Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Samsung’s latest Galaxy Watch series has landed, and this time around we’ve got the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro instead of the “Classic” variation of Samsung’s earlier series. If you’re wondering what’s different this time around, and whether you should splurge on the top-of-the-line Galaxy Watch 5 Pro — the model designed for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a tougher smartwatch — or stick to the tried-and-tested Watch 4 Classic, we’re here to help. We’ve compared the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic across categories like design and display, battery life, and special features to help you decide.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Display size 1.36 inches

Sapphire Crystal

42mm: 1.2 inches

46mm: 1.4 inches

Body size 45mm: 45.5 x 45.4 x 10.5mm 42mm: 41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2mm

46mm: 5.5 x 45.5 x 11mm

Resolution

450 x 450 pixels (454 pixels per inch)

42mm: 450 x 450 pixels (330 ppi)

46mm: 396 x 396 pixels (330 ppi)

Touchscreen Circular Super AMOLED Super AMOLED
Storage 16GB 16GB
Wireless interface Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, Galileo, GPS, LTE (select models)
Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, Galileo, GPS, LTE (select models)
Depth 10.5mm 42mm: 11.2mm

46mm: 11mm

Accelerometer Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes Yes
Heart rate sensor Yes Yes
Barometer Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
Water resistance Yes (5ATM + IP68) Yes (5ATM + IP68)
Battery life 590mAh

Up to 80 hours

42mm: 247mAh

46mm: 361mAh

Up to 40 hours

Price From $450 From $300
Availability Samsung Samsung
DT review Hands-on 4 out of 5 stars

Design and display

Though the Watch 5 Pro has arrived instead of a Classic variant this time around, there are some pretty obvious differences between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and Watch 4 Classic. Where the Watch 4 Classic retains the rotating bezel around its display, the Watch 5 Pro foregoes the physical rotating bezel — and the capacitive bezel control — in favor of a touch bezel. Since this is a feature that has helped Samsung wearables stand out from the competition, it’ll be interesting to see how fans react. The removal of the rotating bezel means the Watch 5 Pro profile is even more svelte than the 46mm Watch 4 Classic, with a 10.5mm depth.

The Watch 5 Pro weighs 46.5 grams and comes in just one size, 45mm. The Watch 4 Classic comes in 42mm or 46mm sizes, weighing in at 46.5 grams and 52 grams, respectively. There’s really not much noticeable difference here at all, though if weight is a concern, the Watch 5 Pro is lighter than the 46mm Watch 4 Classic.

Whichever you choose, you’re getting a Super AMOLED display, though the Watch 5 Pro boosts the resolution to 450 x 450. Either way, things look pretty sharp, but the newer model’s display ensures everything looks exceptionally crisp and clear. The Watch 5 Pro is also the first Samsung smartwatch display to feature a 29GPa sapphire crystal display, providing a 60% harder outer layer compared to the Watch 4 series, and there’s a raised bezel around the display for added durability.

There are some differences in the frame, too. The Watch 4 Classic has a stainless steel case, while the Watch 5 Pro has a titanium body. On a final note, the Watch 5 Pro features an all-new D-Buckle Sports Band with magnetic attachment for improved fit compared to the traditional buckle mechanism on the Watch 4 Classic.

Finally, the Watch 4 Classic comes in black or silver, while the Watch 5 Pro is available in Black Titanium and Gray Titanium, which actually looks a bit more like a beach sand gray.

The differences here are fairly minimal, so we’re calling it a tie. If a physical rotating bezel is a must for you, you’ll probably want to stick with the Watch 4 Classic. If you’re happy to forego that rotating bezel for a titanium body, higher-resolution display with sapphire crystal and a more secure D-Buckle clasp, go for the Watch 5 Pro.

Winner: Tie

Fitness and health-tracking features

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

When it comes to fitness and health-tracking features, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and Watch 5 Pro have all the usual sensors you’d expect. Both watches feature Samsung’s 3-in-1 BioActive sensor with a Bio-Electrical Impedance (BIA) sensor, electrocardiogram (ECG), and PPG heart rate sensor. The BIA sensor presents you with information previously only available from smart scales, such as body mass index, basal metabolic rate (BMR), and more. Using the ECG feature requires an app on your Samsung phone to see the data, though. There’s also a SpO2 blood oxygen monitor, stress measurement tracker, and women’s health tracker, plus fall detection. Despite the identical features here, Samsung promises better accuracy with the Watch 5 series due to a more secure fit and more contact with the wrist. It’s worth noting here that U.S. users can’t yet take advantage of blood pressure monitoring through their Samsung Galaxy Watch, as it hasn’t been given regulatory approval yet.

