Galaxy Watch6 classic and 6 came out one month ago, and in the first month, there was a lot of noise and a lot of excitement surrounding this new smartwatch with its elegant rotating bezel and its premium design. There were a ton of positive reviews, and I myself said it could very well be the best smartwatch of 2023, but now that it’s been one month, it’s time to set the spec sheets aside and see how this watch actually performs under daily use. Now I’ve been wearing this watch every single day since the day it came out.
Initial Excitement and First Impressions
When I was in Korea at Samsung’s launch event I found a lot of things that I didn’t mention in the original article. So in this article, I want to share with you what I found to be the most annoying setbacks, the in-depth accuracy testing of course with the GPS and heart rate, and the most positive features that you might not realize when you first put the watch on. So starting off with the first positive, we’re gonna go kind of pro con Pro con throughout this article. The first one, the larger display is so nice, of course, in general, but especially for workouts, Being able to see at a glance,
it’s a lot more information without having to look closely was a big positive. But a drawback is that ending workouts was really a big pain, so Samsung, in my opinion, needs to allow you to really reprogram the buttons better during a workout, especially if they’re trying to market any of their watches as workout-focused watches, which they definitely are trying to do. They need to be able to program these buttons.
So, picture this: you’re training for a race, maybe a 5k, for example, and in your training, you really want to get an accurate time. So you’re getting close to the finish line, you want to end it, and as soon as you cross the finish line, the only way to end it is to swipe over to the right and then tap on the X, but your hand is sweaty, so swiping doesn’t really work. The only way you can do this with buttons is by pressing and holding the bottom button, which can pause it but that doesn’t end the workout. So then you’re paused, you have to wipe off your hands, and then be able to hit the X to actually end your workout.
Workout and Fitness Features
Similarly, if you want to have lap times if you’re running and you want to have laps, you can’t really do that either. But getting to the positives, you can actually string together multiple workouts with a little pause with a little plus icon. So if you are, for example, lifting and squatting and benching, doing all these different exercises, you can just go into one exercise, you don’t have to end your exercise, you can swipe over, tap on the plus, and then just add your next one. And so that way you can string them all together into one workout session with a bunch of different exercises.
Another positive, kind of on that same note of working out, is the GPS actually locks really quickly. And I recommend this one big trick, in my opinion, that most people don’t do, and by default, I don’t know why Samsung doesn’t force this. When you go by default to start a workout, if, say, a run, you hit start, it’ll say three, two, one, it’ll start going, and you don’t even know if you have GPS yet.
Most of the time you don’t have GPS yet, and it won’t lock on GPS until you run for maybe a minute. And so that first minute is completely untracked with distance. So what I do is I go into settings, I go down, and I make sure that it’s set to manual for start rather than the countdown so that you can have it set as you can see right here, it waits until GPS is locked in and then I can press start.
Pros and Cons of Daily Use
Now on to another positive, I know I said it was going to be Pro con, Pro, and this is like the fourth Pro in a row, but there’s a lot to like about this watch, so it might be a little unbalanced on the pro side. Despite being the classic variant right here, which is the one I’ve been wearing, it’s actually more durable than the active version, which I think is pretty interesting.
So this watch is a big positive, super durable. The sapphire crystal display is very scratch-resistant. I’ve thrown this in my backpack with junk in there. I’ve been wearing this in really tough situations, and it doesn’t get scratched. It’s really doing well so far, and the stainless steel casing also protects the screen. So this is going to be more durable.
In addition to that, you have a button guard on the right side, which should protect it, but in my opinion, is another positive because it prevents you from ever bending your wrist back and pressing a button. But again, not everything is great with this watch. This does have a new chip inside that’s technically a bit faster, but I found there’s still some pretty significant lag, especially when you’re rotating through the tiles. So if I just spin the rotating bezel, it just lags, it takes an extra beat until it actually gets there and it feels just a little bit less premium, Maybe that’s an animation thing, or maybe it’s just the processor’s not as fast as it should be.
