Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Review: Bezelicious!

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Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Intro

No other way around it: the brand-new Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is easily one of the best smartwatches compatible with your Android phone right now. Announced alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Galaxy Z Flip 5, the top new Samsung smartwatch is available in two sizes and easily the perfect digital companion to use with the latest foldables. 

Over the years, Samsung has steadily built up the Galaxy Watch brand, which is now synonymous with consistency, customizability, and a very deep bag of features and functionalities. And rightly so––the company’s range of smartwatches have always stood out among the Android competition due to is the deep integration with your Galaxy phone.

The new Galaxy Watch 6 Classic succeeds the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic from 2021 and not the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro from last year. It brings back the beloved rotating hardware bezel, which has been the signature highlight of Samsung's top smartwatches for years. 

Starting at $400 for the entry-level 43mm version and topping out at $430 for the 47mm one, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic launches at a higher price tag than the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic but is more affordable than the Galaxy Watch 5 ProApple Watch Ultra, and Apple Watch Ultra 2 and as well. But just how good is it? 

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic (43mm): 18% off on Amazon

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is up for grabs at Amazon at a lower price on Amazon. At the moment, you can get the 43mm version with Bluetooth at 18% off, saving you $70.

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic (47mm): $70 off on Amazon

The larger-sized Galaxy Watch 6 Classic can be yours at a lower price via Amazon. The 47mm version with Bluetooth sells at $70 off. Select colors are available.

Galaxy Watch 6 (44mm): save $60 at Amazon

The quality Galaxy Watch 6 is sporting a cool $60 discount at Amazon. This is the 44mm Bluetooth-only version of the wearable.


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What’s new about the device:

  • New 43mm and 47mm sizes 
  • 15% thinner display bezels vs Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
  • Rotating hardware bezel
  • Faster new chipset 
  • New one-click band latch mechanism, old bands still compatible
  • Larger and more durable battery, but same charging speeds
  • Black and Silver colors

Table of Contents:

Galaxy Watch 6 Unboxing



Inside the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, the future owner of the smartwatch will find the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic itself, the usual manuals and leaflets, as well as the USB Type charging puck. 

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Specs


Taking a look at those Galaxy Watch 6 specs, we can see that Samsung has surgically implanted some major improvements in contrast with the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. There’s a new chipset and a large battery, as well as the largest display on a Samsung smartwatch so far (on the 47mm version). 



Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Design & Sizes

A great successor to...the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic!


I had the pleasure of reviewing the 47mm version of the smartwatch, and from the very get-go, you are presented with one large and imposing smartwatch that successfully rivals the Apple Watch Ultra in size and heft. One thing is for certain––you will feel the presence of the smartwatch on your wrist at all times. Sleeping with the wearable isn't a terribly comfortable scenario either; if it hadn't been for the sleep tracking that I had to test out for the purposes of this review, I wouldn't have worn the watch in bed. 

Design-wise, new Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is the pinnacle of Samsung's smartwatch design by a longshot. With a svelte stainless steel body and a durable sapphire screen, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic was one sleek and beautiful device, the closest we've ever got to a classic dress smartwatch. 


Much to my delight, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic comes with a rotating hardware bezel, a staple of most premium Galaxy Watch wearables of old. This useful hardware feature was missing on the Galaxy Watch 5/5 Pro, both of which used capacitive digital bezels to sort of emulate the same level of utility, but didn't live up to the simple yet effective utility of the rotating bezel. The bezel is serrated on the outside, which helps with tactility. 

The other two functional buttons on the side are quite clicky and responsive, which is a great thing to have on a smartwatch. No trace of mushiness here, excellent! You can customize the function of these buttons to a certain extent, similarly to the way you can chase the functionality of the Action Button on the Apple Watch Ultra.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic features a hardware bezel is 15% slimmer, which allows for a slightly larger display to be fitted on the smartwatch. Speaking of displays, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is available in two distinct sizes: a 43mm one with a 1.3-inch display and a larger 47mm version with a 1.5-inch display. 

