Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review

The best Galaxy smartwatch so far

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The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is the latest offering from Samsung in the fitness tracker and smartwatch space. Released in August 2022, this is a device that is undoubtedly a premium offering, but surprisingly affordable compared to a lot of rivals, with an RRP of £289 for the 44mm version.

The LTE version (which has its own access to the internet) costs from £339. Samsung also offers a slightly smaller, 40mm version which is even cheaper at £269 (£319 for the LTE version), and a Watch 5 Pro, which is 45mm, and priced at £429 (or £479 for the LTE version).    

As the most recent iteration of the Galaxy Watch series, the Watch 5 is the most feature-packed yet. As well as an exhaustive list of health and fitness tracking tools, it offers a full smartwatch experience, with a wide assortment of apps to choose from to fully customise your experience. 

This is a device that will appeal to almost any Android phone user, but owners of Samsung Galaxy devices will have access to some features that aren’t available to users of other devices.  

Samsung is promising its best, most refined version of the watch yet. Read on, to see whether it’s pulled it off. 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch5 on a mossy backgroundCredit: Exceptional
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5


The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 offers a comprehensive suite of apps, health and fitness monitoring in an elegant package, with a beautiful sapphire-glass screen. It does a lot very well, making this one of, if not the, best smartwatches for Android phone users.





Who’s this for?

Android phone users who want a comprehensive smartwatch experience, with advanced health monitoring features. This offers just about everything you could want.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Gorgeous touchscreen display
  • Comprehensive health and fitness monitoring
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Disappointing battery life
  • Not compatible with iPhone
  • Samsung Health Monitor app only available on Samsung phones

Expect to pay

RRP: £289 The Galaxy Watch 5 (44mm version) has an RRP of £289 (or £339 for the cellular version). Samsung often has special offers or trade-in deals, and we’ve seen other retailers selling this watch for less than £240.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Review method

How we test

We wore the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 over a period of a few weeks, as we went about our everyday business. We used it to count steps and track exercise and sleep, and set it to receive notifications from a wide variety of apps, including emails, text message, and WhatsApp. 

The 44mm version of the Galaxy Watch 5 is the version we tested, as opposed to the smaller 40mm version, or the Watch 5 Pro. Alongside the Watch 5 we also wore the Coros Pace 2, to get a sense of how the two devices compared when it came to tracking sleep, exercise and other activities.  

Finally, alongside the watch we made use of the Galaxy Health app, to see how well the data from the watch was shared and presented, as well as seeing what other features were available via the app.  


Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Setup

Requires more than one app

Set up screens for the Samsung Galaxy Watch5Credit: Exceptional
Setting up the watch is very simple

Getting the Galaxy Watch 5 up and running is simple: download the Galaxy Wear app (from the Play Store), pair the devices, and you’re up and running in a few minutes.

To really make the most of the features on the watch, you’ll also need to download the Samsung Health app (also from the Play Store), where you’ll see most of the measurements the watch records.

If you’ve never used these apps before, you’ll need to create a Samsung account. Again, this is very simple to do – provide an email address, create a password, accept some terms and conditions, and you’re ready to go.  

As with most smartwatches, the manufacturers try to make the process as painless as possible. But it is worth noting that on older devices, you may find some compatibility issues with the Samsung Wear app.

If you own an older phone, bear in mind that you may encounter a few more hurdles to get things working. It’s worth checking compatibility between your phone and the Watch 5 before you commit. 

Once you’re up and running, there’s a short tutorial on how to use the touchscreen to navigate the watch. This is useful, as the touchscreen is the main way you’ll control the watch. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Design

A class act all around

The Samsung Galaxy Watch5 lying on a stone background.Credit: Exceptional
A good-looking, well made device

The Galaxy Watch 5 is similar in design to the Watch 4 that preceded it. And that’s not a bad thing – this is a good-looking watch, which feels extremely polished.

There are three colours available in the 44mm model: sapphire, graphite, and silver. It doesn’t particularly excite, and if we were being picky, we’d say that the bezel around the screen still feels quite thick. But these are minor quibbles, and it’s a watch that could be worn in most settings without looking out of place.  

The frame is brushed aluminium, which gives the watch a pleasing amount of weight and heft – it certainly doesn’t feel cheap, as some watches with plastic bodies we’ve tested do.

The model we tested still only weighs 33 grams (1.16oz) It also has sapphire glass on the screen, which should make it scratch-resistant, and capable of withstanding knocks or drops. Samsung says this is 60% tougher than the screen on the Watch 4. 

