If you want Samsung’s top smartwatch in 2023, you now have two choices: the new Galaxy Watch 6 Classic or last year’s Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. They both have very different designs, but share some similarities in terms of technology, materials, and software.
Which one should you choose? We’re here to help make the decision easier.
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: specs
Table of Contents
|Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic||Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro|
|Display||47mm: 1.5 inch Super AMOLED with always-on display|
43mm: 1.3 inch Super AMOLED with always-on display
|1.4 inch Super AMOLED with always-on display|
|Body size||47mm: 46.5mm x 46.5mm x 10.9mm (59 grams)|
43mm: 42.5mm x 42.5mm x 10.9mm (52 grams)
|45.4mm x 45.4mm x 10.5mm (46.5 grams)|
|Materials||Stainless steel case, sapphire crystal, eco-leather hybrid strap||Titanium case, sapphire crystal, rubber strap|
|Colors||47mm: Black or silver|
43mm: Black or silver
|45mm: Black or grey|
|Resolution||47mm: 480 x 480 pixels|
40mm: 432 x 432 pixels
|450 x 450 pixels (454 ppi)|
|Processor and memory||Samsung Exynos W930 1.4GHz dual-core, 2GB RAM||Samsung Exynos W920 1.18Ghz dual-core, 1.5GB RAM|
|Wireless interface||LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Beidou/Galileo||LTE, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Beidou/Galileo|
|Software||Google Wear OS 4 with One UI Watch 5||Google Wear OS 3 with One UI Watch 5|
|Blood oxygen sensor||Yes||Yes|
|Ambient light sensor||Yes||Yes|
|Heart rate sensor/ECG||Yes||Yes|
|Skin temperature sensor||Yes||No|
|Price||From $399||From $450|
|Review||Galaxy Watch 6 Classic review||Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review|
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: design
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is closely related to the Galaxy Watch 5, with two buttons on the case and integrated lugs, but is immediately recognizable due to the large bezel that extends clear of the screen and provides it with some protection in the event of knocking it against something. Samsung originally pitched the Watch 5 Pro as an outdoor adventure watch, so this approach makes sense.
It’s made from titanium and has sapphire crystal over the screen, comes with a rubber strap, and is available in either Gray Titanium or Black Titanium finishes. At 45mm, the case makes a statement on your wrist, as does its 10.5mm thickness and 46-gram weight without the strap. It’s not the best-looking design and is more functional than pretty, unlike the sleek and stylish Galaxy Watch 5, but it’s certainly not ugly.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is an absolute beauty. It has a more watch-like design compared to the Galaxy Watch 6, and it is made of stainless steel with a sapphire crystal over the screen. Crucially, it comes in two different case sizes: 47mm and 43mm. This gives you more options if you don’t like big watches or feel they don’t suit you. The most significant new feature is a rotating bezel to help navigate through the watch’s menus and screens, and it’s intuitive and fun to use. What’s more, thanks to a cool coin edge and a tachymeter readout, it looks great too.
It comes with a hybrid eco-leather strap that is comfortable and stylish, while the watch itself is available in black or silver finishes. The silver with a white leather strap looks superb and is our pick of the two. The included straps use Samsung’s new one-click quick removal system, where you can push a metal button on the underside to release the pins. This will make it easier to change out your strap on the fly, but it’s not specifically a feature of the Watch 6 Classic; rather, the attachment system is built into the strap itself. These newer straps will also attach to — and can be just as easily removed from — any other Galaxy Watch model, including the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
The 47mm Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is even larger and heavier than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, and even though the 43mm version’s case isn’t as big, it’s still thicker and heavier than the Watch 5 Pro, much of which is down to the use of stainless steel rather than titanium.
Regardless of which one you eventually choose, you’ll get a watch with a 5ATM/IP86 water- and dust-resistance rating that has passed the MIL-STD-810H toughness standards. The Watch 5 Pro’s titanium may provide a little more protection from scratches, but stainless steel should be more resistant to chips and dents if you do go on adventures with it. The combination of the rotating bezel, a choice of case sizes, the watch-like design, and the fact that it matches the Watch 5 Pro’s durability means the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic wins the design category. It really looks superb on your wrist.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: screen
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic comes in two sizes, and each has a slightly different screen size. The 47mm model has a 1.5-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 480 x 480-pixel resolution, while the 43mm model has a 1.3-inch Super AMOLED with a 432 x 432 resolution. Each has the capability to show an always-on ambient watch face.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro also has a Super AMOLED screen, but it splits the two Watch 6 Classic models with its size, as it measures 1.4 inches. The resolution is also in-between the two new smartwatches at 450 x 450 pixels, and it can also show an always-on screen. As mentioned above, the screen on both models is covered in sapphire crystal for protection and that lovely sheen that comes with it.
