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Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

We've spent two weeks with Samsung's new smart watch.

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Samsung has long been the first choice when it comes to Android-based smart watches, but the question is how long it will remain so. The competition has increased significantly in recent years with many more players in the market, not least Google itself has entered the market with its Pixel and we are also starting to reach that technological limit where a new product is no longer so much about ground-breaking innovation but more about small improvements here and there, just like in smartphones.

It often feels as though we have reached the end of the road of interesting smart technology development. This is also the feeling that remains when I unpack the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and put it on my arm for the first time. The very first thing that strikes me, which is always the case whenever I put on an Android watch, is how incredibly plastic it feels. Even though the Classic model is made of stainless steel, it feels so incredibly simple and feather-light, almost like a toy watch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
There are already plenty of accessories that can give you exactly the watch you want.

If I compare the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic with my brushed steel Apple Watch, the latter feels much more solid and with a certain weight in the case, even though the weight of both watches is about the same number of grams, i.e. around 60. If I compare with a mechanical watch, it is of course night and day. But this is a matter of taste and even though I personally like solid watches with a movement that can be felt on the wrist, there are definitely times when a lighter watch is preferable and this is also where the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 excels in its place of the market. Because even though it feels simple at first glance, there's a lot to like under the skin. There is no paradigm shift where people will drop their jaws at the mere sight of it, but in the end it's the whole thing that just...works. Just as Apple relies a lot on its ecosystem, where the various devices interact in a smooth way, so does Samsung, because even though you can buy the watch as a standalone product, it is still in collaboration with other Samsung devices that it shines the strongest.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
There are also lots of different backgrounds but only one is purrfect!
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I received a copy in black but it is also available in silver. It should also be said that Samsung has gone all-in on design choices, where there are already lots of accessories for all new models, both phones, watches and tablets. On site in South Korea, in connection with the launch, we were able to browse a plethora of different bracelets and cases, in all the colours of the rainbow and thanks to exciting collaborations with various global companies, there is every opportunity to be able to tailor your Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic to your tastes, and I haven't even mentioned all the backgrounds you can choose from. It is also important to point out that the watch is sold in two versions, Regular and Classic, where the latter is the larger of the two. Regular comes in 40 and 44 millimetre versions while Classic comes in sizes of 43 and 47 mm, respectively.

The Classic also has the new feature I like the most, and it's not even a new feature per se, but rather an old feature that is making a celebrated comeback, namely the function ring around the case, or the bezel if we are to use appropriate watch lingo. With it, I can easily browse through different settings and apps without having to rely on navigation through buttons and a touchscreen. Why it was removed from the last generation is a mystery to me, on par with the location of the holy grail, but at least it's back, better than ever in terms of functionality.

The 47 millimetre model, which is the model I got to test, is the biggest watch Samsung has released and finally I get a digital watch with a big enough screen because it should be said right away that it is one of my biggest problems with smart watches in general, that they feel too small. Of course, this is not a problem when it comes to a mechanical watch, where I only need to see the time, but when I suddenly sit with an information centre on my arm, I have completely different requirements. 47 mm may sound grotesquely large, but the fact is that thanks to the slim design and the thin function ring, it never feels clumsy. Rather, it's the perfect size and there are no problems sleeping with it on. Nor does it get stuck in any shirt or jacket sleeves as some wristwatches tend to. Nor does it look brutally oversized once it's on your wrist.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
It's not something I would match with a tuxedo, but for business casual it's not bad at all.
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Officially, however, the biggest draw is Samsung's new health system, Samsung Health. They've enlisted the help of doctors and specialists to design the perfect health coach, and most of it is measurable. Sleep, heart rate, blood pressure, stress levels, ECG, menstrual cycle, body composition, to name a few. The app also allows me to share my progress with friends in the same ecosystem if I want to. There is also plenty of support for synchronisation with other fitness apps for those who want to share their workouts with non-Samsung friends. However, it is important to note that without the combination of a Samsung mobile phone and a Samsung smartwatch, not all apps and functions will work, or even be available.

Samsung Health, the payment app Samsung Wallet and the handy camera app, Camera Controller, are all examples of apps where you need to have both devices in your possession to be able to take advantage of all the functions, so it can definitely be worth taking into account if you are keen on a Samsung Galaxy Watch 6. Whilst it's certainly possible to use other Android phones with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and Health, you won't get the full potential and will have to give up some features, such as the ECG and blood pressure monitor. Moreover, the setup process will be both longer and more complex. With a Samsung account and a Samsung device, everything is automatically installed on the watch and it suggests pairing with my phone without me having to search for the device. It's a self-playing piano, essentially.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
However, it is as a training partner that I appreciate the smartwatch the most. Together with the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 handset and Samsung Health, I have access to all the values I could possibly want.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Even if the data is not always accurate, 27 calories is still 27 calories.

With more features and complex technology, comes a worse battery life...usually. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes the upgrades also mean that the battery gets a real update to cope with the increased demands and certainly the battery has been improved in the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic but not enough to improve the battery life. If I run the display in "always on" mode, i.e. the watch doesn't need to be woken up but is always on, have the fitness app running, record my sleep, check notifications, play music directly via Bluetooth and remotely control other devices, i.e. do all the things the watch is designed to do on a daily basis, I need to charge it every day before I go to bed. Now this is not a huge problem as the charging is fast, but there is clearly room for improvement here. It should be said, however, that I have never ended up in a situation where the battery has not been enough to get me through the day and should that change, there are plenty of power-saving settings you can immediately apply to slow the bleed of power.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
A steady number of steps, a reasonable heart rate and a low stress level. Sleep leaves a little to be desired, of course, but the old man does the best he can. The information displayed on the large OLED screen can of course be customised to your liking.

So, is it worth switching? It all depends. If you're still pushing an old device with Tizen OS, it's definitely worth upgrading to Watch OS because it's a huge difference in both performance and function, but I have a harder time justifying a change from the last model as it's basically the same watch but with a few improvements and also at a slightly higher price. There is no revolutionary news from Samsung here, but rather further refinement of a product that showed potential early on and has been developed after each new model. At the same time, the improvements are strong in themselves. The larger screen, feature ring, battery and Samsung Health are all impressive additions that really add value. Whether it is worth the money is more uncertain and dependant on the individual, but regardless of whether you are a new buyer or choose to replace your existing watch, you get a well-equipped product.

Sure, I would have liked a more premium feel, I would have loved not to have to charge the watch every night, and I would of course also like to see a solution to the elusive problem of uneven calorie counting, but at the same time it is so good in so many areas and so packed with features that it has become almost indispensable and an essential part of my everyday life. In fact, I haven't worn any other watch since I was given the test copy, and I haven't really wanted to wear any other watch either.

07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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