- Source: SamsungImproved performance
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is a refined upgrade to the phenomenal Watch 4. Sapphire Glass makes Samsung's newest wearable more durable, and its larger battery makes it easier to get through the day without charging.Pros
- New skin temperature sensor
- 60% stronger sapphire crystal glass display
- Longer battery life + USB-C charging
- Around $100 difference in price
- Rotating bezel was not brought back
- Upgrades are fairly minor
- Source: Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4Old reliable
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 uses the same processor as the Watch 5, so you get the same power and almost the exact same fit, feel, and performance. The battery life is a little shorter, but it should still get you through a full day.Pros
- Same processor as the Watch 5
- Affordable price
- Interchangeable bands and straps
- Minimal battery life
- Slow charging times
- Health sensor sometimes inaccurate
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 was one of the best Android smartwatches we'd seen in years, and it only needed a couple of upgrades to make it even better. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 seems to have fixed those flaws, as the screen is more durable and those long charging times have improved. But, of course, those improvements have upped the price. So while you can find the Watch 4 for under $200, the Galaxy Watch 5 starts at $280. That's a significant smartwatch investment even if you trade in last year's model, but it may be worth the cost depending on your lifestyle.
Pricing, specs, and availability
Before we get into the fine details of these smartwatches, it is important to note there are a couple of different versions of each Galaxy Watch, so you'll want to keep an eye on that when making a final decision.
In terms of the Galaxy Watch 4, there are technically two versions: The Classic and the Watch 4. The Watch 4 is available in 40mm and 44mm and only with Bluetooth. The Classic is available in 46mm and 42mm with Bluetooth, and it's also available in 46mm with Bluetooth and 4G LTE.
Similarly, the Galaxy Watch 5 has several versions to it as well (not including the Watch 5 Pro). The Watch 5 is available in both 40mm and 44mm sizes with either Bluetooth-only options or Bluetooth and 4G LTE combined.
Now let's dive into all the crucial elements.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Case Material Aluminum Aluminum Display 1.19" Sapphire Crystal Glass AMOLED 396x396px (40mm) or 1.36" Sapphire Crystal Glass AMOLED 450x450px (44mm) 1.2" Super AMOLED 396x396 (40mm) or 1.4" 450x450 (44mm) CPU Exynos W920 Exynos W920 RAM 1.5GB 1.5GB Storage 16GB 16GB Battery 284mAh (40mm) or 410 mAh (44mm) 247mAh (40mm) or 361mAh (44mm) Connectivity NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi (2.4Gz & 5Ghz), LTE (optional) NFC, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, LTE (optional) Durability IP68, Waterproof to 50m (5ATM), MIL-STD-810H IP68, Waterproof up to 50 meters (5ATM) Software One UI Watch (Wear OS 3 powered by Samsung) Wear OS 3 Powered by Samsung Health sensors Optical Heart Rate, Electrical Heart Sensor (ECG), Bioelectrical Impedance (BIA), Continuous SpO, Skin Temperature Sensor Heart Rate, EKG, Bioelectrical Impedance, Built-in GPS Price From $280 From $200 Strap 20mm 20mm Dimensions 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8 mm (40mm) or 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8 mm (44mm) 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm (40mm) or 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm (44mm) Weight 29 (40mm) or 32.8g (44mm) 25.9g (40mm) or 30.3g (42mm) Mobile payments Samsung Pay, Google Wallet Samsung Pay, Google Wallet Workout detection Yes Yes Exercise modes 90+ 90 Color options Silver, Graphite, Pink Gold (40mm only), Sapphire (44mm only) Black, Green, Silver (44mm only), Black, Silver, Pink Gold (40mm only)
Similar on the inside, different on the outside
Let's start with the commonalities between the two: the Galaxy Watch 5 uses the Exynos W920, just like the Watch 4. RAM and storage match as well. The Bluetooth connectivity has been upgraded to 5.2, while the Watch 4 had 5.0. (This small improvement in connectivity doesn't amount to much.)
The health sensors between the two are also largely unchanged. With the introduction of the new Skin Temperature Sensor, however, we now have the ability to monitor body temperature accurately. While the Watch 5 was released quite some time ago, the Skin Temperature Sensor has only recently become active for users, so it may take some time to shake out a few bugs. Aside from the fact the Watch 5 came loaded with unusable features until now, the Skin Temperature Sensor promises to be a nice addition and upgrade.
Durability and design
Both watches come in 40mm and 44mm sizes, and their designs are almost identical, with only small tweaks having been made. The Watch 5 BioActive Sensor has been made slightly larger, along with refined curvature to improve contact with your wrist, thereby reducing the number of inconsistent readings. Honestly, I've experienced the frustration of inconsistent readings firsthand, and I'm eager to test this refinement claim on my Watch 5.