There are two buttons on the side of the watch, but most of the time you will be using the touchscreen. And what a screen it is. The 3.5cm (1.4in), Super-AMOLED screen is crystal clear, with a high resolution 450x450 pixel display that makes everything easy to read

What is Super AMOLED?

AMOLED screens are more energy efficient and clearer than an LCD screen. Super AMOLED screens are a Samsung display technology that promises a brighter screen, lower power consumption and 80% less sunlight reflection compared to a standard AMOLED screen.

It’s also very bright, so even on extremely sunny days, you won’t struggle to read it. Colours are vibrant, and overall, it’s a very appealing screen to look at, and one of the best we’ve seen 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch5 with a different watch face, with a field of yellow flowers in the backgroundCredit: Exceptional
There is a wide range of watch faces to choose from

There are lots of options to customise it as well, with a host of different watch faces ranging from classic designs to interesting graphics, or very health-focused designs.  

The silicon strap we tried was soft and extremely comfortable, and wearing the watch almost constantly didn’t irritate us at all. It is grippy without being uncomfortable, which means the watch isn’t constantly sliding around on your wrist. This will help with the health metrics it monitors.  

The bands are also interchangeable and can be easily swapped via the quick-release pins on the underside. Samsung sell a range to choose from, including leather and stainless steel, should you prefer. Third party straps are also available. 

The watch comes with a proprietary, magnetic charger that the watch sits on while charging. At the other end is a USB-C connection, which means it will connect to most modern phones if it needs a quick top-up. 


Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Features

Almost everything you could want

The Galaxy Watch 5 is full of features, and there’s little lacking here. It has sensors for monitoring body composition, heart rate and ECG, blood oxygen levels, and even blood pressure. There’s also the usual sleep tracking and step counting functions, and the watch can record a vast array of fitness activities – around 100 in total.  

The watch has built-in GPS, to help accurately track where you’ve gone on a walk, run or bike ride, and after ten minutes of walking, the watch can automatically detect and track what you’re doing. There’s a lot packed in.  

In terms of how well all the features work? We were impressed, but there are a couple of things to be aware of. 

Blood pressure and ECG

Blood pressure and ECG screens on the Samsung Health appCredit: Exceptional
Blood pressure monitoring and ECG are only available with compatible Samsung phones

Perhaps most importantly, the blood pressure monitoring and ECG features will only work if you have a Samsung phone that supports the Samsung Health Monitor app (which isn’t available on the Google Play Store). So, if either of these is the reason you’re interested in this watch, make sure you have a compatible phone.

We weren’t able to test these, but it’s important to note that blood pressure monitoring needs to be calibrated by a normal blood pressure cuff every 28 days to maintain accuracy. 

There’s an argument that if you have easy access to a blood pressure cuff, why not just keep using that? However, if you are interested in monitoring your blood pressure daily, then the watch will be a more convenient way of doing this.  

The ECG function can be used to detect atrial fibrillation, a common form of irregular heart rhythm. Once again, this only works if you have a compatible Samsung phone. 

It’s frustrating that these features aren’t accessible to other Android phone users, as we can envisage them being extremely popular.

Samsung is obviously taking a leaf from the Apple playbook by trying to encourage people to remain entirely within the Samsung ecosystem. It just feels a little naughty to limit the functionality unless you have one of their phones as well. 

Health and fitness tracking

The select workout screen on the Samsung Galaxy Watch5Credit: Exceptional
The Watch 5 can track around 100 different types of exercise activity

As we mentioned above, the watch is filled with health and fitness tracking features. As well as the blood pressure and ECG, the watch tracks your heart rate through the day, and can also monitor blood oxygen and stress levels.

The watch also comes with a temperature sensor. Despite the watch being released back in 2022, it was only in April 2023 that this feature was made active on the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro.  

The temperature sensor is designed to complement the Cycle Tracking feature that the watch already offered. This now tracks changes in the wearer’s basal body temperature, which can then be used to identify any changes in temperature. This can potentially help users “track ovulation and better predict when their next period will begin”. 

When it comes to fitness, we were impressed with the sheer volume of activities that can be tracked. These range from what we typically expect from any smartwatch, such as walking, running, and cycling, to more unusual options, such as ballroom dancing and ballet.

There’s even an option for “flying disc” – we assume this means frisbee, rather than UFO spotting. All in, it’s very impressive, and means that most people will be able to track their activities. 

