The neat circular control ring on the Galaxy Watch is gone this year, as Samsung offers improvements to the glass up top, plus a little more.
Spare a thought for owners of a smartwatch with a broken or severely scratched screen, because owning a wristwatch didn’t always lead you down that path.
These days, it’s very possible that the person you see looking down at their smartwatch will have a screen on their wrist as broken as the screen in their pocket, because smartwatch glass is often just that fragile, with durable options costing so much more.
Some of the more popular smartwatch models tend to be divided by price and glass quality, with you needing to spend a whole lot more in order to get something with more durable sapphire glass, over an ion-strengthened glass which may only be strengthened to the point of not breaking one or two of then ten times your watch accidentally brushes a wall the wrong way.
We’ve seen broken Apple Watch screens before, and they’re not particularly pretty or friendly to fingers, but there are ways around them, such as watch cases or watch screen protectors, unsightly as some of this can be.
The better solution is to provide better glass quality up top, though it’s something device makers can charge a fair amount extra for.
The Apple Watch Series 7 is a good example of that, with the regular ion-strengthened glass variant with an aluminium case starting from $599, while the stainless steel model with sapphire crystal, starts at $1049, nearly twice the cost. Sapphire crystal is typically regarded as the glass quality you want on a watch, and it’s no surprise that Apple charges a little more for it.
This year, however, folks buying a Samsung Galaxy Watch may end up getting sapphire crystal glass up top for protecting their wrist-worn time and notifications, though they will end up missing another feature from previous models.
Announced alongside the 2022 Galaxy foldable phones and new noise cancelling Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earphones was a couple of new wearables also on the way, as the Samsung Galaxy Watch hits version 5 and separates into two models, the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
The two models are the latest wearables to sport the “Galaxy” name, and they’ll both be topped by sapphire crystal, which Samsung says is harder than previous generations, making it just that little bit more durable, as well.
But there’s more going on there, with sensors underneath to track heart rate, blood oxygen, stress, skin temperature, sleep patterns with sore detection, and an electrocardiograph (ECG), something which appeared in last year’s Galaxy Watch 4, alongside another way of controlling the watch, a circular bezel similar to what chronometers offer.
This year, that control ring is gone, with the watch models becoming more like a touchscreen phone, only one that’s circular, kind of like the Galaxy Watch Active models from the past.
The Galaxy Watch 5 models will run a Google operating system and provide apps and assistance Android users might already be familiar with, and thanks to some of Samsung’s additions, you’ll even be able to type messages on a circular keyboard found on the circular watch.
There will also be three sizes of the Watch5 model, with both a 40mm aluminium and 44mm aluminium Galaxy Watch 5, while a more durable 45mm titanium will appear n the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, the latter of which appears focused on the sporting crowd.
Prices appear fairly competitive with other smartwatch models, fetching a starting price of $499 and $549 for the 40mm and 44mm aluminium Galaxy Watch 5 models without 4G connectivity, while a mobile version will add $100 to each.
Meanwhile, the 45mm titanium Galaxy Watch5 Pro will cost $799 and $849 for the Bluetooth wireless or 4G models respectively, when they launch in Australia in September.