The Galaxy Watch6 Classic review

Classic... Remember when that was kind of an oxymoronic kind of descriptor.  Remember that time Greg fell into the pool... classic!

Well, the Galaxy Watch6 Classic definitely isn't any descriptor of something that shouldn't be classic.  The $550 (CDN) watch definitely looks like a timeless timepiece, has some great resolution and, what I think is one of the best ways to interact with a watch (the rotating crown) out there.

But, is it for me?  I've been using it for about a week and a bit now and ... let's dive in.

First up - as always for us enthusiasts will be the specs.  If I'm shelling out the cash, what does it cram on the insides?

  • 1.5" @ 480x480
  • Exynos W930
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • 425mAh battery
  • IP68 / MIL-STD-810
  • WearOS 

Some decent specs on first glance.  I was kind of excited at first seeing that Galaxy Wear had long since abandoned Tizen for Wear ... so could I use the Wear OS app to run it and not have to go through the rigamarole of the the Galaxy Wear app.  See, I'm a Pixel guy.  The nice thing about Samsung is that it's all based on Android anyways, so it's all possible, just they've got their Sammy stuff to include, so if you don't have it on your phone too, you'll need it.

Setting it up as a non-Samsung user just had a lot of extra steps.  I downloaded the Galaxy Wear app, which also prompted me to download the plugin for that specific watch, and then include Samsung Health and Samsung Smart Switch (and I had to remember my old Samsung logins, some of these steps it just wouldn't take my Google authentication to log in like I normally did).

There was the option as well to include Samsung Pay for the watch, yet I couldn't download it on my phone, but I could set it up externally through the web/watch... but I'll get into that later.

Needless to say, it's a lot to set up if you're not a Samsung user.  Not overly tedious, but it is a process.

Aside from setting it up, you'll need to have it charged, and it uses a magnetic charger, however I still wish these watches used Qi - it would make a lot of things easier.

Now that it's charged and set up, I gotta say I'm impressed this far.

First up, it LOOKS like a regular watch and the band is a nice leather and the crown looks awesome (and it rotates!!!).

Now, to get it on my wrist is the first sorta note I have something to worry about.  The watch band just fits.  I can set it to the 3rd last spot, but it's tight.  

2nd last feels better, but the remaining band barely is held in place by the holders.

The display looks really good.  

Sure, it's a little bigger than my Pixel watch and the resolution isn't much different, yet the Watch6 Classic looks to be much higher.  Maybe it's the use of colours that really show it off.

Let's use it.  If you're a WearOS user like me, you're going to have some basic navigation to get used to.  On WearOS even between regular watches and the Pixel, there's subtle differences, between those and Galaxy Wear it's a new world of interaction.

Here's me trying to give it my best to explain.

There's a homescreen (and we'll get how to adjust and customize later) and you can move up or down, left or right.

Moving it to the right (you can use the crown to rotate towards it) and that brings up the tiles (think of them like widgets).  Moving it to the left (again, use the crown for that, have I mentioned I loved using the crown to rotate) brings up any notifications

Pulling down from the top will bring up the quick panel for settings (and you can slide left or right to see more settings).  Swiping up from the bottom brings up all the apps that are arranged in a hexagonal grid of icons.

So learning to navigate through how it works takes maybe a day.

The most important thing about having a smartwatch is that interaction between your phone and the watch; being able to get a notice of an email or text and not have to grab your phone and unlock - maybe it's something you just need to see and can ignore.

How do the interactions work on here?  When a notification pops up you get that flash on the screen and depending on the app you have the option to interact/reply or get rid of it.  Now, some of them have a long long LOOOONG list of interactions.  So if you want to just swipe away the notice you can either just hit one of the bottoms to bring you back to the homescreen (then the notification remains to be seen later), OR you can swipe all the way to the bottom of the interactions and click the tracshcan icon.  This is also a slightly odd bit, it's the one spot where I'm not super excited about the crown, scrolling up and down with the crown is seemingly especially slow.

Those interactions vary app to app, but things like texts or emails you have options for quick response - and by default there's like 16 ... that's a lot to scramble through.

You can also just reply with an onscreen keyboard (which you can swipe around with that glide style typing), voice or even draw.

Then there's the things you can do on your watch that don't come from your phone directly, these are the tiles, quick accesses to the apps to provide you detail.

These widgets display some information that will be useful or a quick way to access that app.

Immediately things like seeing how many steps you have that day, the weather, or your calendar/upcoming events.  Those are the ones that show you something - but then you can do things that will do an action.  For me I like the timer, a button that will start a 3 minute timer (enough time for coffee to steep in my clever dripper), or start an activity like a bike ride, jog, etc...

If you move all the way over in the tiles section there is a + that lets you add more (depending on the apps you download).  Long pressing any of the tiles you can swipe it up and away or rearrange it.

Then there's also customizing the thing you look at the most, the homescreen.

Long pressing on the screen brings up your list of chosen homescreens (so you can quickly switch between them), and at the bottom of one you can see a 🖉 pen icon which lets you edit that screen.  Each homescreen may have their own style of editing and customization, but you'll eventually see 'complications' and those are the mini widgets that'll be shown on the display (step count, temperature, etc...).

There are lots to choose from as well to make the display look your own.

Then because it's also using WearOS, there is the Play Store located in the app drawer and you can install any compatible apps you'd want.

For me, the big option was that I could download Google Fit - I prefer that to S-Health, but, I could actually connect the 2 services together and sync anyways... hrmm, a dilemma.

Speaking of S-Health, it's been a while since I used it, so I thought I'd go about giving it a shot on the watch.  I used it like I would Fit on my Pixel Watch and let it do its thing passively.  It should just do its tracking and logging of activities of its own accord.

I had a nice long walk one day and the watch popped up saying it noticed the walk and was doing its measurements.  Later looking at what it tracked, I could see that it went into Fit and carried the map, but it was fairly missing stretches.  Another time I went for bike rides and it recognized it as well, but the map wouldn't show.  Now, again, because I'm the Fit world, I'm not really looking at the S-Health app (I noticed it's not logged the bike ride in S-Health, but it did the walk), same as I don't really care about the Fitbit data using my Pixel Watch.

What else have I been using with the watch you'd want to learn about - Pay!  It does have the option to use the watch to tap to pay with Samsung Pay.  And Samsung is one of the 2 systems that my bank allows for tap to pay.  I could set it up in the app on my phone, but it got difficult because the app wasn't allowed to be installed on my phone (it's not Samsung).  The trick with it is that in order for it to work I'd have to install a screen lock for security; meaning that every time I wanted to open the watch to get a notification I'd need the pin... if only it would be required when we want to pay.

The last bit I have to remark about on the watch is the battery.  On a normal day after work it was about 61%.  Not bad.  Got to bed and it was 35%

Now, days where I had a lot more walking (a Saturday where I spend a lot of time on the field back and forth) it died well before midnight.  On the days I rode my bike into work and back the battery was definitely below half by the end of the work day.

It's not great, but it's not terrible.  You'll definitely have to be charging it once a day.  Then again, I'm the type of person to see my phone at 70% and think it's "low".

Overall, it's a great looking device and the interface, is novel, and I almost prefer it after a few days.  And, can I say how much I like the rotating crown.  It's novel.

The display is awesome, and it's really responsive, no lag (although, now and again it would take a moment to 'wake up').

If only the band were a bit longer - sure you can buy another longer band, but the device is already $550CAD.  Were I a Samsung user it would also be a way easier scenario.