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A Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic on users wrist displays the a watch face.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic review: Giving the people what they want, mostly

A traditional spin on a familiar device.
By
December 19, 2023
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic brings back the fan-favorite rotating bezel just in time to spin through an updated Wear OS 4 operating system. With upgraded internal specs, a useful temperature sensor, and a few other tweaks, the Watch 6 Classic might it very safe, but it continues Samsung's dominance as the best smartwatch choice for Android users.

What we like

The rotating bezel is back
Elegant design and build materials
Ships with Wear OS 4
Bright, vibrant AMOLED display
Robust, snappy software experience

What we don't like

Only minor upgrades over Watch 5
Imperfect heart rate data
Disappointing battery life
Some features only work with Samsung phones
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic brings back the fan-favorite rotating bezel just in time to spin through an updated Wear OS 4 operating system. With upgraded internal specs, a useful temperature sensor, and a few other tweaks, the Watch 6 Classic might it very safe, but it continues Samsung's dominance as the best smartwatch choice for Android users.

Right on schedule, Samsung launched a new flagship series of smartwatches featuring a few improvements and an upgraded Wear OS. Like the last two generations, 2023’s lineup includes a sporty base model and a pricier, elevated offering. Unlike the Galaxy Watch 5 family though, the more expensive smartwatch in the Galaxy Watch 6 series reintroduces Samsung’s Classic moniker. Find out more in this Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic review.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic review: At a glance

  • What is it? The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is the upscale model of the brand's 6 series lineup. It is nearly identical to the base model Galaxy Watch 6 but brings back the popular rotating bezel last seen on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. In this way, the device technically follows up the Galaxy Watch 5 but feels more like a Galaxy Watch 4 Classic successor.
  • What is the price? The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic starts at $399 for a 43mm model. The larger 47mm model is available for $429. An LTE model of either size will run about $50 more.
  • Where can you buy it? The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic officially hits shelves on August 11. It is available from Samsung.com as well as third-party retailers like Amazon.
  • How did we test it? I tested the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic for seven days. The review unit was supplied by Samsung.
  • Is it worth it? The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is a fantastic smartwatch boasting the latest Wear OS 4 and a fan-favorite design feature. The user experience is crisp, robust, and reliable. However, it's also not cheap, and now that older models have received the Wear OS 4 update, it may be too similar to the Galaxy Watch 5 or Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to warrant paying full price for the latest lineup.

Update, December 2023: Added details about software updates and rollouts as well as new competition within the market.

What I like about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Clasic user tests the rotating bezel.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

As with each of the last two Galaxy Watch generations, there’s a lot to like about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 series, and specifically the Classic model. The design is sleek, elevated, and timeless, mostly because the company caved to the cries of users and brought back the rotating bezel. MIA since the Galaxy Watch 4 series, the bezel’s impact is immediate, upgrading Samsung’s smartwatch to a traditional aesthetic rather than a sporty one, and I couldn’t be more satisfied with the tactile navigation. It’s the little things, Samsung. The feature also keeps screen interaction to a minimum, meaning fewer smudges and fewer frustrated taps.

The return of the bezel on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic also means the return of a traditional aesthetic, plus easier, smudge-free navigation.

In addition to using the bezel, I tested the touchscreen regularly. It was generally responsive, though less usable once sweat or sunscreen was introduced (which is daily for me). The display is protected by sapphire crystal as well as its raised bezel, and after a week, my watch still looks brand new.

Both the 43mm and 47mm Galaxy Watch 6 Classic offer crisp AMOLED displays, each of which is slightly larger than its Galaxy Watch 4 Classic counterpart. With a 60Hz refresh rate and 2,000 nits maximum brightness (compared to 1,000 nits on the Galaxy Watch 5), the 1.3-inch display is simply easy on the eyes. The newer cases feature slightly shrunken bezels around their displays to offer more screen real estate. The cases themselves are also very slightly wider but not noticeably bulkier, though you may still want to consider a protective Galaxy Watch 6 Classic case to keep it scratch- and damage-free.