The screen is colorful and has superb contrast, just like any other AMOLED display out there, but what I love most about the smartwatch is its exceptional brightness, up to 2,000 nits. The display gets so bright under direct sunlight that there's no issue with legibility at all. Definitely an improvement over the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, for example, which was dimmer.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is IP68-certified, making it dust and water-resistant for up to 30 minutes. The Watch 6 Classic can also withstand up to 5ATM of pressure corresponding to submerges of up to 50 meters for no longer than 10 minutes, so the occasional recreational dive is perfectly fine. There's no Apple Watch Ultra-like dive computer functionality here, though. 

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is available in Black and Silver colors, both of which are stylish and classy. 

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Bands

A change in the latching mechanism


With the Watch 6 Classic, Samsung switches things up and employs a new one-click band latching mechanism, which makes it easier to change bands with a single press. Previously, Samsung used a spring bar that had to be pressed sideways in order for the watch band to be detached. 

Fortunately, your old Galaxy bands are still compatible with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, which is great news for those with a collection of watch bands. Out for a jog? Pop a breathable band. Going to a cocktail party? Just throw on a classier band and you're good to go!

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As far as band options, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is available with a Hybrid Leather band, a silicone sport one, an 'extreme' version of the sport band with extra holes for improved perspiration, and finally, a new lightweight fabric band that’s touted as perfect for using during sleep. 

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic that I reviewed came with the Hybrid Leather band in black. It employs a faux leather grain on the outside, but the inside is made of soft silicone, making it quite comfortable to wear. However, it doesn't let your skin breathe too much, so your wrist would be moist most of the time. 

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Software & Features

A well-rounded feature roster

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic comes with the One UI 5 Watch interface running on top of Wear OS. One UI 5 Watch has a ton of improvements on board, including enhanced sleep tracking, fall detection, improved emergency calling, and more.

Navigating the interface hasn't changed from previous Wear OS Galaxy Watches and is quite intuitive and easy to master. A big difference here makes the super-convenient rotating bezel, which allows you to navigate the interface with ease. Switching between the available widgets, the so-called Tiles, is extremely intuitive and rewarding with the bezel. The same applies to exploring the app list, as well as interacting with just about any app on the watch.



There are a ton of watchfaces available, and I have no doubt that you will easily find one that suits your every needs. No matter which one you choose, they all look gorgeous on this large and colorful display. 

In terms of functionality, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic comes with improved sleep tracking, but my anecdotal experience is that the data isn't very accurate and objective. For example, my colleague Victor noticed some big discrepancies when comparing the Galaxy Watch 6 versus a recent Apple Watch. 

I noticed some weird metrics as well: despite logging 30 minutes of deep sleep, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic only gave a fair score of 65 for that specific night's sleep. Meanwhile, Victor got a score of 80 with merely 7 minutes of the rejuvenating deep sleep. 

What's more, I noticed that the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic would routinely log blood oxygen saturation levels well below 90% for more than twenty minutes, which has never before happened while using my Apple Watch.


Speaking of the Apple Watch, here's your reminder that Wear OS smartwatches only work with Android devices, so harbor no hopes that the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic will be able to pair with your iPhone. What's more, some health and wellness features of the Samsung smartwatch are exclusive to Galaxy phones and tablets. Samsung is forced to do that in order to comply with medical approval legislation terms.

Protected by sapphire, the latest iteration of the BioActive sensor that sits at the bottom of the smartwatch supports optical heart rate as well as bioelectrical impedance analysis, including a plethora of additional heart-related measurements. For example, you can once again take a Body Composition reading, breaking down your skeletal muscle, basal metabolic rate, body fat, and so on. It's a fun metric to have, but don't rely on it too much. 

Activities score a new Personalized Heart Rate Zone feature, which will measure and showcase the optimal intensity intervals in a trove of available activities. Speaking of these, there are well over 100 existing workouts, including a new Track Run feature that detects when you arrive at a running track, and customizable workouts. 

