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Samsung Gear S3 Frontier
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- The Samsung Gear S3 has an always-on watch face and distinctive steel bezel that you can rotate to access apps and notifications.
- Text, call and get notifications directly from your watch through your Bluetooth connected smartwatch.
- Make payments with Samsung Pay almost anywhere you swipe or tap a credit card
- The built-in GPS keeps track of your activity and makes it easy to share your location.
- With military-grade performance, the Gear S3 resists water, dust, extreme temperatures and the occasional drop.
- Connectivity Type:Bluetooth-only
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From the manufacturer
Never miss a moment.
The Gear S3 is Bluetooth connected,1 so you can receive texts, emails, and alerts without reaching for your phone. With a built-in speaker and microphone, you can also make and answer calls hands-free.
Pay with your watch.
Pack light for your next adventure. With Samsung Pay on your Gear S3, you can easily make payments with your watch almost anywhere you can swipe or tap a credit card - even without your phone or wallet.
Designed for the elements
The military-grade Gear S3 is tough enough to handle the elements. It resists water, dust, extreme temperatures, and the occasional drop so you can venture out with confidence.
Apps at every turn
Rotate the distinctive steel bezel to easily access apps and notifications so you can instantly check texts, updates, and more.
Get out there.
Whether you are off-roading or exploring a new city, the built-in GPS tracks your activity and makes it easy to share your location.
Go for days.
Go nonstop for days on a single charge.4 When it's time to recharge, the wireless charger lets you power up without slowing down. Disclaimers: 1. Samsung Gear S3 (Bluetooth) is a companion device for compatible Android smartphones, sold separately. Full connectivity functionality requires Bluetooth pairing to a wireless network-connected phone. 2. Make at least 5 payments on your Gear S3 without a Galaxy smartphone nearby after initial setup. Number of transactions varies by card network and bank. Reload payment capability by connecting to a Galaxy Smartphone via Bluetooth. Only compatible with select cards, carriers and Android smartphones; see the Samsung Pay Support page at the official website for compatibility information. 3. This device passed military specification (MIL-STD-810G) testing against a subset of 10 specific conditions, including drops from 4.9 feet, extreme temperatures, dust, shock/vibration, and low pressure/high altitude. Water- and dust-resistance based on IP68 rating (water-resistant in up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes). Rinse residue/dry after wet. See user manual for more details. 4. Average expected performance based on typical use. Results may vary.
How they stack up
Gear S3 frontier Dark Gray timeless smartwatch, combining style with the latest innovation in digital technology always on display Watch face 1.3” super AMOLED full color display.
1 Compatible with select Bluetooth capable smartphones using Android OS 4.4 and later with at least 1.5GB RAM as well as iPhone 5 and later with iOS 9.0 and above. Not all features available with iOS paired smartphones. Gear S3 supported smartphones may vary by carrier and device. For a list of compatible smartphones and features, please visit samsung.com/gearS3. For best results, connect with compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
Top customer reviews
1) Just as with the Gear S2, setup was a breeze. The Samsung Gear app in my Galaxy Note 5 picked up the S3 immediately and went through setting it up effortlessly. It was nice to see that I can toggle between my S2 and S3 settings by simply selecting the watch model from the dropdown in the top left corner of the app.
2) Even though the watch is fairly big at 46mm -- larger than my 42mm Movado Series 800 -- it didn't look large on my wrist. Maybe I was just prepared for the size, but the features on the watch like the rotating bezel, buttons, and screen are well balanced. Maybe the dark color helps but it didn't look or feel big on my slender wrist. By the way, that rotating bezel is awesome. I bet Apple wishes they had thought different!
3) The watch faces that came with it were pretty nice compared to the funky ones that the S2 had. I felt less of a compulsion to buy replacement ones, although if you pay a few bucks, there are a few good ones out there that are more functional than the stock watch faces.
4) The speaker on the watch rocks! I left it at the default loudness setting of 4 and I can hear calls perfectly. The maximum call volume is 6. I had my lady call me from the phone. She is very soft-spoken and I could hear her perfectly. You don't need to bring the watch close to your mouth to be heard clearly. For all other sounds, which are Ringtone, Media, Notifications and System, I left them set to 7. Maximum volume for those is 15. Again, the speaker is pretty loud for such a small device.
5) Answering or rejecting calls using voice works very well. I travel often to California, where stricter cell phone laws go into effect in January 2017. I'll be glad to have this baby on my wrist so that I can avoid tickets with my Inspector Gadget gear!
6) I haven't had a chance to test the altimeter, but the speedometer and GPS work very well. I tested them with the free Speedometer app and the speed matched that on my car dashboard. I love hiking, so it'll be interesting to see how well the technology works and whether an app ecosystem can grow out of those features.
