Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
The Galaxy Watch 6 from Samsung is an essentially incremental improvement over the Galaxy Watch 5. Yes, it might have helped to enhance several components of the health tracking system. Additionally, the wearable’s design was improved, and the battery life was increased. However, it is obvious that Samsung did not intend to reinvent the wheel in this instance (and they typically do not). Given that the prior generation was already rather competent, it is also simple to understand why.
Samsung concentrated on enhancing its wellness-related features in this year’s upgrade. The ability to customize heart rate zone training during runs, better GPS tracking designed for track runners, more customization in the workout app, and the addition of irregular heart rate rhythm notifications are just a few examples of these improvements. The catch, of course, is that all of these upgrades, going all the way back to the Watch 4, will be available to the Watch 6’s predecessors. Therefore, it might not be required to upgrade if you already own one of the first two models.
Even yet, the Galaxy Watch 6’s modest advancements enable it to compete with the market leaders. For instance, it can now compete head-to-head with Fitbit’s sophisticated sleep analysis tools. The watch now has the same EKG monitoring capabilities as Apple and Pixel smartwatches thanks to the new heart health functions. The enhanced run coaching, meanwhile, gets it closer to watches made by Garmin.
Design and battery life
The Watch 6’s mechanical bezel-free variant costs $299 for the 40mm model, which is available in graphite and gold, and $329 for the 43mm model, which also comes in silver. Although it does not feature the rotating bezel of the Classic, it does have a digital bezel that you can scroll across to get your most-used widgets, such as Weather, Workouts, and Sleep, without having to navigate a menu.
With the Watch 6, Samsung also unveiled a brand-new design element called One-Click, which makes it simpler to switch out bands with just the push of a button to suit your varying fashion requirements. Personally, I think the flush circular display and graphite sports band offer the watch a sleeker look.
The Watch 6 also has a brighter, higher-resolution display with a peak brightness of 2,000 nits, which is an improvement above the previous model’s maximum brightness of 1,000 nits. Additionally, the screen is 20% bigger, making text simpler to read. When our Deputy Reviews Editor Cherlynn Low tested the Watch 5, the always-on display (AOD) quickly depleted the battery life, but I didn’t experience a similar problem while wearing the Watch 6.
To power this year’s larger and brighter display, the Galaxy Watch 6 has a larger battery. The watch should last up to 40 hours without the AOD and up to 30 hours with it on, according to Samsung. This is perfect for people who lead busy lives and need to know that their watch will function after eight hours at the office, when they go to the gym, and later when they need to track their sleep. After using the watch for a day or two (mostly for recording workouts), I was able to use the quick charge feature to charge it to about 80%, or virtually full, in under 30 minutes, extending the battery life by at least eight hours each time. Any wearable’s battery life will, however, vary depending on how much it is used.
Health monitoring and tracking
Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification (IHRN), a feature that has been present on competing smartphones for years but is new to Samsung, is present on the Watch 6. The IHRN technology, which is supported by the FDA, can identify EKG activity that may be indicative of atrial fibrillation (AFib), a condition that frequently precedes heart attack or stroke. The FDA-approved feature continuously tracks a user’s heart activity in the background. I couldn’t test this feature to see if it could accurately identify irregular cardiac activity because I don’t have AFib. This adds to Samsung’s overall pool of individualized health data tracking, which can be easily accessed in reports on a paired Android phone and shared with a healthcare provider or family member. This is in addition to the conventional blood pressure monitoring, blood oxygen monitoring, body composition measuring tool, and EKG readings.
I do wish the terminology surrounding heart health was less technical after performing a typical EKG reading. It’s easy to misinterpret the “sinus rhythm detected” pop-up, but it really only says that your heart activity is normal. Despite this, Samsung did protect its own interests. A pop-up disclaimer that reads “This wearable does not detect heart attacks” appears after each EKG cycle you perform. The Watch 6 now has the IHRN feature, continuing the company’s effort to provide users with additional beneficial cardiovascular data.
