I love the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic because of one important feature

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic, in black and silver.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The minute I put the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic on, I knew it was the new Samsung smartwatch for me. I immediately forgot all about the Galaxy Z Fold 5 I was holding in my other hand and focused on its superb design, spot-on color choice, and really comfortable strap.

I only spent a short while with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, but as you can probably already tell, it made a very strong impression. Here’s a first look.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: the rotating crown is back

A person rotating the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic's bezel.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The big new feature on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is the rotating bezel, which makes its return to a Samsung smartwatch after being passed over on the Galaxy Watch 5. Why Samsung did this, I’ll never understand, but it has clearly learned from its mistake because it’s back and better than ever. Yes, better than ever.

Bezels are a big deal in the world of watches, are actually quite hard to get right, and frequently split opinion. The coin edge on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic’s bezel is very well judged, with a good grip to it, without the edge being too extreme and ruining the clean lines. Look closely, and on the inner section of the bezel is a tachymeter to give it some extra cool points. The bezel is 15% thinner than it was on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, the last smartwatch to use the rotating bezel feature.

A person rotating the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic's bezel.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Getting the edge of the bezel right is crucial because it’s the most tactile touchpoint on the smartwatch, and it needs to feel good. It really does, and the motion when you twist the bezel is superbly dampened, giving you plenty of feedback and avoiding any unwanted turns as you use it to slide through the menu system. It is an intuitive, natural, clean, and fun way to navigate the software — far more so than the closely related but more fiddly rotating crown.

But the bezel is only the start of the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic’s appeal. Get it in the right color, which I’ll come on to next, and it’s a fantastic-looking watch you’ll be proud to wear. I didn’t really want to take it off.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: two sizes, two colors

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic, in black and silver.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Samsung has made the correct decision to make the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic in two sizes: 43mm and 47mm and in a pair of case colors. The black one will inevitably be the most popular, but it’s the silver version everyone should actually buy. It gives the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic a very watch-like finish, replicating stainless steel cases on traditional watches, and it has just the right amount of shine to look really classy and never cheap.

I also really liked the white eco-leather strap and that Samsung has added a soft fabric strap to the lineup too, which it says is ideal for people who want to wear the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic to track sleep. It’s very similar to Apple’s Sport Loop band and uses a hook-and-loop system to secure it on your wrist. It joins a new system to attach the straps to the watch case, which is easier and faster than the old system — and makes buying additional straps more appealing.

Another very welcome addition is sapphire crystal over the screen for increased scratch resistance and that lovely sapphire sheen. If you buy the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, the case is made from stainless steel and not aluminum like the standard Galaxy Watch 6, but both have an IP68 water resistance rating and have passed the tests in getting the MIL-STD-810H durability standard. Both should be tough, but the Classic has the edge with its stainless steel case.

I tried both the small 43mm and larger 47mm versions, and for me personally, the larger model seemed to suit my 6.5-inch wrist best. The smaller one disappeared a little, and when the overall shape and design look this good, it’s crying out to make a statement. The Galaxy Watch 5 is a very well-designed smartwatch, and I like the contours, size, and shape. But the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic builds on that with the reintroduction of a much-loved feature and a considerably more watch-like, less sporty design.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: software and feature changes

The sensor on the back of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I’ve made a big deal about the design and the way it looks and feels on my wrist, but what’s happening inside the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic? It’s identical to the standard Galaxy Watch 6, which means the new Exynos W930 processor, which is 18% faster than the old chip in the Galaxy Watch 5. It also has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage space.

Samsung’s pushing improved sleep tracking through the activated-at-launch skin temperature sensor, along with the expected blood oxygen monitoring, snore recordings, and sleep stage monitoring. There’s a new Sleep Coaching program that provides advice over a four-week period on how to improve your sleep. Outside of this, there’s a new Track Run feature that uses GPS to identify the running track you’re on and a Custom Workout feature so you can build a bespoke exercise program instead of tracking each exercise individually.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic's strap and clasp.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Body composition makes a return, along with blood pressure monitoring and enhanced menstrual cycle tracking, which again uses the skin temperature sensor. Samsung has also added a heart rate alert feature, which will tell you if your heart rate continues to be elevated after exercise for a longer than ideal time. Both Galaxy Watch 6 models have Google’s Wear OS 4 installed along with Samsung’s One UI 5 Watch over the top.

I used the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic enough to see how smooth and responsive the operating system is, something heightened by using the rotating bezel, but it looked very similar to the software on the Galaxy Watch 5. It still runs apps you can download from Google Play, and the layout of the menus is logical and easy to memorize. But it’s the hardware that’s the reason to upgrade here, not the software.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: specs and comparison

A person wearing the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Outside of all these changes, what about the other specifications of the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic? It’s worth understanding the differences in size between the Classic and the standard Galaxy Watch 6. The screens are the same across all models, with the larger watch using a 1.5-inch Super AMOLED with a 480 x 480 pixel resolution, and the smaller watch a 1.3-inch Super AMOLED with a 432 x 432 resolution.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is larger and heavier than the Galaxy Watch 6, with the 47mm model coming in at 10.9mm thick and 59 grams in weight, compared to the 44mm Galaxy Watch 6’s 9mm thickness and 33 grams. The smaller 43mm Watch 6 Classic is the same thickness and 52 grams, while the 40mm Watch 6 is 9mm thick and 28 grams. The larger watches have a 425mAh battery, and the smaller models have a 300mAh cell.

Samsung claims the battery in all the Galaxy Watch 6 models, regardless of size or Classic status, will last about 30 hours with the always-on screen active or up to 40 hours if you leave it off. This will change depending on what health tracking features are off by default too, and whether you use the LTE feature.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, with a red dial.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic comes in 43mm and 47mm sizes, in black or silver, and either as a standard Bluetooth or an LTE-equipped model. Preorders open on July 26, and the watches will be released on August 11. Pricing works out as follows:

  • Galaxy Watch 6 Classic 43mm BT is $399 or 369 British pounds/LTE 429 pounds
  • Galaxy Watch 6 Classic 47mm BT is $429 or 399 British pounds/LTE 459 pounds

Interestingly, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro will remain in the Galaxy Watch lineup, and Samsung is referring to it as the top smartwatch in its range. Having lived with the Watch 5 Pro over the past year and now handling the Watch 6 Classic, I respectfully disagree with this. If you want a premium Samsung smartwatch, the Watch 6 Classic is the one to get. In fact, if you want any Samsung smartwatch this year, make it the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.



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