Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review – An excellent watch, but an iterative update

We spent one hour with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
(Image: © Future / Matt Evans)

Early Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 improves on many of its predecessor’s features, with an updated processor and RAM delivering enhanced performance and efficiency across the board, and new health features including a high-heart-rate alert and fall detection. It’s well-designed, and shines when teamed with a Samsung phone, but we’re sure that battery life will prove an issue once again.


  • +

    Updated design

  • +

    New Exynos W930 and more RAM

  • +

    Improved wellness and sleep metrics


  • -

    Still sub-par battery life

  • -

    You can’t share fitness data to Google Fit

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 6: One minute review

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, unveiled at Samsung Unpacked 2023, is on track to be another stellar smartwatch from the South Korean brand – and we can see that after just an hour of playing with it. The fast screen refresh rate and response time for the apps we were able to use mean the overall experience is butter-smooth, and the design is nice – both externally and internally, thanks to Wear OS 4 and Samsung’s One UI 5 Watch interface. We can clearly see the potential for it to knock the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 off the top of our best smartwatches list. 

It’s packing some nifty new features. Notably, the processing power and RAM have been boosted, Samsung Wallet has expanded to be able to include documents other than cards, such as airline tickets. 

A new Custom Workout option allows you to put together multi-stage workouts, and a redesigned Sleep app experience makes it, in Samsung’s words, “the best device on the market for monitoring your sleep” which is a big claim. Using the watch as a photo viewfinder is also a lot of fun, and will certainly attract some ‘ooohs’ at family gatherings.  

However, we’ve not yet tested this watch’s longevity, which is going to be the real kicker. The battery life may have been improved by the more efficient processor, but if the watch won’t last two days it’s going to be extremely frustrating to use for that best-in-class nightly sleep monitoring. Otherwise, little else has changed over its predecessor, which makes the Watch 6 an excellent device in isolation, but a largely iterative update.    

More from Samsung Unpacked 2023

We've been hands-on with all the new devices Samsung unveiled at Unpacked 2023, and you can check out our hands-on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review, and hands-on Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review for our early impressions of Samsung's new foldables – and here’s our guide to the best Samsung Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 pre-orders. We’ve also got our hands-on Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review and early Samsung Watch 6 Classic review with our initial verdicts of the new wearables, plus our hands-on Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 review and initial Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra review – and here are the top Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 preorders.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6: Specifications

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ComponentSamsung Galaxy Watch 6 (40mm)Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (44mm)
Dimensions38.8mm x 40.4mm x 9.0mm42.8 x 44.4 x 9.0mm
Display1.3-inch, 432 x 432 px super AMOLED1.5-inch, 480 x 480 px super AMOLED
Case/BezelAluminum armor, graphiteAluminum armor, graphite
BatteryUp to 40 hoursUp to 40 hours
ConnectionBluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, LTEBluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, LTE

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6: Price and availability

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

(Image credit: Future / Matt Evans)
  • 40mm model in the US starts from $299
  • Starts from £289 in the UK
  • Starts from AU$599 in Australia

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 was announced at Samsung’s July 26 Unpacked event in Seoul, alongside the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, Galaxy Z Fold 5, and Galaxy Tab S9 series. 

The Galaxy Watch 6 comes in four different varieties, and that’s before you consider the alternative Classic model – see our hands-on Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic review for our early impressions of that device. You have the 40mm and 44mm sizes, each coming in Bluetooth-only and LTE models, the latter of which grants you internet access away from your phone.

In the US, the 40mm models start from $299 for Bluetooth-only, while the 44mm models are $329.99 for Bluetooth-only.

In the UK, prices start from £289 for the 40mm Bluetooth model and £339 for the 40mm LTE option, and from £319 and £369 for the 44mm Bluetooth-only and 44mm LTE models, respectively. 

In Australia, the 40mm watches go for AU$549 (Bluetooth) and AU$649 (LTE), with the 44mm models going for AU$599 (Bluetooth) and AU$699 (LTE). 

These prices put the various Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 in roughly the same ballpark as corresponding Apple Watches and Google Pixel Watches, obviously dependent on sizes, models and deals available. Considering that the Watch 5 started at £269 / $279.99 / AU$499 for a 40mm Bluetooth-only model, a small price increase since last year is to be expected. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6: Design and screen

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

(Image credit: Future / Matt Evans)
  • New Exynos W930 processor
  • Redesigned strap-swapping functionality
  • Butter-smooth super AMOLED screen

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 sports a slightly thinner bezel than the Watch 5, which has also necessitated a slight tweak to the case. However, the screen sizes and button functionalities remain identical, so the watch does look very similar to its predecessor. This is no bad thing: the Samsung Galaxy line are good-looking watches with the right face choice, and the super AMOLED screen is excellent, with smooth transitions and a high refresh rate. 

