The Galaxy Watch 6 is the best Samsung watch yet thanks to design improvements, refreshed built-in apps and added health features. While Samsung's smartwatch lineup has received mostly iterative updates in past years, the Galaxy Watch 6 presents some truly substantial upgrades.
Samsung continues to offer one of the most robust smartwatch collections on the market with not one, but two wearable devices. The Galaxy Watch 6 strikes a balance of sleek and sporty, while the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic elevates style with the fan-favorite physical rotating bezel. Larger displays and a new interchangeable band mechanism make for a more user-friendly design, too.
That said, both Galaxy 6 watches pack the same performance specs and features. Powered by Samsung's tailored version of Wear OS, the Galaxy Watch 6 devices integrate with the greater Galaxy ecosystem and offer some refreshed app experiences. On the wellness side, Samsung prioritizes sleep and heart health tools to position the Galaxy Watch 6 as a comprehensive fitness tracker.
But how does it compare to the best smartwatches of the year? Read my full Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review below to find out.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 price and release date
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic are available as of August 11, 2023.
For the Galaxy Watch 6, the 40mm version starts at $299 / £289, and the larger 43mm version is priced at $329 / £319. This is a price hike from the Galaxy Watch 5, which started at $279, but still undercuts the prices of the Google Pixel Watch and Apple Watch Series 8. You can pick up the Galaxy Watch 6 in graphite, silver, gold or black depending on the size you choose.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic starts $399 / £369 for the 44mm size, with the 47mm watch priced at $429 / £399. Each smartwatch is available with LTE connectivity at a premium, too. Color options for the Watch 6 Classic comes in black and silver for both sizes. (For more ways to save, check out our guide to today's best Samsung promo codes).
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
A Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic comparison finds the same devices internally, though each has a distinct designs. Notably, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has a physical rotating bezel, making the watch larger. Samsung skipped out on the bezel for the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro — it was last available on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Galaxy Watch 6||Galaxy Watch 6 Classic|
|Sizes||44mm/40mm Super AMOLED||47mm/43mm Super AMOLED|
|Colors||Graphite, Silver (44mm), Gold (40mm)||Black, Silver|
|Dimensions||42.8 x 44.4 x 9.0 mm (44mm) / 38.8 x 40.4 x 9.0 mm (40mm)||46.5 x 46.5 x 10.9 mm (47mm) / 42.5 x 42.5 x 10.9 mm (43mm)|
|Weight||33.3g (44mm) / 28.7g (40mm)||59.0g (47mm) / 52.0g (43mm)|
|Durability||5ATM + IP68||5ATM + IP68|
|Battery life (rated)||Up to 40 hours (Always On Display off) / Up to 30 hours (Always On Display on)||Up to 40 hours (Always On Display off) / Up to 30 hours (Always On Display on)|
|Connectivity||LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 2.4+5GHz, NFC, GPS||LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 2.4+5GHz, NFC, GPS|
|Compatibility||Android 10 or higher||Android 10 or higher|
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review: Design
There are a couple of noteworthy design changes for this generation of Galaxy Watch devices. The Galaxy Watch 6 frame now aligns more flush with the display than before, and it has a 30% slimmer bezel. This results in a 20% larger display, which is extremely apparent when you look at the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 5 side-by-side.
But that’s not all — the display is brighter than before with a claimed peak brightness of 2,000 nits. I'll have to put the Galaxy Watch 6 to test against direct sunlight to see how the display holds up, though.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has a 15% thinner rotating bezel, so it’s much less pronounced compared to the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, and even Galaxy Watch 3. It looks subtle, but in a sophisticated way. Luckily, you still get that satisfying physical dial for navigation and faint clinking sound.
Both versions also have a new interchangeable band mechanism that Samsung calls One-Click. Having struggled with swapping Galaxy Watch bands in the past, I happen to think this is a big improvement in terms of customization. Some new and updated watch band style options for this year are welcome, too.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review: Health and fitness features
As Samsung teased to us in an interview a few months back, the Galaxy Watch 6 series is strongly prioritizing sleep. Samsung has pushed advancements and the addition of sleep tech features for the past few years, but the Galaxy Watch 6 takes things one step further.
Now, a more comprehensive Sleep Score Factor analysis accumulates sleep time, sleep cycle, awake time, plus physical and mental recovery data to help users understand their quality of sleep. Users are also assigned an animal that best represents their sleep behaviors, complete with a correlated watch face dedicated to the cause. I received my diagnosis after a week — I sleep like a lion, consistently and straight through the night.
There’s not too much new for fitness tracking: you still get the body composition analysis feature, plus SPo2, ECG and heart rate monitoring. But there is a new Personalized Heart Rate Zone feature for workouts, and we’ll see Samsung roll out the Irregular Heart Rhythm notification feature that detects signs of aFib.
I used the Galaxy Watch 6 to track my workouts for the week, using the progress heart that mirror's the Apple Watch rings to count my steps, minutes of activity and active calories burned. The watch buzzed me with reminders to stand if I spent an extended period of time inactive, too. If I was already moving, the watch started automatic workout tracking, while an intuitive auto-pause feature made sure the watch credited my activity correctly.
A skin temperature sensor was announced with the Galaxy Watch 5, but the Galaxy Watch 6 will have the reader working at launch to inform things like menstrual cycles and sleep data. The sensor's API will open up to third-party developers as well.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review: Wear OS updates
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 interface and navigation experience feels mostly unchanged. It runs Wear OS 4, the latest iteration of Google's Android smartwatch software, but comes layered with Samsung's One UI 5 Watch for Galaxy-specific experiences. So, the watch is loaded with familiar Google apps, but has built-in programs like Samsung Health and Bixby, too.
Some keys apps received an upgrade this year, namely Camera Controller and Samsung Wallet. I love camera remote in the iPhone and Apple Watch system, but it's clear that the Galaxy Watch 6 is best designed to leverage the Flex Mode on the newly announced Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 5 for remote content capture. Wallet is more intuitive, too, especially for getting things like concert tickets and boarding passes on your wrist so you’re less reliant on your phone.
Also, for users who often misplace their phone like me, the Find My Phone app now shows its location with map support on the Galaxy Watch 6. WhatsApp finally arrived on Wear OS as well, offering an additional platform for wrist-based communications.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review: Battery life
You’d think that the Galaxy Watch 6's bigger and brighter display would have a negative impact on the watch of stamina, but the combination of a bigger battery and newer processor, results in the same 40-hour use estimate.
Obviously the settings you use will impact how long your watch lasts, but from my experience with Samsung watches most users should get at least a full day and night. That said, the battery life can be fickle based on how much you're using the watch.
The Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic support fast charging, with 8 minutes of charging resulting in 8 hours of battery life. This should come in handy when you need to juice up for sleep tracking overnight. Otherwise, my watch juiced up from dead to full in about 45 minutes.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review: Verdict
the Galaxy Watch 6 seems to make the kind of improvements that meaningfully refine the user-experience. Thanks to a streamlined design, the Galaxy Watch finally adopts some of the Apple Watch's finesse. This is Samsung's most polished Galaxy Watch family yet, hands down. And how can you not be excited about the return of the rotating bezel, which looks classier than ever?