The watch will also nudge you to be active throughout the day. After 50 minutes, if it senses that you haven’t moved, it will gently vibrate and tell you it’s time to get active. It isn’t overly pushy about it, but it does encourage you to make sure you move little and often. 

The watch is also IP68 water-resistant for up to 30 minutes, so it’s suitable for a quick swim if that’s your thing. But it probably wouldn’t be suitable if you want to be in the water for longer than this.

Bixby, Samsung Pay and other apps

The app selection screen on the Samsung Galaxy Watch5Credit: Exceptional
There are plenty of apps to choose from

Being a fully-fledged smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 5 offers a lot of other apps and features for you to make use of. There’s Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant, which can be turned on or off depending on your preferences. If you do like using it, we found it worked reasonably well. 

There’s also Samsung Pay, one of the many contactless payment methods available. Given that the watch runs on Google’s Wear OS platform, you can also change this to Google Wallet if that’s what you already use.  

Beyond these, there are plenty of pre-installed apps, and loads more available to add if you wish. This includes third-party apps such as Strava, Peloton and Spotify, for example. You can download music and photos from your phone to the watch as well, so you can potentially leave the phone at home while you go for a run, and still play your favourite tunes as you go.  

The watch is good at receiving notifications, and we were also able to make and receive calls with it. Calls were clear and didn’t suffer from a great deal of lag. One (minor) observation was that while on a call, if we received a notification then the person on the other end of the call could tell.  

Samsung Health app

While the Galaxy Wear app is what you’ll use for changing settings on your watch, it’s the Samsung Health app that you’ll be using most of the time, as this is what shows you all your health data.

It’s a little frustrating to have to install two separate apps, but on the scale of inconveniences, this one is fairly minor 

The daily activity screen on the Samsung Health appCredit: Exceptional
The heart-shaped rings track your step count, calorie burn, and time being active

The home page gives you a snapshot of things like your daily activity, with three heart-shaped rings that denote your step count (in green), time spent being active (in blue) and calories burned while being active (in red). It very much mirrors the rings concept found on the Apple Watch – the rings close as you complete your daily target for each metric. 

Below this, there’s a display of your step count, an exercise summary, a place to log your food intake for the day, your sleep record from the previous night, your heart rate, stress level, body composition, cycle tracking, water intake, and blood oxygen measurements. 

It’s very comprehensive, but quite busy, and you need to scroll to see everything. It’s not a deal-breaker, but we think this could potentially have been presented more clearly. If you want a more detailed breakdown of any of these, you can tap on them to open a new screen. 

You can also get a weekly summary, and achievement badges that you earn by hitting certain milestones, such as setting a record for steps taken in one day. It’s basic, but we can see this having a motivational effect. 

Given the vast range of measurements that the watch can record, it’s little wonder that the app has quite a lot going on. It’s not a terrible app, but we didn’t feel it was the most intuitive either.


The underside of the Samsung Galaxy Watch5Credit: Exceptional
The magnetic charger is easy to connect

Battery life is still one of the big issues for this device. While some devices, such as the Garmin Venu 2 and Withings ScanWatch, offer battery life of ten days or more, the Galaxy Watch 5 still struggles to go more than 36 hours between charges. This is despite the battery being bigger than on the Galaxy Watch 4.  

While it’s good that you can get a full day between charges, it’s still a little disappointing that this isn’t better. During testing, we found that features such as SpO2 (blood oxygen level) monitoring and the always-on display did reduce the battery life to closer to 24 hours than 36. 

If you turn off a lot of the features, and don’t really use it, you might eke out a couple of days. But then you’d have to ask yourself, “What’s the point?” If you want the features this watch offers, switching them off to preserve battery is slightly self-defeating. 

The good news is that the watch charges quickly. A ten-minute charge from flat gave us 26% battery, while we charged from zero to 50% in about 20 minutes, which would probably be enough to get you through the next 12 hours at least. To fully charge from flat took around 65 minutes, so even if you do need to charge from flat, you won’t miss too much tracking. 

The charger itself is a flat magnetic connection that is easy to use. Just place the watch on top, and it will vibrate to confirm a connection has been made and start charging. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Performance

A slightly mixed bag

The Galaxy Watch 5 offers a lot, and while it’s a great device, there were some areas where we felt performance was better than others. 

Fitness tracking screens on the Galaxy Health appCredit: Exceptional
Fitness tracking was very good

We were generally quite impressed with the fitness tracking. The watch seemed able to constantly monitor heart rate during a variety of different workouts.

