I gasped after I lifted the lid off of the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic field. Between its shiny chrome steel case, the fragile ridges on the sting of its rotating bezel, and the seen stitching on its hybrid eco-leather strap, it is a putting $399.99 smartwatch—higher trying in actual life than in images. Its rotating bezel, the primary differentiator from the usual Galaxy Watch 6 ($299.99), is not only for present; it enables you to rapidly scroll by apps, menus, metrics, textual content, tiles, and extra. It is simple to rotate in both route with one finger or two, with stopping factors that allow extra exact scrolling than its sibling’s contact bezel. The usual Galaxy Watch 6 gives an almost an identical expertise for $100 much less, however if you happen to like a bit of glitz, the Basic is value the additional cash. Neither mannequin earns our Editors’ Alternative resulting from this technology’s unimpressive battery life, however if you happen to’re available in the market for an Android-compatible smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 collection is difficult to beat.
Premium Design Upgrades
Other than its value, the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic solely differentiates from the usual Galaxy Watch 6 by way of design. The extra inexpensive mannequin incorporates a minimalist aesthetic with a contact bezel for fast scrolling, an aluminum case, and a sport band product of fluoroelastomer. The Basic’s upgrades embrace a bodily rotating bezel, a shinier and extra sturdy chrome steel case, and a classier-looking hybrid eco-leather (artificial) band.
In any other case, the Galaxy Watch 6 and the Watch 6 Basic have the identical app choice, battery specs, connectivity options, sturdiness scores, inside reminiscence, working system, processor, sensors, storage, and person interface.
The Watch 6 Basic is available in 43mm or 47mm sizes in both black or silver. The Watch 6 is available in 40mm or 44mm sizes in graphite, gold (solely in 40mm), or silver (solely in 44mm).
The bigger fashions of the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic and Watch 6 price $30 extra, bringing their beginning costs to $429.99 and $329.99, respectively. All fashions characteristic Bluetooth (model 5.3) and Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz) for connectivity, in addition to built-in GPS (plus Glonass, Beidou, and Galileo). Including LTE connectivity prices $50 extra.
For this evaluate, Samsung despatched the small Galaxy Watch 6 Basic in silver with LTE connectivity. Within the field you get a fast begin information and a puck-style USB-C charger, however no energy adapter.
The Basic’s chrome steel case has a largely shiny end, with brushed matte accents on the left and proper sides and on the band clasp. The silver mannequin’s included strap has a beautiful mild grayish-blue colour with matching seen stitching.
That is the primary time Samsung has launched a smartwatch with a bodily rotating bezel because the Galaxy Watch 4 Basic, which arrived in 2021. Each of final yr’s iterations, the Galaxy Watch 5 and the extra rugged Watch 5 Professional ($449.99), characteristic a contact bezel.
Take observe: Galaxy Watch fashions with Basic within the title have a rotating bezel, and this yr’s iteration prices $50 greater than its two-year-old predecessor (whereas the usual Galaxy Watch 6 obtained a $20 value hike from final yr’s mannequin). For a deep dive into the professionals and cons of the Basic’s rotating bezel, and the way it compares to the Galaxy Watch 6’s contact bezel, head to the following part of this evaluate.
Samsung tells PCMag that the Professional and the Basic variations of the Galaxy Watch will get new fashions each different yr. In different phrases, since we’ve got a brand new Basic this yr, we are able to count on a brand new Professional in 2024. In the interim, final yr’s Watch 5 Professional will stay in the marketplace as a extra adventure-focused possibility with longer battery life.
Much like how the Apple Watch works solely with iPhones, the Galaxy Watch 6 collection is unique to Android telephones. Each variations are appropriate with gadgets working Android 10 or larger with greater than 1.5GB of RAM. Though you may pair the Galaxy Watch 6 collection with non-Samsung Android telephones, some options work solely with Samsung Galaxy handsets, together with irregular coronary heart rhythm notifications, cellphone separation alerts, and the Digicam Controller app. The Put on OS-powered Google Pixel Watch ($349.99), as compared, does not have any limitations when paired with a non-Pixel Android cellphone.
Samsung’s newest smartwatches run Put on OS 4 with the corporate’s One UI 5 Watch software program. One UI 5 Watch most notably delivers extra sturdy emergency providers entry, new sleep insights, and customized coronary heart charge zone information, amongst different options. You do not want a model new smartwatch to get the improve, as One UI 5 Watch is obtainable on the Galaxy Watch 4 collection and later.
