Best Samsung Galaxy Watch: Which should you buy?


Key Takeaways

  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic offers a premium design with a stainless steel case and rotating bezel, making it a visually appealing smartwatch with a large display.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is the best basic option, as it has a sleek design, a big, bright display, and a full suite of fitness and health tracking features.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the best option for those prioritising battery life, as it can last up to 80 hours on a single charge and is designed for outdoor activities.


Samsung’s portfolio of smart devices expands each year, offering updates and new features on previous models. That – of course – includes smartwatches and the much-loved Galaxy Watch lineup. For 2023, the company launched the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, bolstering its portfolio with two more highly capable devices, both in two sizes, with a slew of advanced fitness tracking abilities.

You can also still buy the 2022 models, most notably the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, which is still the long battery life champion of the Galaxy Watch range, and some Galaxy Watch 4 models from the year before. So which is best for you? We’ve put this list together to help you decide.

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic standalone

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

1. Best premium Samsung smartwatch

$370 $400 Save $30

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is – essentially – the same as the Galaxy Watch 6, but it comes with a more premium stainless steel case with a rotating bezel around the display for intuitive interface control.

Pros

  • Beautiful case design
  • Rotating bezel makes a comeback
  • Large display is stunning
Cons

  • Will cost you more than the regular model
  • Same specs as regular model

When it comes to features, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is identical to the Galaxy Watch 6 (below). It has the same processor, same battery, same two screen size options and same fitness tracking sensors. Where it differs is in design. Where the regular model has quite a plain case made from aluminium, the Classic is designed to look like a traditional mechanical watch. The rotating bezel has a ridged perimeter, and the case is built from stainless steel.

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic on wrist main

That rotating bezel does make it quite a different experience to use in that you don’t have to use the touchscreen for everything. You can simply turn the bezel to scroll up and down menus and lists or cycle through different screens. In some instances – where touching the screen gets fiddly – having that as a backup control method very much helps.

Related:

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs Galaxy Watch 6: What’s the difference?

Otherwise, you have a solid Samsung watch with all the latest software features built into a package made with high-quality materials, which we think looks much nicer than the standard model. It’s built to the same durability standards and can cope with getting wet, too.

Galaxy Watch 6 lead1

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

2. Best basic Samsung smartwatch

$260 $300 Save $40

Samsung increased the screen size and shrunk the bezel on the Galaxy Watch 6, delivering a sleek, attractive watch packed with lots of great fitness tracking abilities.

Pros

  • Big, bright and colourful display
  • Easy strap-switching
  • Full suite of fitness and health tracking abilities
  • Durable and waterproof build
Cons

  • A bit plain-looking
  • Battery life is decent, but not mindblowing

The Galaxy Watch 6 is the latest standard model Galaxy Watch, and the one – we think – will make a lot of sense for most buyers. It’s relatively inexpensive but has all the top features that you’d want in a smartwatch in 2023.

Samsung kitted out the Galaxy Watch 6 with a bigger display – for both the 40mm and 44mm models – and upgraded the processor and RAM inside to give it faster, more responsive performance for just about every task you would want to run on it.

galaxy watch tips lead

Add to that the advanced health and fitness tracking sensor, which is capable of accurately tracking sleep, giving you a sleep coaching plan, personalised heart-rate zones, all-day SpO2, stress tracking and body composition sensing. You have a fully-featured wrist-worn gadget that surely stakes its claim as one of the best smartwatches for Android phone users, again.

Galaxy Watch 5 Pro hardware photo 1

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

3. Best Samsung smartwatch for battery life

$397 $450 Save $53

Because Samsung went a different route with the Galaxy Watch 6 series – offering a Classic model – the Watch 5 Pro retains its place in the range because it still offers the best battery life by far, great for long outdoor hikes and runs.

Because the Watch 6 Classic is entirely different, Samsung saw value in keeping the Watch 5 Pro in its product lineup. The reason: battery life. Its battery can go up to 80 hours of use, which is double what any of the other watches can manage, and means you can realistically go 2-3 days between charges.

Galaxy Watch 5 Pro hardware photo 11

Pocket-lint

More importantly, however, is that the watch is designed to go on long outdoor exercise-tracking sessions. Thanks to its beefy battery cell, it’s far more capable of tracking a long, all-day hike in the hills than any of the other models.

Otherwise, it has all the same features as Samsung’s other watches, albeit based on a model with thicker bezels and a smaller display than the more recent Galaxy Watch 6 models.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 leak photo 1
Pocket-lint

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

4. Best value Samsung smartwatch

$198 $330 Save $132

If you can live with the chunkier bezel, slightly smaller screen and slightly slower performance, the Galaxy Watch 5 from 2022 represents something of a bargain right now.

Pros

  • Now that it’s older, it’s really affordable
  • Many of the same fitness tracking features of newer models
  • Colourful, vibrant display
  • Waterproof and durable
Cons

  • Battery life is decent, but not amazing
  • Bigger bezels around the display

While Samsung upgraded the performance and display in the Galaxy Watch 6 models, many of the fitness tracking capabilities are present in the previous model. The Galaxy Watch 5 has essentially all the hardware ingredients necessary to give you the same heart-rate sensing, SpO2, stress, sleep, activity and even body composition measuring.