There are two differences to take note of, and that’s display brightness and bezel size. Compared to the 1,000 nits of brightness on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic doubles its maximum screen brightness up to 2,000 nits — making it much easier to see when outdoors on bright, sunny days. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic also has a smaller bezel — it’s 30% slimmer than the Galaxy Watch 5 — and has a 15% thinner rotating bezel compared to the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.
The Watch 5 Pro’s design means the big bezel is part of its tough identity and definitely helps protect it, so it may depend on what you intend to do with the smartwatch as to which one suits you best. But such a big jump in display brightness is tough to ignore, and between that and the smaller bezels, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic wins this round.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: processor and software
The new Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has Google’s latest Wear OS 4 operating system on board, while the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has Wear OS 3, and although there aren’t many new features, it’s always best to choose the latest version of the software. We expect the Watch 5 Pro will receive an update to Wear OS 4 in the future, though.
Both smartwatches have Samsung’s One UI 5 Watch interface, and it’s one of the easiest to use — especially with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic’s rotating bezel. It can be more fiddly on the Watch 5 Pro’s touchscreen, but it’s mostly very well laid out and logical. Plus, it’s very colorful. Whichever you choose, it’s a very similar on-watch experience. Both also use Samsung’s own Galaxy Wearable app to connect to your phone.
The new Galaxy Watch 6 Classic has the Samsung Exynos W930 1.4Ghz dual-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage space, a big update over the 1.18Ghz Samsung Exynos W920 chip with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage space in the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic’s newer operating system and rotating bezel, which together adds convenience and longevity — along with more power and RAM — means it’s the easy winner in this section.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: battery and charging
Once again, there are differences in battery capacity depending on which Galaxy Watch 6 Classic you buy. The 47mm model has a 425mAh battery, and the 43mm has a 300mAh battery, but Samsung quotes the same 40 hours of use time with the always-on screen off (or 30 hours with it on) for both smartwatches.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has a 590mAh battery inside, and Samsung quotes a use time of up to 80 hours. In our testing, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s battery lasted around three days before needing a recharge, and that’s with all the health features activated and the always-on screen shining brightly too.
The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic should give you about a day-and-a-half of use on a single charge, including sleep monitoring and a short workout, and it shouldn’t fail to last you throughout an entire day, even with longer GPS-powered excursions. Nevertheless, that falls well short of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro’s three-day life span, leaving it the battery superstar in Samsung’s wearable range.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: fitness and health tracking
When Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, it made a big deal about the Route workout feature, which allowed custom GPX route files to be shown on the watch, and the Track Back feature that helps guide you to your starting point in case you got lost. Otherwise, the 3-in-1 Samsung BioActive sensor was the same as the one on the Galaxy Watch 5.
It’s the same BioActive sensor on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, and it can measure everything from your body composition to your blood pressure (depending on the region, as it’s not enabled everywhere) and take an electrocardiogram (ECG) too. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro does the same, but the Watch 6 Classic has skin temperature measurements enabled immediately. It also has a new heart rate alert feature to warn of an extended elevated heart rate, a new menstrual cycle prediction algorithm that also uses skin temperature measurement, and a fall detection mode with automatic emergency calls, SMS, and GPS location.
The skin temperature sensor has helped improve sleep tracking on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic too, and it includes sleep stages, snore recording, an updated Sleep Score, and a sleep coaching program. On the fitness side, Samsung has introduced a Custom Workout mode where you can input your own selection of exercises to build a one-off workout specific to you. Some of the differences between the two smartwatches are software-based, which means they will arrive through updates in the future. But at the moment, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic offers more functionality than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, in addition to the excellent, shared standard package of health and fitness tools.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: price and availability
When it was released, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro cost $450 for the Wi-Fi model or $499 for the LTE version. It can frequently be found for less in 2023, and Samsung often has generous discounts or offers on its devices. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is $399 for the 43mm Wi-Fi model or $429 for the 47mm version, with LTE support adding $50 to the price tag of each of those to get you the ability to make and receive calls and use data without your phone with you.
This means you can get a newer smartwatch for less than the model launched last year, and although it’s still an expensive device, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is a better value.
Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: which one should you buy?
We judged both smartwatches over five categories. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro won one, but the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic won the other four, making it the clear winner.
Considering this, and the fact it’s cheaper than the Watch 5 Pro, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is our easy winner — and our recommendation for anyone looking for a top-spec Samsung smartwatch to pair their Android phone this year. Both are solid options on their own, but the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is an easy choice between the two.