The Galaxy Watch 6 collection is powered by the Samsung Exynos W930 dual-core 1.4GHz processor, an improve from the Exynos W920 chip within the Galaxy Watch 5 collection. Each variations pack 2GB of RAM (up from 1.5GB within the Galaxy Watch 5 collection) and 16GB of storage (no change from the final technology). As with the usual mannequin, the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic is quick and responsive—apps open rapidly and I by no means encounter any lag when swiping on the contact display or scrolling with the rotating bezel.
The Galaxy Watch 6 collection continues to supply the identical sturdy sensor suite because the final technology, inducing optical and electrical coronary heart sensors, a bioelectrical impedance evaluation sensor (for physique fats and different physique composition measurements), a temperature sensor, an accelerometer, a barometer, and a gyroscope.
The Execs (and a Con) of the Basic’s Rotating Bezel
Samsung smartwatches usually both have a rotating bezel or a contact bezel. The spinning bezel is a pleasure to make use of on the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic, making it simple to scroll by tiles and notifications from the watch face and rapidly navigate different screens and menus on the watch.
The contact bezel is not as enjoyable to make use of, but it surely works effectively on the Galaxy Watch 6 general, letting you scroll by swiping your finger alongside the sting of the watch display.
One small gripe concerning the contact bezel on the Galaxy Watch 6 is that it generally scrolls too rapidly and I unintentionally cross the tile I need to entry, which forces me to backtrack. I by no means have this drawback with the Basic’s rotating bezel, which has built-in stopping factors, permitting for extra exact navigation. For fast scrolling with the rotating bezel, I exploit one finger (my index). For extra exact scrolling, I exploit two fingers (my index and thumb).
Apart from making it simple to navigate the watch, the rotating bezel is sweet as a result of it extends above the show, offering a buffer for the glass that helps to stop scratching. If the watch falls flat on its face, the bezel ought to take the blow, not the glass. The principle draw back of the rotating bezel is that it might probably, over time, accumulate filth and turn out to be tough to show (no less than in line with my cousin, a Galaxy Watch superfan who buys the brand new mannequin every year).
Samsung says that the rotating bezel on this yr’s mannequin is 15% slimmer than its counterpart on the Galaxy Watch 4 Basic, and to me this can be a noticeable and welcome change. The pared-down bezel provides the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic a extra elegant look, and its leather-like band is a serious aesthetic improve from the Galaxy Watch 4 Basic’s Ridge Sport rubber strap. In my eyes, the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic is Samsung’s best-looking smartwatch because the Galaxy Watch 3, launched in 2020.
On its outdoors edge, the rotating bezel options small vertical ridges, a pleasant design contact that additionally permits for grip. Between the rotating bezel and the show is an angled, fastened black bodily interior bezel that includes silver quantity markings going from 05 to 55, akin to the minutes in an hour. The Basic’s show extends proper to the sting of the bodily interior bezel, with virtually no seen inactive show border.
Due to its rotating bezel and chrome steel case, the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic is thicker and heavier than the usual Watch 6. On its spec sheet, Samsung claims each sizes of the Basic measure 10.9mm (0.4 inches) thick, however that appears to exclude the well being sensor that barely protrudes from the again. In response to my calipers, the small Basic is 15mm (about 0.6 inches) thick, whereas the usual Galaxy Watch 6 measures 13mm (about half an inch).
The big and small Basic weigh 59 grams (about 2 ounces) and 52 grams (1.8 ounces), respectively, up from 33.3 grams (about 1.1 ounces) and 28.7 grams (about 1 ounce) for the big and small normal Watch 6. After carrying the Watch 6 the week prior, the Basic felt noticeably heavier than its sibling after I first put it on. Regardless of its heft, the Watch 6 Basic is comfy and barely bothers me after I put on it to mattress for sleep monitoring.
A Higher Show, However Shorter Battery Life
As I focus on in my Galaxy Watch 6 evaluate, Samsung’s newest smartwatches characteristic bigger and brighter shows, however shorter battery life than the final technology.
I am going to begin with the excellent news: Due to the rise in display actual property, icons seem bigger on the show and the watches now supply six textual content font measurement choices as an alternative of 4. To vary the font measurement, navigate to Settings > Show > Font Dimension.
