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Should you buy the Galaxy Watch 6 or wait for the Pixel Watch 2?

Should you wait for the Pixel Watch 2 or get the Galaxy Watch 6 now?
August 2, 2023

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic debuted on July 26, bringing several impressive features to the table. If you’ve been thinking about picking up a new smartwatch, Samsung’s latest offerings are very tempting. Just be aware that they may soon have extra competition from Google, as the Pixel Watch 2 is rumored to launch in October alongside the Pixel 8. With that in mind, should you buy the Galaxy Watch 6 or wait for the Pixel Watch 2?

Galaxy Watch 6 vs Pixel Watch 2: Two different approaches

Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch 6 quick controls
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

Now let’s be clear, this isn’t a full Galaxy Watch 6 vs Pixel Watch 2 comparison, namely because we know almost zero about the Pixel Watch 2. There have been a few rumors, though, mostly concerning battery life and processor.

A 9to5Google report from late May claims the Pixel Watch 2 will reportedly trade the Exynos chip for a Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 SoC, or even a Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1. The chip is said to be 4nm with four A53 cores at 1.7GHz with dual Adreno 702 GPUs. The Pixel Watch 2 is expected to feature improved battery life. We don’t have any specific battery states though the rumors claim the Google Pixel Watch 2 will see over a day of usage even with the always-on display activated.

That’s really all we know. That said, it’s likely Google will continue the strategy and design philosophy it started with its first smartwatch. And unless it changes a lot, there will still be some pretty big differences in the Pixel Watch 2’s approach when compared to the Galaxy Watch 6 series:

  • Samsung will likely still have more choices. Google built a one-size-fits-all experience around its Pixel Watch. There’s just one size at 41mm; the only variant you’ll find is the one that adds LTE. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Watch 6 has 40 and 44mm sizes, while the Classic covers the 43mm and 47mm sizes. There are also LTE variants. Simply put, you’ll have more control over your watch size with Samsung unless Google adds more watch sizes this time.
  • Google pushes its own apps and experience. The Pixel Watch had a stock-like UI with Google-specific additions, including Maps, Home, Pay Assistant, Google’s Find my Phone, and YouTube Music. While Google Maps and Assistant support are also part of the Samsung experience, the Galaxy Watch 6 software has very obvious Samsung-specific touches and pushes its own ecosystem over Google’s.
  • The Pixel Watch 2 will likely stand out more. The Pixel Watch has a very unique look that helps set it apart, while Samsung’s Watch language hasn’t changed much in the last few years. We’ve also seen plenty of other smartwatches with similar design cues. It’s unclear how much the Pixel Watch 2 will change in terms of design, but odds are it will still stand out a little better.
  • Fitbit integration will continue to be a big deal. All signs suggest we’ll see the return of Fitbt’s tool kit and companion app. There will also be continued access to Fitbit’s sleep-tracking platform, plus more tools and features with a Fitbit Premium account.
  • Samsung’s Classic has a rotating dial. The Galaxy Watch 5 series axed the famous rotating bezel feature, but it’s back with the Watch 6 Classic. This bezel acts as a navigation ring around the screen, making the watch much easier and more natural to navigate. There’s no equivalent on the Pixel Watch and its unlikely we’ll see such a feature on the Pixel Watch 2 either.

A closer look at the Galaxy Watch 6

So that’s what we know about the Pixel Watch 2 and the general differences we can likely expect to remain between the Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch families. What about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and its new features? We already talked about the return of the rotating bezel, and you can learn even more in our Galaxy Watch 6 guide. Nonetheless, let’s run through some of the more important changes.

Last year when we compared the Pixel Watch to the Galaxy Watch 5, we noted that both had great fitness features despite different implementations. Of course, the latter had a few extras, like a skin temperature sensor and a body composition calculator. The Galaxy Watch 6 continues where the Watch 5 left off while adding some big improvements, including a new Fitbit-like sleep tracking system that provides detailed sleep history and even suggestions for improving sleep habits.