In order to broaden the scope of its tracking capabilities, Samsung improved the menstrual cycle predictions feature that was first offered with the Watch 5. This contains the sensor technology and skin temperature reading from the previous generation device, which captures data as you sleep. Monitoring your monthly period, ovulation cycle, and fertile windows is made easier by this feature. However, the program must get constant data input from a user in order for its forecasts to become more accurate.
The new dedicated watch face, which is powered by Natural Cycles, a period tracking software, makes it simple to enter daily symptoms, which are not all necessarily connected to a menstrual cycle. It can keep track of everything, including changes in mood, bodily symptoms like cramps and bloating, and sexual activity. By combining all of the data, Samsung’s software can forecast the beginning and end of periods, fertile windows, and the anticipated start of ovulation. Theoretically, this is all fantastic, but if you’re not great at keeping track of your periods every day, you can wind up with outdated predictions like I did, claiming that your period should have started but never did.
The new watch also contains a fall detection feature that, in the event of a heavy fall, sends the user’s position to a selected emergency contact or emergency service line via an integrated SOS tool. This feature requires manual setup, and you can choose whether or not the watch should detect falls when exercising or, quote, “during any activity, or movements not registered as exercise.” Samsung claims that if a fall is detected, the device can take up to 30 seconds to identify the fall, though the waiting time can be set to as little as 10 seconds.
It is possible to plug medical data and conditions specific to a user’s health history into the interface on the associated device. The elderly or those who are medically at danger of falling (such as those who have recently undergone surgery or are on a lot of medication) may find this to be especially helpful. I was never able to activate the warning system during testing despite landing on various surfaces and remaining still for at least 30 seconds on each occasion. According to Samsung, a watch should vibrate, make a sound, and display a popup for 30 seconds after a fall. The purpose of this delay is to give the user some time to get up or decide not to alert emergency personnel. To be fair, the competing Apple Watch Series 8 found it challenging to activate as well.
Customizable fitness regimens
For a dedicated fitness enthusiast, creating a custom training schedule with important metrics and objectives in mind is nothing new. Samsung has made it a point to increase its fitness trackers since the release of the Galaxy Watch 4. There are now over 95 different activities and sports that can be tracked on the watch face, and users can also design their own personalized routines. I usually begin my workouts with 45-pound dumbbells. I was able to identify this exercise as my warm-up for deadlifts and keep track of the number of calories I burned during the workout. Though companies like Fitbit and Apple offer comparable user experiences in their fitness tracking apps, this emphasis on customisation is not new. It can be useful for folks like myself who like to count down rather than up to be able to construct a program to burn a specific number of calories or achieve a given number of steps.
In keeping with the customisation idea, Samsung’s new customizable HR zones are designed to aid runners in deciding how quickly to move. Users of the program will be able to monitor heart rate zone data and get understanding of their own degrees of exertion. I may adjust my program to meet my fitness objectives, whether they be fat loss, increased endurance, or cardiovascular conditioning, by staying inside certain zones. Additionally, monitoring heart rate can aid runners in avoiding overexertion, which can result in injury or burnout. A runner can exercise safely and sustainably by maintaining a healthy heart rate range. All in all, like with most health and fitness aspects, discipline will be key to maximizing the value of monitoring.
Making a personalized training regimen with significant measurements and objectives in mind is nothing new for a committed fitness fanatic. Since the launch of the Galaxy Watch 4, Samsung has made a point to expand its line of fitness trackers. Users can create their own unique routines in addition to tracking over 95 different activities and sports on the watch display. I normally start out with 45-pound dumbbells when working out. I was able to keep track of the calories I expended during the workout and designate this activity as my warm-up for deadlifts. This emphasis on customization is not new, despite the fact that businesses like Fitbit and Apple provide identical user experiences in their fitness tracking apps. It can be helpful to be able to create a program to burn a specific number of calories or complete a given number of steps for people like me who like to count down rather than up.
