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Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs. Watch 5 Pro: Which smartwatch is best for you?

The new Galaxy Watch 6 Classic offers a physical rotating bezel and the latest version of WearOS, but the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro's software updates make it more enticing, too.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs Watch 5 Pro
June Wan/ZDNET

In 2022, Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro with a focus on outdoor adventures, competing squarely against Garmin, Coros, and Polar watch owners who wanted advanced smartwatch features. We tested the wearable and praised it for offering the best of both worlds, even if it lacked one or two fitness features.

Also: How to preorder the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, Tab S6, Watch 6, and more

Today, Samsung announced two new Galaxy wearables, the Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic, but will continue to offer the Watch 5 Pro. Despite the Watch 6 Classic offering the latest Samsung Exynos processor, the Watch 5 Pro remains the preferred choice for more rugged users. And with new software updates, the Watch 5 Pro is now more functional than ever. 

To help you better decide between the two, let's take a look at the key differences below.


Watch 6 Classic

Watch 5 Pro


1.5-inch 480x480 Super AMOLED (47mm) and 1.3-inch 432x432 (43mm)

1.36-inch 450x450 AMOLED (45mm)


59g (47mm) and 52g (43mm)



Samsung Exynos W930           

Samsung Exynos W920

Battery425mAh (47mm) and 300mAh (43mm)590mAh
MaterialStainless steelTitanium
PriceStarting at $399 (43mm) and $429 (47mm)Starting at $449

You should buy the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic if...

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
June Wan/ZDNET

1. The rotating bezel appeals to you

Samsung ditched the physical rotating bezel with last year's Galaxy Watch 5 series and, instead, expanded the touch area to simulate the physical design element. However, it just didn't feel the same. Samsung watch fans lamented the removal of the physical rotating bezel and many are sure to appreciate its return. 

Review: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: The best wearable for Android fans

I've owned a few Samsung watches with the bezel and honestly rarely used it after the initial novelty period wore off, much like how I find myself rarely using the S Pen on a Galaxy phone. But, I know that there are plenty of users who prefer the tactile feel of a rotating bezel, and it's a unique feature that separates the Galaxy experience from competitors.

2. You want the biggest Samsung Watch display

The 47mm model of the Watch 6 Classic has a 1.5-inch Super AMOLED display and a resolution of 480 x 480 pixels. The display also boasts a peak brightness of 2,000 nits, so you can see it in most if not all lighting conditions. 

This large display, especially if you plan on enabling the always-on display, will likely consume more battery power, but Samsung compensates for that with a larger battery. We'll see how it truly fares in our full review.

3. You want the latest and greatest

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic launches with the newest Samsung Exynos processor, the latest version of Bluetooth, and the most recent version of Google Wear OS powered by Samsung. Samsung updates older watches with software for a couple of years, but it is nice to have a new watch with the latest version of the software ready to go. 

You can also score solid trade-in discounts when you purchase the newest watch, so an upgrade to the Watch 6 Classic may not require much out of your pocket.   

You should buy the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro if...

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Watch faces
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

1. You want support for Routes

One of the primary "Pro" features of the Watch 5 Pro is the support for GPS exchange format (GPX) files for hiking and biking. Running and walking are now supported so the usefulness of GPX files has significantly increased for people performing these activities.

Also: How to use the Route tile on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

The more you use your Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and create regular routes, the more useful it becomes for measuring progress and your success in completing those routes. Developing a library of routes also makes your watch an essential tool for helping you navigate new areas.

2. You want the longest battery life on a Samsung watch

Samsung claims that the Watch 5 Pro will last up to 80 hours with its large 590mAh battery. The largest Watch 6 Classic has a 425mAh battery with a claimed battery life of up to 40 hours. The Watch 5 Pro can also provide you with up to 20 hours of GPS tracking, which is more than enough to cover most outdoor activities. 

In my experience, I am able to easily use my watch for more than two full days between charges, and that's better than any other smartwatch I have tested.

3. You appreciate flagship features at an affordable price

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is constructed of titanium material and is much lighter than the Watch 6 Classic, even with the larger capacity battery. The sapphire crystal glass helps prevent breakage and scratches. Even after a year and extended use on trails and inclement weather, mine looks nearly flawless. The D-Buckle Sport band is also my favorite watch strap, with a simple magnetic latch system and secure attachment.   

Alternatives to consider

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