If the gossip is true, Samsung's new Watch may fix one of its biggest shortcomings.
Samsung’s Unpacked event is set for Aug. 10, and we’re on the lookout for several new devices. Tomorrow’s event is expected to bring new versions of the company’s foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4, as well as the successor to the Galaxy Watch 4.
Rumored to be called the Galaxy Watch 5, the upcoming smartwatch may feature the newest version of the Wear OS software that Samsung and Google created together. If the rumors are turn out to be accurate, the Galaxy Watch 5 could also address a major shortcoming: battery life.
I’m hoping to see Samsung commit more fully to Google’s software and services. The Galaxy Watch 4 currently feels caught between Google and Samsung’s ecosystems, as my colleague Scott Stein wrote in his review. That watch eventually received Google Assistant, among other Google services, but it took several months after launch for these to appear.
Samsung hasn’t said a word about plans for its next smartwatch, although the company typically debuts new wearables in August. We do expect new foldable phones to be announced however. In fact, to encourage people to reserve their phones early, from July 19 until Aug. 10, Samsung is offering an extensive list of discounts based on different bundles, from a maximum of $200 off for those reserving a Galaxy phone, watch, and buds down to a minimum of $30 off for just reserving Galaxy buds. While this could be a hint at what’s coming at Unpacked, the savings could apply to older Galaxy Watch or Galaxy Buds models.
Here’s our best guess at what Samsung might be planning, based on leaks and the company’s previous launches.
A possible August announcement
Only Samsung knows when the next Galaxy Watch will arrive. But the company has a history of launching new wearables in August alongside other new products. For example, the Galaxy Watch 4 debuted in August last year, while the Galaxy Watch 3 arrived in August 2020. Samsung has already launched a passel of new gadgets in 2022, from the Galaxy S22 lineup to the cheaper Galaxy S21 FE, new laptops and tablets. The one thing we haven’t heard about yet is smartwatches, so there’s a chance Samsung could be saving this for its typical August Unpacked event.
A faster charger
The Galaxy Watch 5 might come with a faster 10W charger, up from the 5W charger that has shipped with previous Samsung watches. An image of an alleged 10W Galaxy Watch 5 charger popped up on the SnoopyTech Twitter account on Aug. 1 (h/t BGR), and it reportedly can reach a 45% charge in 30 minutes.
Galaxy Watch5 fast charger (10W) pic.twitter.com/3NeFZqxZcG
— SnoopyTech (@_snoopytech_) August 1, 2022 window.CnetFunctions.logWithLabel(‘%c One Trust ‘, “Service loaded: script_twitterwidget with class optanon-category-C0005”);
Faster charging has become a highlight feature across several smartwatches, including on the Apple Watch Series 7 and the Fossil Gen 6. This is of particular importance as watches have also become sleep tracking tools, and earlier this year Samsung debuted its Sleep Animals system for rating quality of sleep while wearing the Galaxy Watch 4.
A larger battery than the Galaxy Watch 4
One of the Galaxy Watch 4’s drawbacks is its relatively short battery life, which typically lasts for between one and two days. There’s a chance that might change with the Galaxy Watch 5. Tech blog Sam Mobile claims it’s found a regulatory filing indicating that the 40-millimeter size of the Galaxy Watch 5 will have a slightly higher battery capacity than the Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung declined to comment on the report.
Longer battery life would make the Galaxy Watch 5 a more capable sleep tracker, since you might not have to charge it every night. It would also help Samsung catch up to Fitbit in that regard, since its Sense and Versa 3 watches can last for multiple days on a single charge. Battery life was one of the Galaxy Watch 4’s biggest shortcomings during CNET’s testing, so an improvement would be a welcome change.
A bigger battery could make the Galaxy Watch 5 a better sleep tracker than the Galaxy Watch 4 (pictured above) since you might not have to charge it as often. Scott Stein/CNET
It might be able to measure your temperature
The Galaxy Watch 4 can already monitor metrics like your body composition, blood oxygen levels and heart rate. Samsung might further its health ambitions by adding the ability to measure body temperature to the Galaxy Watch 5, according to Korean news outlet ETNews. The report doesn’t provide much detail, other than to say that Samsung has “devised a technology that can measure body temperature as accurately as possible.” Samsung declined to comment on ETNews’ report.
But TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is well-known for his Apple product predictions, has cast doubt on this development. He suggested “algorithm limitations” could hold Samsung back from bringing this feature to the Galaxy Watch 5.
(3/3)Samsung is facing this challenge as well. Unlike previous media reports, I think Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in 2H22 might not support the body temperature measurement due to algorithm limitations.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) May 1, 2022 window.CnetFunctions.logWithLabel(‘%c One Trust ‘, “Service loaded: script_twitterwidget with class optanon-category-C0005”);
Temperature sensing isn’t new to wearables. Oura’s wellness ring of the same name can measure temperature from your finger to help detect changes that might be happening in your body. Fitbit devices like the Sense and Versa 3 can also detect temperature.
Oura’s wellness ring can measure temperature. Scott Stein/CNET
If Samsung does add temperature sensing to its next smartwatch, it would be another sign that wearables have become comprehensive health and wellness devices. Metrics like blood oxygen saturation measurements are now relatively common on wearables from Apple, Fitbit, Samsung and Garmin.
Samsung might ditch the Classic model
The Galaxy Watch 4 comes in standard and Classic versions, but that could change with the Galaxy Watch 5. Instead, Samsung will launch the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, according to Sam Mobile. The regular Galaxy Watch 5 will reportedly come in two sizes, while the Pro version might be limited to one size. It’s also unclear whether Samsung would bring the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic’s rotating bezel to the Galaxy Watch 5 or 5 Pro, the report said. While the blog didn’t share additional details on what to expect from the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro specifically, it’s possible the new branding could indicate a significant update that’s more than just a refresh.
Prominent leaker Evan Blass also suggested Samsung’s next watch will come in a standard and “pro” model. He referred to the new watches as the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro when sharing what he claims are official renders of the device on the tech blog 91Mobiles.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Drew Evans/CNET
A similar design as the Galaxy Watch 4
The Galaxy Watch 5 is expected to have a circular design that similar to the Galaxy Watch 4, according to the leaks from Blass and 91Mobiles. Blass said the Pro model will be available in black or gray titanium, while Samsung will reportedly offer a broader lineup of colors for the standard version. The 91Mobiles leak shows the supposed Galaxy Watch 5 Pro in black and titanium gray and the alleged Watch 5 in white, blue and black.
Official 3D turntable renders of the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 and Watch5 Pro: https://t.co/a3h98hpzme
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) July 7, 2022 window.CnetFunctions.logWithLabel(‘%c One Trust ‘, “Service loaded: script_twitterwidget with class optanon-category-C0005”);
It’ll likely run Wear OS
Samsung hasn’t announced any details about its next smartwatch yet. But since the Galaxy Watch 4 runs on Wear OS, it seems plausible that its successor will too. Google and Samsung collaborated to develop the new Wear OS, which means Samsung is likely committed to using that software for its future smartwatches. Sam Mobile’s report also said the watch will have a new version of One UI, Samsung’s customized version of Google’s software for watches.
Samsung was the first to launch a smartwatch that runs on Google’s new Wear OS. But the landscape will get more competitive soon with the new Wear OS expected to arrive on watches from other companies such as TicWatch, Fossil and Google’s Fitbit brand. Google’s Pixel Watch will also be arriving this fall.
What we want from the Galaxy Watch 5
Longer battery life and new health-tracking features are always appreciated. But what we really want from the Galaxy Watch 5 is software that makes it feel more wholly part of Google’s ecosystem. The Galaxy Watch 4 feels torn between Google and Samsung. Yes, it has the Google Play app store and other Google apps. But the setup process and health tracking still largely rely on Samsung’s apps.
The company is addressing that to some extent by bringing Google Assistant to its watch. But we’re hoping to see closer Google integration in the next version that will truly make the Galaxy Watch 5 feel like the ultimate Android smartwatch.
For more, check out all the rumors we’ve heard about the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4. Plus, the best smartwatches you can buy this year and our foldable phone wish list.