The ring has returned, credit not to Frodo. Samsung has, fortunately, re-evaluated its decision, reintroducing the distinct rotating bezel for the new Galaxy Wach6 Classic. This marks the major shift in the watch’s design, accompanied by the fresh Exynos W930 chipset for wearables.
Nevertheless, there’s a lingering sense that Samsung might be maintaining two distinct flagship lineups for the Galaxy Watch – the Pros and the Classics. Adhering to the customary two-year upgrade cycle, it seems the company aims this release at Galaxy Watch4 Classic users. For those uninterested in the rotating ring feature (are there any?), the Pro series remains an option.
Samsung Galaxy Watch6 Classic specs:
- Body: 46.5×46.5×10.9mm, 59g; Sapphire crystal front, stainless steel frame; MIL-STD-810H compliant, 50m water resistant (IP68), ECG certified, Blood pressure monitor.
- Display: 1.50″ Super AMOLED, 480x480px resolution, 9:9 aspect ratio, 453ppi; Always-on display.
- Chipset: Exynos W930 (5 nm): Dual-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A55; Mali-G68.
- Memory: 16GB 2GB RAM.
- OS/Software: Android Wear OS 4, One UI Watch 5.
- Rear camera: No.
- Front camera: No.
- Video capture: Rear camera: No.
- Battery: 425mAh; Wireless (Qi).
- Connectivity: LTE; eSIM; Wi-Fi 4; BT 5.3; NFC.
- Misc: Accelerometer, gyro, compass, heart rate, barometer, thermometer (skin temperature), 3D Hall sensor; Natural language commands and dictation, Samsung Pay.
The idea of maintaining two distinct watch lineups could plausibly clarify Samsung’s lack of concern regarding the decrease in battery capacity for the Watch6 Classic, now at 425 mAh compared to the Watch5 Pro’s 590 mAh. This reduction is justified by the fact that it still surpasses the Watch4 Classic from 2021, which featured a 361 mAh battery. Samsung’s confidence rests on the efficiency of the new chipset, a claim we’ll scrutinize in our forthcoming battery review section.
Shifting focus from efficiency, performance steps into the limelight. The Exynos W930 showcases boosted clock speeds and teams up with 2GB of RAM, a step up from the prior two versions’ 1.5GB. This assurance brings forth improved visuals and quicker functionality.
As for visuals themselves, the display widens to 1.5″, accompanied by a sharper 480 x 480px resolution.
While fitness tracking sees subtle changes, such as the addition of skin temperature monitoring, a novel feature arrives in the form of fall detection, potentially benefiting from the new 3D Hall sensor.
Uniting all elements, a fresh Wear OS 4.0 alongside Samsung’s One UI Watch 5 software brings cohesion, with minimal alterations elsewhere. Delving into nuances, this review provides insights – read on for more.
Unboxing of Samsung Galaxy Watch6 classic
In a typical retail package, you’ll find user manuals and a charging pad with an attached USB-C cable. This year’s change is the shift from USB-A to USB-C.
The package lacks a dedicated charger, but standard USB-C wall chargers or computers work. Yet, third-party Qi chargers and non-Samsung phones for reverse wireless charging remain inaccessible, revealing certain limitations.
Primarily, the design of the premium Galaxy smartwatches (Pro and Classic) retains its familiar circular, classic style. Subtle adjustments are mainly confined to the rotating bezel. Given the constraints, it’s worth noting Samsung’s limited design freedom; there’s minimal room for extensive innovation.
However, the Galaxy Watch6 Classic stands out in certain aspects. It earns the title of the heaviest Galaxy Watch at 59 grams, not including the Gear series. The distinction is evident mainly when contrasted with the much lighter titanium-framed Watch5 Pro.
With a technically 47mm form factor (or precisely 46.5mm), the Watch6 Classic exhibits increased dimensions. Samsung effectively utilized the additional space to expand the display to 1.5″, resulting in a noticeably enhanced visual experience. Compared to previous iterations, the screen is sensibly larger, and the 30% slimmer bezel makes the Watch4 Classic and Watch5 Pro appear bulky. Consequently, the rotating bezel is also sleeker, now 15% thinner according to Samsung.
Once more, a notable benefit of Galaxy Watches featuring a rotating bezel is their display protection. In everyday scenarios, accidental brushes against corners, furniture, and walls pose a threat, typically absorbed by the bezel. It’s easily replaceable at home. Furthermore, safeguarding the display is a sapphire glass sheet.