7) The screen looks really clear and bright. I have brightness set to 6 and the screen is perfectly readable indoors and in direct sunlight.
8) I also tried the Sleep As Android app to test the S3's biometric sensors. Except for a short period when my phone couldn't get data, the app was able to collect sleep-related data the whole night. I don't think that I will track my sleep with the watch every night because of its size, although I bought a replacement strap for it that is very supple and sleeping with it wasn't too uncomfortable.
9) The S3 can let you control your favorite music app on your phone (music is routed through your phone speakers) or you can listen to tracks that are on the watch itself (music is routed through the watch speakers or through attached bluetooth headphones). Check out Spotify. The S3 now has a native Spotify app that frees you from having to interact with your phone. If you setup WiFi access and log into Spotify Premium from your watch, you can stream music directly to it without having your phone with you or powered on. This feature shows how the S3 is increasingly becoming a dependable device in its own right.
Now onto the reasons why I gave it 4 stars:
a) Maybe it's the size of the rotating bezel in this larger watch face, but it feels loose. There is a slight wobble on the S2, but if you tap the rotating bezel on the S3, you can actually hear it sound as if it is loose. Maybe they can make it a bit tighter in the next model.
b) The S Voice assistant is very rudimentary. In the age of Siri, Alexa and even Cortana, Samsung needs to catch up quickly with integrating AI into such an otherwise feature-packed watch! What's the point of cramming in so much processing power if one is left with only a glorified phone dialer? SVoice needs to get smart.
A few things that improved my experience with the S3:
- I got a comfortable watch strap that is perforated for breathability. The watch is pretty large, so I tried to make wearing it as comfortable as possible. A comfortable strap made from stretchy material also helps the watch hug your wrist if you are sleeping with it without being uncomfortable. Biometric sensors on the watch work best if they are closest to your skin.
- Speaking of biometrics, give the Sleep As Android app a try if you are concerned about the quality of sleep. It collects a fair amount of data, but to me the most important one was the "deep sleep" periods.
- Spotify for S3 frees you up from using your phone, but you do have to log onto an available WiFi and also have the Spotify Premium to make your S3 fully independent.
Notice that I didn't complain about the absence of good apps. That's because a great app marketplace doesn't happen overnight. Apple has dominated that space, but the Samsung Gear S3 has plenty of features that can be used creatively. Spotify is an example of native apps that can become big hits. I have even heard that the video chip on it can drive a 720p display! Imagine being able to screencast pictures or even video from a watch some day!! (The S3, by the way, only allows you to synchronize pictures and songs at this time; not video.)
If I find more cool things to do with it, I will come back and provide an update. I hope you found this information useful.
SOME OBSERVATIONS: The rotating bezel is the bomb. This greatly facilitates navigating watch menus, adjusting the volume of the speakerphone, etc. The display is crystal clear and visible even in the brightest sunlight. It doesn't have that annoying dead space at the bottom of the display. I was worried about having to push a button to activate the display, but no worries. Simply moving your wrist upwards to check the time is usually enough to turn the display on. At first I configured it to always have the display on but then discovered I really didn't need to. Next, charging the watch means placing it in a dedicated charging cradle. A magnet holds the watch in place, and charging is "wireless" from the cradle to the watch, although the charger itself is plugged in, of course. This process works well, but that means you can only charge it on the cradle (no directly attaching a cable). You can purchase another cradle to keep somewhere else, which is pretty handy. What about apps? Samsung has an increasing number of apps and watch faces you can download from their app store. There are some interesting ones like a simple navigation app that ties to the phone and even a weather radar. Many are free, but some of the watch faces have a nominal $1 or $2 fee. (The one in the picture is my current favorite) I love to switch these in and out. Fitness applications for the S3 may not be as robust as you would get through a dedicated fitness band but impressive enough for me nevertheless. My heart rate data, step count, and activity levels are logged backed to the Samsung SHealth app on my phone. It even records my sleep patterns and gives me a pretty decent summary of how much restful vs fitful sleep I've received.
COMPARISON WITH GEAR S2 CLASSIC: I've actually used both models, first getting a "certified refurbished" S2 to try out last year. I eventually returned it due to display issues, but really liked it otherwise. On the other hand, the S3 is a good bit bigger on your wrist, but has a much longer battery life. Both the S2 and S3 have an "always on" feature that displays a dimmer, less-colorful display in exchange for shorter battery life. The S3's always-on mode looks much better than the S2's. One big difference between the two is the S3's larger size and greater weight. Some reviewers complained about this. I even went as far as to make a paper-cut out template to gauge the size on my wrist. The end result is I took the plunge for the S3 and am glad I did even though the S2 is a now a good bit cheaper.