The watch’s screen remains a high point, from the little workout animations available on previous Samsung Galaxy Watches to using the Watch as a viewfinder to take selfies and group shots when your phone is propped up on a table or other surface. Not only can you use the watch as a remote shutter button, but you can see a tiny picture of what the camera sees to ensure the composition is as you want. It’s a neat trick, and I was surprised how good the picture-in-picture camera view looked on the watch when I tried it with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. Swapping between apps was seamless and pretty responsive, although the main cloud of apps typical of Wear OS watches is looking rather tired, withApple having switched its best Apple Watch models to displaying the widget stack for its most-used features. 

The Exynos W930 processor is said to offer an 18% faster clock speed, and the Watch is packing 2GB of RAM compared to 1.5GB in the Watch 5. I’m hoping to see the watch operate faster and more efficiently on a day-to-day basis thanks to the increased processing power, hopefully putting less strain on the battery, the size of which is still only slightly increased at 425mAh for the 44mm model and 300mAh for the 40mm model. It’s not a small battery, but Samsung’s watches, like Apple’s and Google’s, are really quite inefficient compared to Fitbits and the best Garmin watches, which you’ll get a week of wear from at a minimum. At least the Galaxy Watch 6 has WPC-based fast charging. 

The strap-swapping functionality is easier than ever, provided you have decent thumbnails for pressing down and releasing the strap. It makes it extremely simple to swap straps on the fly from, for example, daywear leather (which looks great) to the silicone sport band. With two sizes, a range of colors and a variety of straps, there are ample options for having your Galaxy Watch, your way. I loved the black leather strap with the black 44mm watch: the word ‘executive’ came to mind when I slipped it on, and I’d consider wearing my Galaxy Watch with this strap in a formal setting, which isn’t something I can say for most smartwatches. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6: Features

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

(Image credit: Future)
  • Lots of new health and fitness features
  • Redesigned on-watch sleep app
  • An early issue with the body comp feature

The Watch is stuffed to the brim with features, most of which I wasn’t able to test during my hands-on session; after all, I wasn’t going to have a nap or go for a run when I had such limited time with the device. Sleep coaching remains similar in functionality to what you get on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro, and on those devices it’s excellent: after sleeping with your Watch for several weeks you’ll be assigned a ‘sleep animal’ or chronotype, and get sleep-coaching tips based on that analysis. 

Changes on the Watch 6 mean that you’ll see your Sleep Scores, Sleep Animal, coaching and more on the watch directly rather than having to dive into the app on your phone, so you can access more of your sleep stuff on the watch immediately after waking. It doesn’t sound too dissimilar to Garmin’s Morning Report feature, and I’d be excited to see something like that implemented here. 

On the fitness side, Custom Workouts allows you to create multi-stage workouts that you can flick through with a press of a button to move yourself onto the next stage, perfect for triathletes. High-heart-rate alerts and mid-workout heart rate zone notifications are both new, although I was unable to try them. 

I was able to try the body composition feature, which uses the same bioelectric impedance analysis process as a smart scale to gauge your skeletal muscle and fat percentages on your body. I tested the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro against a leading smart scale last year and found it to be pretty accurate, and it looks set to be so again. I did, however, have a little trouble getting it to work on the smaller 40mm watch, as I was continuously prompted to move the watch further up my wrist; it was halfway up my forearm before it triggered, a problem I didn’t have on the 44mm.  

Otherwise, the watch is stacked with possibilities thanks to Google Play integration, so you can download all your favorite Wear OS apps, giving the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 an awful lot of possibilities. WhatsApp, for example, can be used independently of your phone. When synced to a Samsung watch and the Samsung Health app, it’s going to really shine with seamless transference of data. However, it looks like your Samsung watch still won’t automatically share your data with Google Fit again, which was a disappointment last year. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6: Early Verdict

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

(Image credit: Future / Matt Evans)

Based on my brief and restricted hands-on time, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is on track to be another solid 4/5 device. It’s a well-designed, attractive-looking, easy-to-use Wear OS watch for existing Samsung users looking to manage their health, fitness, sleep and delve into on-wrist communication. It takes the brilliance of the existing line and builds upon it nicely, although at this early stage it doesn’t look like it’s fixed enough of the Watch 5’s few flaws to merit that elusive five stars. 

Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.