Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Unveiled: Trading Battery Life for a Larger Display
Samsung‘s latest smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 6 and the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, have made their grand entrance, bringing both substantial and subtle changes. With the Galaxy Watch 6 starting at $299.99 (which is $20 more than its predecessor) and the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic starting at $399.99, these wearables showcase captivating features.
One of the standout features of the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is the beloved physical rotating bezel, cherished by Galaxy Watch fans for its seamless and speedy scrolling. This marks the first time Samsung has reintroduced a rotating bezel in a Galaxy Watch since the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic launched back in 2021.
Now available for pre-order, the Galaxy Watch 6 and the Watch 6 Classic are set to hit the market on Aug. 11. Early orders come with a complimentary fabric accessory band designed to provide overnight comfort.
At a media event in New York prior to the official launch, we had the opportunity to get hands-on time with these new wearables, and we’re excited to delve into the details. Additionally, we have comprehensive stories covering other Samsung product launches, such as the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Fold 5, as well as the Galaxy S9 Tab lineup, all of which are also available for pre-order.
Regarding aesthetics, the latest Galaxy smartwatches maintain an appealing design language, with no drastic departures from previous models, and that’s perfectly fine. The Galaxy Watch 6 retains a familiar appearance, similar to its predecessor, but it boasts a slightly larger screen. The available sizes are 40mm (small) or 44mm (large), each offering a Super AMOLED touch display and an aluminum case. Compared to the previous generation, the new models provide a bit more screen real estate and a slimmer bezel, enhancing the overall visual experience.
As for the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, it comes in 43mm (small) or 47mm (large) sizes, featuring a 1.3-inch or 1.5-inch Super AMOLED display and a robust stainless steel case, adding to its durability and shine. In comparison to the Watch 4 Classic, which was available in 42mm or 46mm sizes with a 1.2-inch or 1.4-inch display, the Watch 6 Classic offers improved screen dimensions. The previous year’s Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, designed to compete with the Apple Watch Ultra, lacks a rotating bezel but boasts a 45mm titanium case with a 1.4-inch display.
The screen brightness on the Galaxy Watch 6 series reaches a maximum of 2,000 nits, doubling the brightness of the last generation and matching that of the Apple Watch Ultra.
For those interested in the larger-size models, both the Galaxy Watch 6 and the Watch 6 Classic come with a $30 price increase, setting their starting prices at $329.99 and $429.99, respectively. Meanwhile, the $449.99 Watch 5 Pro remains available, catering to outdoor enthusiasts who seek a more rugged and long-lasting option.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic introduces a Hybrid Eco-Leather band, akin to the Watch 3 series’ real leather strap. On the other hand, the standard Galaxy Watch 6 comes with a sport band designed to withstand water exposure. This year, Samsung is limiting its case color options: The Galaxy Watch 6 is available in graphite, gold (only in small), or silver (in large), while both sizes of the Watch 6 Classic are offered in black or silver. Fans may miss the pink-gold Watch 5 color option and hope for the return of the stunning bronze color seen on the Watch 3.
Despite these limited choices and resemblances to previous models, the Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic make a striking impression in person, impressing with their overall design.
While aesthetics are essential, battery life is a crucial aspect to consider when evaluating wearables. Unfortunately, the latest Galaxy Watch models take a hit in this department, likely due to the larger displays.
Although the Galaxy Watch 6 features a larger battery compared to its predecessor, with 300mAh (in the small size models) or 425mAh (in the large size) versus 284mAh and 410mAh, respectively, the manufacturer-stated maximum run time has decreased to 40 hours on a single charge (or 30 hours with the always-on display enabled), down from 50 hours for the Watch 5.
The Classic model offers the same battery life specs as the standard Watch 6. However, it’s worth noting that Samsung’s stated run times tend to exceed real-world battery performance. In practical testing, the Watch 5 lasted up to 36 hours with typical use (or 30 hours with the always-on display enabled). It will be interesting to see how the new models perform in real-world scenarios, and we plan to conduct comprehensive battery rundown tests in our full reviews.
If you’re currently a Galaxy Watch 5 owner, it’s crucial to weigh the benefits of a slightly larger screen against a notable hit to battery life before considering an upgrade to the latest generation. For those who prioritize battery life, the Watch 5 Pro remains a top choice, lasting up to 79 hours with light use in our testing, nearly matching Samsung’s official claim of 80 hours. If you already have a Watch 5 Pro and are content with its performance, there may be little incentive to upgrade to the Watch 6 series, unless you’re keen on the Classic’s rotating bezel or your current device has experienced significant degradation after a year of use.
The Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic are powered by Wear OS 4 and One UI 5 Watch, providing access to a broad selection of downloadable third-party apps through the Google Play Store. Notable applications include Audible, Gmail, Google Calendar, MyFitnessPal, Peloton, and WhatsApp.
As for other specifications, all variants of the new watches are equipped with the Samsung Exynos W930 dual-core 1.4GHz processor, an upgrade from the Exynos W920 chip used in the Watch 5. They feature 2GB of RAM (up from 1.5GB) and 16GB of storage, maintaining the same capacity as the previous generation.
In terms of durability, both the Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic boast the same 5ATM and IP68 ratings as their predecessors, indicating waterproof capabilities up to 164 feet for 10 minutes and resistance to dust, dirt, and sand. Furthermore, they meet the MIL-STD-810H standard, demonstrating their ability to withstand extreme temperatures and various environmental stressors, including vibration and shock.
All models come with Bluetooth (version 5.3) and Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz) for seamless connectivity, as well as built-in GPS, Glonass, Beidou, and Galileo support. For those interested in LTE connectivity, certain models offer this feature at an additional cost.
With their updated features, stylish designs, and enhanced functionality, the Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic represent Samsung’s commitment to delivering innovative wearables to cater to users’ needs and preferences. As the release date approaches, we look forward to conducting in-depth reviews to provide a comprehensive overview of their performance and capabilities.