Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
High quality, high price
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic features a bigger case, a physical rotating bezel, and a 3D Hall sensor for better positioning. In addition, Samsung claims up to 30 hours of wear time on a single charge, boosting to 40 hours with AOD off. A sapphire crystal provides additional protection to the display, making it immune to most scratches.Pros
- Sapphire crystal display
- Good battery life
- Physical rotating bezel
Google Pixel Watch
$295 $350 Save $55
The Google Pixel Watch sports a premium construction with a stainless steel frame and Gorilla Glass 5 protecting the display. Its unique band design allows for a seamless appearance of the device. However, at 41mm, it’s on the smaller side for smartwatches, and the battery suffers, struggling to provide a full day’s use on a single charge in most cases.Pros
- Premium design
- Good value for the price
- Seamless pairing
- Poor battery life
- Fitbit Premium subscription needed for full features
If you’re in the market for a premium smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and Google Pixel Watch are two of the best wearables available in 2023. While the newer Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has definite advantages, the Pixel Watch’s recent deals might entice you to take a chance. Which smartwatch you buy will be determined by the features you consider most important — and whether you care about battery life or not.
Price, availability, and specs
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is available through Samsung and Best Buy starting at $400. Samsung offers the Watch 6 Classic in 43 and 47mm sizes with a choice between black and silver. If you want 4G LTE connectivity, it will run you an extra $50.
The Google Pixel Watch is available through Google and Best Buy for $350, with Google having a current sale price of $300. While Google only sells the Pixel Watch in one size, 41mm, you have three colors to choose from: Champagne Gold, Matte Black, and Polished Silver. For an additional $30, you can upgrade to the 4G LTE version.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Google Pixel Watch Display 43mm: 1.3-inch 432 x 432 Super AMOLED, Always On Display; 47mm 1.5-inch 480 x 480 Super AMOLED Always On Display 1.6-inch 384 x 384 AMOLED, Always On Display CPU Exynos W930 Dual-Core 1.4GHz Exynos 9110 SoC, Cortex M33 co-processor RAM 2GB 2GB Storage 16GB 32GB Battery 43mm: 300mAh 47mm: 425mAh 294mAh Connectivity LTE6, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 2.4+5GHz, NFC 4G LTE, UMTS, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo Durability 5ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810H 5ATM Software Wear OS 4 / One UI 5 Watch Wear OS 3.5 Health sensors Samsung BioActive Sensor, Temperature Sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Light Sensor, 3D Hall Sensor Optical heart rate sensor, Multipurpose electrical sensor, Blood oxygen sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Altimeter, Compass Price 43mm: $400 47mm: $430 From $350 Strap Hybrid Eco-Leather Band Active band included: Small (130 – 175 mm) and Large (165 – 210 mm) Weight 43mm: 52g 47mm: 59g 36g
Design and display
Despite the price difference, the Pixel Watch’s design holds up well against the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. Google and Samsung opted for stainless steel frames, giving both devices a premium feel on the wrist. While a touch inconvenient, the band release mechanism on the Pixel Watch is well done; I enjoy the way the band melts into the watch’s frame. Although it means you’ll have to buy an adapter to fit regular watch bands on your Pixel Watch, I like the seamless design.
One major advantage of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is the use of sapphire crystal on the display. While the Gorilla Glass 5 on the Pixel Watch will prevent breaking, the sapphire crystal on the Samsung watch prevents micro scratches and small damages from light impacts. It’s a material used on premium mechanical watches for a reason, and it’s a welcomed addition to the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. I feel more comfortable with the Watch 6 Classic as a daily wear device because of the extra durability provided by the sapphire.
In addition, Samsung has brought back the rotating bezel to the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. It’s a fan favorite and helps make navigation through the device easier. The rotating crown on the Pixel Watch is no slouch and feels great to turn, but the rotating bezel is faster for quick tasks on the wrist.
The Pixel Watch size results in a smaller 1.2-inch AMOLED display refreshing at 30Hz. It gets bright enough for use outdoors, and I managed to adjust to the size after a bit of use. Although it’s not for many tasks, notifications looked fine on the smaller display. The colors look good and pop off the screen of the Pixel Watch, and the bezel around the edge isn’t as much of a distraction as it may seem.
By contrast, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic ships with either a 1.3-inch or 1.5-inch display. Depending on the size you order, it’s a noticeable difference compared to the Pixel, and if you’re used to bigger smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic will be more familiar. As expected, apps look fantastic on the larger AMOLED displays, refreshing at 60Hz. So, if you do a lot of scrolling on your smartwatch or want to see more of a conversation string, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is your choice.
