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If the rotating bezel is back, I'll hit 'check out' on a Galaxy Watch 6

The instant gratification of navigating with a rotating bezel is an experience in itself.

Published onJuly 15, 2023

A Galaxy Watch 4 Classic represents Samsung's 2021 wearable with a rotating bezel.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

It’s that time of year when the next best thing in wearables isn’t just a pipe dream, it’s right around the corner. For Samsung, all eyes are on the trickle of leaks linked to the Galaxy Watch 6. We’ve seen model numbers and we’ve seen potential specs, but the most exciting rumor to catch my attention is that of a possible rotating bezel. The fan-favorite feature hasn’t been seen on wrists since 2021’s Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and was completely absent in last year’s lineup. If Samsung reincarnates the rotating bezel on the incoming Galaxy Watch 6, I’ll be hard-pressed not to upgrade.

Do you want a rotating bezel on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6?

4853 votes

As the smudges across my tablet suggest, I’m not shy when it comes to touchscreens. On a smartwatch, however, the significantly smaller target area often results in miss-taps and frustration, especially if I’m already winded from a workout I never felt like starting.

The tactile experience of a rotating bezel offers more effective navigation than a touchscreen bezel.

A rotating bezel offers much more effective navigation with satisfying ticks as you hone in on your objective. Who doesn’t love tactile confirmation that they’re breezing through apps and menus? I can’t emphasize enough how much it appeals to my brain for there to be a direct relationship between what I do and what happens within the UI with minimal margin of error.

A users' Galaxy Watch 5 Pro shows excessive smudges on its screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

A touch bezel also disrupts a clean screen when sweat and lotions enter the scene. I wouldn’t say I have especially sweaty fingertips, but my love affair with sunblock inevitably leaves my hands unseemly greasy. Unfortunately, I’m most often lathering up for the exact activities I want to record on my fitness-tracking Galaxy Watch. Or I’m doing yard work and want access to my texts when my partner buzzes that lunch is ready. Without a rotating bezel, I spend entirely too much time sifting through eyeglass cases looking for a microfiber cloth. Plus, the raised bezel protects the display from side impacts offering an extra level of durability. Of course, the flip side is that moving parts are always more susceptible to damage. However, my Galaxy Watch 4 Classic has held up great for the past two years.

On a more personal level, I like the way a watch with a bezel looks. If I am going to jump ship from a rectangular Apple Watch, a round device needs to check one of these two boxes:

  • It is excessively more equipped in terms of training tools (like a Garmin watch),
  • It appeals to my impulsive nostalgia for simpler times.

Since I don’t personally consider the Galaxy Watch at Garmin’s level, my Samsung sweet spot is a Galaxy Watch that satisfies me aesthetically. Samsung’s classic lineup is more traditional than the sporty vibe of an unimpeded AMOLED display. Plus, I feel like a spy spinning a mechanism through widgets and data screens as if I’m doing something heroic rather than checking how high my heart rate shot up after seeing a cockroach.

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 rests alongside a Mobvoi TicWatch 5, both representing devices with a bezel.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Simply put, a rotating bezel isn’t just attractive, it’s useful. It offers all the benefits already mentioned while elevating the device’s core aesthetic. It helps Samsung stand out from a growing field of Wear OS alternatives because of its utility. This is in contrast to watches that feature a raised bezel solely for appearances. The TicWatch 5 Pro, for example, looks all kinds of elegant, but its components are hopelessly static.

Compared to the TicWatch 5 Pro's just-for-looks bezel, Samsung's operational design promotes both function and form.

Of course, a rotating bezel isn’t for everyone. Any time you introduce a bezel it can cut into display space and add to the bulk of your device. It can catch on long sleeves when you’re in a hurry to see your stats, especially compared to something as sleek and minimalist as the Google Pixel Watch. I’d direct shoppers with those concerns to the Galaxy Watch 6 base models instead. For me, a functioning bezel is worth the potential drawbacks.

As always with new generations, I’m making the large assumption that this year’s model will one-up the existing flagship. For me, a rotating bezel would give the Galaxy Watch 6 a healthy edge over other smartwatches in the market. Paired with enough software improvements, it might be enough for the company to make a repeat appearance atop the best wearables of the year list.

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