Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review

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8.8Expert Score
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 may be an iterative improvement over last year’s model, but it’s still a great partner to a Galaxy smartphone.

Design
9
Performance
8.5
Pros
  • Gorgeous screen
  • Circular design looks great
  • Lots of sensors and data
Cons
  • Band is uncomfortable
  • Not all features are easy to use or work
  • Battery life only OK

Samsung has been making smartwatches for a few years now, so it’s probably not a surprise that the Galaxy Watch 6 is a pretty sleek device.

It’s been a few years since I spent any significant time with a Galaxy Watch, so it was a pleasant surprise to find just how far the wrist-bound wearable has come.

It’s (mostly) easy to use, has plenty of functionality for all types of fitness and health tracking, and has a nice, bright screen. 

You can tell that it’s definitely designed to be used alongside a Galaxy smartphone, which may limit its appeal to some customers. But as a companion to the Galaxy Z Fold 5 or even the Galaxy S23 Ultra, it makes a fine wearable.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review: Design

Despite having worn an Apple Watch for many years now, I’ve always preferred smartwatches with a round face.

The Galaxy Watch 6 manages to find a good-sized balance between screen size and comfort. The bezel, which historically has taken a significant portion of the screen, is quite small. This leaves more space for apps, widgets, and pixels to look at when you lift your wrist.

There are two side buttons, which perform different functions depending on whether you tap them once, twice or long press. 

(You’ll want to update the voice assistant long button press, so you use Google Assistant over Bixby, which is still underwhelming after all these years).

You can also swipe up, down and across the screen to swap between apps, notifications, and tiles.

While the Galaxy Watch 6 has a dedicated rotating bezel to help control the watch, the Watch 6 offers a touch sensitive one. It’s not as obvious that it’s there to use, but it works well when you need to scroll through a number of notifications or screens.

Close of up the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

The screen

I just want to come back to the screen for a second, because it’s pretty.

The screen measures in at 1.3 inches, boasting a 432 × 432 resolution. The Super AMOLED screen itself is protected by sapphire glass, which should help keep it scratch free. 

In my limited time testing, it didn’t gain any unsightly scratches, but I didn’t go out of my way to try to damage it either.

Under the hood of the watch is a dual-core Samsung Exynos chip and 2 GB RAM. The battery is 300 mAh and there’s 16 GB of storage inside.

Features and functions

Samsung put a fair amount of time and effort into developing the sleep tracking of the Watch 6 smartwatches. But it’s far from the only health-related function on the device.

There’s the ability to measure your body composition, take your blood pressure, and record an ECG. There are some limitations on getting all of those to work, though.

You also get your standard activity tracking, Samsung Pay and notification alerts.

But to get the most out of the watch, you’re going to need a Samsung phone. At pretty much every step of the setup process, Samsung pushed me to the Fold 5 I had it connected to. While I’m sure you probably could use any Android phone, many of the apps came from Samsung’s app storefront by default.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review: Performance

The Galaxy Watch 6 did (almost) everything I asked it to, and it did it responsively. 

This should not be a surprise, given it has plenty of grunt under the hood and Samsung has been making smartwatches for several years now.

Using the watch to track my regular walk offered a heap of data, from number of steps to average speed and workout calories. On the phone in the health app, you can see maps with splits, breakdown of heart rate zones and even things like the weather.

Coming from an Apple Watch as my usual wearable, I couldn’t help but notice the trio of rings in the shape of a heart was remarkably similar, even if they do track different things.

The back of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

Comfort

Perhaps the biggest issue I faced with the Galaxy Watch 6 was the included band. Given you can change bands effortlessly, it may not be too big of an issue, but it impacted my experience with the watch significantly.

I did not find the bundled band very comfortable. I would put it on reasonably loosely, and it would become restrictive, quickly, even without me being active.

When I did work out, I would have to adjust its tightness every time without fail. I couldn’t wear the watch to bed to track my sleep because I found it was too uncomfortable.

It’s not an issue I’ve ever really faced with a wearable before – I’ve been wearing my Apple Watch to bed for years, and I’ve had multiple Fitbits as well. 

But this particular band irritated me to no end. If you do decide to get the Galaxy Watch 6, I would definitely recommend budgeting for a new band.

Challenges

I did have a lot of trouble testing out the body composition function on the watch. For probably the first five attempts, it would fail at about the 67% complete mark.

I eventually made it work, but it was more effort than I expected it to be. I also have no idea how accurate it is, and I most likely wouldn’t use it in any ongoing manner, given how fiddly it was to record.

The blood pressure functionality seemed interesting, but I couldn’t test it because it requires calibration with a cuff-based blood-pressure monitor, which I don’t have easy access to. 

I’m fine with that, in part because I don’t need to track my blood pressure regularly. It’s still frustrating that I can’t easily take advantage of some of the watch’s functionality without external equipment, though.

Battery life

Judging a wearable’s battery life is pretty tough because it really depends on what you do with it.

Over the weeks I was testing the Galaxy Watch 6, I found its battery life to be better than my Apple Watch 5, but not so spectacular that I could manage two full days between charges.

At best, I’d get a day and a half’s use out of the watch before it needed the charger again.

That’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s not really a selling point either.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 screen

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review: Verdict

I really liked the Galaxy Watch 6. It’s a well-rounded wearable that offers all the functionality you require from your wrist. The screen is gorgeous, the performance snappy and the battery life is decent without being spectacular.

But I didn’t like the band. And when you have to factor in the cost of a different band, it’s a slightly harder sell.

Many of the reviews I’ve seen for this product say that it’s an iterative product that doesn’t offer enough over the Galaxy Watch 5 to upgrade. 

That may be true, but if you are looking for a smartwatch to accompany your new Galaxy smartphone purchase, this is a suitable option.

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Product disclosure

Samsung supplied the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
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