Technology NewsIs the new watch worth the upgrade over its...

Is the new watch worth the upgrade over its predecessor?

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Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic models offered serious improvements over their predecessors, which included the first smartwatches to run the new Wear OS 3. Not just from Samsung, but the first to offer the new operating system — period. The Galaxy Watch 4, in particular, was very easy to recommend, and it made it to our collection of the best smartwatches. It wasn’t without its flaws, though, so Samsung announced the Galaxy Watch 5 model in due time to fix many of them and improve the overall user experience.


The Galaxy Watch 5 is the latest entry in Samsung’s Galaxy watch lineup, with better battery life and a durable display, among other things. All these improvements come at a cost which is why we wanted to break down all the differences to help you figure out which one to buy in 2023.

  • Get your hands on the 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 for just $250 on Woot right now!
    Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (40mm, Bluetooth-only)

    Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

    The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is the one that we recommend for most users as it offers a good set of features for the price. It’s durable, has plenty of features and is available in multiple sizes.

  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 comes with the latest OneUI Watch platform and is a great option for Android users.
    Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

    Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

    The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 remains one of the best Wear OS watches you can buy right now. It shares many similarities with the Galaxy Watch, but you can get it for a lot less.


Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs Galaxy Watch 4: Pricing & availability

Both Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 4 are available to purchase in 40mm and 44mm case sizes, and they’re readily available to purchase in a variety of colors, including Black, Silver, Green, and Pink Gold colors. The base model of the 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 with Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connectivity can be had for $230 right now, whereas the base model of the 40mm Galaxy Watch 4 will cost you $170. Upgrading to the 44mm size will cost an additional $30 for each watch.

You can also choose to pay a premium and upgrade to the LTE models, but don’t forget to check carrier compatibility and see if you can get some deals by bundling them with your existing contract. Also, Samsung appears to be selling only the 40mm variants of the Galaxy Watch 4 on its online store, so you’ll have to look at other retailers, including Amazon, to grab a unit.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs Galaxy Watch 4: Specifications

Before we begin, here’s a quick look at all the specifications to find out what each of these smartwatches brings to the table:

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Material & Sizes

  • 40mm & 44mm
  • 20mm Sports Band
  • Armor Aluminum Case
  • 40mm & 44mm
  • 20mm Sports Band
  • Armor Aluminum Case

Dimensions & Weight

  • 40mm:
    • 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm
    • 28.7g
  • 44mm:
    • 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm
    • 33.5g
  • 40mm:
    • 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm
    • 25.9g
  • 44mm:
    • 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm
    • 30.3g

Display

  • 40mm:
    • 1.19-inch AMOLED display
    • 396 x 396p resolution, 330PPI
    • Sapphire Crystal Glass (1.6x stronger than Galaxy Watch 4 series)
  • 44mm:
    • 1.4-inch AMOLED display
    • 450 x 450p resolution, 330PPI
    • Sapphire Crystal Glass (1.6x stronger than Galaxy Watch 4 series)
  • 40mm:
    • 1.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 396 x 396p resolution, 330PPI
  • 44mm:
    • 1.4-inch AMOLED display
    • 450 x 450p resolution, 330PPI

Processor

Exynos W920 Dual-Core 1.18GHz

Exynos W920 Dual-Core 1.18GHz

Memory

  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage

Battery & Charging

  • 40mm:
  • 44mm:
  • WPC-based wireless charging

Sensors

  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Barometer
  • Ambient Light Sensor
  • Compass
  • Optical Heart Rate Sensor
  • Electrical Heart Sensor (ECG)
  • BIA (Body Composition Analysis)
  • Continuous SpO2
  • Skin Temperature Sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Barometer
  • Ambient Light Sensor
  • Compass
  • Optical Heart Rate Sensor
  • Electrical Heart Sensor (ECG)
  • BIA (Body Composition Analysis)

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz & 5GHz)
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • LTE
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz & 5GHz)
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • LTE

Durability

  • IP68 rating for dust and water resistance
  • Waterproof up to 5ATM
  • MIL-STD-810H certification
  • IP68 rating for dust and water resistance
  • Waterproof up to 5ATM

OS

  • One UI Watch 4.5 based on Wear OS 3.5
  • One UI Watch 4.5 based on Wear OS 3.5

Colors

  • 40mm:
    • Case
      • Silver
      • Graphite
      • Pink Gold
  • 44mm:

Design and build quality: Cut from the same cloth

Galaxy Watch 5 in Sapphire colorway laying on a flat surface

Both watches, as we mentioned earlier, are available to purchase in 40mm and 44mm sizes, and they look like they’re cut from the same cloth. They’re both made of aluminum, but the Galaxy Watch 5 has significantly improved touchscreen protection, so it definitely earns more points for durability. It sports Sapphire Crystal Glass which is said to be up to 60% stronger than the Galaxy Watch 4’s panel. Both watches are IP68 + 5ATM certified, but the Galaxy Watch 5 is also MIL-STD-810H rated, meaning it can handle day-to-day usage and accidental bangs and knocks a bit better. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is still the ultimate rugged Samsung smartwatch, but the Galaxy Watch 5 is slightly better compared to the Watch 4 in that regard.

