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Samsung goes big on battery with the Galaxy Watch 5 series

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After weeks of leaks and rumors, Samsung finally announced the $279.99 Galaxy Watch 5 and $449.99 Galaxy Watch 5 Pro today at its Unpacked event. And while there weren’t too many surprises, it seems the company took criticisms about the Galaxy Watch 4’s poor battery life to heart. Both the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro boast bigger batteries, faster charging, and increased durability to boot.

With the Galaxy Watch 5 series, Samsung once again is shaking up its smartwatch lineup. While the Galaxy Watch 4 series rebranded the main Galaxy Watch and Watch Active lines from the Tizen era, this year’s event introduces a new model altogether: the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. Whereas the vanilla Galaxy Watch 5 is the entry-level flagship, the Pro is meant to be a more premium version aimed at outdoor enthusiasts. Neither has Samsung’s iconic physical rotating bezel, though they both have the more subtle touch bezel. For physical bezel fans, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic will remain as a midtier option between the Watch 5 and the Pro.

The Galaxy Watch 5 comes in 40mm and 44mm, while the Pro comes in a single 45mm size. All the watches are powered by the same 1.18GHz Exynos W920 processor, with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The Galaxy Watch 5 lineup also has an improved version of the 3-in-1 BioActive sensor first introduced on the Watch 4, which enables ECGs, heart rate, and body composition analysis. Samsung says that the improved sensor adds more advanced sleep tracking features to the Watch 5, including personalized sleep coaching. You also get built-in GPS, contactless payments, optional LTE, Bluetooth 5.2, and Wi-Fi. Both watches also feature 5ATM and IP68 dust and water resistance.

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is aimed at outdoor enthusiasts.

New this time around is a body temperature sensor. Doug Wegener, Samsung Electronics America’s head of wearables and accessories, told The Verge that the temperature sensor will add another data point for sleep tracking, but that’s about it for now. According to Wegener, adding the sensor was meant to give developers more options in designing new health and wellness features.

The big hardware gains this time around have to do with battery life. The Watch 5 has a 13 percent larger battery — 284mAh battery in the 40mm Watch 5 and a 410mAh battery in the 44mm. That should translate to about 40 hours on a single charge. The Pro has an even larger 590mAh battery that’s rated for 80 hours, or 20 hours of continuous GPS usage on a single charge.

Aside from adding bigger batteries, Samsung also improved charging speed. It claims that you can go from zero to 45 percent battery in just 30 minutes. For folks interested in sleep tracking, the company says you can get eight hours of battery in just eight minutes.

The color options for the 40mm Watch 5 side by side

The 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 is available in graphite, pink-gold, and silver with a purple strap. The 44mm version is available in graphite, sapphire, and silver.

We’ll have to see in testing how much mileage these bigger batteries actually get, especially with power-guzzling features like the always-on display and Google Assistant enabled. After all, Samsung promised 40 hours of battery life last year, but both the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic fell well short of that estimate. Still, if all Samsung does is nail battery life, it’ll go a long way toward fixing the gripes we had with the Galaxy Watch 4.

Otherwise, the Galaxy Watch 5 is an incremental update. The main design changes are a more durable sapphire crystal display and a curvier back so the 3-in-1 sensor makes better skin contact with the wrist. The more meaningful updates will come from software. The Watch 5 series will ship with One UI Watch 4.5, which adds a host of new accessibility features, a better typing interface, and dual-SIM support. Apps like SoundCloud and Deezer are also coming to Wear OS 3, as is the ability to use voice navigation on Google Maps directly from the wrist. And after months of waiting, Samsung Galaxy Watch owners can finally use Google Assistant on their watches. (Don’t panic, Bixby lovers. Samsung promises all five of you that Bixby’s still available on the Watch 5 and Pro.)

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro on a wrist displaying fitness metrics

The Watch 5 Pro is available in black or gray titanium.

