The question of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is an interesting one. The Watch 5 series, released in 2022, are great pieces of fitness tracking tech, with incremental changes made over the Watch 4. This year, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Watch 6, but the question of “which should you buy” isn’t simply about picking up the latest model.
Naturally, the newer model has additional features, but you may be surprised at how iterative it is; both offer a classic timepiece design, with rounded faces and a selection of straps, and both come in 40mm and 44mm sizes. Now the Watch 6 is out, the Watch 5, top of our list of the best smartwatch for Android users, is also going to start getting cheaper as stores begin to shift stock at discounted prices to make way for the new arrivals.
So what are you getting for the higher price of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6? As it turns out, it’s a lot of smaller additions and tweaks that, in our mind, make it well worth a look. Here’s our full rundown of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Specifications
|Component||Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (40mm)||Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (40mm)|
|Display||432x432 Super AMOLED (Round)||396x396 AMOLED (Round)|
|Dimensions||38.8 x 40.4 x 9.0 mm||39.3 x 40.4 x 9.98 mm|
|Processor||Exynos W930||Exynos W920|
|Colors||Graphite, Gold||Graphite, Silver, Pink Gold, Sapphire|
|NFC Payment||Samsung Wallet||Samsung Wallet|
|Sensors||Heart Rate, Temperature Sensor, Echocardiogram, Gyro, Light Sensor, Accelerometer||Heart Rate, Temperature Sensor, Echocardiogram, Gyro, Light Sensor, Accelerometer|
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Price
Let’s get the hard part out of the way first - Samsung has rounded up the base price of the Watch 6 from last year. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 costs £269 / $279.99 / AU$499, while the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 costs $299 / £289 / AU$599, both for the 40mm model. This price increase, in line with rising production costs, extends to the 44mm models in the range too. On sticker price alone, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 comes up trumps.
That price increase for the 6 carries over to the 44mm models, too. Combined with the increased amount of deals the Watch 5 is likely to get for being an older series of models, this makes cost an easy win for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 based on sticker price alone.
Still, the new model thankfully has some tweaks that make that small price increase feel much easier to swallow, at least for anyone looking for the latest fitness tracker. Our early verdict having spent less than a week with the watch is that it’s still good value at its current price – but if you can pick up a Watch 5 at a discount, the Watch 6 is an iterative upgrade, and not different enough to justify a high price increase.
- Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Features
When we reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, we were impressed but felt like it was too iterative an upgrade from the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. The same can be said when comparing the Watch 5 to the Watch 6.
As you can imagine, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is sticking with Wear OS, with Wear OS 4 (changed slightly thanks to Samsung’s One UI Watch 5 skin) available on both Watch 5 and Watch 6., meaning you’re out of luck if you have an iPhone. It also retains the ‘digital bezel’ allowing you to move your finger clockwise and anti-clockwise around a section of the screen, accessing your most-used widgets like Sleep, Workouts and Weather without needing the poke the screen regularly.
There are new software features, though, with Samsung making improvements to Sleep Tracking and the way the Watch monitors for irregular heartbeats, thanks to a new optical heart rate sensor on the Watch 6. These come from the Sleep Insights dashboard and updated (and now FDA-approved) irregular heart rhythm detection, and if you’re interested in either of those features then the price increase is a small price to pay.
The display also gets a larger and a little clearer on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, with a jump from 1.2 inches to 1.3, and a pixel density of 467 PPI to 470 PPI. It’s not likely to drastically change how you used the watch, but a larger interface is nice, especially with a touchscreen.
You can also swap bands more easily with a new system that uses a simple button to disconnect. It’s a great feature, especially when you want to switch out your silicone sports band for a stylish leather version.
- Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Battery life
Another of our gripes with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 was its one-day battery life, something Samsung is trying to combat with a marginally larger battery in the Galaxy Watch 6. In the 40mm models we’re comparing, the Watch 5 has a 284mAh compared to the Watch 6’s 300mAh. In the 44mm models, the Watch 5 is packing a 410mAh compared to the Watch 6’s 425mAh.
Samsung claims you’ll get up to 50 hours of battery life out of the Watch 5, and 40 hours out of the Watch 6, although reviewers found this was rarely the case. With one workout, the always-on display mode on and Sleep Tracking enabled, you’ll get more or less a day’s wear out of both watches, around 24 hours or less.
As we mentioned in our Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs Apple Watch Series 8 comparison, Samsung’s claims of 30 hours with the Always-On display on (up to 40 with it off) don’t quite match with real-world performance
Still, on wearing it for less than a week, our fitness editor has found a short charge each evening between work and bed seems to do the trick. There’s not much in it, but the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 wins out for its marginally-increased battery life.
- Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Early verdict
Improvements to sleep tracking and irregular heart monitoring aside, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 doesn’t make enormous strides when compared to its predecessor. However, it does refine what’s already there, offering an improved processor and new features. It’s perhaps the best Wear OS watch yet, so essential for people needing the latest and greatest tech.
However, if you’re looking for value, we can’t wholeheartedly recommend it unless you’re desperate for a deeper breakdown of sleep or heart rhythm statistics. Now the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is being offered cheaply, it’s perfect for those looking for a cheaper wearable to match their existing Samsung handset.
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Lloyd Coombes is a freelance tech and fitness writer for TechRadar. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as Computer and Gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews, Space.com, and Live Science. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games at Dexerto.