Furthermore, display brightness on the Galaxy Watch 6 collection maxes out at 2,000 nits, doubling that of the final technology and matching the Apple Watch Extremely. At most brightness, the display is vibrant and straightforward to see in vibrant daylight, a welcome improve right here in sunny Florida.
All variations of the Galaxy Watch 6 collection characteristic a Tremendous AMOLED always-on contact display protected by a sturdy sapphire crystal outer layer. The 43mm Basic sports activities a 1.3-inch panel with a decision of 432 by 432 pixels, whereas the 47mm has a 1.5-inch display with a 480-by-480-pixel decision.
Now for the not-so-good information: Utilizing the upgraded display at its full potential drains the battery in lower than a day. That is true for each variations of the Galaxy Watch 6 collection, which characteristic the identical measurement battery—300mAh or 425mAh, relying on the mannequin.
With the always-on show enabled and the brightness set to 2,000 nits, the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic stayed powered for 22 hours on a cost in testing, similar to its sibling.
In fact, show settings have an effect on battery life and retaining the brightness at 2,000 nits will drain the facility quicker than dropping it to 1,000 nits, which I discover is ample more often than not. You may manually regulate the display brightness with a slider within the fast settings menu (accessible by swiping down from the watch face) and by way of the primary show settings menu (accessible by way of Settings > Show).
The Galaxy Watch 6 collection additionally gives an Adaptive Brightness toggle inside the show settings that in testing reliably prolonged battery life by just a few hours versus retaining the display set to 2,000 nits on a regular basis. With this setting enabled, the watch routinely lowers the display brightness to round 1,000 nits or much less when indoors, and will increase it to 2,000 nits when outdoors in vibrant daylight.
With the always-on show and Adaptive Brightness enabled, the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic provided about 24 hours of battery life on a cost in testing. That is nonetheless a downgrade from the Galaxy Watch 5, which lasted for about 30 hours beneath related situations.
The Pixel Watch’s battery life does not blow us away both, but it surely too lasted longer than the Galaxy Watch 6 collection, staying powered for 25 hours on a cost with the always-on show in testing. The Apple Watch Sequence 8 powered by 30 hours beneath related situations.
Disabling the always-on show and enabling Adaptive Brightness—two battery-saving measures—elevated the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic’s battery life to greater than 38 hours on a cost, permitting for 2 full nights of sleep monitoring. Disabling the always-on show and setting the brightness to max yielded about 28 hours on a cost. In different phrases, you will have some latitude if you happen to do not thoughts altering among the settings.
For its half, Samsung formally claims that each the Galaxy Watch 6 and the Basic have a most battery lifetime of 40 hours on a cost (or 30 hours with the always-on show), down from 50 hours for the Galaxy Watch 5. However as my testing signifies, Samsung’s said run occasions usually exceed real-world battery life efficiency (except you intend to put on the watch however by no means work together with it).
If battery life is a main concern, the Galaxy Watch 5 Professional continues to be the most suitable choice in Samsung’s smartwatch lineup. The Watch 5 Professional, which incorporates a 590mAh cell, lasted as much as 79 hours on a cost with mild use in testing, practically matching Samsung’s official declare of 80 hours. If in case you have a Watch 5 Professional, I see no purpose to improve to the Watch 6 collection except you actually need the Basic’s rotating bezel.
The Put on OS-powered Mobvoi TicWatch Professional 5 is an alternative choice with lengthy battery life. It powered by 75 hours on a cost—greater than three full days. The TicWatch Professional 5 options a gorgeous 1.43-inch, 466-by-466-pixel AMOLED always-on show, plus a secondary ultra-low-power (ULP) show that helps lengthen the lifetime of its 628mAh battery.
For prolonged battery life, the Galaxy Watch 6 collection additionally gives power-saving and watch-only modes. When the watch runs low on battery, it should ask if you wish to allow certainly one of these modes. To manually allow them, navigate to Settings > Battery and Gadget Care > Battery.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Basic took about 80 minutes to achieve 100% battery from totally useless on its included charger. The usual mannequin juiced up in about 70 minutes, so count on your cost occasions to fall someplace inside that vary. Samsung says that eight minutes of charging delivers sufficient battery life for eight hours of sleep monitoring.
