Samsung has brought back the rotating bezel — omitted in last year's Galaxy Watch 5 Series — in the latest Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. The 47mm version I tested also has a 1.5-inch display, making it the largest screen yet on a Samsung smartwatch. In addition, I could just about get away with charging it once every two days, thanks to its bigger battery. Coupled with improved software, notably for sleep tracking, and you end up with a solid smartwatch for Android users. And it goes without saying that it's the best choice for those with a Samsung smartphone.
- Stainless steel chassis with sapphire crystal display
- 47mm: 1.5-inch Super AMOLED screen (480 x 480 pixels); 43mm: 1.3-inch Super AMOLED (432 x 432 pixels)
- LTE or Bluetooth variants
- Up to 40 hours uptime
The Watch 6 Classic is available in different sizes (43mm and 47mm) from the standard Watch 6 (40mm and 44mm). This means you're more likely to find the right size for your wrist. The 47mm is probably too large (and also a bit thick) for my skinny wrist, but it actually feels comfortable, and not as heavy (59g) despite its stainless steel chassis. In any case, the rotating bezel is worth the extra weight and bulk. It adds a tactile touch to using the smartwatch. And it's much more precise than using the touchscreen. To be fair, its 1.5-inch display is plenty bright and vibrant (up to 2,000 nits of brightness), so you can use it outdoors on a sunny day. I also found it easier now to change the watch band — just press a slim, wide button to detach the band.
The experience of using the Watch 6 Classic is similar to the previous version, but it feels a tad more responsive. Samsung still favours those who use its smartphones. For example, long-pressing the Back Button activates Samsung Pay — you cannot switch this function to Google Pay. You can, however, change from the Bixby voice assistant to Google's. And there are new apps such as WhatsApp, with Google Calendar and Gmail to come later this year. However, WhatsApp notifications did not always come through on the watch. Those who frequently switches phones (like me) will also appreciate that you can now transfer the smartwatch to a different phone without having to reset the watch. The process — switching from the Galaxy Z Fold 5 to the Z Flip 5 (review soon!) — was quick and hassle-free. To measure the blood pressure and ECG, you'll also need the Samsung Health Monitor app.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic quickly acquired a GPS signal during my outdoor jog. It's also great at auto-detecting when you start or stop your workouts. I think the fitness features are fine for the average user, but if you're training for a marathon, a more specialised smartwatch, like the Garmin Forerunner 265, would be more helpful. Sleep tracking is where the Watch 6 improves on its predecessor. It just does more, from assigning you a “sleep animal” based on your sleeping habit to coaching users on getting good sleep. I found it accurate enough at gauging when I went to bed, and when I woke up. It also seemed spot-on at measuring my blood oxygen levels during sleep. But the deep sleep stage recorded by the watch seemed low to me (less than 20mins on average)
As mentioned, I got, at best, two days of uptime with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. I usually end up charging it after 1.5 days (low battery anxiety). But it's definitely slightly better than the previous version. The Watch 6 Classic is a solid smartwatch with a clear differentiator (rotating bezel) from the standard Watch 6. The larger, brighter display is nice, too. Compared with other Android smartwatches (it doesn't work with iPhones), the Samsung is a clear favourite. And unsurprisingly, it's the best pick if you have a Samsung smartphone. However, it's on the pricey side for an Android smartwatch (from S$598 for the 43mm Bluetooth model). It's available now from Samsung, or you can get it on Lazada and Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Samsung.
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