Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 vs. Galaxy Watch 6: Biggest expected changes

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 is looking more and more like it'll be a major release rather than an iterative update. Of course, the Galaxy Watch 6 remains a fantastic wearable, and one of the best smartwatches for Android users in 2024, but, there is room for improvement. 

We've already rounded up all the latest Galaxy Watch 7 rumors and leaks, now it's time to take a closer look at what these likely improvements mean for the product line as a whole and for current Galaxy Watch 6 owners considering an upgrade this August.   

Galaxy Watch 7 vs. 6: Increased battery life

More efficient power consumption is one of the most significant upgrades we expect to see in the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 7. After all, middling battery life was our biggest gripe with Galaxy Watch 6 (and a frequent complaint of owners). 

Both the Galaxy Watch 5 and 6 max out at 40 hours of juice on a good day. That's not terrible, but it's also not impressive (the original Galaxy Watch lasted up to four days). 

The good news is that we expect the Galaxy Watch 7 to sport an updated chipset that could make it 50% more efficient in the power management department. This upgrade could also make it operate 30% faster than the previous generation. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (40mm): $230 @ Walmart

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (40mm): $230 @ Walmart
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is is one of the top options of Android owners, thanks to a bright and crisp display, thoughtful design, solid fitness tracking and wellness tools, and no shortage of useful smart features. 

There's no word yet on whether the watches will sport larger batteries. But given a general preference by most toward thinner wearables, we may see battery capacity remain at roughly 425 mAh for the larger Galaxy Watch 7 models and 300 mAh for the smaller ones.

That said, there's a strong possibility that Samsung will also launch an extra-large Galaxy Watch 7 Pro — with greater battery capacity — alongside the standard and "Classic" editions. 

Assuming this model also gets the new chipset it could be a serious contender against legends of longevity like the OnePlus Watch 2. For comparison, while there was no Galaxy Watch Pro 6, there was a Galaxy Pro 5 with a 590 mAh battery and up to 80 hours of life.

Given how maligned the Galaxy 6's battery life is, any significant improvement is a darn good enough reason to consider upgrading strongly.

Galaxy Watch 7 vs. 6: Better health monitoring

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 activity overview

(Image credit: Future)

We don't know much about what health sensor the forthcoming Galaxy Watch will deliver, but Samsung has revealed a new sleep apnea detection feature, and we may also get improved sleep tracking. 

The former was approved recently by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and should be available in the Samsung Health app come Q3 with a handful of devices initially compatible. 

This timeframe means the feature should arrive in time for the Galaxy Watch 7 launch. For what it's worth it also looks like Apple will debut a similar feature in the upcoming Apple Watch 10

Is this new feature enough to convince Galaxy Watch 6 owners to upgrade? That depends. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a potentially deadly condition where breathing gets interrupted for longer than 10 seconds periodically while a person is sleeping. 

This condition often goes unnoticed and can increase an individual's risk for cardiovascular diseases significantly. So, yeah, it's a pretty big deal. Also, according to the National Sleep Foundation, roughly 25% of men and 10% of women in the U.S. experience OSA.

The Galaxy Watch 7 will likely monitor a host of vitals while you sleep over several weeks to determine if you are at high risk for OSA. If you are, an alert will likely be sent recommending further medical assessment from a professional.

Galaxy Watch 7 vs. 6: Refreshed design

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 on a person's wrist

(Image credit: Future)

We'll almost certainly see three versions of the Galaxy Watch 7. Most reports suggest that Samsung plans to keep the classic model with a rotating bezel and bring back the larger Pro model. But, what about the third model? Surely, there will be a standard edition Galaxy Watch 7?

This is where things get interesting. There have been peeps and murmurs that Samsung plans to reintroduce a square-format smartwatch, something we haven't seen from the brand in quite some time. And if one of the three Galaxy Watch 7 models were to feature a square screen, the standard version probably makes the most sense. 

I'm not sure how a rotating bezel could possibly work on a watch with a square screen, so, the classic is out. An angular Galaxy Watch 7 Pro is certainly possible, especially if Samsung wants to compete head-to-head with the Apple Watch Ultra series. However, we're putting our money on the normal Galaxy Watch 7 getting the design shake-up (if one comes to fruition). 

Is the move to a square display meaningful enough to upgrade if you have a perfectly fine-working Galaxy Watch 6? Probably not. Taken with the other likely upgrades, though, the answer may be yes.  

Galaxy Watch 7 vs. Watch 6: Galaxy Ring support

Oura Ring on a stone mount

(Image credit: Oura)

We expect to see the Samsung Galaxy Ring debut alongside the upcoming Galaxy Watch 7 devices. And you better believe the two wearables will be able to work together in your favor.

Samsung already hinted at folks being able to control other Galaxy products using its forthcoming finger-based device, and we're super curious to see how that plays out. The thought of waving a finger to turn on my Samsung microwave or start a timer on my Galaxy Watch sounds pretty sweet. 

More significantly, the two devices will likely complement the other's wellness monitoring data, for greater holistic insights. In addition to monitoring heart rate and sleep qualities, reports suggest that the Galaxy Ring will also keep tabs on blood flow and oxygen saturation while offering on-the-spot ECGs.

If the Samsung Galaxy Ring truly ends up being all that and a bag of chips and Samsung limits smartwatch compatibility to only the newest devices, that alone might be enough to consider an upgrade from the Galaxy Watch 6 or earlier to the Galaxy Watch 7.

Galaxy Watch 7 vs. 6: A better screen

Of all the most significant potential upgrades, this is the one we're least sure of, but if it does come to fruition, it would be a big deal. Both Apple and Samsung have reportedly been experimenting with the possibility of using microLED screens in upcoming wearables, rather than sticking with AMOLED. 

The new tech boasts better brightness — making it easier to view in sunlight — superior color reproduction and increased contrast versus OLED. MicroLED is also more power efficient, which is another huge benefit, especially if these watches also sport 50% more power-efficient processors.

Ultimately, this is one upgrade we could also see Samsung holding on to until the Galaxy Watch 8. But, if the Galaxy Watch 7 does sport a microLED screen, that would make upgrading from the Galaxy Watch 6 a no-brainer in our book. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 – other upgrades

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

(Image credit: Future)

In addition to a new processor and better battery life, improved health tracking, a design refresh, a brighter screen and compatibility with the Galaxy Ring, the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 may also boast an updated operating system (possibly Wear OS 5) and the inclusion of on-wrist blood pressure monitoring. 

Of course, we'll all have to wait several months to find out exactly which of these updates comes to fruition and which are dust in the wind, but we're excited nonetheless, especially with the latest-gen Apple Watches set to debut a month or so later. 

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Dan Bracaglia
Senior Writer, Fitness & Wearables

Dan Bracaglia covers fitness and consumer technology with an emphasis on wearables for Tom's Guide. Based in the US Pacific Northwest, Dan is an avid outdoor adventurer who dabbles in everything from kayaking to snowboarding, but he most enjoys exploring the cities and mountains with his small pup, Belvedere. Dan is currently training to climb some of Washington State's tallest peaks. He's also a big photography nerd.