It may still be a while off, but the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 series is expected to land in 2023. And there are plenty of new features and design changes we're hoping for.
In terms of a Galaxy Watch 6 release date, nothing is official yet. But we're expecting it to land around 9 August 2023 at an Unpacked event – based on previous launch dates.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro are still two of the top smartwatches available for Android users, but, as we've noted in our in-depth reviews, there are some definite areas for improvement.
Samsung has had things its own way since returning to Google's smartwatch platform, with no device really coming close to matching the Galaxy Watch's all-around experience, but we're expecting the competition to really ramp up in 2023.
If Samsung is going to stay atop the tree, here are five things we want to see from the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Pro.
1. Bring some personality to the design
Spotting the differences between the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 would have proved a test for even the most eagle-eyed smartwatch fans - and we're hoping for some bolder design changes in the sixth-gen models.
There's nothing necessarily wrong with sticking to the same design language, of course, but even a slow-moving device like the Apple Watch tends to provide meaningful design changes for every generation. We didn't get anything of the sort with the standard Galaxy Watch 5.
Even the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has its design issues. Despite being billed as the more outdoor-ready of the pair, it doesn't really offer any of the rugged stylings you would expect, and that feels like a bit of a missed opportunity.
While the pair could do with a bit more of an imaginative look, though, Samsung did get a couple of design changes right with the Watch 5, we think.
The case sizes are now evenly split between 40mm, 44mm and 45mm options, and the reimagined Pro model is now at least much more unisex than the old Galaxy Watch 4 Classic option used to be.
2. Make better use of the temperature sensor
Samsung just squeezed in ahead of Apple in offering a temperature sensor in the Galaxy Watch 5 series, but it's fair to say it hasn't proven to be a transformative feature.
While Apple's equivalent involved menstrual cycle tracking, Samsung's sensor - which also arrived after launch - is currently just used to track patterns during rest. It's not something you can spot-check or even really access in Samsung Health to try and interpret the data yourself, and it's left us feeling a little flat.
We're hoping things change with the Galaxy Watch 6 line. Whether it follows Apple's lead and transforms the temperature sensor into something useful for women, or it has another use case up its sleeve, we're hoping this isn't left dormant for the upcoming generation.
3. Ditch the Samsung-only features
Since Samsung returned to Wear OS, the watches have become Android-only affairs - matching Apple's exclusive approach.
While we can accept that companies have their reasons for keeping a smartwatch experience closely tied to a specific smartphone, it does still feel like a misstep from Samsung and Google to have Samsung-only features available through the Galaxy Watch.
Some of these features can be worked around, but the Health Monitor app being locked off to other Android users is a fairly big omission, given that it provides access to blood pressure monitoring and ECG readings.
We're hoping that the health tracking experience is a bit broader in the Galaxy Watch 6 series.
4. Hone the sports tracking basics
We've always been big fans of how Samsung tracks and delivers fitness metrics, and the health features have generally been the most advanced in the industry. The sports tracking experience, however, has remained bafflingly average in recent generations.
We thought things might have progressed through the introduction of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, but, aside from the addition of mapping, there are still some relatively crippling issues plaguing the experience.
We've had our fair share of distance tracking problems from the GPS during testing, as well as plenty of inconsistencies with the heart rate monitor.
The native software isn't actually too bad, and there are still some neat extras being implanted, such as sweat tracking and rehydration recommendations, but we're hoping the Galaxy Watch 6 can come a little closer to reliably matching up to the likes of Garmin and Apple in the basics of sports tracking.
5. Upgrade the battery life
While the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro manages to reach a respectable two or three days of battery life with most of its features still in use, both the 44mm and 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 can often struggle to make it through a second day.
It's still a step up from what you can expect from the Google Pixel Watch, for example, which struggles to reach around 24 hours, but we're really hoping Samsung's 40-hour estimate makes the jump to 50 or 60 hours through the Galaxy Watch 6.
That should see it comfortably last two full days even with the use of GPS tracking, sleep monitoring and tapping into some of those health features.
We're yet to hear any rumblings regarding the processor for the Galaxy Watch 6, but we do know the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ chip that's set to land in countless Wear OS watches in 2023 is also expected to deliver big battery improvements.
If it does, Samsung has plenty of work to do between generations in order to stay with them.
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