The Watch 5 frames are still made of aluminum (only the Watch 5 Pro upgraded to Titanium), but the durability of the touchscreen has significantly improved. In addition, the new scratch-resistant Sapphire Crystal Glass display is supposed to be 60% stronger than the Watch 4 series' display. We constantly wear our watches, beating them up over time — so hopefully, the increased durability in the Watch 5 is the added strength our watches need.
If you're someone who is very prone to banging your wrist against surfaces or if you tend to do a lot of strenuous outdoor tasks such as lawn work, woodwork, or sports, the Watch 5's Sapphire Crystal Glass will be more than worth the upgrade. However, if you're accident-prone and already have a Watch 4, just keep it until that inevitable screen shattering happens, and then buy a Watch 5 — or a Watch 6 if your Watch 4 happens to make it to another year.
The battery life of our smartwatches may be one of the most important factors when considering an upgrade. For all-day fitness tracking and all-night sleep tracking, you want your watch to last long enough to record it all. The improved battery life of the Watch 5 over the Watch 4 is one of the biggest reasons to upgrade. The Galaxy Watch 4 had the same piddly USB-A charger included with every Samsung watch from the Galaxy Watch Active up to the Watch 4. Although the Watch Active recharged fast enough, charging times went down as battery sizes expanded.
The Galaxy Watch 5 includes a new USB-C charger that Samsung claims will take the watch from 0-45% in just 30 minutes. Samsung also states you'll be able to get enough battery for eight hours of sleep tracking from just an eight-minute charge. Perfect for those forgetful last-minute quick charges before bed. However, if you can wait 30 minutes, why not go to sleep at a 45% charge instead?
Samsung claims the Galaxy Watch 5 will last 50 hours on a single charge. While Samsung has claimed the Watch 4 can last up to 40 hours, most users have found they're lucky if it lasts 24 hours — with some needing a recharge before bedtime. The Watch 5 may not last the full 50 hours, but battery life is still an improvement over the Watch 4.
I'm personally looking forward to testing these 50-hour claims, as I want to reach the stage where my watch almost never runs down to zero. I'd like to just top it off during my morning shower without having to wait an extra hour for a full charge. The new 30-minute quick charge may be a game-changer. With faster charging options, it's hard to say no to this long-awaited feature.
Bands and straps
If you own a smartwatch or one of the latest Galaxy Watches, you probably already know the huge selection and availability of bands and straps. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and the Watch 4 are available in 40mm and 44mm sizes, so both use the same 20mm bands and straps.
Under this design, Samsung makes it possible for the best watch bands to be interchangeable between the two models. This exchangeability is especially great if you're a watch band collector. Being able to swap bands gives you the freedom to choose from a large variety of bands, plus you don't have to purchase new ones to add to your collection.
The biggest difference regarding bands and straps with these two watches is the availability of brand-name straps. The Galaxy Watch 4 doesn't have additional band options on Samsung's website; however, the Galaxy Watch 5 has a huge selection of Samsung brand straps you can choose from when initially ordering your watch, so even straight out of the box, your Watch 5 won't be all that plain.
Software and features
While the Galaxy Watch 5 isn't a massive update from the Watch 4, one extra feature is included in the new smartwatch: sleep coaching. This feature tracks your sleep patterns for 30 days and provides extensive feedback and statistics based on the tracking — an amazing feature for those serious about monitoring their sleep and getting the most out of their Zs.
Having the same processor, RAM, storage, and operating system means these two watches should behave almost identically. So there's no need to upgrade when it comes to these departments. If your Galaxy Watch 4 is still going strong, you may be better off just waiting until next year for a new release. Since the software hasn't changed much, you'll want to look at other factors when considering the Watch 5.
Which is right for you?
For current Galaxy Watch 4 owners, there are a few reasons to upgrade; the Watch 5 has a more durable screen, better battery life, improved sleep tracking, and a Skin Temperature sensor that will eventually work. While these features may not be a big deal for some, for others, these are the features we've been craving.
The price difference between the Watch 5 and Watch 4 is more than a few dollars, but since watch bands work on both watches, at least you know you'll save some money in that department.
The latest and the greatest
An overall refined upgrade over the Galaxy Watch 4, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 includes an improved battery life, a stronger glass display, and an all new skin temperature sensor. While the price difference is rather substantial, the new upgrades with this smartwatch are noticeable from the start, and designed to last.
If you haven't bought a Galaxy Watch 5 yet, and you're looking to finally get in on the best Android smartwatch on the market, absolutely buy the Galaxy Watch 5. The Sapphire Crystal Glass display, improved battery life, sleep tracking, and new skin temperature sensor make this model completely worth the upgrade, even if the Watch 4 is discounted.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Still an excellent smartwatch
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 may not be the latest anymore, but it still does a great job keeping up with all your daily physical activities and exercises. And with the same processor as the Galaxy Watch 5, you are getting relatively the same power, so if battery performance isn't much of an issue, the Galaxy Watch 4 still stands as a very good alternative.