Software and performance
Despite what you’d think, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is one of the first devices to launch Wear OS 4, with the Pixel Watch still running Wear OS 3.5. You won’t notice a huge difference yet, but Google plans to release apps for Gmail and Calendar, making responding to emails from your Wear OS device easier. With Wear OS 4 in beta for the Pixel Watch, it won’t be long before we see an upgrade, but if you want the latest and greatest right now, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is your choice.
While the Watch 6 Classic is still Wear OS 4, Samsung adds One UI flavor to the software experience. It’s much like the Tizen OS featured on the Galaxy watches of old, and it makes good use of the physical rotating bezel for navigation. Yes, I prefer the touches Samsung adds to the software, but I understand this is a personal preference.
Even though the Pixel Watch’s processor is a little dated, it still runs well thanks to Google adding the Cortex M33 co-processor. Most apps launch quickly, and notifications slide onto the display without a hitch. As expected, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is powered by the new Exynos W930 chipset. It produces impressive performance, creating a smooth experience while navigating menus and apps. While there isn’t any doubt the Watch 6 Classic is faster, it’s difficult to tell, given smartwatches aren’t typically called on to run the most intensive apps. But if you feel that extra bit of speed is necessary, the Watch 6 Classic has it.
Health and activity tracking
Initially, I was excited about Google’s integration with Fitbit. I thought it would result in better activity tracking and a more robust suite of fitness apps. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been smooth sailing, resulting in a mixed bag with the Pixel Watch. The apps work well — sleep and workout tracking is everything you’d expect from Fitbit. However, after the first six months, you’re expected to pay for a Fitbit premium account to keep enjoying those features. There is something off-putting about paying close to $300 for a smartwatch only to keep paying monthly to enjoy it to the fullest.
On the other hand, the Samsung Health app runs well and doesn’t require a subscription to keep features unlocked. While both watches track workouts, heart rate, SpO2 levels, and sleep, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic adds skin temperature tracking. Accuracy varies from watch to watch, but I didn’t find an alarming deviation between the two. Overall, the Pixel Watch has an impressive suite of functions, but battery life and subscriptions hold it back — two concerns the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic doesn’t share.
It doesn’t matter how many features a smartwatch has if it doesn’t have the battery life to match. Sleep tracking is power-hungry on the Pixel Watch, frequently burning off 20% or more of battery life at night. In my own use, I had an evening where I went to bed with nearly 30% of battery life remaining, only to wake up to a dead watch. It’s frustrating and unnecessary. Thankfully, the Pixel Watch is capable of topping off in roughly 30 minutes, but it still doesn’t make up for its disappointing battery performance.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic performs well, with nearly a 50% larger battery than the Pixel Watch. Samsung claims 30 hours of wear time, with the watch stretching to 40 hours with the always-on display turned off. It’s enough to get you through a day and then some, and it makes a difference, giving you extra peace of mind that your watch can be used and still function. The Pixel Watch’s biggest flaw is its poor battery life, which is the most convincing reason to choose a Galaxy Watch 6 Classic instead.
Which is right for you?
I respect Google’s first attempt at a smartwatch, and I look at it more favorably due to its lower price tag, but the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic provides more functionality in the key areas I look for. For example, I love the addition of sapphire crystal to the Watch 6 Classic display. It adds peace of mind to the daily wear experience, knowing your watch’s display won’t micro scratch each time you bump your watch. And then there is the battery life — a major advantage for the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. Even though it costs a bit more, I believe the extra benefits make it the better choice.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
High quality to match the high price
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic features a bigger case, a physical rotating bezel, and a 3D Hall sensor for better positioning. In addition, Samsung claims up to 30 hours of wear time on a single charge, boosting to 40 hours with AOD off. A sapphire crystal provides additional protection to the display, making it immune to most scratches.
If you’re a light smartwatch user and rely on it mostly for notifications and some apps, the Pixel Watch will be fine for the discounted price. As long as you don’t tax the battery too hard, it will make it through the day, and you’ll enjoy the premium look and feel.
Google Pixel Watch
$295 $350 Save $55
The Google Pixel Watch sports a premium construction with a stainless steel frame and Gorilla Glass 5 protecting the display. Its unique band design allows for a seamless appearance of the device. At 41mm, it’s on the smaller side for smartwatches, and the battery suffers the most, struggling to provide a full day’s use on a single charge in most cases.