It's easy to look at a sleek Android smartwatch and think it's a luxury, a frivolous add-on to a device you already spent hundreds upon hundreds of dollars. Sure, fitness tracking is nice — especially as a small motivator for those of us who don't normally get much physical activity in — and being able to use some apps from your wrist makes it easy to accomplish small tasks without getting sucked into some random app on your phone for hours on end, but do you really need one? Well, I did.
I'm an easily distracted individual, and between working on my laptop, responding to messages on my phone, checking app or device details on a secondary phone, and listening to some old show or mixtape on my TV via ANC headphones, I tend to jump between devices constantly. And when I do manage to find the right headspace and get completely head-over-heels into my work, I become dead to the world, unable to hear my phone as it sits next to my laptop — or even hear Fedex knocking on my door for a signature — whether I'm wearing headphones or not.
This leads to missed emails, Slack messages, and calls that the windshield replacement team is waiting at the gate for you to buzz them in, not to mention many missed breaks where I've needed to get up, stretch, and recenter myself once my train of thought is completely derailed. This is where my smartwatch has come in and saved my ass, and no watch has done a better job of keeping me connected rather than enslaved to my phone than the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, which is seeing its best deal to date today for Black Friday.
Amazon, Samsung, and Best Buy are all taking $70 off the Galaxy Watch 6 — and $80 off the Watch 6 LTE and Watch 6 Classic — but what makes this the best time to buy is the trade-in that'll stack with it at Amazon. Any smartwatch in any condition earns you another $50 off, taking the $300 Galaxy Watch 6 down to $180, or even as low as $30 if you're trading in a Galaxy Watch 4 Classic or Watch 5 Pro. (If you have a 5 Pro, though, you'll likely want to go for the 6 Classic, which will get an extra $60 off and make our favorite smartwatch on the market a mere $70.) Even the old Gear S3 and Gear Fit2 are worth $100 and $75, which will take the Watch 6 down to $130 or $155.
Why I rely so heavily on my own Galaxy Watch 6
Being able to feel, triage, and respond to notifications from my wrist rather than picking up my phone and accidentally reading another six chapters on Tapas is a legitimate lifeline for me, especially around the house when my phone isn't in my pocket at all times. The Galaxy Watch 6 allows you to filter which apps can send notifications to it, meaning that if my phone buzzes but my watch doesn't, I can ignore what was probably another push alert for an Amazon deal or Poshmark's words of affirmation rather than a Slack message of my bosses yelling at me.
Samsung Health may not have the brand power of Fitbit or Garmin, but the app is well-designed, easy to arrange to my liking, and gives me the metrics that I need to guilt myself into proper self-care: how many steps I didn't take today while stuck in my apartment, how little I slept after failing to take my evening medications on time, and the hourly activity pings to get my lazy ass up off the couch. Sleep coaching on the Galaxy Watch 6 can feel lackluster the first time you try it, but it genuinely will coax you into creating a beneficial nighttime routine to sleep earlier, better, and more efficiently so you wake up refreshed rather than ragged.
After over five years of wearing smartwatches, I can easily tell the difference in my productivity on days I do and do not wear one, and none have been as effortless to set up and use as Samsung's Galaxy Watch series. The Galaxy Watch 6, especially, has been a gem because the battery lasts longer than ever despite having a larger screen that can reach twice the brightness, and the new easy-swap bands make it easier to change bands on days when my hand tremors or joint pain are flaring up. And despite having the same dimensions as its processors, it gives us a larger screen and smaller bezels, allowing us to see slightly more in our apps and making the haptic bezel more consistent.
You'd be forgiven for thinking of the Galaxy Watch 6 as "boring" back in August when it arrived because of how similar it was to its predecessors and that it received very little attention next to the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and its returning rotating bezel. However, the consistent performance and the wonderful build quality of the current Watch 6 are what make it the only smartwatch I recommend to friends and family. It doesn't need proprietary bands — looking at you, Google — so you can grab whichever old 20mm strap your last normal watch used or buy a fresh and new Watch 6 strap because 20mm bands are among the most popular and plentiful watch sizes in the world.
The Watch 6's Sapphire Crystal glass can also take a beating, but it won't have to because tempered glass screen protectors are so plentiful for this watch — and you really should grab one. As something you'll be wearing everywhere on your wrist, whether you're in tip-top shape or rocking two levels of exhaustion like me, you'll want a bit of protection against a bad knock against a doorframe or railing.
There are other Black Friday smartwatch deals out there to take advantage of — including a $140 Galaxy Watch 4 and $99 Galaxy Watch 6 Classic that you could then turn around and trade-in to get $200 off the Galaxy Watch 6 — but if you want the best smartwatch experience, this is the one you'll want to strap on after fetching a cut new strap with all those savings.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
With all-day battery life and then some, Samsung's minimal, flexible design, and the smooth, consistent, integrated software of One UI Touch, the Galaxy Watch 6 is the only Wear OS watch with a top-tier experience and no subscription required. (Looking at you, Pixel Watch.) $70 off is great, but getting $50-$200 off by trading in your old smartwatch — even broken smartwatches — make it much easier to stop looking at your phone nd start getting on with what actually needs doing today.