The strap has improved significantly, though not flawlessly. Considering the cost, it still maintains a somewhat inexpensive feel. Constructed from a soft-touch silicone, it notably surpasses the Watch4 Classic’s quality. The underside offers a pleasing texture, while the outer surface mimics leather, further enhanced by stitching along the edges for a convincingly refined appearance.
For convenient strap changes, small release buttons are in place. The device supports 20mm standard straps, departing from the previous 22mm size.
In various markets, Samsung provides a range of strap designs, supplementing those from third-party manufacturers if necessary.
As customary, the Galaxy Watch6 Classic maintains water and dust resistance (IP68) and adheres to the MIL-STD-810H standard. Protection remains consistent with prior models. However, it’s crucial to recognize that this military-grade standard doesn’t ensure resilience in extreme conditions.
In a broader sense, the Watch6 Classic exudes a standard watch feel, accommodating larger wrists without disruption. Even with the weight increment, it remains easy to handle.
The Watch6 Classic comes in just two colors – Black and Silver.
User Experience and Navigation
We’ve observed a few alterations in the bezel’s behavior. It’s now slightly clickier and exhibits an extended travel distance between clicks, resulting in a slightly unfamiliar navigation sensation. The resistance has reduced. While the prolonged travel might not be everyone’s preference, it demands more bezel rotation for scrolling or navigation compared to the Watch4 Classic.
However, if you’re an enthusiast of rotating bezel navigation, this version will likely appeal to you. Its usage doesn’t require adaptation and feels intuitive. Moreover, the display remains cleaner with fewer smudges, as scrolling and navigation mostly avoid direct touchscreen interaction.
The right-side buttons are now more tactile and less soft when pressed. The top button, highlighted in red, returns to the home screen, while the bottom acts as a “back” button, alterable to open recent apps. Double-pressing the home button launches a preferred app, and holding it calls upon Bixby, Google Assistant, or the power-off menu.
Device Components and Sensor Suite
Following two iterations powered by the Exynos W920, the latest Galaxy Watches turn to the more potent and purportedly more efficient Exynos W930 SoC. The new chip maintains the 5nm fabrication but boosts the dual-core Cortex-A55 CPU to 1.4 GHz from 1.18 GHz, while retaining the Mali-G68 GPU. Internal storage remains at 16GB, while operational memory advances to 2GB from 1.5GB.
This enhanced smoothness in the Galaxy Watch6 Classic, attributed to refined software and potentially improved hardware, stands out compared to its forerunners. The device offers fluid animations and swift navigation, significantly elevating user experience.
Yet, the most apparent transformation is the display, now spanning 1.5″ diagonally. While this numerical difference might seem modest, it’s distinctly perceptible in contrast to the Galaxy Watch4 Classic or the Watch5 Pro. The OLED panel aligns with the new size, boasting a heightened 480 x 480px resolution.
Alongside the mentioned hardware, the device incorporates familiar sensors such as an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart rate monitor, barometer, and skin temperature thermometer, all essential to the Galaxy Watch6 Classic. A notable upgrade is the inclusion of the 3D Hall sensor. While Samsung hasn’t directly specified its function, it’s evident that this sensor improves tracking and positioning precision. This sensor specifically gauges the magnetic field’s intensity along the x, y, and z axes, serving as a 3D magnetic position detector. Three-dimensional, linear, angular, and rotational movements can all be measured by it.
It’s significant to remember that the temperature sensor is not limited to measuring skin temperature. The Skin Temperature API from Samsung has been made available to partners and developers so they may create apps that utilise this new functionality. For instance, users of the Thermo Check app can check the temperature of their food or the ocean before sticking their toes in. The watch doesn’t need to be in contact with the surface because the sensor uses infrared to detect motion.
The BioActive sensor, as it’s referred to, is also integrated to gauge your body composition. Electrodes located at the watch’s base and within the two buttons facilitate water measurement through impedance.This evaluation covers factors including lean muscle mass, body fat percentage, water weight, BMI, and basal metabolic rate. This comprehensive analysis involves 2,400 measurements completed within a mere 15 seconds. Further details regarding accuracy and usability are discussed on the following page.
A few kind remarks on the vibration motor last but not least. It appears to be fairly powerful, clear, and precise. Samsung’s evident dedication to enhancing haptic feedback is evident. Throughout our testing, we adeptly distinguished different types of taps and vibrations emitted by the watch, be it during virtual bezel interaction, notifications, incoming calls, menu navigation, and various other scenarios.Additionally, NFC payment functionality has greatly improved this time. While we’re uncertain if Samsung relocated or upgraded the NFC chip, the watch now offers a notably smoother experience for contactless payments.
