Time is a circle and today, at its second Unpacked event of the year, Samsung announced two new circular timekeepers – the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.
Samsung’s best wearable yet?
These new smartwatches are new but they should be familiar if you’ve seen a previous Samsung wearable, which isn’t a bad thing. Like previous years, the Watch 6 and 6 Classic are available in two sizes each – 40mm or 44mm for the base model, and 43mm or 47mm for the Classic. That makes the 47mm Watch 6 Classic Samsung’s biggest wearable to date.
Sapphire crystal returns from last year to protect the displays which have grown, but only slightly. The smaller-sized models will sport a 1.3in 432 x 432 Super AMOLED display, increased to a 480 x 480 1.5in display in the larger models. Along with the increased sizes, the company says its new Watch displays will also get brighter than before.
Bigger and brighter displays are spiffing, but the more notable change from last year’s devices sees Samsung dropping its ‘Pro’ ambitions and returning to its ‘Classic’ form. By which we mean the tactile rotating bezel is back on the Watch 6 Classic. Bezels on both models are still a thing but they’re slimmer this year, adding to your increased screen real estate.
Usually, a brighter screen means faster battery drain. Battery life hasn’t been a strength for Samsung’s past watches but it has said further improvements have been made on that front. Now, Samsung is promising your watch will last up to 40 hours with the always-on display disabled and 30 hours if you’re the type to keep the screen on at all times.
Compared to the Galaxy Watch 5, which has 284mAh and 410mAh batteries stuck inside the 40mm and 44mm models respectively, Samsung’s newest offerings are a little different. The smaller 40mm and 43mm Galaxy Watch 6 and 6 Classic come stocked with a 300mAh battery, while the larger 44mm and 47mm models will get a 425mAh cell. Whether that’ll translate to the usage time Samsung is promising remains to be seen. We’ll need to strap them to our wrists and confirm for ourselves.
Samsung has also made what seem like incremental improvements to the internals. The Exynos W930 chipset looks to speed things up although its predecessor, the Exynos W920 found in the Watch 5 series, was already quite snappy. Both models gain another 500MB of RAM for 2GB in total with 16GB of local storage.
Samsung and Google are BFFs
The company is also looking to make its smartwatches smarter with some help from its new BFF Google. The new watches will run Samsung’s updated One UI Watch 5 skin based on Google’s Wear OS 4. This partnership is proving beneficial although, from the outside, it seems a little one-sided.
Samsung is also touting improvements to the usual smartwatch features. Better sleep monitoring and tracking, with a ‘new’ sleep coaching feature, are a focus along with improved health and fitness insights and personalised heart rate zones.
Galaxy Watch 6 owners will also be able to pay for things with their wrists thanks to Samsung Wallet integration, use their Watch 6 as a camera remote for their Samsung smartphone, and enjoy the benefits of other Google features like Find My and Maps. Don’t get us wrong, these seem like very useful features. Very useful and very… familiar.
Watch 6 pricing and availability
If you just can’t wait to get one of Samsung’s new watches around your wrists, you’ll first need to wait for pre-orders to open on 27 July in South Africa to reserve yours.
Samsung has said it will start shipping pre-orders from 11 August while the devices will turn up on store shelves from 25 August. Once that day rolls around, you’ll be able to pick up the non-cellular versions of the Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic for R7,000 and R9,000 respectively. Although, trading in your previous Galaxy Watch could make that sting a little less.