This year will likely see a new flagship smartwatch launch from Samsung, ready to go up against the next instalment of Apple Watch – and perhaps Google’s long-awaited Pixel Watch, but we won’t pull at that tantalising thread for now.
Samsung’s new smartwatch will be a successor to the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, which both landed in the summer of 2021, replaced the year-old Galaxy Watch 3 and instantly became one of the best smartwatches you could buy. It would be fair to say the company’s product launch schedule as a certain regularity to it. Y’know, like a watch.
Now much is known at this early stage, but we’ve rounded up everything we’ve seen on the grapevine so far, and what we expect to see ahead of the Galaxy Watch 5’s arrival later in 2022.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Release date
Thanks to that metronomic timing we mentioned earlier, we can say with some confidence that the Galaxy Watch 5 will arrive in August. That’s the month in which Samsung announced the Watch 4 in 2021 and Watch 3 in 2020, so we’d bet on a similar schedule this time around.
This estimate is backed up by a report from South Korean site The Elec, which reported in November how the watch will arrive in the second half of 2022.
It will be interesting to see if Samsung hosts an in-person product launch event for the Galaxy Watch 5, or sticks with the online-only reveals we have become used to during the pandemic.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Price
The Galaxy Watch 4 launched with a retail price starting at £249, while the Watch 4 Classic was pitched as the more premium wearable, at £349. As of January 2022, the former is unchanged but the latter has been cut by Samsung to £269 for the smaller 42mm model and £289 for the larger 46mm version.
Add 4G connectivity to the Watch 4 Classic and the price for the two sizes climbs to £309 and £329 respectively.
We’re yet to hear about prices for the Galaxy Watch 5, but would expect Samsung to follow a similar pattern, announcing two models, each with two sizes and available with or without 4G.
It will be interesting to see if Samsung restores the £100 price difference between the Watch and Watch Classic, as the recent £80 price cut for the Classic suggests it perhaps hasn’t sold as well as Samsung had hoped.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Design and hardware
We’re still more than six months away from the expected launch of the Galaxy Watch 5, so there isn’t much to report here just yet. What we can say with some confidence is that the wearable will not have an extendable screen or a camera.
These two features have been touted recently, owing to them being mentioned in a recent Samsung patent filing. And yes, the filing does indeed show sketches of a ‘rollable smartwatch with camera’. But tech firms draw up patents like this all of the time, with many of the designs never coming to fruition – and those that do arrive years later, not within a year of the first sketch.
So no, we urge readers not to pin their hopes on this year’s Samsung smartwatch having a rollable screen or a camera.
Instead, we expect to see only minor cosmetic tweaks over the current generation of Galaxy Watch, and while a slimmer design would always be welcome, we would be happy for the same thickness but with improved battery life over the 2021 model.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Software and features
Last year’s Galaxy Watch 4 was the first to feature software jointly developed by Google and Samsung. It was still called Wear OS, as has been Google’s smartwatch operating system name for years now, but with the ‘powered by Samsung’ suffix slapped on the end.
This made for a version of Wear OS that felt more like an in-house Samsung operating system. We expect this trend to continue with the Galaxy Watch 5, with Samsung’s presence felt even more strongly across the OS.
We expect to see a wide range of software tweaks for the upcoming watches, from the aesthetics of the operating system, to the applications. New health and fitness functions are likely, and improved workout controls would be welcome.
Most importantly, we hope Samsung stops locking out owners of non-Samsung smartphones from the watch’s key features. We understand iPhone users not being invited to the party (the Apple Watch only works with iPhones, after all), but we’re not fans of Samsung locking out other Android users from the Galaxy Watch 4’s ECG and blood pressure apps.
We hope this changes for the Galaxy Watch 5, but wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung continued this trend even further.
Lastly, we have our fingers crossed for improved battery life. Samsung lowered the estimated battery life of its watch from two days for the Galaxy Watch 3 to 40 hours with the Watch 4. In our Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review we found the true figure to be closer to 24 hours, or less when used more intensively. A return to form with a reliable 48 hours from the Galaxy Watch 5 would be much appreciated.