Samsung's new quick-release button makes it easier than ever to change bands.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Galaxy Watch 6 unit I tested shipped with a luxe Hybrid Eco-Leather band in white that felt comfortable and looks great on the wrist. Personally, I don’t love leather bands long-term as they’re difficult to clean (white being a bold choice in this regard) and can sometimes trap sweat. In the past, Samsung bands were swappable but not entirely convenient, especially for anyone lacking in fingernail length. This time around, Samsung made it easier than ever to swap 6 Classic Galaxy Watch bands with a quick-release button on its latest straps. This button might be one of my favorite upgrades to the lineup. It’s a game-changer for me when it comes to mixing up my look rather than committing to one sport band for the foreseeable future, usually in green.

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and 4 Classic rest side by side displaying their sensors.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

When the device is flipped over, you’ll notice a familiar sensor pack compared to the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, as health tracking on the watch is largely the same as last generation. Still present is the Bio Active sensor, including ECG capability and blood oxygen monitoring, plus a skin temperature sensor. In fact, it certainly doesn’t warrant an upgrade if you’re already wearing last year’s model. However, this is the first Classic model to feature a temperature sensor. If both a bezel and beauty sleep stats are priorities, the 6 Classic is the play. This sensor specifically differentiates the device from the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. It can track everything from overnight body temperature stats to environmental temperatures. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic also offers period predictions and detailed cycle tracking, which can’t be found on the 4 Classic.

The device is the first Galaxy Watch to feature both a temperature sensor and a rotating bezel.

On the sleep tracking front, Samsung joined the chorus of companies letting users know that, as a society, we are really bad at resting. The biggest difference you’ll find in the new series is in sleep data presentation (as opposed to leaps in data quality). The Galaxy Watch 5 provided a hearty range of overnight data, and the 6 Classic fared on par in terms of accuracy. I was also already won over by the introduction of sleep animals last year. Now though, Samsung offers advanced sleep coaching in addition to snore detection, sleep stages, and a daily sleep score.

On the flip side of rest is activity. The watch still tracks more than 90 sport modes and adds more detailed performance metrics for running. Everything from pace to cadence to asymmetry should keep users busy breaking down stats to their heart’s content. Samsung even added the option to build custom workouts. It’s not a Garmin watch just yet, but it certainly offers a robust experience for casual athletes. I was particularly happy to see personalized heart rate zones, as nothing motivates me faster than color coordination. HR zones have been making their way to more and more wearables, and they are a valuable way for users to build efficient and effective workout habits.

Meanwhile, if you forget to start a workout, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic will automatically detect walks and runs as well as cycling, elliptical, rowing, and swimming workouts. This usually keys in around the five-minute mark. The device will also detect Dynamic workouts, but I must not be dynamic enough. My device never clocked me for one during this review period. Given that I regularly walk entirely too many miles for someone who doesn’t have a pup to show off, I really appreciate automatic workout detection, and Samsung’s is consistently reliable.

A Galaxy Watch 6 Classic user relies on the native calendar app while Google Calendar is still not available.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Of course, beyond the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic’s bezel, the series’ headline feature is Wear OS 4. The devices were the first to run Wear OS 4 out of the box, and this type of head start has served Samsung extremely well in the past. The watches also run Samsung’s One UI 5 Watch skin over the top, so this isn’t a stock Wear OS experience. Instead, it’s pleasantly Samsung. It’s not remarkably different from Wear OS 3.5 at this point, but the option to transfer the watch between phones without resetting it is much appreciated.

Performance-wise, Samsung delivers another smooth user experience with minimal lag or glitching. I didn’t notice a significant difference from last year despite the new Exynos W930 chipset, but that’s not a knock. Both generations run efficiently and snappy with quick load times and plenty of power. The newest series also ups RAM to 2GB for the first time but offers the same 16GB of storage. Set up still requires the Galaxy Wearable app, which is mostly unnecessary once you’re up and running. I use the app occasionally to fine-tune watch faces on a larger screen or look into settings. Most things can also be done on your wrist.