The battery life presents a mixed situation. The Galaxy Watch6 Classic slightly improves upon the total capacity of the Galaxy Watch4 Classic (361 mAh vs. 425 mAh). However, in contrast to the Galaxy Watch5 Pro, which boasts a 590 mAh cell, it’s a noticeable step down. Our firsthand usage of the watch in daily scenarios indeed confirms the decrease from the Galaxy Watch5 Pro.
We managed to achieve approximately 48 hours or a little more on a full battery charge. To provide context, the watch’s display was set to automatic brightness, the raise-to-wake function was active, there was at least one 2-hour indoor workout, outdoor walking, heart rate measurements every 15 minutes, and overnight sleep tracking. We didn’t engage the power-saving mode; instead, we allowed the battery to completely drain. However, the Always-on display feature reduces runtime by half.
This aligns closely with the battery life of the Galaxy Watch4 Classic. In contrast, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro offers around 72 hours on a single charge. Regrettably, the Watch6 Classic’s battery performance takes a step back in comparison.
Tizen OS is a thing of the past, rendering it unnecessary to bring up. Initially, we felt the absence of Tizen, but after three iterations of Samsung’s One UI Watch, that sentiment has faded. The new One UI Watch 5, built on Google’s Wear OS 4, exhibits a heightened level of refinement and fluidity. While the transition from the previous OS version entails relatively modest changes, they are noteworthy and deserve acknowledgment.
The new Galaxy Watch6 Classic is notably faster and smoother in everyday navigation, which also probably due to the higher CPU clock speeds and that extra 0.5GB of RAM.
From a UI standpoint, not much has changed. Even the iconography is the same. Although, there’s a minor but noticeable change in the font. It’s now bold in most places and it’s somewhat easier on the eyes. Legibility is better this way.
Regardless, the quick toggles can be accessed by swiping down from the top edge of the display. You have the flexibility to set up and organize widgets, or Tiles as you prefer to label them, according to your preferences. Navigation can be accomplished through swipe gestures or by rotating the bezel while cycling through these elements. Additionally, a left turn of the bezel from the home screen grants access to the notification pane.
Regarding the “home screen,” it’s essentially the watch face you select. As is customary with each new smartwatch launch, Samsung introduces a range of freshly designed watch faces across various categories. This ensures there’s a good chance you’ll discover options that align with your personal style
Fortunately, as Wear OS continues to evolve, the modding community is also progressing.. On Google Play, a wealth of personalized and versatile watch faces awaits your exploration.
A swipe from the bottom reveals the app drawer, customizable to your preference. The overall Settings menu remains unchanged.
However, the Galaxy Wearable app has the majority of the features and capabilities. things like sound and vibration handling, accounts and backup, batteries, and advanced functionality.
The Advanced features sub-menu offers the option to personalize the functions of the two buttons—double press, single short press, or long press. Additionally, there are three wrist gestures, which are not new. One gesture for answering calls, another for dismissing calls, and a third for launching a chosen app. However, we noticed that the latter gesture frequently triggers unintentionally, leading to misfires.
We are pleased to share that Samsung’s notification management continues to excel. Each app has its unique icon, which even synchronizes with your phone’s icons. Additionally, the sender’s avatar is prominently displayed for immediate identification. Notably, stickers and received images from popular messaging apps are supported. Quick replies are available as well. Furthermore, you can synchronize your Do Not Disturb or Bedtime modes, ensuring that activating them on one device also applies to the other.
One aspect we’re not fond of is the new notification card styling. It doesn’t complement the circular design effectively. While this is a minor and subjective concern, we preferred the style of the previous messages. The previous approach, where messages appeared on the circular screen without card or styling complexities, offered a more seamless and cohesive UI.
To sum up, we have a positive impression of Samsung’s latest software iteration, with no notable or critical bugs encountered. Unlike previous versions that had their share of issues, this release appears notably stable and reliable. The operation is fluid and hassle-free.
Samsung Health and fitness tracking
Samsung’s Health app and its features have undergone significant growth. The company has expanded the scope of essential metrics it monitors and has improved its fitness tracking capabilities progressively.. On Android phones, the Health app has also become more refined, informative, and improved overall. Nevertheless, it’s disappointing that the Samsung Health widgets on the phone lack the ability to display data on steps, sleep, and heart rate from the past few days or weeks. To access such basic statistics, one must open the Android app.
In addition to ECG and blood pressure measurements, which are exclusive to Samsung phone pairings, the new Galaxy Watch6 Classic introduces irregular heart monitoring and skin temperature measurements during sleep. It’s worth noting that the former feature is once again restricted to Samsung phone owners.
