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  • galaxy watch 6 gradient square-1
    Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

    Samsung's new Galaxy Watch is an evolution of the previous model. Featuring much of the same fitness hardware, but incorporating a bigger screen, slimmer case and more powerful internals in a package that's still pretty affordable. 

  • galaxy watch 5 square gradient
    Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
    $199.99 $279.99 Save $80

    Despite being older, the Galaxy Watch 5 is still a great option, if only because it has most of the abilities of the new version, except now it's cheaper because it's the previous generation. 

It's safe to say that Samsung's product cycle has become increasingly about coming out with small, iterative changes on previous generations. Looking at the Galaxy Watch 6, that couldn't be more true. There are changes and improvements, but not a huge amount over the Galaxy Watch 5.

So, is this a case of the same watch with a new name, and should you buy the newer Galaxy Watch over the older 2022 model? Or, should you save money and get the older one? We'll answer those questions in this comparison.

Price, specs & availability:

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 6 is available to pre-order from 26 July 2023, and will be available for sale on 11 August 2023. Pricing starts at just $299 in the US and £289 in the UK. We're still waiting for US pricing. The Galaxy Watch 5 has been available since summer 2022, and can now be found at an even better price than it was at launch. In the US, that's $199 at the time of writing - for the Bluetooth-only 40mm model - or - £219 in the UK.

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 6Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
    Operating SystemWear OS 4 with One UI 5Wear OS 3, Samsung One UI Watch 4.5
    Lens MaterialSapphire CrystalSapphire Crystal Glass
    Case MaterialArmour AluminiumAluminium
    ColorsGraphite, silver and goldGraphite, Silver, Pink Gold (40mm), Sapphire (44mm)
    Display480 x 480 (44mm) or 432 x 432 (40mm) Super AMOLED1.19-inch, 396 x 396 pixels (40mm) / 1.36-inch, 450 x 450 pixels (44mm)
    CPUExynos W930 dual-core 1.4GHz Exynos W920
    Battery425mAh (44mm) or 300mAh (40mm)284mAh (40mm) / 410mAh (44mm)
    ConnectivityLTE available, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 2.4GHz and 5GHz, NFCBluetooth, LTE
    DurabilityMIL-STD-810HIP68, MIL-STD-810H, 5ATM
    Health sensorsHeart Rate, ECG, Temperature Sensors, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Light SensorHeart rate monitoring, ECG, blood pressure, blood oxygen, body composition, skin temperature, barometer, gyroscope

Galaxy Watch 6 vs Galaxy Watch 5: Design

Galaxy Watch 6 lead1

At a quick glance, you might look at the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 6 and think it's the same watch. That's because - in truth - not a huge amount has changed in the new generation. Both models have a very similar design that features a completely round, flat, quite simple two-button design with an Armour Aluminium frame that seamlessly blends into the strap lugs.

The two generations aren't identical, however, and you may just notice a couple of small differences if you look closely. The most obvious - and easier to see on the smaller version of each - is the reduction in bezel thickness. It means the screen takes up more space on the front.

Get your ruler out and you'll also - perhaps - notice that Samsung has shaved some thickness from the casing too. It's dropped from 9.8mm thin to 9.0mm, but they are otherwise very similar in shape and size.

One other key change is the strap design. Rather than feature a fiddly catch like the older versions of Galaxy Watch, the Galaxy Watch 6 family all have a much simpler release system with a small rectangular button that you press to release the strap or band.

Colour options have changed slightly from last year's model to the current one. Samsung is offering a small Gold model to go alongside the staple Graphite and Silver options. In the previous generation, those two colours were joined by a light blue Sapphire model.

As far as durability and waterproofing go, there's no improvement. But that's hardly surprising, the last generation was about as durable and water/dust resistant as smartwatches come. Both generations are waterproof to 5ATM levels, and IP68 rated, they also have MIL-STD-810H certification to ensure they can survive pretty much anything you throw at them, in any condition. They also both have the same sapphire crystal glass over the displays, to ensure they don't get scratched or damaged easily.

Weight hasn't changed all that much between Watch 5 and Watch 6 either, so regardless of model, you'll have a lightweight, comfortable watch that's easy to ignore on your wrist. You're also getting the option of both 44mm and 40mm sizes, so there's an option for larger and smaller wrists.

Display and software

Galaxy Watch 5 photo 1

As mentioned, the display is the biggest change between 2022's smartwatch and 2023's. That's because - despite being the same sized watch (near enough) - the screen sizes have increased from 1.2-inches and 1.4-inches on the 40mm and 44mm versions of Galaxy Watch 5 to 1.3-inches and 1.5-inches on the smaller and larger Galaxy Watch 6 respectively.

This increase in size not only means less bezel but should also mean data and text on the display are a little easier to read than on older, smaller variants.

Other than that size increase - and an increase in pixel count because of that - the displays are largely the same. Both generations use a colour-rich Super AMOLED panel, with bright peaks, deep inky blacks and very saturated colours.

The software has been updated too. This year the watches will launch running Wear OS 4 out of the box with One UI 5 running on top. We know this software will be available on the Galaxy Watch 5 as well in the very near future. Samsung has been running a beta program for a few months now.

It means the best of Google's apps, the Play Store and Samsung's own features like Samsung Wallet/Pay for contactless payments.

Fitness tracking, performance and battery

Galaxy Watch 6 big vs small

There have been some decent - although incremental - updates done internally on the latest watches. Where the Galaxy Watch 5 has a dual-core 1.18Ghz Exynos W920 processor, the Galaxy Watch 6 series has a 1.4GHz dual-core Exynos W930 chipset. It's claimed this will increase speed and response times.

In addition, the amount of RAM has been increased too. Rather than just 1.5GB (like the Watch 5), the Galaxy Watch 6 has 2GB, and that should mean slightly better performance when running apps and features on the watch. Storage has remained the same at 16GB, which should be plenty for downloading apps, watch faces and some music for offline listening.

Even fitness-tracking sensors and capabilities have remained largely the same. The system is powered by Samsung's BioActive sensor and offers all-day heart-rate, ECG and thermometer alongside all the usual motion detection sensors and GPS.

While the thermometer isn't new, Samsung actually using it for something useful is relatively new. It's useful for tracking your basal temperature, and - if you have a menstrual cycle - it can help you figure out when you're ovulating, when your fertile window is and give you insight into your own cycle. It's worth noting, this feature will also be available on the Galaxy Watch 5.


In the end, there's not a huge difference between the Galaxy Watch 6 and the Galaxy Watch 5. To the point where it might actually make more sense to go for the older model. It's currently much cheaper than it was at launch, and - crucially - cheaper than the new Galaxy Watch 6.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Samsung / Pocket-lint
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
$180 $280 Save $100

Sure, the Watch 6 has a larger display and slightly slimmer build, but most of the changes are quite incremental. There's no massive jump in performance or features. If you really want that bigger screen though, it's a watch that should serve you well and will likely be one of the best-selling Wear OS watches for the next year.