Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic next to each other.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (left) and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked July 2023 event in Seoul, South Korea, brought us many new hardware products, including the next generation of wearables with the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.

But if you’re looking for a new Samsung flagship smartwatch, which one are you supposed to get? We break down the differences between the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic to help you make your decision.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: specs

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Material Armor Aluminum case with Sport Band Stainless Steel case with Hybrid Eco-Leather Band
Sizes 40mm

44mm

43mm

47mm

Colors Graphite

Gold (40mm only)

Silver (44mm only)

Black

Silver

Dimensions and weight 44mm: 42.8 x 44.4 x 9.0 mm, 33.3g

40mm: 38.8 x 40.4 x 9.0 mm, 28.7g

47mm: 46.5 x 46.5 x 10.9 mm, 59.0g

43mm: 42.5 x 42.5 x 10.9 mm, 52.0g

Display Super AMOLED

Full Color Always On Display

40mm: 1.3-inch (33.3mm) 432 x 432

44mm: 1.5-inch (37.3mm) 480 x 480

Super AMOLED

Full Color Always On Display

43mm: 1.3-inch (33.3mm) 432 x 432

47mm: 1.5-inch (37.3mm) 480 x 480

Durability IP68 water and dust resistance with 5ATM underwater resistance IP68 water and dust resistance with 5ATM underwater resistance
Processor Exynos W930 Dual Core 1.4Ghz Exynos W930 Dual Core 1.4Ghz
RAM 2GB 2GB
Storage 16GB 16GB
Battery 40mm: 300mAh

44mm: 425mAh

43mm: 300mAh

47mm: 425mAh

Charging Fast Charging with WPC-based wireless charging Fast Charging with WPC-based wireless charging
Operating system Wear OS 4 with One UI 5 Watch Wear OS 4 with One UI 5 Watch
Sensors Samsung BioActive Sensor (Optical Heart Rate + Electrical Heart Signal + Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis)

Temperature Sensor

Accelerometer

Barometer

Gyro Sensor

Geomagnetic Sensor

Light Sensor

Samsung BioActive Sensor (Optical Heart Rate + Electrical Heart Signal + Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis)

Temperature Sensor

Accelerometer

Barometer

Gyro Sensor

Geomagnetic Sensor

Light Sensor

Price Starts at $300 Starts at $400

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: design

Someone wearing the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The design of both smartwatches is similar, but there are definitely some differences. Let’s take a closer look.

For the Galaxy Watch 6, the design is almost identical to the Galaxy Watch 5. Though the physical size is slightly smaller than the previous version, the display is actually a bit larger than before. It also looks sportier and simpler compared to the Classic model thanks to the lightweight armor aluminum case, and it comes with a Sport Band by default. You can choose from two sizes: 40mm and 44mm. The 40mm model comes in Graphite and Silver colors, and the 44mm version is available in Graphite and Gold.

The Galaxy Watch 6 has the same sapphire crystal glass from previous generations, making it durable enough to withstand whatever everyday life throws at it. The Watch 6 also has an IP68 dust- and water-resistance rating, with underwater resistance up to 5ATM, allowing you to wear it while swimming.

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

With the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, you have a design that is more akin to a traditional timepiece. The key feature in the design is the rotating bezel, which is making a grand return after being skipped over in the previous generation. But if you’re worried that the rotating bezel is too much, it’s actually 15% thinner than on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, which was the last Galaxy Watch with the feature. The rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has a good grip to it, making it easy to use, and it doesn’t ruin the clean lines of the overall watch design.

Unlike the regular Galaxy Watch 6, the Classic version has a stainless steel case and comes with a Hybrid Eco-Leather Band, which leans into the more traditional watch aesthetic. It also comes in two sizes — 43mm and 47mm — and both sizes are available in either Black or Silver colors.

The front display is protected with sapphire crystal glass and has the same IP68 dust- and water-resistance rating and 5ATM underwater resistance as the standard Galaxy Watch 6.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: screen

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic, in large sizes.
Galaxy Watch 6 (left) Galaxy Watch 6 Classic large sizes Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Despite some differences in the design, the screens on both the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic are almost identical, other than the case size.

Both smartwatches feature Super AMOLED panels with a full-color always-on display. For the smaller watches (40mm regular and 43mm Classic), the display is 1.3 inches (33.3mm) and has a 432 x 432 resolution. On the larger models (44mm regular and 47mm Classic), the displays are 1.5 inches (37.3mm) and have a 480 x 480 resolution.

