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Review: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

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Erin L

Erin L

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review IMG_4677

Buying a smartwatch for your phone is not all that difficult if you want tight integration with your smartphone. For instance, if you plan on getting one of Samsung’s hot new Galaxy foldable phones, Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is a clear partner, at least on paper. With exclusive Samsung features found on the watch that only Samsung devices can take advantage of, Samsung’s biggest competition is itself. Is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 worth buying over its predecessors? Here is my Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
4

Summary

Overall this watch is beautiful, capable, and fun. It becomes an extension of your Samsung phone quite easily and means you can be a lot better informed and more productive.

If there was one big knock I can give to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, it could be lack of sensor improvements making this watch feel more like a Galaxy Watch 5S. And this leads to my caveat that I mentioned earlier in my intro – this is the watch that Samsung phone owners who decided not to buy the Galaxy Watch 5 should get because it is really what the Galaxy Watch 5 should have been. If you have a Galaxy Watch 5, upgrading to the 6 could be tempting if you want the larger display but I would personally recommend keeping your Watch 5 and wait for a future product which may finally bring some sensor improvements. The battery life also seems on par with the previous generation… and the watch will be a no-go for anyone outside the Samsung walled garden.

But if like me it’s been many years since you last strapped on a Samsung, this watch is a big leap forward…. Even if it’s been blocked from working with an Apple iPhone.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Fun to use
  • Meshes well with Samsung phones

 

Cons

  • Sensors have not improved since 5S model
  • Not friendly if you’re outside the Samsung device ecosystem

What is Samsung Galaxy Watch Series?

Since I haven’t reviewed a Galaxy Watch on this blog in quite some time, I’ll catch you up to speed with the Galaxy Watch series as the most recent models featured only minor improvements. The early Galaxy Watch models ran on Samsung’s custom Tizen operating system until the Galaxy Watch 4 model when Samsung switched to Google’s Wear OS. However, Samsung tacked on an additional User Interface layer called One UI Watch which has a similar design language to the One UI interface found in Samsung’s Galaxy phones and tablets.

The Galaxy Watch also has a “Classic” variant which is sort of like the non-sport version of the Galaxy Watch 6 I’m reviewing here. The Classic variant basically sports a stainless-steel case and a leather band and comes with slightly larger sizes measuring 43mm and 47mm for small and large models rather than the 40mm and 44mm choices you get with the non-Classic version. The Classic also has a rotating bezel which you can use to scroll through apps without touching the screen.

Looks and styling

Samsung, like Google, have opted for the round watch face to counter Apple’s insistence on being the square at the wearables party. The Watch design of my test sample uses a light grey band with a silver bezel, so it looks a bit more like a regular watch and less like Beam Me Up Scotty.

The AMOLED touchscreen is light and bright and seems more colourful and intense than my last go round with a Samsung Watch.

Set up

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review IMG_4684

I received a new Samsung Flip 5 to test with the watch to ensure a seamless Samsung ecosystem experience.

The set up did seem to take quite a long time, but I chalk that up to my lack of familiarity with both the new Z5 flip and the watch interface. Samsung fans will probably breeze through it a lot faster.

Comfort

The watch has a really nice design, and feels leaner on the wrist. The silicone band is comfortable if rather plain looking, but there’s also plenty of other options now for it too.

My biggest beef with smart watches at the moment is that they are clearly designed for men and men only; they are both overpowering and unnecessarily clunky on a woman’s wrist, and I say that as someone who prefers a larger watch. The loaner watch I received only came with one size of wrist band, so I don’t think I had an ideal fit, as it was a bit droopy, and I often got demands from the watch asking me to place it higher up on my wrist so it could take proper readings. I can’t tell if there is only one size of band, or if an alternate smaller band got lost along the way.

Notifications

You’ll get all the requisite information, notifications, and integrations that you wish to allow to come to your wrist. Everything from text messages to calendar notifications, and any other useful information you want your phone to pass on to your wrist. That makes it a super capable and seamless partner for Samsung users.

Can I use Samsung Watch 6 with iPhone?

Back when I reviewed the Watch Active in 2019, it was possible to get at least some use out of the watch even if you used an Apple iPhone.  Though Samsung didn’t brag about it, and they’re not the kindest dance partners, you could use older Watches if you owned an iphone. Not any more.

Samsung has made its array of smartwatches incompatible with non-Android phones, so it’s all but mandatory that if you want this watch you have or need to get a Samsung phone.

Wear OS and Compatibility with Other Android Phones

The Samsung Galaxy 6 Watch  is running Google’s Wear OS at its core which means that it should jive well with virtually any Android device released in the past 5 or 6 years and for the most part it does. But keep in mind that you’ll find some Samsung sorcery in every corner and some of that magic will only work if you pair it with a Samsung smartphone.

