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The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic proves Samsung made a huge mistake in 2022

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, with a red dial.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro was an oddball product when it launched, and now that the excellent Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is here, it only emphasizes what a huge misstep the Watch 5 Pro actually was.

Yet rather than letting it fade into the past, Samsung is keeping the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro around in the range. Why? I’ve got absolutely no idea.

A confusing product even Samsung didn’t understand

A basic analogue watch face on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro was the special version of the Galaxy Watch 5, a position usually occupied by a “Classic” model with a rotating bezel. When the Samsung Gear S2 launched in 2016, the rotating bezel around the circular screen made it entirely different from the Apple Watch, and we called the feature “a true innovation” in our review at the time. It has continued to be a Galaxy smartwatch high point and a real differentiator among the competition that has even been used in both physical and digital forms.

That is, up until the Galaxy Watch 5 series. There was no such thing as a Galaxy Watch 5 Classic, and the regular Galaxy Watch 5 didn’t include a physical rotating bezel either. Instead, Samsung released the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, a confused product that didn’t really seem to specifically appeal to anyone. Nobody knew who it was for, including Samsung itself. Initially pitched as an adventure smartwatch, and therefore an Apple Watch Ultra alternative, this description was dropped in favor of it, well, just being a smartwatch.

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t very special. It was made of the right materials — titanium, sapphire crystal, and fitted with a brilliant strap and clasp — but it had no design to speak of (although I still do rather like its ugly duckling look) and absolutely nothing that made it stand out. The outdoor features were all software enabled, leaving the longer battery life from the massive battery and the titanium case to try and justify the $450 price tag. It wasn’t very tempting, and Samsung’s confused messaging about who it was for didn’t help.

Say hello to the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

A person wearing the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is a true Samsung smartwatch. The wonderful rotating bezel is back, and it’s even better engineered and styled than before. Not only that, but the case is made of stainless steel, and the screen is covered in sapphire crystal. Plus, it has all the same toughness credentials as the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, so it’s just as much an “adventure” watch as its predecessor on this front.

Stainless steel is a great material for a watch. It looks great, it’s hard-wearing, and it feels expensive. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, with its coin edge bezel, eco-leather strap, and silver stainless steel case, is one of the most watch-like smartwatches you can buy. Thought and effort have gone into the entire design, and the rotating bezel tells everyone it’s a Samsung smartwatch. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro had none of these things, and it’s no wonder Samsung struggled to come up with a group of people to market it toward.

When the Apple Watch Ultra came out several months after the Watch 5 Pro — and turned out to be a seriously capable outdoor smartwatch — Samsung quietly stopped pushing it as a competitor. It meant the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro sadly always reeked of being a half-baked reaction to rumors Apple was going to make a tough version of the Apple Watch, and that dropping the rotating bezel was a silly idea. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, and the lack of a Galaxy Watch 6 Pro, is its silent admission of all this.

Don’t buy the Watch 5 Pro; you can do much better

Yet, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is still going to hang around in Samsung’s smartwatch range for 2023, and it’s going to remain the most expensive option too. You’ll have to part with $450 at the minimum to get this faceless, bizarre smartwatch. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is $399, and you should absolutely buy it instead of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. The only reason not to is battery life, as the Watch 5 Pro will definitely last longer on a single charge than the Watch 6 Classic. In our review, it managed three days without a problem, and that’s pretty good for a Wear OS smartwatch.

But wait, if battery life is at the top of your requirements for a smartwatch, don’t buy the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. Technology has moved on since the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro was hastily pushed into the limelight, and the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 has surpassed it as the Wear OS battery superstar. Its larger battery capacity and clever dual-screen system see the TicWatch 5 Pro’s battery last between four and seven days on a single charge. Oh, and it costs less than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro too.

Don’t let the promise of titanium (it’s light, but that’s all) or the hiking features turn your head either. If you want a titanium smartwatch that’s really ready for outdoor use and comes complete with a “track back” feature in case you get lost, GPX file support, and even longer battery life, get the Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2). It’s an expensive smartwatch, but unlike the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, it’s the real deal.

In 2022, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro didn’t really make a lot of sense, and now a year later, it makes even less. It’s (bizarrely) still available to buy, but you can do a lot better. And as it has shown with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, so can Samsung.

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Andy Boxall
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
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