There are also improved Gesture controllers, a new 3D Hall sensor on the Classic, and a new personalized Heart Rate Zone feature that provides even more advanced real-time training feedback.  Those who loved the Find My Phone app on the Pixel Watch will also be happy to know the Galaxy Watch 6 series had a new Find My Phone feature with map support. Lastly, Samsung has improved its fall detection for even safer workouts.

Battery life on the Pixel Watch was already quite a bit behind the Galaxy Watch 5’s 284mAh battery in its base model, but the upgraded 300mAh and more efficient processor should widen this gap. Of course, we already know the Pixel Watch 2 is rumored to improve battery life; the big question is whether it’ll be able to match the Galaxy Watch 6. That’s something we can’t answer yet.

Overall, the Galaxy Watch will likely continue to have more options and potentially be more powerful, but it’s also typically more expensive, and many folks enjoy the minimalist approach of the Pixel Watch over Samsung’s more kitchen-sink-esque approach.

Should you wait for the Pixel Watch 2 or buy the Galaxy Watch 6 now?

Mid Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and Watch 6
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

The Pixel Watch 2 will likely arrive in October, unless Google skips it this year, which we find unlikely. That means the Pixel Watch 2 could be here in about four months. If you aren’t 100% sold on the Galaxy Watch 6, we’d wait a bit longer to see what the Pixel Watch 2 brings. Unlike a phone, a smartwatch is a nice accessory but not a must-have. That means there’s little to lose if you wait a bit longer.

Here are just a few reasons you might want to wait:

  • A smartwatch is an accessory but not something you have to replace. If you don’t already have a smartwatch, what’s waiting another four months? If you do, odds are you could either retire it and live without for a bit, or you can make do. After all it’s not like a phone where you absolutely need one to stay on top of your digital life.
  • The Watch 6 could go on sale when the Pixel Watch 2 debuts. Samsung is no stranger to discounting its products and the arrival of the Pixel Watch 2 could see the first major discounts from Samsung’s new watch line.
  • You want to know more about the Pixel Watch 2 first. Right now we have hardly any solid Pixel Watch 2 rumors but if it really is coming in four months, this will change soon. That means you might want to wait even just a month or two more to see what else we learn about the Pixel Watch 2 before taking a plunge.
  • You prefer Google and Fitbit’s ecosystem. The reality is the Samsung Galaxy Watch family has its own core apps and Galaxy UI that help set it apart. If you’re a Pixel owner, this might turn you off. That means waiting for the Pixel Watch 2 could be the best choice.

Of course, not everyone is going to want or need to wait. Here are a few reasons you might want to make the switch to the Galaxy Watch 6 or Watch 6 Classic now:

  • You prefer Samsung’s ecosystem. Don’t care for Google’s take on things? There’s no point in waiting for the Pixel Watch 2 if you know the Watch 6’s software is more up your alley.
  • You’re into Samsung’s rotating bezel. Again we don’t expect the Pixel Watch 2 to offer anything like this so if the return of the bezel has you excited, this is the watch for you.
  • You don’t care about future discounts. The reality is that it’s unlikely the Galaxy Watch 6 will drop more than maybe $25-$60 when the Pixel Watch 2 happens, and there’s no guarantee it’ll see a price drop then at all. For those that don’t care about the savings potential, buying a Watch 6 could be the right move.
  • You don’t trust Google hardware. As someone who constantly flips back between Pixel and Galaxy phones, I have to say I trust Samsung more. I love the Pixel family, but every iteration has had longevity concerns due to glitches and other issues. The reality is that a Samsung Galaxy Watch is likely to be more reliable and feel less like a beta product. One, because it’s an older line, and two, because Google’s products all often feel like betas.

So that’s it for our look at the Galaxy Watch 6 vs Pixel Watch 2. If you aren’t interested in waiting, you can pick up a member of the Galaxy Watch 6 family in the widgets below.

See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
The rotating bezel is back
Elegant design and build materials
Ships with Wear OS 4
See price at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Bigger, brighter AMOLED display
Snappy Wear OS 4 software experience
Sporty yet tasteful aesthetic