Principally Wonderful Efficiency
Whereas testing the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic, my unit skilled one overheating incident. Whereas ready for my apps to put in throughout setup, I put the watch on its charger since this course of usually drains the battery. A few minutes later, I checked the watch to see if my apps had completed putting in and noticed an overheating warning on the display: “Cannot cost,” it mentioned. “Watch wants to chill down.”
I skilled no overheating points whereas testing the usual Galaxy Watch 6, however I additionally saved it off the charger whereas it was putting in apps throughout setup, so I am unable to say whether or not it will have behaved the identical beneath these circumstances.
Other than that minor overheating situation, I had no drawback establishing the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic by way of the Galaxy Wearable app (out there for Android solely) on a Galaxy S21 FE, and the watch has labored flawlessly. I element the setup course of, person interface, and app choice in my evaluate of the usual Galaxy Watch 6, and that is all the identical for the Basic, so I will not reiterate that info right here. Each variations characteristic a brand new one-click band launch mechanism, which is not a lot simpler to make use of than the previous generations’ quick-release pins, however fortunately hasn’t proved to be much less safe.
To place the Basic’s 5ATM and IP68 dust- and water-resistance scores to the check, I wore it for a seashore day right here on the Florida Gulf Coast. After a 20-minute dip within the salt water and a raucous sport of bocce ball on the sand, the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic and its included artificial leather-based strap held up nearly as good as new, and the rotating bezel is as simple to show as ever.
Samsung’s newest smartwatches additionally proceed to satisfy the MIL-STD-810H normal, which means they need to haven’t any drawback dealing with excessive temperatures and different environmental stressors reminiscent of vibration and shock. The Galaxy Watch 6 collection is much more sturdy than the Google Pixel Watch, which gives a 5ATM ranking however no promised safety towards mud or excessive temperatures.
The Galaxy Watch 6 collection delivers on the approach to life entrance with calling and texting capabilities, a lot of watch face choices, and a variety of apps like Bixby, Google Maps, and Samsung Well being. Within the Play Retailer, there’s a big collection of third-party watch apps out there for obtain, together with Calm, Google Assistant, KakaoTalk, Peloton, Spotify, and WhatsApp.
The Basic additionally gives the identical unbelievable assortment of health and well being options I beforehand detailed in my Galaxy Watch 6 evaluate, together with in a single day pores and skin temperature measurements and plenty of different helpful sleep insights. For train monitoring, the Watch 6 collection has greater than 100 exercise profiles and you may add your personal with a brand new customized exercise characteristic. It reliably tracks sure forms of workouts routinely (together with strolling, working, biking, elliptical, rowing, swimming, and dynamic high-movement actions) and helps superior working metrics reminiscent of floor contact time and vertical oscillation, however does not supply working energy measurements just like the Apple Watch. In testing, the Basic exhibited the identical slight delay as the usual mannequin when detecting fast coronary heart charge change throughout exercises—their solely notable fitness-tracking shortcoming I’ve discovered.
On the security entrance, the watch helps 911 dialing (press the house button 5 occasions) and exhausting fall detection, however does not supply a automotive crash detection characteristic like the most recent Apple Watches. The Galaxy Watch may also notify you if it detects an unusually excessive or low coronary heart charge, or an irregular coronary heart rhythm that may point out atrial fibrillation. In the event you get an irregular rhythm notification, Samsung advises taking an ECG from the Samsung Well being Monitor watch app instantly and utilizing the consequence to determine whether or not to contact a health care provider.
The Finest-Wanting Android Watch
Representing the premium selection in Samsung’s lineup, the Galaxy Watch 6 Basic is value its $100 upcharge from the usual mode largely due to its rotating bezel, which permits for fast and exact scrolling, helps to guard the show from harm, and is simply downright enjoyable to make use of. The Basic additionally has a extra eye-catching design with a gleaming chrome steel construct and engaging stitching on its strap. It in any other case has the identical strengths because the Galaxy Watch 6, together with zippy efficiency, all the apps and connectivity options you could possibly need, and sturdy health, sleep, and well being monitoring capabilities. In the event you’re on a funds, the usual mannequin is the way in which to go, however if you happen to can swing it, the Basic is a compelling improve. That mentioned, neither watch earns our Editors’ Alternative award resulting from a lower in battery life from the earlier technology.