While we still don’t know all the essential details about Samsung’s next-gen smartwatches, recent FCC filings suggest you can expect at least one big update: faster charging.
FCC filings don’t reveal too much in terms of features, but they are a good indicator that a product is about to be released. The deposits were first sighted by 9to5Google and point out that there will be three models called SM-R900, SM-R910 and SM-R920. They also confirm basic connectivity specs, like the fact that the watches support Bluetooth, 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi, and contactless payments. But as far as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 range is concerned, the most striking thing is that the watches can be charged at a speed of 10W. For context, the Galaxy Watch 4 only supports half of them.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 disappointed greatly when it came to battery life. Although Samsung promises 40 hours of battery life, the Galaxy Watch 4 range struggles to get past a full day if you enable all the bells and whistles, like the always-on display. And in Those of The Verge Things only got worse in testing when Google Assistant finally arrived for Wear OS 3 last month.
The addition of fast charging could help Samsung dodge similar complaints if the new watches also require daily power-ups – especially since the Galaxy Watch 4 takes around two hours to go from zero to 100 percent. A feature that is already available in many other smartwatches. Fossil added fast charging to its Wear OS watches a few years ago, and Apple introduced fast charging to its Series 7 watch last year.
User complaints aside, there are plenty of reasons Samsung could prioritize a better battery experience. For starters, sleep tracking. Samsung — and Apple — tend to lag behind in this area compared to Fitbit and other fitness trackers, as their smartwatches often don’t get through the night without a quick charge before bed. Sleep tracking isn’t everyone’s priority, but it’s an increasingly popular feature and an area Samsung seems interested in. In February, it added a coaching program to its sleep tracking capabilities. However, it’s hard to make a splash when your sleep-tracking device doesn’t make it to the morning.
Another reason could be the far from confirmed “Pro” version of the Galaxy Watch 5. This watch is rumored to have a 572mAh battery, which at 5W speeds would charge like a tortoise by today’s standards. The standard models of the Galaxy Watch 5 should also have larger batteries this time. The Galaxy Watch 4’s two-hour charge time was already less than ideal, and extending charge times beyond that would be a huge misstep.
Samsung usually releases its wearables in late summer, so it won’t be too long before we know more about the Galaxy Watch 5 lineup. And it’s important that Samsung gets it right. There was some wiggle room with the Galaxy Watch 4 last year, as that’s what it was – and still is only Wear OS 3 smart watch available. That won’t be the case in a few months.
Google isn’t just launching its own Pixel Watch (which is rumored to be… Not have fast charge) later this fall, but certain existing Wear OS 2 watches are expected to receive the Wear OS 3 upgrade before the end of the year. Android users are getting more viable options in the wearable space than ever before. Samsung doesn’t necessarily need to achieve a battery life of several days, but it can’t afford to rely on fast charging. Not if it wants to stay ahead of the competition.