Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic review

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic review: Return of rotating bezel

A smartwatch is almost a must these days. Who would dare attempt to exercise or sleep without keeping track of every possible metric? But also, who could deny the benefits of being able to check notifications without inadvertently getting stuck in the phone vortex? The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is the top-of-the-range Samsung smartwatch and showcases everything the company has to offer in a wearable.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has some of the best workout tracking I’ve seen on a smartwatch, and I immediately demand that all watches now come with a big bezel you can spin for function or fun. But there are still significant, harmful features that have persisted for years that make me extremely hesitant to recommend this watch to anyone who might have a complicated relationship with food, body image, or weight.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic first impressions

My first impression of the Samsung Watch 6 Classic is that it is, indeed, classic, in the way that it’s basically last year’s watch in a new hat. The most notable thing is that the watch’s rotating bezel is back from the Watch 4 Classic, after being absent from last year’s model, and it’s the most welcome (and visible) addition to this watch. The rotating bezel is just a more enjoyable and practical way to control the watch. Plus, it also gives me something to fiddle with when I’m feeling fidgety. It ticks all the boxes.

When I am ruler of all that is gadgets, I will make it law for most watches to have a control method that’s this tactile and fun.

Aside from that, the setup is still not super intuitive. Perhaps I’m spoiled by also reviewing Apple Watches, which benefit from Apple’s walled garden approach (which is harmful as a whole, but convenient for setup), but there’s just a lot more faffing about with the Samsung Watches when it comes to set up. It’s a survivable process, but it’s not something I’d have confidence that a tech novice would be able to complete unaided.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic specifications

Watch dimension (HxWxD)46.5 x 46.5 x 10.9 mm
Watch weight59.0 g
Main display size37.3mm
Battery capacity425mAh
Typical usage timeUp to 40 hours
Usage time (AOD On)Up to 30 hours
Wireless connectivityWi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz), Bluetooth 5.3
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Sensor
Electrical Heart Sensor
Gyro Sensor
Geomagnetic Sensor
Hall Sensor, Infrared Temperature Sensor
Light Sensor
Optical Heart Rate Sensor
Price (RRP)From $699
Warranty2 years
Official websiteSamsung Australia

Those battery life numbers quoted by Samsung did not match up with my experience, unfortunately. On sedentary days I could get pretty close to that 30-hour mark, but on days when I had decent walks to meetings or went for bike rides, I’d be lucky to get much over 26 hours. That’s still pretty close, but you might want to keep a charger at your desk for charging at work if you wear it while you sleep. This is better than, say, a base Apple Watch, but not as good as the Samsung Galaxy Watch Pro range.

In general, the performance of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is excellent, particularly if you’re a Samsung Galaxy smartphone user.

What’s just for Galaxy users?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has a lot to offer Samsung Galaxy phone users, and slightly less to offer other Android users. A lot of other reviewers complain that Samsung Galaxy Watches are optimised for Samsung Galaxy phones, as opposed to having the same deep compatibility with other Android phones, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen that same criticism levelled at the Apple Watch, which is only compatible with Apple iPhones. Locking different parts of devices away in the hopes that people will then buy more from that brand is still not great, but it’s a much bigger problem than just this watch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic stress measurement

Other Android phone users will miss out on sleep insight and sleep coaching (sleep coaching tip: don’t use your phone too soon before bed, don’t drink too much coffee, turn off the lights. There; you have now been sleep coached). They’ll also miss out on personalised heart rate zones, emergency SOS that can send your location to someone who can help if you fall, and active fall detection automatically for people over 55. Those last three things are pretty important features to miss out on if they matter to you, so if you don’t have a Samsung Galaxy phone and are looking at this watch, consider if that’s something that’s important.

Daily Use

As an everyday watch when paired with a Samsung Galaxy Fold 5 (as I did for this review), it’s fantastic. The experience is extremely similar to last year, except the screen can go much brighter now, which is nice. It can also do sleep coaching. This review period wasn’t long enough for me to be able to assess if the sleep coaching helped, but I can see it helping some people who are struggling and haven’t tried the obvious stuff yet, maybe.

You can use the watch as a remote for the camera on the Fold, though I found it to be quite laggy, and not as good as the experience on other watches with other phones. This will likely be updated with software improvements over time, though.

I still get a bit frustrated about how Samsung displays notifications on smartwatches. Quite often my wrist would buzz, and there would just be nothing to report. I cycle through all the apps to find nothing. Perhaps it just wanted attention? Relatable. If you’ve used Samsung watches frequently for years, and not just spent the year cycling through 3-4 different watch brands (as I do), you’ll be accustomed to these quirks, but it is something to keep in mind if you’re switching from another brand.


