Samsung isn't repeating the same mistakes with the Galaxy Watch 6
But only, allegedly, on one model.
When you make a device as popular as the Samsung Galaxy Watch series, it's hard to read what the critics have to say. But, it looks like Samsung's product development team is a rather humble group that's willing to take constructive criticism into account and improve its future products.
That's why the latest Galaxy Watch 6 (opens in new tab) rumors and leaks have me very excited about what's in store for this year's best Android watches (opens in new tab). In particular, I'm very happy about one feature that seems to be making a big return: the physically rotating bezel.
In fact, the Galaxy Watch 6 looks like it's going the route of the Galaxy Watch 4 (opens in new tab) in many ways, starting with the return of the Classic model.
The Classic is back (hopefully)
SamMobile (opens in new tab) reported that well-known leaker Super Roader (opens in new tab) has the inside scoop on Samsung's roadmap and that Samsung will be releasing four new watch models this year instead of just two or three.
- Galaxy Watch 6 40mm
- Galaxy Watch 6 44mm
- Galaxy Watch 6 Classic 42mm
- Galaxy Watch 6 Classic 46mm
With the Galaxy Watch 5 (opens in new tab), Samsung got rid of the Classic model in favor of the Pro, a beefier smartwatch with a bigger battery, bigger display, bigger casing, a few more features, and no rotating bezel.
By all accounts, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro was a mistake (opens in new tab) because it removed one of the best features the Galaxy Watch had: the physically rotating bezel.
Now, instead of just providing bigger watches with the same design, Samsung is apparently returning to two sizes of each watch type. Good on Samsung for releasing two sizes for each model. That's super important for a watch, especially since people's wrists differ in size.
The regular Galaxy Watch 6 will retain the digital bezel while both Classic models will see a slight size bump since they've got a rotating physical bezel on the front.
If you've ever used a Galaxy Watch with a physically rotating bezel, I don't need to explain why it's so great. If you've only ever used a smartwatch that has a rotating crown, there are several reasons why a rotating bezel is a superior design.
First off, it doesn't get in the way when working out. No matter where you situate a watch crown, it's still going to get accidentally pressed while working out because of how the human wrist moves. I have to flip my Pixel Watch around (or put it on the other arm) just to avoid this problem.
Second, it's less awkward to use. When you use your watch with your offhand, it makes more sense to be rotating a bezel around instead of scrolling through notifications with a single finger on a tiny crown. Not only that but, even with the excellent haptics of the Pixel Watch, a rotating crown makes it easier to precisely and quickly choose apps and tiles when scrolling through them.
Lastly, the UI just works so well with a physically rotating bezel that it doesn't make sense to ship a Galaxy Watch without one.
I imagine the reason Samsung was trying to get rid of the bezel was down to manufacturing costs or difficulty than anything but, given the product's overall design — including the OS — A Galaxy Watch without the bezel feels a lot like buying a car without air conditioning. It's a feature that should just be there, no questions asked.
Plus, it's one of the most unique things about a Galaxy Watch. In a sea of similar devices, removing your most unique feature is never the right move.
Rounding it out
Rumor also has it that Samsung will be going back to a rounded glass design (opens in new tab) on the Galaxy Watch 6. There's no telling if this is happening because Google's Pixel Watch is a gorgeous round smartwatch or if Samsung is listening to feedback from customers who might have preferred the curved glass on the old Galaxy Watch Active models.
Either way, there's little doubt that this will be a bit of a controversial move. The curved glass looks gorgeous but also presents a big problem. Since it's raised about the watch's body, it's far more prone to scratches and breaks than flat glass would be. That's especially true if there's a physical rotating bezel protecting it.
More than likely, only the regular Galaxy Watch 6 would see curved glass since it'll likely retain the digital bezel, and, to be frank, a digital bezel works a little better on the curved glass anyway.
Samsung is also purportedly upgrading the battery size (opens in new tab) on all four models, likely bringing the battery life more in line with the target of 50 hours on a single charge. As it stands, most Galaxy Watch 5 users tend to get about a day and a half on a single charge.
All in all, these are stellar changes for Samsung's newest lineup and, I think, the right moves for the company to make to continue solidifying itself as the best smartwatch maker in the Android world.
Affordable, powerful, versatile, worthwhile. All words that perfectly describe the Galaxy Watch 5. It may not have a physical rotating bezel but it's got the best of Samsung and Google inside and that's what really matters.
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