If you care about just getting the essential features and don’t care too much about the bigger display or more responsive processing, you can grab yourself a bargain with the Galaxy Watch 5. It’s much cheaper than it was at launch and is still relatively easy to get hold of a year after launch.

Galaxy Watch 3 hardware photo 2

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

5. Best value ‘Classic’ Galaxy Watch

$267 $380 Save $113

If you like the idea of the rotating bezel and a more traditional design, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic can still be bought at a fraction of the price of Samsung’s newer Classic variant.

Pros

  • Really affordable
  • Classic design with rotating bezel
  • Lots of fitness tracking features
Cons

  • It’s more than two years old now
  • Not as fast and responsive as newer versions

The last ‘Classic’ before the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 variant was the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, delivering the staple ‘Classic’ features. That means the more traditional watch design, a leather strap and – of course – the rotating bezel. It’s a great-looking watch and one that’ll cost you about half of what the newest models cost.

Watch 4 Classic photo 5
Pocket-lint

You still get plenty of fitness features too; although they’re not quite as advanced, consistent or reliable as the new models, there’s enough here for you to get by with if all you want is basic movement, heart rate, sleep and activity logs.


Samsung Galaxy Watch lineup: A quick summary

Like its phone series, the Samsung Galaxy Watch lineup has three distinct categories. It’s really simple to understand, thankfully.

The regular Galaxy Watch is the standard model, featuring a pretty basic – but sporty – design with aluminium framing, a completely flat screen and – by default – silicone rubber straps. It’s the entry-level model and usually comes in two sizes: 40mm and 44mm.

As for the Galaxy Watch Classic, that variant has the look of a more traditional watch. The model also features the rotating bezel and is built using more premium materials. Typically, that’s stainless steel rather than the aluminium surrounding the regular version’s case.

Then there’s the Galaxy Watch Pro variant. So far, that only includes one model: the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. This outdoor sports watch has a battery that’s twice as big as any of the others and can last twice as long on a full charge.

How to choose a Galaxy Watch

If you have a Samsung phone or – in fact – any Android phone, you’ve probably already decided that a Samsung smartwatch is the right path to take. But which model do you pick, how do you choose between value and feature set, and which watch most fits what you need from a smartwatch? We’ve listed a few things to consider before taking the plunge.

Galaxy Watch 6 classic watch face

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

Editor’s Choice

$370 $400 Save $30

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is – essentially – the same as the Galaxy Watch 6, but it comes with a more premium stainless steel case, with a rotating bezel around the display for intuitive interface control.

What’s your budget?

There’s no use looking at the absolute top models if what you want or have available, to spend doesn’t quite reach up to those levels. Samsung’s top models with LTE and Wi-Fi can reach as high as nearly $500, which isn’t a small amount to spend on something which is essentially an accessory for your smartphone.

The good news here – of course – is that, with newer versions being quite an iterative change over the 2022 models, there’s not much difference in real daily use if you want to save money and grab an older version instead. The Galaxy Watch 5 is still a great watch and one that will deliver all the key features of the Galaxy Watch 6 without leaving wanting.

What size/weight is good for you?

The reason Samsung has made 40mm and 44mm sizes (or 43mm and 47mm for the Classic) is there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to watches. Some people have slim, narrow wrists; others feature larger wrists. You might prefer a big watch dominating your forearm, or you might want the smallest, lightest model possible so that it’s easy to ignore and get on with the day.

If your preference is the smaller, lighter style, you’re going to want to look at the regular models and not the Classic or Pro variants. Those versions of the Galaxy Watch are made from heavier materials; they’re thicker and generally larger than the regular models. If you want a more substantial timepiece, pick the larger ones, of course. It might even be worth finding a store and trying them on in real life to see which size suits your arm the best.

What kind of activities do you track?

For the most part, all the watches from the past couple of years can track the same types of workouts to a generally quite accurate degree. However, there is one standout watch for outdoor activities: the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. Its sturdy build, raised bezel and super battery life means you can be out in the mountains all day tracking your route, and still have juice left over. Plus, it’s not likely to get damaged, and it’s completely sealed against dust, dirt and debris getting in.

How durable does it need to be?

On a similar note, there are watches more suitable for dusty, dirty environments than others. And there are watches more suited to being banged, scraped, knocked and generally abused throughout the day than others. Of course, no watch is completely impervious, but you can at least get the one best suited to how you live and work.

For instance, if – at work or generally – you spend time in environments where there could be lots of loose debris, dirt and grit coming into contact with your watch, you don’t want any of the Classic variants. The rotating bezel means there is a small gap in the moving part where small particles could find their way in and – at worst – do some harm to your watch or – at best – cause friction and scraping noises when you turn your bezel.

Similarly, if you often find yourself knocking your arm against hard surfaces – whether in the mountains or just doorknobs at home – you’ll want a model with sapphire crystal glass. Thankfully, all the most recent Galaxy Watch 6 models have that tough glass on the outside, so they’re much harder to damage or scratch than older variants.

What about water resistance?

Thankfully, all Samsung’s watches are water-resistant to a high degree, sporting 5ATM depth waterproofing as well as the highest IP68 water and dust resistance certification rating.



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