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Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 6 is here.

It’s a bit earlier than usual, but the company has officially announced its latest round of devices for the latter half of the year. During its Galaxy Unpacked event in South Korea, the wraps were taken off new foldables — including the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5 — as well as a trio of Galaxy Tab S9 tablets.

We also got two new watches in the form of the Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. We had a chance to go hands-on with the new wearables and explore all the new features Samsung is promising, like updated designs and new health capabilities. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic preorders and release date

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic deliver bigger displays and a wealth of new features to better track your health and sleep. For a limited time, you’ll save $50 from Samsung if you preorder via the below link.

The Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic are available for preorder beginning today, July 26. Both watches will launch at retailers on Friday, Aug. 11. The Galaxy Watch 6 comes in two sizes — 40mm and 44mm — and will be priced at $300 and $330, respectively. Meanwhile, the Watch 6 Classic comes in 43mm and 47mm sizes, with prices starting at $400 and $430, respectively.

For those who preorder a Watch 6, Samsung is offering $50 off in addition to a free Fabric Band as well as an extra $250 with an eligible trade-in of an older smartwatch. For the first time in a while, Samsung isn’t offering a bonus online credit to use on accessories, so I hope you like fabric bands. Best Buy is also offering a free Fabric Band in addition to a $50 gift card.

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If you’ve seen any recent Galaxy Watch, you’ve pretty much seen the Galaxy Watch 6. It looks a lot like the Watch 5, which looked a lot like the Watch 4. It comes in the same 40mm and 44mm sizes (this time labeled “Small” and “Large”) and boasts a flat display and round form factor.

Luckily, it’s not completely identical. Samsung packed in a 20% larger display on the Watch 6, bringing its size up to 1.3 inches on the 40mm and 1.5 inches on the 44mm. It’s also more vibrant and higher resolution, with a peak brightness of 2,000 nits. You shouldn’t have any issue seeing this screen outdoors, although we’ll have to test it to know for sure. The bezels are also 30% smaller.

On the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, Samsung is picking up where it left off with the Watch 4 Classic and increasing the display size by 20%, with the same measurements as the regular Watch 6. It still packs Samsung’s signature rotating bezel, and its size has been reduced by 15% for a cleaner look.

Samsung is still protecting both watches with 5 ATM water-resistance ratings and military-grade drop protection. Neither has the same sunken bezel design as last year’s rough-and-tough Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, but you shouldn’t have any significant issues with durability.

Both new watches also ship with Samsung’s updated one-click band system, which allows you to swap bands much easier than before with a simplified mechanism. It seems like Samsung’s focus with this feature is on those who swap their bands frequently, like before working out or going to sleep. Of course, it’ll be a nice convenience to have in the long run anyway.

Better sleep, heart rate tracking and temperature monitoring

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Speaking of sleep, the Watch 6 series is getting some serious upgrades for tracking your slumber.

Samsung is adding new Sleep Score Factors, giving you a more detailed breakdown of your total sleep time, sleep cycle, awake time and physical and mental recovery to better understand the quality of your sleep. In the morning, you’ll be greeted with Sleep Messages, developed in conjunction with the National Sleep Foundation, with information on how you can improve your sleep. That ties in with the Watch 6’s other new feature, Sleep Coaching, which will give you tailored instructions, tips and reminders for better sleep.

There are also Sleep Consistency reports, which will help you track your progress toward better sleep, as well as Sleep Animal Symbols to represent what kind of sleeper you are. (It’s reminiscent of Fitbit’s animal symbols.) The Watch 6 also gets a new Sleep Mode that can mute notifications and dim screens across your watch and smartphone.

Sleep Mode can also activate the new, invisible LED infrared sensor on the watch. This sensor helps to track body temperature during the night, similar to the Apple Watch Series 8. It’s primarily used to identify varying degrees of skin temperature while you sleep or during your menstrual cycle, but Samsung says it’ll open it up to third-party developers to expand its functionality. (One example Samsung gave was a new app called Thermo Check, which, according to the company, can measure the temperature of water before you dive in, completely contact-free.)

The Galaxy Watch 6 is also getting better at tracking your heart rate. A new feature called Personalized Heart Rate Zone will automatically identify what your heart rate is capable of and give you five optimal running intensity levels to help burn fat, keep your cardiovascular health up and more. The feature ties in with the new Track Run workout, which can monitor a user’s runs around a track.

In addition, Samsung is finally adding irregular heart rhythm notifications to the Galaxy Watch 6 so that you’ll be alerted if your heart rate isn’t acting normally.

Mike Andronico/CNN Underscored

The Galaxy Watch 6 still runs Wear OS with Samsung’s One UI skin on top, and for this generation, it’s gaining a few new apps to help things feel fresh.

There’s a new Samsung Wallet app that combines Samsung Pay and Pass so you can store your credit cards, debit cards, concert tickets, boarding passes, rewards cards and more in the same place. WhatsApp is also coming to the Galaxy Watch 6 as well as Google Calendar and Gmail (for the very first time on Wear OS). Audible is also coming to Wear OS and will launch on the Galaxy Watch 6, although it’s unclear when that’ll happen.

There are also new updates to the Peloton and MyFitnessPal apps that’ll make it easier to track your workouts on your Galaxy Watch. Samsung is also deepening the connection between the watch and its other devices with an improved version of Camera Controller for controlling a Galaxy Z Flip 5’s camera from afar, progress bars on your wrist for guided fitness and mindfulness programs that are played on Samsung Smart TVs, a new toggle to switch between devices when using Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and a new Find My Phone feature with built-in maps.

Mike Andronico/CNN Underscored

The specs inside the Galaxy Watch 6 series have been slightly improved over the Watch 5. There’s a new Exynos W930 processor that will give the watches faster performance and better efficiency, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

The batteries have been slightly increased (and by slightly, I mean a difference of 10mAh to 15mAh per watch). You’ve got a 300mAh cell in the smaller models and a 425mAh cell in the larger models. In addition, Samsung includes faster charging on the Galaxy Watch 6, with eight minutes of charging time, giving you eight hours of usage. We weren’t really impressed with the battery life on the Watch 5 series, so here’s hoping it gets better with these improvements.

Samsung has a little something for everyone with the Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic. It looks nicer, it’s faster, it’s better at tracking your sleep and it’s priced about the same as last year. The only thing noticeably missing is a Galaxy Watch 6 Pro, which means fans of Samsung’s more durable watches will need to wait until at least next year for a new model.

Competition for the title of best smartwatch has started to heat up with Google’s introduction of the Pixel Watch last year, and it’ll be interesting to see if Samsung’s watches can steal the limelight and be the de facto Android wearable for all once again. We’ll have more to say once we’ve had a chance to review them, so stay tuned.

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