The Watch 5 Pro’s main new feature is an infrared temperature sensor, which uses infrared technology to monitor your temperature accurately, even if the temperature of your environment changes. This could be used for period tracking or as an early indicator of sickness.

Both watches also offer sleep scores to monitor stages of sleep, snore detection, and blood oxygen levels. Samsung has also added personalized Sleep Coaching to the Watch 5 Pro, a month-long tailored and guided program to help improve your sleep habits.

With both watches, you can track over 100 different workouts with automatic workout detection. There’s also the familiar digital running coach from earlier watch models, plus VO2 max data, which tells you the amount of oxygen you’re using during your training, and it’s an excellent indicator of aerobic fitness.

The Watch 5 Pro adds GPX, available for the first time on a Galaxy Watch, so you can download or display routes as well as record new routes and share them with friends. Samsung has added turn-by-turn directions to keep cyclists and runners on track, plus the new trackback feature, which takes you back the way you came, should you get lost. These features may be staples on Garmin and other multisport watches, but they’re not usually found on advanced flagship smartwatches, so Samsung could be onto something here.

We’re giving this round to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, but it’s a close one. The addition of the temperature tracker and added features for runners and cyclists just push Samsung’s latest into the lead, though most of the same health and fitness features can be found across both watches.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Battery life

samsung galaxy watch 5 pro.
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

Another area where you’ll notice a big difference between the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and Watch 4 Classic is battery life. The Watch 4 Classic packs a 247mAh battery in the 42mm model, while the 46mm variant is powered by a 361mAh battery. Both should give you around 40 hours of running time, depending on how you use your watch. The Watch 5 Pro tops them both with a 590mAh battery that promises up to 80 hours of battery life on a single charge or 20 hours of continuous GPS usage.

Samsung promises faster charging speeds with the Watch 5 series too, claiming it takes just 30 minutes to go from zero to 45% battery. If you’re using your watch for sleep tracking, it might interest you to know Samsung says you can get eight hours of battery from an eight-minute charge. In practice, we’ll have to see what battery life is actually like once we spend a bit more time with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

We’re giving this round to the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro for that beefier battery and faster charging speeds, though that could change once we’ve spent more time with Samsung’s latest.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro 

Special features

If you’re a fan of that rotating bezel, you may want to stick with the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, as the Watch 5 Pro favors a touch bezel instead.

The infrared temperature sensor on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is probably the watch’s stand-out feature, but at Unpacked, Samsung mentioned it plans to work with developers to explore new ways to use this in the future, so users can benefit from it in the “near future.” This means we could be waiting a while before there’s actually a use for it.

Both watches run WearOS 3 and Samsung’s One UI Watch. The Watch 5 Pro ships with One UI Watch 4.5, with dual-SIM support and an improved typing interface, plus a ton of new accessibility features. Coming soon to Wear OS 3 are music apps like Deezer and SoundCloud. Soon you’ll also be able to navigate using your voice in Google Maps, directly from your Watch. Wear OS 3 also gives Galaxy Watch owners access to Google Assistant on their wrist.

We’re calling this round a tie as this round probably comes down to personal preference — if you absolutely can’t live without a physical rotating bezel, the Watch 4 Classic is the one for you. If you’re more interested in the latest features like an infrared temperature sensor, you should probably pick up the Watch 5 Pro.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is currently available to until August 25, with retail availability starting August 26. When you pre-order, you’ll get a free wireless Charger Duo, up to $125 off when you trade in an eligible smartwatch, and a $50 Samsung credit to spend on accessories. Pricing starts at $450 for the Bluetooth version and $500 for the LTE variant. There’s also a special Golf Edition, coming on August 26.

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic starts at $300 and is , Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers. The LTE version is supported by all major carriers.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

We could probably call this a tie, as it was so close, but we’ve crowned the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro our overall winner. In reality, the differences between these two watches aren’t that significant, and which one you choose will probably come down to personal preference. Ultimately, the Watch 5 Pro’s more durable display with sapphire crystal, beefier battery and faster charging, temperature sensor, and new fitness features just see it take the lead.

So who’s the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic for? Those who can’t live without a physical rotating bezel — and you could save $150 while still packing in most of the same health and fitness tracking features found on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. The Watch 4 Classic is still an excellent buy, but the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the watch we’d recommend if you’re buying your first Galaxy Watch, though whether it’s worth it if you’re upgrading probably comes down to cost.

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