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(Pocket-lint) - When Samsung announced the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic in August 2021, it was more than just a slight refresh on hardware and performance. They were the first watches to run the new Wear OS 3 software developed with Google. That meant some quite significant changes from the generation before. 

Those devices have since been succeeded by the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Watch 5 Pro, which also run on the Wear OS 3 platform, and make some design changes.

If you're in the market for a Samsung Galaxy smartwatch, or you're looking to upgrade an older model - perhaps the Galaxy Watch 3 that arrived in August 2020 - you're in the right place.

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Here is how the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro compare to the Galaxy Watch 4, Watch 4 Classic and Galaxy Watch 3.

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Design

  • Galaxy Watch 5: 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm / 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm
  • Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: 45.4 x 45.4 x 10.5mm
  • Galaxy Watch 4: 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm / 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm 
  • Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: 45.5 x 45.5 x 11mm / 41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2mm
  • Galaxy Watch 3: 45 x 46.2 x 11.1mm / 41 x 42.5 x 11.3mm

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is sportier in design than the Watch 5 Pro, offering a look that is closer to the Watch 4 and taking design cues from the older Active range. It's a refined design that sees the Watch 5 and Watch 4 sit closer to the wrist and there's a digital bezel on board both models. The casings are also all aluminium.

The Watch 5 Pro meanwhile, is chunkier with a more pronounced bezel, resembling the Watch 4 Classic. It ditches the physical rotating bezel we saw on the Watch 4 Classic and Watch 3 for a digital bezel though and the material of choice is titanium. The Watch 4 Classic opts for stainless steel.

The Galaxy Watch 5 comes in 40mm and 44mm size options. Both are available in Graphite and Silver colour options, and the 40mm model comes in Pink Gold too, while the 44mm model comes in Sapphire. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro comes in 46mm only and in Black and Gray colour options.

The Galaxy Watch 4 comes in 40mm and 44mm size options like the Watch 5 and both sizes are available in silver and black, while the 40mm is also available in pink gold and the 44mm in green. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic comes in 42mm and 46mm size options and it is available in silver and black colours.

The Galaxy Watch 3 comes in a three different finishes - Mystic Black, Mystic Silver and Mystic Bronze, and there is also a titanium option. Sizes are 45mm and 41mm and there are a number of strap options available, including a link bracelet.

All Galaxy Watches are IP68 water and dust resistant, MIL-STD-810G compliant and waterproof up to 5ATM. All models also have two function buttons on the right of their circular displays.

Display

  • Galaxy Watch 5: 1.36-inch 450 x 450 pixels / 1.19-inch 396 x 396 pixels, AMOLED
  • Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: 1.36-inch 450 x 450 pixels, AMOLED
  • Galaxy Watch 4: 1.4-inch 450 x 450 pixels / 1.2-inch 396 x 396 pixels, AMOLED
  • Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: 1.4-inch 450 x 450 pixels / 1.19-inch 396 x 396 pixels, AMOLED
  • Galaxy Watch 3: 1.4-inch/1.2-inch, 360 x 360 pixels, AMOLED

All the Samsung Galaxy Watch models being compared here have Super AMOLED displays. The Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro have Sapphire Crystal Glass cover lenses, which are said to be 1.6x and 2x tougher than the Watch 4 models, respectively. The Watch 4 models and the Watch 3 all use Corning Gorilla Glass DX.

The Watch 5 40mm model has a 1.19-inch display with a 396 x 396 pixel resolution, while the 44mm model has a 1.36-inch display with a 450 x 450 pixel resolution. The Watch 5 Pro also has a 1.36-inch screen with a 450 x 450 pixel resolution.

Meanwhile, the 40mm Galaxy Watch 4 has a 1.2-inch display with a 396 x 396 pixel resolution, while the 44mm model has a 1.4-inch display with a 450 x 450 pixel resolution.

The 42mm Galaxy Watch 4 Classic has a 1.19-inch display with a 396 x 396 pixel resolution - like the Watch 5 40mm model, while the 46mm model has a 1.4-inch display with a 450 x 450 pixel resolution.

The 45mm Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 comes with a 1.4-inch display, while the 41mm model has a 1.2-inch display. Both have a 360 x 360 pixel resolution.

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Hardware and specs

  • Galaxy Watch 5: Exynos W920 (tbc), 1.5GB RAM, 16GB storage
  • Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: Exynos W920 (tbc), 1.5GB RAM, 16GB storage
  • Galaxy Watch 4: Exynos W920, 1.5GB RAM, 16GB storage
  • Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: Exynos W920, 1.5GB RAM, 16GB storage
  • Galaxy Watch 3: Exynos 9110, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage

Samsung hasn't disclosed the chipset in the Watch 5 or Watch 5 Pro so we would assume it is the same as the Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic. If this is the case, it's the 5nm Exynos W920 dual core chipset. By comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 runs on the Exynos 9110 dual core processor. All models offer LTE and Bluetooth variants.