Certainly, in regards to sleep tracking, Samsung has exerted efforts to improve accuracy, though this remains a challenge with home-grade devices. In our evaluations, the total sleep time data, as well as bedtime and wake-up times, displayed commendable accuracy. However, metrics such as deep sleep and REM sleep are prone to being less reliable.
Furthermore, in addition to the pre-existing sleep score, which has also seen enhancements according to Samsung, a sleeping coach is now included. Once you’ve gathered a week’s worth of sleep data, the Health app offers coaching designed to tackle sleep-related issues. These concerns can encompass a variety of issues, such as irregular sleep schedules, frequent awakenings, and inadequate deep sleep.Once your sleep patterns are analyzed, the software assigns a Sleep Animal Symbol and offers recommendations to enhance your sleep quality.
If your smartwatch is connected to other smart home devices, you can choose to have Sleep Mode activate automatically. Your phone’s notifications will be muted, and the lights in your house will be turned off.
As another new feature, a personalised heart rate zone has been included. The watch determines your heart rate zones by taking factors like your age and level of fitness into account. It offers suggestions to assist you in maintaining your desired heart rate range while running. Additionally, you have the option of developing a customised fitness schedule.
The irregular heart rhythm feature mentioned earlier is available in specific countries due to the need for additional certification from local regulatory authorities. Currently, users in Argentina, Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Georgia, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Panama, the UAE, Korea, and the US can utilize this feature. In other regions, this functionality will operate in the background and send notifications to users if an irregular rhythm is detected.
There are two important points to consider here. Firstly, similar to ECG and blood pressure measurements, the irregular heart rhythm (IHR) feature is compatible only with Samsung phones equipped with the Samsung Health Monitor app. This app can exclusively be downloaded from the Galaxy Store. Secondly, it’s essential to mention that Samsung emphasizes that these features are not intended for diagnosing or treating specific medical conditions. Instead, they are designed to provide guidance and encourage users to consult a licensed physician.
Furthermore, the watch includes a Fall Detection feature. The Watch6 Classic has the capability to alert emergency services in the event of detecting a fall during various activities like workouts, regular daily routines, or even while sleeping. Additionally, it can initiate a call to a person from your list of emergency contacts.
Regarding body composition measurements, there isn’t anything novel or significant to delve into. The watch’s method of gauging your lean mass, water content, and body fat remains unchanged. However, it’s important to note that these measurements tend to be notably imprecise, which is a common trait among home-grade devices. Their accuracy can also vary considerably depending on your fluid and food intake throughout the day. To address this variability, Samsung suggests performing the measurements in the morning while fasting and before consuming any water.
It’s important to recognize that despite the inherent shortcomings in body composition measurements, users can still utilize them to monitor progress and establish a baseline.
As for the Watch6 Classic’s capabilities, it continues to offer support for numerous activities and sports. However, we observed that the auto-detection feature was not particularly reliable. Automatic workout recording seldom activated. Nevertheless, users can always initiate manual workout sessions as needed. Here’s some data from a brief hiking session.
You receive a tonne of information, including details about elevation, pace, and weather. You can also record the path when GPS is turned on. There is also a tonne of physiological data to review.
Looking at the bigger picture, the Galaxy Watch6 Classic stands as the finest Samsung smartwatch to date. It boasts a notably larger display without compromising its overall size, offers significantly improved performance, introduces new features including a temperature sensor, and marks the welcome return of the rotating bezel.
Nonetheless, the reduction in battery life and the higher cost of the Classic version present notable drawbacks. Despite the refined One UI atop Wear OS and the seamless integration with Google’s apps (such as Google Maps navigation on the wrist), these advantages might not outweigh the two-day battery limitation for certain users. However, if battery life isn’t a concern, the Galaxy Watch6 Classic remains an effortless recommendation, undoubtedly delivering one of the finest Android experiences on the wrist.
Pro’s & Con’s
- The inclusion of sapphire glass and impressive build quality, coupled with the improved strap sensation.
- An enlarged and brighter OLED display featuring a slimmer bezel.
- The reimagined ring adds a touch of elegance.
- An array of sensors, offering advanced health-tracking functionalities, including skin temperature monitoring.
- One UI Watch is exceptionally refined, boasting superb notification management and seamless integration with Google’s applications.
- Significantly high launch cost.Limited compatibility of ECG, IHR, and Blood Pressure measurements with Samsung phones.
- Dubious accuracy in body composition measurements (a common issue with home-grade devices).
- Battery life, though better than Watch4 Classic, falls short of Watch 5 Pro.