Quick answer: Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has several fitness features for tracking exercises and daily activities. However, hardcore athletes, hikers, and adventurers will find that the Watch 5 Pro doesn’t offer the same level of GPS accuracy or in-depth workout training as Garmin smartwatches.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro was specifically designed to cater to an active crowd interested in tracking their lifestyles, no matter which activity or exercise they enjoy. Much like the company’s previous Watch Active models, the Watch 5 Pro offers a solid basis to build on, especially considering all the third-party fitness apps available through the Galaxy app store and Google Play Store.
If you’re interested in picking up one of our favorite Android smartwatches, you can rest easy knowing the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has the durability and features to help you lead an active lifestyle, with a lot of tracking options. However, it is also important to remember that Samsung’s approach to fitness isn’t as granular as other companies; you may find yourself wanting some of the more hardcore tracking options found on smartwatches from Garmin and other competitors.
What makes the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro different?
Some key differences stand out if you compare the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to the Watch 5. The Pro’s 45mm screen will show more of your workout map or workout statistics than the Watch 5’s 40mm and 44mm models. Also, Samsung claims the Watch 5 Pro can last 80 hours on a charge, but fitness tracking will consume the battery much faster, which makes the extra-large battery on the 5 Pro more attractive for those with longer workouts or all-day hikes. This 590mAh battery is 60% larger than last year’s Galaxy Watch 4, and even if you have a few hours of workouts, the Pro will still last an entire day.
The biggest loss to many Samsung fans is, without a doubt, the Watch 5 Pro ditching the physical rotating bezel that was so popular in navigating the One UI Watch interface. Now, the raised edge helps you scroll via the “digital bezel” that relies on accurate touch input (which is often iffy when you’re in the thick of a workout and your hands are all sweaty). That raised edge also protects the sturdier sapphire crystal glass against bangs and bumps, rather than having the glass cover the entire top of the Watch 5.
What fitness activities can the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro track?
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro also differs from its counterpart in that it supports GPX, which stands for GPS Exchange Format File. GPX files contain visual information for routes, trails, tracks, and waypoints. However, there are two crucial catches; the first is that GPX on the Watch 5 Pro only works for hiking and cycling now. It won’t work for walking, running, mountain biking, and other route-based physical activity until or unless Samsung updates the watch to broaden support.
The other caveat is that you can only add GPX routes from Samsung Health, Strava, or other GPX-supported apps, most of which are paid apps via subscription or fee. You have to get those GPX files onto the phone you’ve paired with the Watch 5 Pro to transfer them to the watch from Samsung Health. Once there, they appear on the watch when you tap and select the Route tile.
Samsung Health on the Watch 5 Pro can track over 90 exercise types. However, it can only automatically detect workouts for a handful of types: walking, running, swimming, elliptical training, rowing machine, and dynamic workouts. If the Watch 5 Pro detects consistent movement for 10 minutes, it automatically logs it as a workout and keeps tracking until you’re still for a few minutes. The feature is very nice for the modes that have it, but for all other exercises, you will need to manually start and stop them on the watch to track and log the activity.
Another benefit to being part of a mobile ecosystem is how the Watch 5 Pro integrates with other Samsung devices. For instance, if you’re recording yourself doing a workout using a compatible Samsung phone, you can remotely control the phone’s camera zoom by pinching the watch face or turning the bezel.
While the feature is more for capturing photo snapshots, it also works with videos and is useful when creating content or tracking your own form while exercising. The Camera Controller feature is coming to both the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro (along with the Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic) in February 2023.
How does GPS on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro compare to other brands?
Among other Android smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is about as good as it gets. The build quality is better than Mobvoi and Fossil, and its software is more consistent and reliable than any other Wear OS watch on the market today — though the upcoming Google Pixel Watch might bring some competition on that front. Most importantly, Samsung’s fitness tracking is robust and consistent, exactly what you need if you’re serious about your physical activity.
The Watch 5 Pro is also $450, so it’s not aimed at the regular Android watch market but more toward dedicated fitness smartwatches like Garmin. No one does GPS tracking and mapping quite like Garmin, and its focus on reliability, durability, and detail makes it a tough competitor for the Watch 5 Pro. Sadly, Garmin doesn’t have the app support that Google Play on the Watch 5 Pro has, and many of Garmin’s advanced features require a subscription. For hardcore athletes, Garmin takes the edge, but for casual fitness and a better app/notification experience, go with the Watch 5 Pro.
Beyond that, a bevy of wonderful fitness trackers offer a more compact profile than the hulking Watch 5 Pro, and the vast majority of those are half the price of the 5 Pro or less. If you’re into golf, one of Garmin’s specialties, Samsung has a Watch 5 Pro Golf Edition equipped with features not otherwise available on the standard model. One is the Golf Buddy Smart Caddie app, which has a shortcut on the default watch face. You can also track the clubs you used and how you hit the ball. Maps can show you the course, while a compass points you to the center of the green.
Will the Watch 5 Pro hold up to your exercises and activities?
The Watch 5 Pro is exceptionally durable, thanks to its titanium housing and the Sapphire Crystal glass that Samsung has put to work here. The more minimal design might not appear as durable as some of the more rugged-looking options, but it will stand up to just about anything you throw at it. The titanium used is a good deal lighter than stainless steel, making the watch less noticeable on your wrist, which is a welcome change for such a large watch.
The Watch 5 Pro is also 5ATM swim-proof up to 50 meters, and its IP68 dustproof and water-resistant rating means it should hold up quite well in wet environments unless you’re into diving, of course. Combine all that with the larger battery, and you’ve got a durable smartwatch that will last longer in day-to-day use, as well as over time when the battery starts to degrade from usual wear and tear.
Samsung has committed to the Watch 5 Pro with four years of upgrades, so you should be set to receive security patches, bug fixes, and even new features over the coming years as Samsung updates One UI Watch. This is important because the current iteration of Wear OS is still very young, and Google and Samsung are working together to polish it up and offer even more features that smartwatch users need.
One thing to keep in mind before you pick up your Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is that oils and dead skin will accumulate on the bottom of the watch over time. Because many of the fitness sensors are situated there, you’ll want to make sure to regularly clean the back of the watch to avoid any of the oil or debris eating away at the sensors you’ll need to track your fitness journey.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Samsung designed the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro as a premium smartwatch with more than capable fitnessfunctions. It doesn’t offer as much hardcore tracking as similar watches from Garmin, but those looking for a strong smartwatch with just as strong fitness features — like GPS path-retracing — as well as multiple years of promised updates, will find the Watch 5 Pro checks all the right boxes.