While it was usually in the same ballpark as the Coros Pace 2, there were occasionally some bigger differences, with the Watch 5 generally showing a higher heart rate than the Pace 2. The two watches also had quite different readings in calorie burn estimates, with the Watch 5 consistently more generous in the calories we burnt during exercise.  

We were also impressed by the GPS tracking. The watch uses Glonass, Beidou and Galileo satellites to support the GPS function, and we found that this watch and the Pace 2 were very closely aligned in terms of distance travelled and steps taken, with the Samsung device counting marginally more steps in general.

We felt it was consistently reliable. The fact that the watch will automatically detect walking after ten minutes, and offer to start tracking your route, is also a nice touch. 


sleep tracking and sleep symbol screens from the Samsung Health appCredit: Exceptional
Tracking sleep was a little less certain

Sleep tracking was difficult to gauge. The Watch 5 generally recorded less “light” sleep than the Pace 2, and slightly more “deep” sleep each night. REM sleep was more variable. On half the nights we tested, the Coros showed more REM sleep, while on the other half, the Watch5 showed more. 

If you use the sleep coach, the app will analyse your sleep and give you some, er, interesting sleep symbols, such as “Easygoing Walrus” or “Cautious Deer”. It then offers a four-week course to try to improve your sleep habits. We didn’t find this overly helpful. 

We’d suggest using this with caution, and there are question marks over the accuracy of sleep trackers generally. 

Body composition

The body composition measurement screen on the Samsung Galaxy Watch5Credit: Exceptional
Body composition measurements felt inaccurate

While it’s impressive that the Galaxy Watch 5 is offering body composition measurement, we weren’t overly impressed by its readings. Having used a considerable number of smart scales that also measure body composition, we noted that the Watch 5 was considerably different in its readings, with body fat measurements that were almost double what we were getting on the scales. 

As with sleep tracking, there are some questions around the validity of these measurements. But the Watch 5 certainly felt on the high side. Having said that, if you’re using it to track changes in your body composition over time, then you may still find this useful.  

While performance wasn’t flawless, we’d say the Watch 5 is very good at tracking activity, and average for sleep. We haven’t seen any other smartwatch that tests body composition, but we didn’t feel this was accurate compared with body composition scales. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Value


With that £289 RRP, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is priced quite competitively. It is a premium device offering an awful lot of features and sits at a comparable price point to the Garmin Venu 2 (RRP £309.99) and a Withings ScanWatch (RRP £279.95).

Neither of those devices offers as much as the Samsung watch, however, so in terms of features, it offers a lot for the money. 

If we compare it to other smartwatches, the Google Pixel Watch is £339, while the Apple Watch SE, the cheapest of Apple’s smartwatch range, is £259. The Apple Watch 8, which we’d suggest is broadly comparable to the Galaxy Watch5, is £469. 

Taking all that into account, the Watch 5 starts to look like excellent value. But we’d add one note of caution: if you aren’t using a compatible Samsung phone, then you won’t have access to all the features on the watch. And that affects its value as a result. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Competition

You might also like…

If you want to consider something other than the Galaxy Watch 5, here are a few potential alternatives.

Garmin Venu 2

Garmin Venu 2 GPS smartwatch on a stony background

There’s very little not to like about the Garmin Venu 2. Incredibly detailed health and fitness tracking and measurements, a beautiful touchscreen, and a very impressive battery life make this a great all-rounder. This is an excellent alternative to the likes of the Apple Watch, Fitbit Sense, or Samsung Galaxy Watch.  

The Garmin Venu 2 is at a similar price point to the Galaxy Watch 5 and offers a lot of similarly high-quality health and fitness tracking. The GPS is excellent, the touchscreen is brilliant and bright, and the battery life is typically well over a week for everyday use. The Garmin Connect app is also user-friendly and presents your data clearly.  

It isn’t the smartest of smartwatches, lacking a lot of the apps that are available on the Watch 5. But if your primary focus is on health and fitness, and you want an accurate device that also looks great, this is a very suitable choice. 

Coros Pace 2

The Coros Pace 2 GPS watch

An excellent running watch, filled with useful features and accurate GPS. Perfect for runners who are on a budget, this is a device that’s easy to recommend, even if there are one or two compromises along the way. 

Another fitness-focused device, the Coros Pace 2 is primarily a running watch. It isn’t a fully-fledged smartwatch, as it allows you to receive notifications, but little else. It also lacks a touchscreen, so you’ll have to use a rotating crown to navigate it. 