What I don’t like about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic rests alongside its charger.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

During the first few days of wearing this watch, the battery life was… not great. I woke up to a dead watch twice after falling asleep with plenty in the tank. If you’ve ever owned a Galaxy Watch you probably already know that this is expected. When you first power up, Samsung watches adjust to usage patterns and the process drains the device. Typically, this takes around three days and it can certainly have an alarming impact on your battery life. Fortunately, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic was able to last longer than 24 hours by the end of the review period, but it still isn’t as good as it should be.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic doesn't offer the same battery life improvements shoppers found last year on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

Samsung quotes 40 hours of use between charges and my results landed closer to 30 hours. That’s with multiple GPS workouts, notifications enabled, health features such as skin temperature enabled, and the always-on display turned off. When it’s time to plug in, the watch supports wireless charging. Each device ships with a proprietary charger that looks exactly the same as the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro charger. It takes the watch roughly 70 minutes to reach a full charge from zero. I found topping off during showers to be the most effective way to avoid missing steps or overnight stats.

In reality, I’m coming to terms with the fact that shoppers have to choose between the Classic’s rotating bezel and the Pro’s better battery life. It makes sense that Samsung doesn’t offer both on a single device as the combination would diminish one of the 5 Pro’s biggest strengths. While I understand the decision, I’m disappointed. I wish companies were committed to creating the best possible devices instead of the best possible stable of devices, though we’ll perhaps have to wait for the inevitable Galaxy Watch 6 Pro for the best of both worlds.

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic display its App Library.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The crux of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is that its biggest draw is a subjective design preference. For those of us eager to see the rotating bezel back on our wrists, the device is an immediate improvement. Beyond the bezel, though, there isn’t much else to set the watch apart. Now that Wear OS 4 has rolled back to older devices, the Galaxy Watch 4 series and Galaxy Watch 5 series have even more in common with Samsung’s latest launch.

Meanwhile the line doesn’t have enough dedicated fitness tracking analysis to compete with Garmin’s lineups, and the app store is still not quite at the level of Apple’s ecosystem. I was really hoping Samsung would blow us away this year, but instead, we’re left with iterative improvements. The watch hasn’t even been jailbroken from its exclusivity toward Samsung phone users, so anyone without one will miss out on a handful of features like ECG functionality.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic's biggest weakness is that it's not a huge leap for anyone upgrading from a Series 5, or even Series 4 device.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is a powerful smartwatch and a useful gym companion. It just doesn’t raise the bar in a market that is consistently heating up. For fitness tracking, GPS is still generally very good, though a few of my early runs recorded strangely short total distances. Heart rate tracking on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic correlated well with my Polar chest strap during indoor cycling workouts. Occasionally, the watch deviated, grabbing higher heart rates than the chest strap.

Yet, when I tested the watch on trickier workouts, such as running and weight lifting, accuracy fell slightly. This could be due to the fit of the device on my wrist in particular. However, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is also a hefty device and manages slightly better heart rate accuracy, even during workouts with high wrist tension. Overall, the accuracy is likely good enough for the average user. I just wouldn’t recommend the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic for advanced athletes at this point. Samsung could also issue improvements via algorithm tweaks, so I’ll continue testing to see how the watch fares over time.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic specs

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Display
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
44mm: 1.5-inch
Super AMOLED
480 x 480 resolution
Full color Always On Display
Sapphire Crystal

40mm: 1.3-inch
Super AMOLED
432 x 432 resolution
Full color Always On Display
Sapphire Crystal
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
47mm: 1.5-inch
Super AMOLED
480 x 480 resolution
Full color Always On Display
Sapphire Crystal

43mm: 1.3-inch
Super AMOLED
432 x 432 resolution
Full color Always On Display
Sapphire Crystal
Dimensions and weight
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
44mm: 44.4 x 42.8 x 9.0mm
33.3g

40mm: 40.4 x 38.8 x 9.0mm
28.7g
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
47mm: 46.5 x 46.5 x 10.9mm, 59.0g

43mm: 42.5 x 42.5 x 10.9mm, 52.0g
Colors and materials
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Armor Aluminum case with Sport Band

44mm: Graphite, Silver
40mm: Graphite, Gold
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Stainless Steel case with Hybrid Eco-Leather Band

