If you're in the market for one of the top new smartwatches, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Huawei Watch GT 4 are almost certainly on your shortlist of options.
Despite both being the shiny new-gen options from big-name brands, however, these two devices have little in common. And if you're looking to choose between them, knowing all about these differences can ensure you find the best fit for your needs.
That's why we've compiled a rundown of everything you need to know about the Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch GT 4 models - including a recommendation on what type of user should consider each.
Prices, availability, and versions
As is the way with smartwatches in 2023, there are countless versions offered by both Samsung and Huawei in their respective watch lineups.
Below, we've provided a quick glance at the RRP for each base edition that's available, but keep in mind that both LTE (for Samsung only) and different band options will see each rise considerably.
There are also some case finishes that only correspond to certain case sizes - and also natural variations in performance - so we'll be talking pretty generally when comparing these devices below.
Note that we've not mentioned US pricing for the Watch GT 4, either, given that it's not officially available in the country. Our approximate pricing is simply based on conversions; it's possible the device will be cheaper or more expensive via third-party retailers.
To sum it up, you'll be paying less for the Watch GT 4 in almost every scenario. And if you begin comparing the top-end of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic to the base model of Huawei's smartwatch, it's almost double the cost.
Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Watch GT 4: Base model pricing
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (40mm): £289 / $299.99
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (44mm): £319 / $329.99
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic (43mm): From £369 / $399.99
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic (47mm): From £399 / $429.99
- Huawei Watch GT 4 (41mm): From £229.99 (around $285)
- Huawei Watch GT 4 (46mm): From £229.99 (around $285)
Design and feel
With so many different styles and versions, your first task when choosing between these two smartwatch lines is figuring out which is best suited to your day-to-day wear.
With a healthy array of case size options across the board, we think there's a fit for every size of wrist - and whether you prefer unisex, masculine, or feminine designs.
The standard Galaxy Watch 6 is the most sporty-feeling of the four different devices, especially with Huawei's pairing leaning more toward your prototypical 'classic' smartwatch look.
However, Samsung also has this base covered with its more expensive Galaxy Watch 6 Classic - one that also has the intuitive physical rotating bezel, which is digital on the standard Watch 6.
As you would expect for the price, Samsung's pairing has a definite premium edge over Huawei in this category. The Super AMOLED displays are noticeably better (and bigger), as is the overall build quality.
That's not to sell the Watch GT 4 short, though. We love the octagonal case, and the balance of thickness, weight, and case width is spot on. It's a very good all-rounder.
Ecosystem and smartwatch features
We don't think you can really lose with the designs of any of the devices on offer in these lineups, which puts even more emphasis on the on-watch experience.
And here, there's only really one winner - Samsung.
Wear OS 4.0 shines on both versions of the Watch 6, with the Google platform offering an array of third-party apps - including Spotify, Strava, and WhatsApp - as well as very tight integration with Google's suite of apps, like Maps, Gmail, and Wallet for contactless payment support.
With the option of upgrading to LTE, as well, it also has the potential to become a truly untethered option from your smartphone.
It still can't quite match up to the seamlessness of the Apple Watch, but it far outstrips the capabilities of the Watch GT 4 as a pure smartwatch.
Instead, Huawei's devices all run on the relatively closed in-house ecosystem, HarmonyOS.
This means you miss out on big-name apps like Spotify, though there are at least some workout platforms like Strava that can sync with the Watch GT 4.
And though there's also no eSIM support to enable independent calling and notifications, this all works relatively smoothly when you are within range of your smartphone.
Just don't expect to pay from the wrist with it - this also isn't supported.
If there's an area where Huawei's smartwatches do claw back some ground on the latest Samsung devices, it's in the battery life.
We were hugely disappointed by the single-day nature of both the Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic in our extensive testing. It's not quite as terminal as what we've seen on the Google Pixel Watch, but most use cases will see you charging at some point each day.
It's something that really holds it back. And though it'll vary a bit based on how much you pound the always-on display and GPS tracking, you're likely to suffer serious battery anxiety no matter how you use it.
And the opposite is true of Huawei's Watch GT 4 devices. While they didn't get anywhere close to the company's own estimations of 14-day battery life, relatively heavy usage will still see them last around 4-7 days.
This advantage over watches like the Galaxy Watch 6 series is partly due to the stripped-back nature of the operating system and features on offer, it should be said, but it's still pretty good going and more than enough for those more focused on fitness tracking.
Tracking and health features
Whether your main interest is tracking workouts, logging sleep, or viewing health insights, you're catered for with either of these watches. However, they do excel in different areas - and neither is perfect.
The strengths of the Watch GT 4 are the accuracy of its dual-band GPS and heart rate monitoring, which we found generally right in line with the tracking from Garmin and Whoop.
In other areas, it's slightly less impressive - but still passable. Sleep tracking is generally solid, though you will find the odd overestimation of awake times and the like. The same is true for fitness insights like VO2 Max, which was far above our established level.
There are also a couple of missing features to be aware of. There's no HRV data, lactate threshold gauge, or opportunity to take ECG readings, for example, and these kinds of omissions limit the Watch GT 4 as both a health watch and fitness tracker.
The Galaxy Watch 6 devices, meanwhile, offer a bit of a different package.
The health tracking is top-notch - even besting Apple by offering the likes of blood pressure syncing and native body composition data - and it has all the advanced data and sleep tracking performance you would expect from a flagship.
The downside here is that some of these advanced features (like blood pressure and ECG) are exclusive to those who pair the watch with a Samsung phone, which means the watches are much less attractive to those with other Android devices.
The GPS accuracy also isn't quite on the same level as the industry's best, which does spoil what's otherwise a very solid workout tracking experience that's packed with insights.
Like Huawei's devices, not all of the data is perfect - our VO2 Max, for example, was much lower than our typical estimation - but it's generally good enough to get by.
Which is best?
The watches in the Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch GT 4 lineups are relatively distinct, and this makes picking between them actually much simpler than when comparing models from the same brand.
If you're mostly interested in workout tracking and require a device that can last multiple days on a single charge - and want one that won't break the bank - Huawei's Watch GT 4 models are the ones to zero in on.
But if that closed HarmonyOS ecosystem feels too limiting, you're more concerned with health and wellness features than fitness tracking, and you don't mind charging every day, the Galaxy Watch 6 is definitely the better pick.
Just watch out for that price bump compared to the Watch GT 4, and the fact that some features are limited to Samsung phone users.
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