I’ve always wanted a Samsung Galaxy Watch, but what has been holding me back is that I didn’t want to use a Samsung phone. I spent a week using both – the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 and the Z Flip5 – and, to be honest, the watch has me genuinely considering breaking Apple’s walled garden.
Shifting from Apple to Samsung is a whole other piece on its own, in fact, Kyle wrote about that just yesterday, so instead, let me tell you why I think so highly of the Samsung Galaxy Watch6. And why I think it’s such a smart move by Samsung.
Samsung Galaxy Watch6
The focus for Samsung with the Watch6 is its health abilities: There are upgrades to heart tracking, including a new irregular heart rhythm notification and a personalised heart rate zone, and new sleep features, including sleep score factor, sleep analysis, and sleep coaching. There’s also a feature that helps with cycle tracking – something I was excited for, but also something I would need more than a week to test out, so unfortunately, I won’t touch on it in this review.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch6 promises a lot when it comes to tracking your sleep. I’d argue it delivers. When you wake, a summary of your sleep is available on the watch. This includes how long you actually slept, what type of sleep it was (ie REM or deep sleep), whether you snored, your blood oxygen levels, and you can view more via the Samsung Health app on a Samsung phone.
The idea is to help you understand the quality of sleep you’re getting. As someone notoriously bad at sleeping, I was shocked, but not surprised, that over the seven-day period, my ‘deep sleep’ was totalling under 30 minutes for the entire week. While having this data is great, it’s useless unless you can actually do something about it.
That’s where the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 comes out in front of other sleep-tracking tech. ‘Sleep Coaching’ does what it says on the tin: It gives you tips and instructions for how to get a better sleep. For example, it told me it had plans to help me work on my late-night snacking, and later-night phone browsing. Unfortunately, given I only got a sleep animal on the second last day with the watch, we didn’t get to the coaching part. Which is definitely a bummer.
But on that sleep animal thing – you get allocated an animal after five weekdays and two weekend days (ie five alarm wake-ups, two casual wake-ups). The sleep animal is essentially just a way to gamify your sleep health. I got a penguin.
It became the first thing I checked when I woke up. It was my favourite feature of the Samsung Galaxy Watch6, hands down. The only thing I didn’t love was that I had to wear the watch to bed. I kept thinking it was a hair tie still on my wrist.
It’s the watch for fitness folk
Sleeping well and exercising go hand-in-hand, and the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 does the latter just as well. Unfortunately, the first few days I spent with the watch was while I was on the ground in Seoul as a guest of Samsung at Galaxy Unpacked, then the flight home, followed by recovery in doors, then a few days at the office where the most exercise I got was walking to and from the bus stop. As a result, all I can comment on is Samsung’s auto-exercise recording – that it knows when you’re doing a particular exercise and starts logging it, as well as the step-tracker. While I didn’t do a proper workout, I did hit 6,000 steps per day, and the Watch6 made a bit of a song and dance about it, congratulating me for getting off my butt.
In addition to the fitness smarts previous Galaxy watches have boasted, new this year is ‘custom workout’ which allows you to build and track your specific workout routine, which is based on what areas of your body you want to focus on, worked out with consideration for your body composition, not based on an elite athlete.
Something I did explore was ‘body composition’. It measures physical things like skeletal muscle, basal metabolic rate, body water, and body fat percentage with the aim of providing a snapshot so you can set those body-specific goals, get personalised fitness guidance, and now nutritional tips. Samsung reckons its Galaxy Watch6 body composition measurements are as accurate as a DEXA scan. It was confronting to see before my eyes my body fat vs weight and height, but hey, it’s something you may find valuable on your own health journey. As would the inclusion of personalised heart rate zone features, that are aimed at helping you to analyse individual physical capabilities (such as optimal running intensity levels).
It also tells the time
The Samsung Galaxy Watch6 does so much you forget it also does what every other watch does: Tell the time. But while I’ve heavily focused on the health and fitness smarts this thing is packing, there’s also a lot of other stuff the Watch6 is capable of. You can set a ‘mode’ sort of like a ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature on a phone – options include driving, watching a movie, etc – and the watch will notify you/not notify you of alerts per the settings for that mode. You can sync this with your phone, too. It’ll also show your emergency contacts, and allow you to turn on ‘fall detection’, which’ll alert the required should it detect you’ve, for example, had a crash on a bike.
You can also put it into swimming mode, where activating ‘water lock’ will block water from entering the Samsung Galaxy Watch6. It does a cute little water expel bit akin to a dog shaking itself after getting out of the ocean. You can also use the assistant, answer calls, set up accessibility features, address phone notifications – etc. This watch does literally everything except my taxes.
The battery life was also quite impressive – I got near on two days, but I didn’t have phone notifications set up because I did not want to be buzzed at 84 times an hour.
You can also choose from a trove of watch faces – I just genuinely preferred this one.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Watch6?
If you have a Samsung phone, there’s no doubt in my mind you’re going to absolutely love the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 or Watch6 Classic. It’s the best smartwatch money can buy. While you can use the Watch6 without a Samsung phone, you miss out on almost everything that makes it so good. I’d argue the Watch6 is let down by the fact the best experience is had with a Samsung phone. Whether it’s worth switching to a Samsung phone just for the watch is your call, there are some decent budget options out there, but now two days without the watch I genuinely miss it. I wish I got to explore the sleep coaching more, and the cycle tracking. I’d also like to pick up exercising more routinely and I can only imagine how much more I’d be motivated if I still had the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 on my wrist to gamify the whole thing.
Samsung knows how good it is at making a watch, and it’s more effective, IMO, than any phone marketing campaign to get you to switch to its ecosystem.
If you’ve got the Watch5 and things still work, and battery life is still fine, it’s probably not worth your upgrade – it definitely is if you’ve got the 4, though.
Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy Watch6
The Samsung Galaxy Watch6 and Watch6 Classic will cost:
- Watch6 40mm (Bluetooth) RRP $549
- Watch6 40mm (LTE) RRP $649 – the one I reviewed
- Watch6 44mm (Bluetooth) RRP $599
- Watch6 44mm (LTE) RRP $699
- Watch6 Classic 43mm (Bluetooth) RRP $699
- Watch6 Classic 43mm (LTE) RRP $799
- Watch6 Classic 47mm (Bluetooth) RRP $749
- Watch6 Classic 47mm (LTE) RRP $849.
Galaxy Watch6 and Galaxy Watch6 Classic are available for preorder now via the Samsung website, with general availability starting August 18.
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