Again, sapphire crystal glass coating is found on both models and all sizes of the Galaxy Watch 6, so the Super AMOLED panel should be safe and sound from scratches and scuffs from everyday wear.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: processor and software

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

Samsung has packed both the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic with the same Exynos W930 Dual-Core 1.4GHz processor inside. Both watches also have 2GB of RAM with 16GB storage capacity. On the software side, Wear OS 4 comes equipped on both models, with the One UI 5 Watch interface layered on top.

While you won’t be playing graphically intensive games on your wrist, processor upgrades are nice to have. The Exynos W930 chip allows the Galaxy Watch 6 and Classic models to open up apps about 18% faster than last year’s models, and the smartwatches should be more snappy overall.

And with One UI 5 Watch, there’s a heavier emphasis on personal safety and wellness features. For example, there are emergency safety features that are similar to what you’ll find on the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. These include automatic fall detection, SOS calling, and emergency information that is accessible by first responders. Other new additions include sleep coaching and insights, plus better running metrics that can be used to create your own training programs.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: battery and charging

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 with a red and black watch face.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

Samsung slightly increased the battery capacities for the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic across the board.

On the smaller 40mm Galaxy Watch 6 and 43mm Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, there is a 300mAh battery inside, which is an increase from last year’s 284mAh capacity. The larger 44mm Galaxy Watch 6 and 47mm Galaxy Watch 6 Classic have a 425mAh battery, up from 410mAh.

With these battery sizes, Samsung says you should get around 40 hours with the always-on display off or 30 hours with it on. This should be an improvement over last year’s models, as Samsung overpromised with 40 to 50 hours for the Watch 5 lineup despite the smaller batteries, which would actually only last about a day on average.

The Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic still use the proprietary WPC-based wireless charger, so you have to use the included charger to charge these smartwatches. But they still charge up quickly, at least.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: fitness and health tracking

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

Samsung’s smartwatches have some of the best sensors around, making them excellent for keeping track of your fitness, health, and overall well-being.

Both the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic have Samsung’s 3-in–1 BioActive Sensor, which houses the optical heart rate, electrical heart signal, and bioelectrical impedance analysis sensors, which are the backbone of the health-tracking capabilities.

You’ll get complete step tracking, sleep tracking (and coaching), and even manual tracking for over 90 different workout types — including automatic tracking for some specific activities. With the bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor, you get extra benefits like measurements for body fat, skeletal muscle, body water, and more. And, of course, there is your standard 24/7 heart rate tracking, SpO2 monitoring, ECG, and a skin temperature sensor.

Heart-tracking capabilities on the Galaxy Watch 6 series have been upgraded to alert you whenever there are irregular heart rate rhythms detected. This is coming to the Galaxy Watch 5 lineup at some point, but it’s available out of the box for both Watch 6 models.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic also has a 3D Hall sensor listed, which is used for positioning through a magnetic field. This seems to only determine the position of the physical rotating bezel, however, so it isn’t used for any kind of health or fitness tracking.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: price and availability

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, and the new fabric strap.
New fabric Samsung watch strap Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

You can preorder the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic right now, and they will be widely available beginning on August 11.

For the standard Galaxy Watch 6, it comes in two sizes: 40mm and 44mm. The 40mm version is available in Graphite and Gold colors, while the 44mm comes in Graphite and Silver. It costs $300 for the 40mm variant and $330 for the 44mm.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic comes in 43mm and 47mm sizes, and both come in Black or Silver colors. The 43mm starts at $400, and the 47mm model is $430.

There are still some preorder deals going on if you want to save some money, so make sure to shop around.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: which one should you buy?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic next to each other.
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic (left) and Galaxy Watch 6 Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

For the most part, both the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic are very similar in terms of what they can do with health and fitness tracking. But when it comes down to it, which one to pick depends on what kind of style you’re going for.

If you want something that is simple and sporty, then the standard Galaxy Watch 6 is the way to go. It also has smaller case sizes in case you’re worried about how a larger smartwatch would look on a small wrist. The regular Galaxy Watch 6 is also less expensive, which is helpful if you’re on a budget.

But if you prefer the look of a traditional timepiece and like the rotating bezel for navigating through the Galaxy Watch interface, then go for the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. The stainless steel case also gives it a more professional look and feel than the aluminum of the regular version.

For most people, the regular Galaxy Watch 6 should be good enough. But if you want more elegance, then you can’t beat the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.

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