Samsung Galaxy Watch FE vs. Galaxy Watch 6: which should you buy?

A pink and blue version of the Samsung Galaxy Watch FE next to an all black Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 model
(Image credit: Samsung)

I love a good surprise, especially when it comes in the form of a well-priced smartwatch with a lot of impressive features. A month or so ahead of the expected unveiling of the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 series, the brand has pulled the curtain off of the unexpected but completely welcomed Samsung Galaxy Watch FE.

The device borrows a lot from the current Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, including its health and fitness monitoring tech and basic design. Part of Samsung's budget-minded 'Fan Edition' product line, the Galaxy Watch FE starts at $199 for the Bluetooth-only model making it a full $100 cheaper than the most basic Galaxy Watch 6 model.

With so much in common, the cheaper of the two may seem like the obvious choice but there are some good reasons to consider the Galaxy Watch 6 over the new FE instead. With that, here's how the Samsung Galaxy Watch FE and Galaxy Watch 6 stack up in terms of price, design, battery, health and smart features. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch FE vs. Galaxy Watch 6: specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Galaxy Watch FEGalaxy Watch 6
Starting price$199$299
ColorsBlack, Pink Gold, SilverGraphite, Gold, Silver
Display1.2-inch, 396x396, Super AMOLED, Full Color Always On44mm: 1.5-inch 480x480 Super AMOLED, Full Color Always On; 40mm: 1.3-inch 432x432 Super AMOLED, Full Color Always On Display
Dimensions39.3 x 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm44mm: 42.8 x 44.4 x 9.0 mm; 40mm: 38.8 x 40.4 x 9.0 mm, 28.7g
ProcessorExynos W920 Dual Core 1.18GHzExynos W930 Dual-Core 1.4GHz
Battery247mAh44mm: 425mAh; 40mm: 300mAh
Durability5ATM + IP685ATM + IP68
SensorsSamsung BioActive Sensor (Optical Heart Rate + Electrical Heart + Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis),Samsung BioActive Sensor (Optical Heart Rate + Electrical Heart + Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis); temperature sensor,
ConnectivityLTE, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 2.4+5GHz, NFC, GPSLTE, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 2.4+5GHz, NFC, GPS

Samsung Galaxy Watch FE vs. Galaxy Watch 6: Price

The Samsung Galaxy Watch FE starts at $199.99 for the Bluetooth-only model and costs $249.99 for the LTE edition. Styles included Black, Pink Gold, and Silver.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch, by comparison, comes in a range of sizes and styles, the most affordable of which is the smaller, 40mm Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Bluetooth edition priced at $299.99 and available in graphite, gold and silver. The LTE version is $349.99.

Samsung Galaxy Watch FE vs. Galaxy Watch 6: design and battery

While the Samsung Galaxy Watch is available in either 40mm or 44mm, the FE only comes in the smaller of the two sizes. Both models boast bright, always-on Super-AMOLED touchscreens but the FE's display is a tad smaller and lower resolution than the screen found on the 40mm Galaxy Watch 6. 

Design-wise, the Samsung Galaxy Watch FE and 6 look nearly identical. Both have the same waterproof rating with scratch-resistant sapphire glass and two action buttons around the side of the case. However, the Galaxy Watch FE uses Samsung's newer one-click watch band system, making it easy to quickly swap in and out straps. 

Samsung hasn't released a battery life rating for the Galaxy Watch FE but the battery itself has a smaller capacity than the batteries used in either Galaxy Watch 6 device, the larger of which is good for up to 30 hours on a single charge. We expect the FE to have lesser longevity than this. 

The Galaxy Watch FE also boasts an older (from 2022) and less powerful processor compared to the Galaxy Watch 6. And with Galaxy Watch 7 models set to launch soon, the FE's already long-in-the-tooth chip may soon look extra dated.

Samsung Galaxy Watch FE vs. Galaxy Watch 6: Health and fitness features

When it comes to health, fitness and sleep tracking features, the new Samsung Galaxy Watch FE is essentially a match with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6.

The FE borrows its older sibling's BioActive health-monitoring sensor which records heart rate, an FDA-cleared ECG sensor and a BIA sensor for insights into body composition. 

Like the Galaxy Watch 6, the FE also tracks 100+ different workout types. It additionally offers advanced sleep tracking data, high heart rate warnings and insights into cardio health along with menstrual health tracking. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch FE vs. Galaxy Watch 6: Smart features

Both smartwatches run Wear OS and have access to the Google Play Store where you can download a wide range of third-party apps. The FE additionally comes preloaded with useful ones like Google Maps, YouTube Music, Samsung Wallet and Find My Phone. 

Likewise, both the Galaxy Watch FE and Galaxy Watch 6 offer 16GB of storage. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch FE vs. Galaxy Watch 6: Which should you buy?

With the Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 release just around the corner, it's difficult to recommend the Galaxy Watch FE without knowing what features and tricks the newest generation of Samsung smartwatches have to offer.

Ultimately, the Samsung Galaxy Watch FE looks to me like a parts-bin model built from whatever extra pieces Samsung had in its factories. And while much of the tech is modern enough in 2024, like the holistic sensors, I worry that the FE's processor —  borrowed from 2022's Galaxy Watch 5 — will look extra antiquated by summer's end. 

Also, with less battery capacity on offer, my gut says that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is a better buy than the Samsung Galaxy Watch FE, despite the $100 price difference, because the latter is more futureproofed thanks to a more modern processor.

All that said, I'll hold off passing any final judgments on the Galaxy Watch FE until I've got one on my wrist. 

More from Tom's Guide

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.