47mm: Black, Silver
43mm: Black, Silver
Battery
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
44mm: 425mAh
40mm: 300mAh

WPC-based wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
47mm: 425mAh
43mm: 300mAh

WPC-based wireless charging
Processor
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Samsung Exynos W930
Dual-core 1.4GHz
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Samsung Exynos W930
Dual-core 1.4GHz
RAM
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
2GB
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
2GB
Storage
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
16GB
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
16GB
Connectivity
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
LTE
Bluetooth 5.3
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
LTE
Bluetooth 5.3
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
2.4+5GHz
NFC
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo
Sensors
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic sensor
Light sensor
Temperature sensor
Samsung BioActive sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electric heart signal, bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic sensor
Light sensor
Temperature sensor
3D Hall sensor
Samsung BioActive sensor: optical heart rate (PPG), electric heart signal, bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor (BIA)
Durability
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810H
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
5ATM + IP68
MIL-STD-810H
Software
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Wear OS powered by
Samsung (Wear OS 4)
One UI 5 Watch
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Wear OS powered by
Samsung (Wear OS 4)
One UI 5 Watch
Compatibility
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Android 10 or higher with more than 1.5GB of RAM
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Android 10 or higher with more than 1.5GB of RAM

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic?

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs wear os competition
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

If you don’t already have a Samsung Galaxy Watch on your wrist and your budget is unlimited, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is a good buy. It’s technically the best Wear OS watch on the market, with great internal specs and a classy look. I’m particularly partial to the rotating bezel that helps the watch stand out among the masses.

If you don’t mind the sportier look of the base model, you can save a good chunk of change by opting for the standard Galaxy Watch 6 ($299.99 at Samsung). For the most part, all other specs are the same between the siblings, and the user experience is nearly identical. If the Classic’s bezel is important to you, but the cost is out of reach, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic ($167 at Amazon) is still a reliable device at a much lower price. As mentioned, none of the options offer battery life as good as last year’s Galaxy Watch 5 Pro ($349.99 at Amazon). The Pro is still the best pick for a rugged device built for sweaty gym workouts and hiking trails.

The Watch 6 Classic plays it very safe, but continues Samsung's dominance as the best choice for Android users looking for a premium smartwatch.

Outside of a Samsung roundup, Mobvoi makes a strong case for itself with the TicWatch Pro 5 ($349 at Amazon). The device boasts fantastic battery life, a rotating digital crown, and a unique dual display. Unfortunately, its raised bezel is just for show. The Google Pixel Watch 2 should also be top of mind. While the first-gen Pixel Watch didn’t quite live up to expectation, the Pixel Watch 2 offers a more refinemed user experience with faster charging and of course, Wear OS 4 out of the box.

If you are an iOS user reading this for fun, you’re likely content with the Apple Watch on your wrist. Or at least you should be. Both the Apple Watch Series 9 ($392.67 at Amazon) and the Ultra 2 ($679 at eBay)  offer a better experience to Apple users, primarily because they are actually iOS-compatible. From Garmin, the best smartwatch worth recommending is the Venu 3 $449.99 at Amazon), though, its app experience doesn’t yet hold a candle to that of a Wear OS device.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 ClassicSamsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
AA Recommended
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
The rotating bezel is back • Elegant design and build materials • Ships with Wear OS 4
MSRP: $399.99
The rotating crown is back
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic rocks a rotating bezel! Better equipped than the base Galaxy Watch 6, the Classic model is a powerful watch with updated activity tracking, improved health features, and the full Samsung Wallet app for your mobile payments.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic review: FAQs

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is not waterproof, but it does features a 5 ATM water resistance rating.

Absolutely. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is safe to wear in water no deeper than 50 meters.

The biggest difference between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and 6 Classic is that only the Classic model features a rotating bezel. For more details on the device’s differences see our Galaxy Watch 6 vs 6 Classic guide.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic uses 20mm, quick-release bands.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic can measure blood pressure through the Samsung Health Monitor app, though the feature is not available in all regions.

No, like last year’s models, the Galaxy Watch 6 series is not compatible with iOS.