There is 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage on the LTE and Bluetooth models of all the Watch 5 and Watch 4 models. The Galaxy Watch 3 has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage on both the LTE and Bluetooth models.

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Battery

  • Galaxy Watch 5: 44mm - 410mAh / 40mm - 284mAh
  • Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: 590mAh
  • Galaxy Watch 4: 44mm - 361mAh / 40mm - 247mAh
  • Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: 46mm - 361mAh / 42mm - 247mAh
  • Galaxy Watch 3: 45mm - 340mAh / 41mm - 247mAh
  • Galaxy Watch Active 2: 42mm - 340mAh / 40mm - 247mAh

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 40mm model has a 284mAh battery, while the 44mm model has a 410mAh battery. Both are larger than the Watch 4 equivalents. The Watch 5 Pro meanwhile, has a 590mAh capacity, which is also a big increase over the Watch 4 Classic.

The larger models of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic have 361mAh batteries, while the smaller models have 247mAh batteries.

The larger model of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 has a 340mAh battery, while the smaller model has a 247mAh battery.

In our experience, the Watch 4 lasted longer on a full charge than the Watch 3 so we're expecting some big improvements from the Watch 5 given the capacity increases.

The Watch 4 gave us two full days quite comfortably, even with sleep tracking, so we're expecting the larger model of the Watch 5 - and definitely the Watch 5 Pro - to double that. The Galaxy Watch 3 struggled to hit the two-day mark so if you're considering upgrading, this will likely be one of the key reasons.

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Features

  • Galaxy Watch 5: Sleep tracking with REM stages, Advanced Sleep Coaching, fall detection, 39 sports modes, ECG, blood pressure, blood oxygen, body composition, Wear OS 3
  • Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: Sleep tracking with REM stages, Advanced Sleep Coaching, fall detection, 39 sports modes, ECG, blood pressure, blood oxygen, body composition, Track Back, Hydration monitoring, Wear OS 3
  • Galaxy Watch 4: Sleep tracking with REM stages, fall detection, 39 sports modes, ECG, blood pressure, blood oxygen, body composition, Wear OS 3
  • Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: Sleep tracking with REM stages, fall detection, 39 sports modes, ECG, blood pressure, blood oxygen, body composition, Wear OS 3
  • Galaxy Watch 3: Sleep tracking with REM stages, fall detection, 39 sports modes, ECG, blood pressure, blood oxygen, Tizen OS

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 4 models all run on Wear OS 3 with the One UI Watch over the top. They are compatible with Android smartphones running Android 6.0 and above - no iOS support. The Galaxy Watch 3 runs on Tizen OS and are compatible with iOS and Android devices.

All the Samsung smartwatches being compared here have heart rate monitoring, smartphone notifications and sports tracking, as you would expect. They also have sleep tracking and built-in GPS.

The Galaxy Watch 3 has the ability to take an ECG as well as your blood pressure and your blood oxygen level, fall detection, run analysis and 39 sports modes.

The Galaxy Watch 5 models and Watch 4 models offer the same features as the Watch 3, but they add body composition to the mix of features thanks to a BioActive sensor that is able to detail information like skeletal muscle and body fat percentage. 

The Galaxy Watch 5 models also offer Advanced Sleep Coaching and the Watch 5 Pro models have a feature called Track Back Track, that allows you to find your way back to your starting point if you get lost on a hike. Additionally, once you've finished an intense cardio activity, the Watch 5 Pro will track your recovery heart rate to see how well you recover and give you guidance on how much hydration to take on as soon as you're finished. 

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Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 models and the Watch 4 models offer refined designs compared to the older Galaxy Watch models, along with a completely redesigned interface and operating system.

They also all offer extra features on top of the Watch 3, like body composition, a more advanced processor and access to more third party apps. They aren't compatible with iOS devices though.

When it comes to the Watch 5 models specifically, you get a few extra features again on top of the Watch 4 models - especially in the case of the Watch 5 Pro - and some decent battery improvements too.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 offers a very similar design to the original Galaxy Watch but with a few welcomed refinements and several extra features, including ECG, blood pressure, blood oxygen fall detection and more sports modes. It was a great smartwatch when it first launched, though we'd recommend the Watch 4 or Watch 5 if you're looking at buying now.

The Watch 5 Pro looks great on paper, but if your budget doesn't allow for that, consider the Watch 4 Classic as you should be able to find it cheaper now, plus you get the excellent rotating bezel that you lose on the Watch 5 models.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.
Sections Smartwatches