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Samsung’s forthcoming Galaxy Watch 5 Pro ‘confirmed’ in beta app

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But it looks like the Classic really might not be coming back

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Google Assistant on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
If Samsung nixes the physical rotating bezel for good, it would be the end of an era.
Photo by Victoria Song / The Verge

Well, well, well. There were rumors that Samsung would ditch the Classic model for the Galaxy Watch 5, and according to the beta version of the Samsung Health app, it appears to be true. The app shows listings for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro — but no Classic.

Oops, Samsung did it again.
Screenshot: Dan Seifert / The Verge

The gaffe was initially spotted by 9to5 Google, but The Verge was also able to independently confirm it. From the preview image, it appears the Pro will be closer in design to the Galaxy Watch 5. In essence, sleeker and sportier without the mechanical watch vibe. And crucially, it appears that Samsung could be axing the concept of a physical rotating bezel entirely. That, in my humble opinion, is a stupid idea. What’s worse is that the beta software appears to exacerbate the Galaxy Watch 4’s battery drain. (Though, to be fair, beta software is not the same as a public release, and these issues can potentially be fixed before the final version.)

Just because you don’t see a physical bezel, that doesn’t mean Samsung won’t keep the capacitive bezel it uses on the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Tizen-powered Galaxy Watch Active 2. It’s simply impossible to tell visually from pictures alone. In my testing, the capacitive bezel wasn’t as satisfying to use as the physical bezel. It’s also more finicky. But at least it would keep Samsung’s longtime signature smartwatch feature alive, especially since it’s a major feature that sets its watches apart from the herd.

This Pro rebranding signals that the Galaxy Watch lineup is about to undergo another significant change in the Wear OS 3 era. Rumors surrounding the Pro claim it’ll have a massive 572mAh battery that might help mitigate the Galaxy Watch 4’s poor battery life.

The “Pro” trend isn’t new either. Wearable makers love to offer a more expensive Pro model made from premium materials that features better battery life — even if that’s about the only difference. Huawei recently did this with its Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro. Polar did it with its Grit X series, and Garmin did it with the Fenix 6 series. Amazfit and Mobvoi have also done it with their smartwatches.

Also, Samsung is not afraid to confuse everyone with frequent rebranding. The Galaxy Watch was succeeded by the Galaxy Watch 3, which then turned into the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. The Galaxy Watch Active was succeeded a mere six months later by the Galaxy Watch Active 2. The design was then rebranded last year into the Galaxy Watch 4. There’s no cohesive logic to it, so this actually might clear things up a bit in the long run.

Plus, Samsung has traditionally made the “best” smartwatches for Android phones, and Google is now coming to eat its lunch with the forthcoming Pixel Watch. It needs whatever edge it can maintain, and improving battery life might just be enough to do that. Perhaps the physical rotating bezel was something reviewers loved more than consumers. Basically, it makes sense that Samsung is opting to go the Pro route — but we won’t know for sure until it releases the Galaxy Watch 5 models. That’s usually sometime in August. Until then, I’ll hold off on pouring one out for the Classic.