The flashier updates are reserved for the Pro given that it’s the new model and aimed at a completely different audience (aka, the Garmin and Polar crowd). It’s more durable, with a titanium case and a harder 29GPa sapphire crystal display compared to the Watch 5’s 24GPa display. It also has a snazzy new magnetic clasp.

But outdoor enthusiasts will probably be most stoked by the Pro’s mapping features. You can now download GPX routes for hiking and cycling, complete with turn-by-turn navigation. It also has a track-back feature so you can return the way you came. While this is a staple on multisport GPS watches, it’s not something you generally find on an advanced flagship smartwatch. Even so, Samsung’s ability to lure away Garmin lovers will really come down to whether the Pro can actually deliver on a multiday battery.

The Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro are available for preorder starting today and will ship starting August 26th. The Watch 5 starts at $279.99 while the Pro starts at $449.99. LTE versions cost an extra $50. Both watches will also have a Bluetooth-only Golf Edition that starts at $329.99.


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‘No Cooperation’: How Sam Bankman-Fried Tried to Cling to FTX

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“Sam this is an excellent pick and I wholeheartedly hope you sign this tonight,” Mr. Dexter wrote in an email on the evening of Nov. 10. “The faster John is in place, the faster the company can resolve issues that require urgent progress.”

A flurry of emails followed. In a message at 3:38 a.m. on Nov. 11, Mr. Miller asked for an update on Mr. Bankman-Fried’s decision. “I am chatting with Sam,” responded Ken Ziman, a lawyer at the firm Paul Weiss who was representing Mr. Bankman-Fried.

Ten minutes later, Mr. Ziman confirmed that Mr. Bankman-Fried had signed the document, authorizing Mr. Ray to take over FTX. The company filed for bankruptcy a few hours later.

The filing was hardly the end of the chaos. The court submission listed more than 130 corporate entities tied to FTX, including its U.S. arm and Alameda, the hedge fund. But the filing was inaccurate: Some of the entities were not owned by the exchange. They belonged to AZA Finance, a separate company that had recently become partners with FTX to promote crypto in Africa.

FTX later acknowledged the error. But in a Nov. 11 Slack message to Mr. Miller and other officials, Elizabeth Rossiello, the chief executive of AZA Finance, called the mistakes in the bankruptcy filing “a storm of wild irresponsibility.”

“This is hurting 9 years of work we have done to create this platform!!” she wrote.

Mr. Miller responded defensively. “We had no cooperation of the founders in preparing this week,” he said. “It was unfortunate.”

Mr. Bankman-Fried was also frustrated. Despite giving up control of FTX, he continued contacting possible investors about new funding for the exchange. In a letter to former colleagues last week, he said he regretted filing for bankruptcy, claiming that “potential interest in billions of dollars of funding came in roughly eight minutes after I signed the Chapter 11 docs.”

He presented no evidence for that claim, and in any case, FTX was no longer his company to run. On the morning of Nov. 11, Mr. Miller moved quickly to make that clear, requesting the deletion of information about the firm’s old leadership from its website.



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The best Cyber Monday deals available now

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Below, we’ve rounded up the best Cyber Monday deals you can currently get, whether you’re in the market for a 4K OLED, a gaming laptop, or another piece of big-ticket tech that would normally require you to shell out your entire paycheck. We’ve included a number of budget-friendly items, too, just in case you’re looking for chargers, a cheap(er) pair of earbuds, or other essential gadgets to round out your arsenal.

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The best Lego deals for adults on Cyber Monday

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You probably know that Lego isn’t just for kids anymore — it’s a pricey hobby for adults, too! And it didn’t help when The Lego Group raised its prices this year by up to 25 percent. But today is Cyber Monday, and some of today’s deals more than make up for those price hikes.

But do you see the incredibly detailed Lego Ideas Tree House above, the one whose price Lego hiked from $200 to $250? It’s on sale for $175 today at Amazon and Walmart — and that’s the kind of deal I aspire to bring you here.

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