Now, as a side note, I have another Android Smartwatch I can’t talk about it just yet, but I will be making a comparison between this watch and that one in a future article. I think you’ll probably want to see that article. And of course, this is running the latest version of Wear OS, which is Wear OS 4, and Google integration on here is really truly amazing. So I recommend going and switching on the top button, so by default, if you press and hold it, it will open Bixby, but I highly recommend switching that in your settings to Google Assistant. It really brings the watch to the next level. You can ask so many different questions.
Integration with Google Services
Anything you would do with Google Assistant, you can do here, and it even integrates with Google Maps. I tend to use Google Maps a lot on my wrist when I’m riding a bike riding a scooter or just walking in a city. I don’t want to walk around with the phone out and look like I really don’t know what I’m doing. So I just have navigation on my wrist. It’s a lot more casual, and rather than going into Google Maps and typing everything out, you just ask Google Assistant to navigate to wherever you’re going.
And of course, Google Assistant is using the microphone and speaker on board, so let’s get into a quick little test. Tell me a joke. What do you call a belt made of watches? A waste of time. A positive with this watch is that, despite its large size, it seems to be really well distributed across my entire wrist, so it doesn’t feel super heavy, and doesn’t move around a lot, which I was very surprised by. I did not expect this, and it’s surprisingly comfortable for sleep as well. I again, I was pretty blown away when I slept with this.
I thought for sure it was going to be a terrible experience, but I slept really well, and it actually almost was better than some smaller watches I’ve worn. But there are some drawbacks. I do charge this overnight, so I almost never wear it to bed, so I still don’t know what my sleep animal is. I really want to know, and that’s like some big marketing thing, but I just haven’t slept with this enough because I end up charging it overnight.
Battery Life and Charging
The battery life on here is not especially great. A positive for this watch is the ability to change it. Now there are two things I mean by this. One is changing out the straps is super easy. You definitely need some fingernails to poke down in that little button, and the other way to change is changing your phone. So swapping between phones, I’ve actually done this multiple times already, like Obviously since I’m reviewing tech, I’m always switching phones, and so being able to keep the same watch and not have to reset it every time I change phones is a huge positive.
My only regret with this watch is that I don’t have the Silver version. I think the black looks really clean, but the silver just accents that stainless steel exterior and looks, in my opinion, a little bit more premium. And digging a little bit deeper into the battery life, when I did sleep with this, I was getting about one and a half days of battery life out of a full charge here.
And that is with always on display on, that’s with the sleep tracking fully specced out, meaning like temperature sensing and everything else was enabled. But if you don’t track your sleep and/or if you just have those things disabled, it’s basic sleep tracking, and if you do gesture only so it doesn’t always on display, you can easily beat two days from my experience.
Accuracy of GPS and Heart Rate Tracking
And when working out you have GPS and heart rate tracking and of course music as well. So I like to listen to earbuds while I’m running. I find that it drains the battery fairly quickly. So if you run a 5k, maybe about 3 miles, 3.1 miles, it’ll end up draining it probably by about 15 percent, obviously depending on how fast you run. Without music, you can maybe go about 20 drained per hour, so it’s not great, but it’s definitely good enough for most workouts.
Talking about accuracy, I want to focus on heart rate and GPS, the other things that can be tracked. Of course, like body composition, I talked about that in the past, kind of, you’re limited by the technology, it’s the impedance of your body, which is not the most accurate way to measure it, but you can maybe get a general trend if you’re losing weight. I don’t know, it’s there, but again, don’t wager much on that. But again, looking deeper at the GPS and the heart rate, it’s marginally better than the years in the past, but still not great.
So you don’t have multi-band GPS, but they do have some things that can help GPS, like for example, if you’re running on a track, there is a new track run workout mode, which is great, and I really like having that except it’s not always right, like sometimes you’ll run in the track is just it doesn’t line up with where the track actually is. And as far as GPS tracking goes, like running in a straight line, it does fine, It wanders a little bit sometimes, and it’s off by maybe one percent on those runs from my testing.
But if you start winding anywhere that’s a little bit more tricky, so in a town where you have big buildings around you, or if you are running in the woods where you have either mountains or trees, it definitely struggles a little bit more.