Menstrual cycle tracking and Fall Detection are on deck, but so is the skin temperature sensor that was introduced with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. This time, however, Samsung is opening up the API and allowing third-party app developers to tap into the sensor and utilize its data in various ways. Like, measuring the temperature of the pool you're about to plunge in, or see how hot the tortilla you just took out of the microwave truly is.

Another new health-related feature that comes along in the Watch 6 Classic is the Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification (IHRN) functionality. This new feature will send you notifications if it detects a certain number of irregular heart rhythm measurements even if you are asleep, promptly sending you on your way to your favorite cardiologist.  

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Battery and Charging

Bigger battery, same charging speeds


The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic comes with a 425mAh battery with the 47mm version, while a 300mAh can be found on the 43mm one. That's not all, though: there's a new Exynos chipset that is faster and more efficient.  

Samsung says the watch should last around 40 hours with the always-on display turned off, or up to 30 hours if you enable the useful feature. In my experience, with normal usage and the always-on display turned off, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic easily lasts a day and a half, or 36 hours with sleep tracking up and running.

 That's a pretty good result that's mostly on par with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic's biggest competitors, like the Apple Watch Ultra. Still, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro lasts significantly longer thanks to its much larger 590mAh battery. 

Charging is fast, too. You can get the watch up to nearly 50% in roughly 30 minutes, which should be fast enough for most people. A full charge takes around an hour and a half. Surely, super-fast charging isn't a thing for wearables, so we have to adjust our expectations accordingly. 

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Models and Prices


When it comes to the pricing of the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, here are the first official prices we have. Of course, cellular versions of the smartwatches cost a bit more, but they allow you to use the smartwatch without a companion phone. 


Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Voice Calls and Haptics


You can take phone calls on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, and the sound quality is more than passable. You can hear the other party quite well considering you're talking through a smartwatch, and the person on the other line didn't have any complaints as far as call quality goes.

In terms of haptics, the smartwatch doesn't disappoint. Feedback is superb; you can customize the vibration strength as well as its duration. You will never miss a notification or an incoming call, that's for sure. 

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Competitors


Surely, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has some tough competition ahead of itself, helmed by the vast array of Apple Watch devices available. The Watch Series 8, as well as the Apple Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch Ultra 2, are certainly some very able-bodied competitors that mostly have similar feature sets. 

Interestingly, the most serious competition for the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic comes from Samsung's camp itself. With the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro being still very capable and appealing products, it might be hard to expect a landslide victory for the new smartwatch, hardware bezel notwithstanding. 

However, it's also worth mentioning that while these smartwatches are rivals, they also aren't. Neither the latest Galaxy Watch devices nor the Apple Watch can function with the competition's phones, so you will hardly be in the position to choose between, say, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and an Apple Watch Series 8. 

Thus, if you're deeply entrenched into the Samsung ecosystem, you can't really consider the Apple Watch as a viable rival to the Galaxy Watch, and vice versa. 


Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Summary and Final Verdict



The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is a superb follow-up to both the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. Samsung has definitely nailed the formula for a great wearable. 

Not only is it built like a tank, but it also feels premium enough to go head-to-head with just about any wearable out there and come out victorious. Although it's not made of titanium, it easily rivals the Apple Watch Ultra. 

And I simply love the return of the signature rotating bezel; to me, it has always been the highlight of Samsung's smartwatches. Aside from bringing some extra functionality, it also establishes a nostalgic bridge with previous Galaxy watches. 

More feature-rich than ever and now finally with a new chipset, not to mention the more than adequate battery life, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is the perfect wearable if you're a Samsung enthusiast. To those, I'd absolutely recommend the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic


Pros

  • Superb design with a rotating bezel
  • Large and bright display
  • Very decent battery life
  • Excellent value
  • Lots of features and functionalities

Cons

  • Some of its best features are limited to Galaxy devices
  • New latch mechanism is too stiff, bands are a bit hard to swap
  • A bit too big and heavy, not comfortable to wear at night

PhoneArena Rating:

8.5

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