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Components & Peripherals News

Apple Watch Ultra Vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: Smartwatch Face-Off

Shane Snider

The top dog wearable companies come out swinging in the rugged smartwatch arena with their latest offerings.

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Samsung may have beat Apple to the punch when it released its Galaxy Watch 5 Pro in August during its Unpacked event, but was the early attack enough to stave off an offensive from the Apple Watch Ultra released in September?

Apple has pretty much dominated the wearable market with the biggest market share (it currently holds about 25 percent of the wearable market, according to research firm IDC). But Samsung is Apple’s top mobile rival, so it makes sense for the companies to go after each other in the rugged smartwatch space.

Apple unveiled its Ultra along with the rest of the company’s Series 8 lineup during its Far Out event. The Ultra immediately stood out with its larger case and enhanced diving features. While the rest of the lineup focused more on drawing a health-conscious crowd, the Ultra is squarely marketed at outdoor adventurers and diving enthusiasts.

Samsung launched its rugged entry, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, at its August Unpacked event. The watch has a larger case and the sapphire glass is an upgrade aimed at providing a scratch-free experience.

CRN takes these two monster smartwatches into the ring for a showdown. 

Tale Of The Tape 

The Apple Watch Ultra has a 49mm rectangular titanium case that gives users up to 100 meters of water resistance and features an LTPO OLED 1.92-inch display at 502 x 410 pixels while the Galaxy 5 Pro has a 1.4-inch 450 x 450-pixel Super AMOLED display in a 45mm case. The Galaxy 5 Pro’s water resistance tops out at 50 meters of water resistance while Apple doubles that spec, making it a tool fit for recreational diving. Both watches are made from lightweight titanium, but the Apple Ultra only comes in one color, where Samsung offers both Black Titanium and Gray Titanium.

The Apple Ultra weighs 2.15 ounces, while the Galaxy Pro 5 weighs in at just 1.66 ounces. Both watches make use of sapphire glass displays that offer more scratch resistance. 

Battery Life And Features 

Apple said its Ultra gives users up to 36 hours of normal use on a single charge, or up to 60 hours on low-power settings. The Ultra makes use of a lithium-ion 542 mAh, nonremovable battery that supports wireless charging. The Galaxy 5 Pro features a slightly larger 590 mAh battery.

The Galaxy 5 Pro features an accelerometer, gyro, heart rate, barometer, thermometer (for body temperature) and natural language commands and dictation. The Apple Ultra’s rich feature set includes accelerometer, gyro, heart rate barometer, always-on altimeter, compass and a thermometer. Added diving features include temperature sensing and depth gauge along with other diving watch tools and apps. Apple said the watch offers up to 40 meters of swim/diving proof performance (EN13319). (Recreational dives are limited to 39.6 meters; dives beyond that will require certifications and professional dive calculators). 

Platform, Memory, Connectivity

Apple features the watchOS 9 platform with an Apple S8 chip and 32 GB of internal memory in the Ultra. The Galaxy Pro 5 runs on Android Wear OS 3.5 with the Exynos W920 (5-nanometer) chipset and 16 GB of RAM. The Pro 5 connects using Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual band and Bluetooth 5.2. The Apple Ultra connects via Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, dual band and Bluetooth 5.3. 

Finishing Thoughts

Apple and Samsung definitely push each other when it comes to their flagship mobile devices, and these watches are no exception. Samsung may have beat Apple to the punch with an earlier rugged smartwatch offering, but Apple’s Ultra used that extra development time wisely, adding unique features to its Ultra that will appeal to more outdoor enthusiasts.

We give the edge to Apple Ultra, which achieved a late-round knock-out by adding useful diving tools and enhanced water resistance.

Learn More: Wearables
Shane Snider

Shane Snider is a senior associate editor covering personal computing, mobile devices, semiconductor news, hardware reviews, breaking news and live events. Shane is a veteran journalist, having worked for newspapers in upstate New York and North Carolina. He can be reached at ssnider@thechannelcompany.com.

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