On top of that, non-Samsung phone owners will have to deal with a slightly bumpier ride in the setup process as you must install a couple of Samsung apps, make a Samsung account, and embrace Samsung’s Health platform. Using the ECG and blood pressure monitoring features require a Samsung phone as well so you’ll want to understand that you won’t get maximum value out of this smartwatch if you don’t have a Samsung phone.

One UI Watch Advantages

One of the Samsung galaxy watch 6  advantages is the One UI – watch faces you’ll get right out of the box. They make great use of the beautiful round display, and you can customize various elements so you can see the stats you care most about right from the home screen.

For those upgrading from a much older Galaxy Watch with Tizen OS, you’ll feel very much at home with the One UI Watch interface and enjoy all the Google app and third-party Play Store support you’ll get from a typical Wear OS watch.

The other core advantage is tight integration with Samsung Health which is an app you can also find on both the Google Play Store and iOS App Store.

Samsung Health has been around for many years and has gone through all sorts of improvements and revisions to the point that it’s a real kitchen sink of a health app, which may or may not be a good thing. You can do various things like manage your fitness activities, set health goals, monitor sleep stats, get expert coach advantage, track menstrual cycles, and much more. If you have a favorite third-party health app, you might be able to install a Wear OS version so you can continue using that but if you want super tight integration, you’ll have to make the Samsung Health switch for better or worse.

Other Samsung exclusives include the Bixby voice assistant and Samsung Wallet. These features are only worthwhile if you actively use them on your phone. Holding the Samsung Watch’s home button will summon Bixby by default but fortunately you can either disable it or reconfigure it to launch Google Assistant instead if you wish.

What has improved in Samsung Galaxy watch 6 over the Galaxy Watch 5?

Samsung made the bezel about 30% thinner in the Galaxy Watch 6, so you get considerably more screen real estate on that Super AMOLED 432×432 (480×480 for the 44mm model) display.

Nothing has changed in the sensors department, but you do get a small performance boost thanks to the new Samsung Exynos W930 chipset. Combine that with the small jump from 1.5 GB of RAM to 2 GB and you get a slightly more responsive One UI Watch experience that should hold on its own far better than the Samsung watches with older chips when the big software updates come.

Battery Life & charging

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 underside

Samsung also added slightly bigger 425 mAh batteries to improve the battery life which is something that some Galaxy Watch 5 owners complained about in the past. Just don’t expect any of the Galaxy Watch 6 models to outlast the more rugged Galaxy 5 Pro. Samsung says you should expect about 30 to 40 hours of total battery life depending on if you have the always on display turned on, which is about the same as the 5. In my testing, I got about 2-3 days of life from the watch, so that’s about bang-on. It charges using a special magnetic puck connected to a USB cord. While that lack of additional hours of use may seem like a downside, I’m still praying to the technology gods over at Apple for a watch that lasts 24 hours.

Water resistance

Is Samsung galaxy watch 6 waterproof? The  Samsung Galaxy 6 Watch has IP68 certification offering up to 50m water resistance and meets the MIL-STD-810H military standards. As the watch was on loan to me from Samsung, I didn’t test this.

It also has 16 GB of storage space along with Bluetooth 5.3 support.

Health tracking

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review

I feel like one of the bigger reasons people want a smartwatch like this one is to keep better tabs on their health; taking readings for heart rate, blood oxygen, counting steps, sleep, and just being able to have a benchmark for overall health can be a real selling feature. In addition of course to all the other productivity pluses. I can say the Samsung health app is quite good at tracking lots of data and giving you an easy place to keep tabs on it.

Overall Review: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

Overall this watch is beautiful, capable, and fun. It becomes an extension of your Samsung phone quite easily and means you can be a lot better informed and more productive.

If there was one big knock I can give to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, it could be lack of sensor improvements making this watch feel more like a Galaxy Watch 5S. And this leads to my caveat that I mentioned earlier in my intro – this is the watch that Samsung phone owners who decided not to buy the Galaxy Watch 5 should get because it is really what the Galaxy Watch 5 should have been. If you have a Galaxy Watch 5, upgrading to the 6 could be tempting if you want the larger display but I would personally recommend keeping your Watch 5 and wait for a future product which may finally bring some sensor improvements. The battery life also seems on par with the previous generation… and the watch will be a no-go for anyone outside the Samsung walled garden.

But if like me it’s been many years since you last strapped on a Samsung, this watch is a big leap forward…. Even if it’s been blocked from working with an Apple iphone.

In short I like this watch just fine, and I think it’s the only real choice for Samsung phone users. The rest of us will have to make do with a lackluster Apple Watch, or the much more capable and stylish pixel watch for Google phones.

You can get a Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 for about $299 USD / $409 CAD .

**A note about Affiliate Links: TechGadgetsCanada & TechGadgetsInternational is supported by our readers. Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase, but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you choose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Erin L

Erin L

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

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