In general, the GPS is definitely passable, but it’s not going to be the best out there, mostly because it doesn’t have multi-band GPS, and many other watches do. And then when it comes to heart rate tracking, you can see on this graph right here, the blue line is the Polar H10 heart rate strap, which is known to be accurate. And in general, they followed almost unlocked up for most of my run. I tried many different runs and generally, the Galaxy watch did a decent enough job on a steady-state run. By that, I mean you’re not running sprint intervals, if you’re running intervals, it does struggle, it kind of lags a little bit, as many optical heart rate sensors do.
Workout and Fitness Features
But as I said, for long-distance ready like regular steady-state runs or bike rides, it’s close enough. So to kind of summarize the accuracy of the workout tracking, it’s ideal for casual walking, treadmill usage, and anyone who just goes on a jog and wants to get a rough idea, It’s going to be great for that. But if you’re serious about training, this is just a little bit too inaccurate. You really can’t reliably train for a triathlon or anything that’s based on distance or time or heart rate with a specific goal in mind, partially because of accuracy, and partially because like I said, the buttons aren’t really optimized for that anyway.
But for casual workouts, this definitely does the job. So I really use smartwatches for four main things. The first one is situational, so time, date, weather, basic stuff like that. The second thing is fitness tracking, knowing how many steps I walk in a day, knowing my heart rate, and knowing, like, tracking my runs. The third thing is notifications, that’s obviously a huge one.
And the fourth one, which I’m really happy with this watch, is Google Assistant, which is incredibly fast. It’s a huge improvement over previous years which made Google Assistant in the past almost unusable. This is snappy, it’s fast, it does a lot, it shows you a lot on a larger display, and that’s probably the biggest win with this watch, One of the main reasons I would recommend this is probably the best Android smartwatch this year.
Performance and Lag Issues
So, of those four things, this watch absolutely nails three of them. It’s probably the nicest-looking and feeling smartwatch as well out of the entire market, in my opinion, with that rotating bezel and the stainless steel finish. But you have to ask yourself, why are you getting a watch? If it’s for style, for notifications, for light health tracking, or just an extension of your phone, then this is, in my opinion, hands down the best Android watch you can get.
But if your top priority is fitness tracking, you’re kind of split into two groups here. One group is you just want to lose weight, you’re not training for a specific target, no goal, no pace, no race or marathon or anything like that, then fine, this is going to be a good watch.
But if you are training for a specific goal, it’s just not quite optimized for that. It’s not the best watch to buy. In this case, I would definitely recommend looking at something like the Garmin Venue 2 Plus or some of Garmin’s other more fitness-focused watches. So that’s my take on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic over the past month. In general, I love this watch. There’s a lot to like. I hope that next year, we fix the animations and it’s a little bit less laggy, and I really hope it’s substantially more accurate next year. Otherwise, this watch is a big win. Hope you enjoyed the article. If you did, consider liking and subscribing, and I recommend watching this article next. I’ll see you over there.
- The larger display is so nice, especially for workouts
- You can add multiple workouts and string them together with the + icon GPS locks quickly
- The trick – change settings!
- Despite being the classic variant, it is more durable for sports than the active Super durable – sapphire crystal display, stainless steel casing plus button guard is essential in preventing accidental presses
- Google integration is amazing
- Google Assistant brings this watch to the next level
- I tend to use Google Maps a lot on my wrist when biking or riding a scooter
- Comfortable for sleep
- Quick release strap is not the easiest to use, but way better than before! The watch transfer function is so nice! I switched phones multiple times
- Ending workouts is a pain
- Samsung needs to reprogram buttons during a workout.
- Annoying to end a workout
- You can press and hold the bottom button to pause the workout though
- What about laps?
- What about stopping?
- This has a new chip inside that is technically a bit faster, but I still find some significant lag, especially with tiles
- I charge overnight so I never wear this to bed
CONCLUSION Galaxy Watch6 Classic:
This is probably the nicest looking and feeling smartwatch on the market. But you need to ask yourself why you are getting a watch. If it is for style, notifications, light health tracking, or just as an extension of your phone, then this is the best Android watch to get. If your top priority is fitness tracking because you are training for a goal, then I recommend the Garmin Venu 2 plus