An image showing a person wearing a Samsung galaxy Watch 4 model.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 model.

Both smartwatches, as you can see, are also almost indistinguishable from each other. We’re looking at the same chassis, complete with the same button layout. They also have identical dimensions, but the Galaxy Watch 5 models are a couple of grams heavier. The 40mm and the 44mm of Galaxy Watch 5 weigh 29g and 32.8g, respectively, whereas the same-sized Galaxy Watch 4 models weigh 25.9g and 30.3g, respectively.

Galaxy Watch 5 in Sapphire colorway on a stand

The 40mm variant of both watches are available to purchase in Black, Silver, and Pink Gold colors, whereas the 44mm variant replaces the Pink Gold color with Sapphire in the case of the Galaxy Watch 5 and Green in the case of the Galaxy Watch 4. One of the best things about these smartwatches is that they both accept standard 20mm watch bands. This means all your Galaxy Watch 4 bands can be used with the Galaxy Watch 5, too, in case you end up upgrading.

Internal hardware: More similar than you think

The Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 4 aren’t just two similar-looking watches because they also share a lot of similarities on the inside. As you can see from the specifications sheet, they’re both powered by the same Exynos W920 chip and have 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The health sensors also remain largely the same, with only a slight improvement in the BioActive Sensor on the Galaxy Watch 5. It has a relatively larger contact area with your skin, which should result in more accurate readings and, hence, better tracking.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 137350

Samsung has also improved the skin temperature tracker in the Galaxy Watch 5. Is it going to make a huge difference? Probably not, but it’s worth considering if you like being on the cutting edge of technology. However, keep in mind that the temperature sensor isn’t available in all regions, including the United States. The rest of the fitness and health tracking abilities of both watches are the same, as Samsung does a pretty good job updating its old hardware with some new extras. The battery life is probably the biggest differentiator in the hardware department, so let’s get to that.

The battery life is probably the biggest differentiator in the hardware department.

The 40mm and the 44mm variants of the Galaxy Watch 5 have bigger batteries than their Galaxy Watch 4 counterparts. We’re looking at a 284mAh and a 410mAh battery in the case of the 40mm and 44mm Galaxy Watch 5 models versus a 247mAh and a 361mAh battery for the Galaxy Watch 4 units. The improved numbers on the specification sheet also translate to better battery life in the real world for the Galaxy Watch 5. As we mentioned in our Galaxy Watch 5 review, it can consistently last us for up to three days on a single charge without continuous heart rate monitoring.

The battery life is one of the most important factors to consider while purchasing or upgrading to a new smartwatch. The newer Galaxy Watch is definitely better in this comparison. Notably, Samsung also includes a new USB-C charger with the Galaxy Watch 5 models, which it claims will take the watch from 0 to 45% in just 30 minutes. That’s perfect for those who forget to charge their watches and want to top up the battery quickly.

Software: Same software

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 4 both run One UI Watch 4.5 with Wear OS 3.5. That’s right, the Galaxy Watch 4 that shipped with One UI Watch 3.0 with Wear OS 3.0 has also been updated to the latest software build. They’re both equally good when it comes to the software, but the Galaxy Watch 5 has more updates left in its tank as it came out a year later than the Galaxy Watch 4.

Samsung has promised up to four years of updates for all Wear OS-powered Galaxy watches. This means the Galaxy Watch 5 will be supported up to 2026, while the Galaxy Watch 4 will cease to receive updates sometime in 2025.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs Galaxy Watch 4: Which one should you buy?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, the newer watch in the lineup, costs slightly more than the Galaxy Watch 4. So is it worth splurging on? Well, if you’re upgrading from the Galaxy Watch 4, then the answer is no unless you really want improved battery life and a more durable display. The slight improvement in health and fitness tracking likely doesn’t warrant an upgrade, even at a discounted price. You are better off waiting for the next watch in the line-up to see if Samsung makes any significant improvements.

But if you haven’t bought a Galaxy Watch yet and are looking to pick up your first Wear OS smartwatch, then we recommend spending more to buy the Galaxy Watch 5. It may not be a massive jump from the Galaxy Watch 4, but plenty of small changes make it better overall, especially for someone buying their first smartwatch.

  • Get your hands on the 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 for just $250 on Woot right now!
    Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (40mm, Bluetooth-only)

    Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

    The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is the one that we recommend for most users as it offers a good set of features for the price. It’s durable, has plenty of features and is available in multiple sizes.

  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 comes with the latest OneUI Watch platform and is a great option for Android users.
    Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

    Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

    The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 remains one of the best Wear OS watches you can buy right now. It shares many similarities with the Galaxy Watch, but you can get it for a lot less.

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