On some other smartwatches, you’ll be prompted to start a workout when it detects you running, walking or cycling after about 10 minutes. What I love about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is that if it senses you’re working out, it’ll just start a workout. It doesn’t need you to pause what you’re doing to tap the screen, it senses you working out and correctly assumes that I want data on it. Love that.

I found it detected workouts in half the time of my Apple Watch and was equally accurate. The large screen presents the information clearly and helpfully, and the summary at the end is really useful.

Without going all the way to a dedicated fitness watch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is my favourite Android-compatible smartwatch for workouts, it’s just so intuitive. If I could connect a power meter to it, it would overtake the Apple Watch in terms of workout usefulness. It’s that good.

Why I’m hesitant to recommend this watch

What I think a lot of people don’t realise about these kinds of smart devices is that the sensors in them aren’t fully accurate. The GPS is pretty close, but you’ll notice that sometimes the maps app will think you’re down a side street when you’re on a main road, for example. The heart rate sensor gets pretty close, but might under or over-estimate by a few BPM. A lot of these sensors give you a general gist. Useful information, some of which could save your life, but you know it’ll be more accurate when you go see your doctor.

However, when it comes to body composition sensors in home scales, gym scales and watches, they’re for entertainment purposes at best, and downright harmful misinformation at worst.

Year after year in my reviews of Samsung Watches I have called out the body composition test ‘feature’ and its reliance on the inaccurate, racist, harmful BMI measurement (which is, in Samsung’s defence, still used by the WHO for some bizarre reason, though there are campaigns to change that around the world).

Based on BMI, Arnold Schwarzenegger at the height of his bodybuilding would have been considered obese. The Rock is considered obese by BMI. So’s John Cena. Really, anyone with a lot of muscle is obese by BMI’s standards. That’s easier to ignore.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic body composition

But if you go into the Samsung Health app, you’re encouraged to do a body composition test each day. This sensor claims to be able to guess the percentages of bone, fat and muscle that you’re made up of. Much like all those smart scales, it cannot do this. Any number it gives you is to be ignored. There is no way for a watch to be able to accurately give you this information. It’s also not particularly helpful to know outside of medical settings, unless you’re a professional bodybuilder. Those studies linked are for scales, but given the watch and the scales use similar technologies, it’s fair to take guidance from those articles on the effectiveness of the watch.

I also feel very uncomfortable about how the BMI information is colour-coded. Being underweight is light green, “ideal” BMI is classed as bright green, and “overweight” is coloured orange. These colours have value judgements with them. Someone who is feeling bad about their body, or might be at risk of disordered eating could be tipped over the top with this. I have seen it happen with Fitbit metrics.

I understand that these kinds of features look good on paper, and that they might sell more watches. I can also see that the designers were not malicious in their inclusion of this feature. I am absolutely not accusing Samsung of deliberately trying to cause harm. I think the designers and developers created these tools from a genuine desire to help people.

But with all that we know now, I really hope that the company at least changes how this information is presented, or preferably removes any claims of body composition testing, and, if they must show BMI information, do it in a neutral colour scheme and link to more in-depth information about the limitations of BMI. Or, at the absolute least, not encourage people to take the body composition test every day.

There are ways to go about this constructively, and for a third consecutive year, Samsung has not done that.

Who is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic for?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is for Samsung Galaxy phone users who are confident in their bodies, and won’t ever open the body composition app.

If you have a Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 or older and you’re in the market for a new watch, it might be worth upgrading. It’s certainly not worth upgrading from the 4 or 5 because they’re too similar. It’s also important to keep in mind that the Classic is the “medium” smartwatch. The next Pro will be out with the S24 range early next year, and there’s also a vanilla 6 if you don’t want the truly delightful bezel.

There is a Samsung Galaxy Watch to suit every Samsung Galaxy user, and the Watch 6 Classic is for people who want a bit more than the vanilla Watch 6, but don’t need the extra bells and whistles of the Pro line.

All in all, it’s a fantastic watch, and if it wasn’t for the whole body composition situation, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to every Samsung Galaxy phone user.

If this article has brought up any concerns for you or a loved one, please visit the Butterfly Foundation website.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
The Samsung Galaxy Watch6 Classic features only small, incremental changes over last year’s watch, but it is still the one of the best Samsung smart watches available. There is just one feature that prevents me from recommending it fully.
Value for money
Ease of use
Excellent workout tracking
Brighter screen
The rotating bezel is *excellent*
Battery life not as good as some other smartwatches
Body composition feature has the potential to be extremely harmful
Notifications still aren’t presented as well as on some other watches