Samsung’s new configurable HR zones are made to help runners choose how swiftly to move, keeping with the idea of customization. The program’s users will be able to track heart rate zone data and gauge their own levels of exertion. By maintaining inside particular zones, I may modify my program to achieve my fitness goals, whether they be fat loss, enhanced endurance, or cardiovascular conditioning. Monitoring heart rate can also help runners prevent overexertion, which can lead to harm or burnout. By keeping their heart rates within a reasonable range, runners are able to exercise safely and continuously. Overall, as with other elements of health and fitness, discipline will be essential to reaping the benefits of monitoring.
All of this is to imply that, even while it’s a convenient tool to have if you’re an experienced athlete who can understand and modify your exertion properly. But getting a quick glance of where my HR zone is with a given run tracker is virtually not nearly as useful as experiencing the constant distracting buzz alerting me to something I’m not quite sure what to deal with.
The notification feature is generally too exciting. The watch kept pinging me to speed up my run because it continued to track my heart rate zone activities and recommend improvements even when I stopped working out to talk to Cherlynn. The watch’s sensitivity for movement auto-detection is rather precise despite this one-off. It recognized stops and restarted based on my movement much faster than my Apple Watch, which frequently lagged by at least a few seconds.
Sleep tracking and analysis
Since the previous generation, Samsung has said it seeks to improve consumers’ sleep experiences by increasing its thorough but customized sleep pattern analysis technologies. In order to reduce distractions, Samsung’s previously announced Sleep Mode features automatically turn off alerts, lower the watch’s screen, and switch to an indiscernible infrared LED. Setting up sleep objectives was easy, and to my surprise, I had no issue dozing off while wearing the watch. My wrist is not suffocated by it at night, and after a while, it becomes simple to forget that it is even there. If you’re linked to Samsung home devices, you can also set up the Smart Things function, which can detect when a user is resting and create the “ideal sleep environment” by turning off or adjusting home electronics like TVs and lighting. I don’t personally own any Samsung home products, so I was unable to check how the Watch 6 would work with those devices.
I enjoyed the sleep analysis feature because it provided a very thorough study of my sleeping patterns, complete with a REM graphic, on the Watch 6’s special sleep watch face after each night of use. The phone allowed me to view my sleep quality in even greater depth, showing me how my nights compared day to day and explaining the meaning of each section of my REM graphic and why it was important. For instance, it described how much deep sleep I obtained and how much more I required. You’re intended to activate the sleep coach program, which also links you with your “sleep animal,” a small 2D avatar that represents your sleeping patterns, after using it for seven nights. Even though it was more comfortable than an Apple Watch, I still don’t like wearing a watch at night.
Particularly at this price, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 has become a popular option among Android users. The apparent substitute for iPhone users is the $399 Apple Watch Series 8, though. Similar features include GPS tracking, heart-rate sensing, fall detection, sleep tracking, and automatic workout identification in both versions.
The Garmin Forerunner 745, which is now on sale for $299, might be a better option for athletes looking for thorough insights into performance metrics and running-focused training plans in terms of fitness-centric products. Even though it may not have as many tools for health advice, it still has important features like fall detection, stress monitoring, and heart rate monitoring.
But the Fitbit Versa 4, which has a starting price of $199, is a reasonable substitute if you want features that are very comparable in terms of fitness monitoring and sleep coaching. The Versa 4 offers a smartwatch that is less integrated and has a bare-bones feel, though. For instance, using the watch to play or pause music is not possible.
With its numerous upgrades focused on heart health, women’s health, exercise, and sleep, Samsung wants the Galaxy Watch 6 to be seen as a health companion. However, the user is who ultimately reaps the rewards. Without discipline, it is impossible to generate insights, conduct worthwhile tracking, or provide correct counseling.
However, this does not diminish the gadget’s well-deserved brilliance in certain areas, particularly design, comfort, and fitness. It’s nothing new, and if you already have a wearable from the last few years or use iOS, it’s probably not for you. Hold onto your cash if you own a Galaxy Watch from the previous generation because the updates are already in your possession.