if some of the Health features (maybe just the key ones) could just be highlighted on the Wearable app too.

Speaking of seamlessness, or lack thereof, I was also disappointed that I couldn’t seem to set my Google Maps destination directly via the watch.

As someone who takes public transport, I have to walk from place to place quite a bit, so being able to see my route on my wrist would be pretty neat. However, to do this, I would have to whip out my phone and set the destination there before it can pop up on the watch.

Other than Google Maps, there’s also a “Route” feature on the Galaxy Watch5 Pro that lets users access turn-by-turn navigation. To do this, you’ll need a GPX file that feeds the watch the route that you’ve plotted.

To create a GPX file, though, you need a third-party app, because you can’t actually do so using the Samsung Health App or Galaxy Wearable App.

While this Routes function isn’t something I personally would need, I’m sure those who enjoy biking or hiking would appreciate it if Samsung were to roll out a creation function for GPX files on their apps down the road.

Long battery life… on paper

With a 590mAh battery, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro boasts a longer battery life than other smartwatches, including its own non-Pro counterpart (the Galaxy Watch5).

In my previous article about the Watch5 Pro, I marvelled about this. However, after a few more days of using the watch, I’ve come to realise that while the battery life is commendable, using apps such as Maps still drains the battery super quickly.

Navigating with the watch

I found that the full battery had drained to 22% after two days of moderate use. It’s still enough to let me navigate short distances, but those who plan to bring it along on a camping or hiking trip for more than a couple of days might find this to be problematic.

Still, it’s the biggest battery yet from Samsung’s smartwatches, so perhaps I’m being too greedy.

But I do know that some dedicated sports or tracking smartwatches out there such as the Garmin Forerunner Series have much superior battery lives compared to this, boasting up to 49 hours with the GPS-only mode and 15 whole days for the smartwatch mode.

However, it’s unclear what the exact battery size of the Garmin Forerunner Series watches is, plus they have the advantage of solar charging capabilities to keep your watch juiced up.

In any case, the Galaxy Watch5 does have a power-saving mode that you can turn on if you’re in a pinch.

This mode turns off the wake-up gesture, the Always on Display function, and Wi-Fi. On top of decreasing the brightness by 10% and reducing screen timeout to 15 seconds, it also limits the CPU speed, background network usage, background location, and background syncing.

Alternatively, you can also switch to “Watch only” mode, which lets users get even more battery life. Selecting this feature will turn off everything except the watch face when you press the Home key.

I got an alert after sitting for a while

A well-rounded smartwatch

Beyond the few frustrating points I’ve mentioned, the Watch5 Pro is actually a very competent all-rounder of a watch.

As far as I can tell, the fitness tracking is rather accurate. When doing my morning walk, I noticed the watch automatically starts the tracking and ends it once I stop.

The sleep tracking function also works well, with the comfortable nature of the watch being a big bonus, especially as I’m not used to sleeping with a band around my wrist. On average, I got a sleep score of 68, which I’ll gladly take—it’s a passing grade, after all.  

The watch’s audio recorder is particularly useful in conferences

Under ISO standard 22810:2010, the Galaxy Watch Pro has a water resistance rating of 50 meters. There’s also a water lock feature that should be turned on when you go swimming or diving for better upkeep of the watch.

The charge speed is also decent, though I found the charging to be awkward. I can’t get the watch to lie flat unless I put it face-down, which makes me cringe a little from the thought of the beautiful glass face getting scratched.

Those who are already in the Samsung ecosystem and are looking for a smartwatch to add to said ecosystem can definitely benefit from the Galaxy Watch5 Pro.

At RM1,899, this watch costs RM800 more than its non-Pro counterpart, the Galaxy Watch5. But with a more substantial battery and greater durability in terms of its titanium build, I believe the Pro version is a good option for those who lead a more adventurous lifestyle or perhaps want to try.

In short, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro is one that can take pretty much anything you throw at it, but not to the extremes, of course, and not for too long of a time.

Though I’ve not yet fully explored what the Watch5 Pro can do for me in the fitness realm, I’m definitely excited to try. BRB, planning an outing to wear this watch to so I can write more about it.

Biggest battery on a Galaxy smartwatch thus farUsing GPS heavily drains the battery
Turn by turn navigation is available for hiking and biking routesUsers can’t input the destination on the watch or create a GPX file on the Samsung app
Tougher sapphire crystal watch face (compared to the Galaxy Watch4) and durable titanium materialSamsung Health and Galaxy Wearable apps are not very seamless
Good fitness tracking capabilities
  • Learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro here.
  • Read other VP Verdicts we’ve written here.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion to our Facebook page.

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(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)