The Watch6 runs the new Wear OS 4 version, and the app selection on Google’s smartwatch platform is slowly improving. I’ve used it to check my Google Keep notes, and I love using the Google Home app to control my living room fan and the window AC in my office. I really want to see more messaging apps join the platform, though. WhatsApp is now available, which is great for starting new conversations if your phone is in another room, but can Telegram come back? Or Facebook Messenger?
One new crucial addition in Wear OS 4 is the ability to finally switch phones without having to completely reset the smartwatch. As someone who tests a new phone once every few weeks, I have been asking for a feature like this for years, and I am so happy to see it here. Naturally, when I was switching back to the Pixel Fold from the Galaxy Z Fold5, it took a few minutes and everything was set up exactly the way it was before within minutes. We live in the future.
Wear OS watches have always been laggier than Apple Watches, and while Samsung and Google have made strides to reduce the stutters you see while moving through the operating system, it’s still not as buttery smooth as using an Apple Watch. Even with the upgraded Exynos W930 chipset inside, you will see some slowdowns here and there.
I like using smartwatches to see basic health metrics too—mostly the ability to see what my heart rate is at any given moment and to track how little sleep I get. There’s also the peace of mind with features like fall detection (you have to manually turn this on), and the option to quickly contact 911 by pressing the top side button five times. If you menstruate, you can also take advantage of skin-temperature-based cycle tracking.
The Watch6 series now has FDA-cleared irregular heart rate notifications too, along with the existing electrocardiogram, which is a nice addition. Weirdly, you still need to download a separate app for these functions (Samsung Health Monitor). There is blood pressure monitoring, but it’s not available in the US, and it’s not cleared by the FDA. Just keep in mind that this trio of features is restricted to people who pair the watch with a Samsung phone. If you use another Android phone like a Google Pixel, you won’t be able to use the ECG or get irregular heart rate alerts.
One area where Samsung does fare well is battery life, at least when compared to smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 8 and the Google Pixel Watch. Yes, there are Garmins, Coros, and Suunto watches that can last much longer, but the 47-mm Classic lost only half its battery after a full day of use. Come morning, it had around 30 percent left, which was enough to last roughly until 5 pm the next day. This is with the always-on display, so when I turned it off, the battery comfortably stretched to two full days (with activity tracking thrown in there). It’s nice not having to charge the battery every single day, but keep in mind that this is the largest of the Watch6 models. That means every other Watch6 will not last as long, which is a shame.