While it lacks a lot of features, it does offer extremely accurate GPS tracking, as well as measuring running cadence and other metrics to improve your running performance. It’s also very budget-friendly, with an RRP of £179. If you are interested in a watch for your running, you could do a lot worse. 

Apple Watch 8

The Apple Watch Series 8Credit: Apple
The Apple Watch Series 8

For all you iPhone users, the Galaxy Watch5 won’t work with your phone. Instead, you may want to contemplate one of Apple’s own dedicated watches. The Apple Watch 8 sits in the middle of the current range of Apple devices, but still has a premium price tag, with an RRP starting from £419. 

But for that, you are getting an exceptional device, laden with features. Designed to integrate seamlessly with your iPhone, the Apple Watch 8 offers a full smartwatch experience. Features include comprehensive fitness tracking, including integration with Apple Fitness+, and a wide variety of health metrics, such as blood oxygen, heart rate and ECG, temperature sensing, and even fall detection. It’s one of the best devices available for iPhone users. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Final Verdict

One of the best smartwatches available

The Samsung Galaxy Watch5 on a wood effect backgroundCredit: Exceptional
A great choice, as long as you have an Android phone

If you use an Android phone, then the Galaxy Watch 5 is one of the best value smartwatches available. It is laden with features that see it hold its own with many more expensive devices and enjoys excellent build quality. It looks great and is very comfortable to wear. 

But it isn’t perfect. The battery life remains an issue, and we’re always disappointed when you can’t confidently go through 24 hours without worrying about charging your device.

We also dislike the fact that some desirable features such as blood pressure and ECG monitoring are only available if you also have a Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

While we understand the desire for Samsung to “encourage” people to buy everything from them, this does feel anti-consumer. 

Despite these grumbles, it is still an excellent all-rounder. We wouldn’t say it absolutely excels in all areas, but it does almost everything well. If you’re an Android phone user looking for a good smartwatch with a beautiful screen and good health and fitness tracking, you’ll struggle to find much that offers more. 

Buy this if:

  • You want excellent health and fitness tracking 
  • You’ll appreciate an excellent touchscreen 
  • You want a “full” smartwatch experience 

Don’t buy this if:

  • You own an iPhone 
  • You don’t want to charge your watch every day 
  • You’re looking for a watch for outdoor adventures. There are more durable options on the market

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5


The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 offers a comprehensive suite of apps, health and fitness monitoring in an elegant package, with a beautiful sapphire-glass screen. It does a lot very well, making this one of, if not the, best smartwatches for Android phone users.


High-quality materials, comfortable to wear, and sapphire glass make this feel very premium


Offers just about every possible health and fitness monitoring metric we can think of


Excellent GPS tracking, and a good app, but slightly hampered by battery life


Cheap compared to a lot of competitors, but disappointing that not all features are available without a Samsung phone

Who’s this for?

Android phone users who want a comprehensive smartwatch experience, with advanced health monitoring features. This offers just about everything you could want.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Gorgeous touchscreen display
  • Comprehensive health and fitness monitoring
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Disappointing battery life
  • Not compatible with iPhone
  • Samsung Health Monitor app only available on Samsung phones

Expect to pay

RRP: £289 The Galaxy Watch 5 (44mm version) has an RRP of £289 (or £339 for the cellular version). Samsung often has special offers or trade-in deals, and we’ve seen other retailers selling this watch for less than £240.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Specs

Weight 33.5g
Dimensions 43.3 x 44.4 x 9.8 mm
Screen size 34.6 mm
Screen resolution 450 x 450 px
Removable strap? Yes
Operating system Wear OS powered by Samsung
Compatibility Android phones
Workouts tracked Around 100 different workouts
Wi-Fi Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Cellular Yes, on the LTE version
Steven Shaw

Written by Steven Shaw he/him


Steven Shaw has been a freelance writer for a variety of outlets, most notably TechRadar. His degree in Medieval History prepared him less adequately for his career than you might expect, but the years spent working in technology focused retail were much more helpful.

Outside of work, Steven is passionate about health and fitness, and particularly enjoys high-intensity interval training, weight training, and increasingly, spending time recovering. Steven loves reading, films and a wide variety of sports. A particular highlight was watching Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar batting together in an exhibition match.

He wishes he could travel more. He can also tell you a lot about the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Carolingians. Most of his non-work time is spent with his young children, who are the living embodiment of high-intensity training.