21 December 2016
Gear S3 Frontier
for a pioneering spirit
Gear S3 Classic
for a touch of luxury
Bezel, crown & touch display
Stainless steel body
Customisable watch faces
Water resistant IP68
4 GB internal memory
768 MB RAM
Tizen-based wearable platform 2.3.2
Exynos 7270, Dual Core 1.0 GHz
1.3" Super AMOLED display
Capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours
360 x 360 resolution, 278 ppi
Always on display
Gorilla Glass SR+
Samsung Gear App, S Voice, smart Notifications, take hand's free calls, listen to music, activity tracking, S Health App, Heart Rate Monitor
Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS/Glonass
380 mAh battery
Up to 4 days battery life
Wireless charging doc
46 x 49 x 12.9 mm
Classic : 57 g
Frontier : 62 g
Altimeter, Barometer, Speedometer, Ambient Light Sensor, NFC, vibration motor
Good battery life
Lack of Apps
A look at Samsung Gear S3
The Samsung Gear S2 was one of our favourite smartwatches and as such we had very high hopes for the Gear S3, and Samsung did not disappoint. While the Gear S2 looked great, Samsung has made some slight adjustments that make it look that bit more like a classic time-piece, and we love it. The Gear S3 comes in two models, the Frontier which Samsung says is ‘for a pioneering spirit’ and the Classic which is ‘for a touch of luxury’, essentially what that means is a sporty or classic version. While both enjoy a tough stainless steel body, the Frontier has a slightly more rustic look to it, with a brushed metal finish and ‘minute notches’ engraved into the bezel and two slender buttons on the right side of the watch face. The Classic version however has a shiny metal finish and a smooth bezel with smaller ‘minute notches’ on the inside, and the two action buttons are more prominent, like two crowns though they don’t turn like a standard watch crown, just press. The Gear S3 is a bit bigger, chunkier than the Gear S2 and though it’s not particularly heavy in the scheme of things it does feel noticeably larger than the previous model and to some of the competition, however, like our smartphones this seems to be what we like, with the like of Tag Heuer and Michael Kors going for a chunkier look maybe bigger is better. When you choose which model you want Samsung has again designed the Gear S3 to be fully customisable, with a wide variety of watch faces to choose from and the many interchangeable straps available you can change the Gear S3 to suit you mood or style daily, however changing the straps is a little fiddly so you may do this less often. The Gear S3 is water resistant with a rating of IP68 which means you need not worry bout splashes but unfortunately you will need to take the S3 off when you go for a swim. Overall we love the design changes Samsung has made with the Gear S3, it feels more established, premium level, though those with smaller wrists may want to try it on before buying to make sure they like the bulkier look.
The Samsung Gear S3 comes with 4 GB of internal memory and 768 MB RAM which is more than enough to support the Gear S3 processor and applications.
The Gear S3 comes packed with Tizen-based wearable platform 2.3.2, Exynos 7270 with a Dual Core 1.0 GHz processor. This is an upgrade from the Gear S2, which never felt sluggish so its not surprising the Gear S3 feels smooth and snappy. While many ponder the choice of Tizen, Samsung stands by it and in terms of performance it’s strong with no noticeable lagging what-so-ever. The Gear S3 is a joy to use whether you are swiping the touchscreen or turning the bezel, the Gear S3 responds immediately, in fact the Gear S3 smooth performance is one of it’s best features.
The Gear S3 comes with a 1.3″ Super AMOLED display, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours with 360 x 360 resolution and 278 ppi. Given Samsung’s history with smartphones and TV’s we expect a fantastic display and Samsung, again, has not disappointed us, in fact it’s arguably the best smartwatch display on the market. It’s crisp, clear, with plenty of detail, colours are rich, warm and vivid and thankfully the Gear S3 does not suffer from the hideous ‘flat tyre’ we have seen in past smartwatches. As you are looking at a smaller screen it’s important that the display is sharp and the Gear S3 is perfectly legible, as it’s not a square display like the Apple Watch you will find some detail at the far bottom of the screen a little difficult to see, but keep scrolling down the page and you can keep reading, though some may find this aspect of a round display annoying but I will happily make this trade for a nice round display, I think it just looks better on your wrist. Samsung gives the S3 an option of an ‘always on display’ so you can easily glance at the time however if you want to conserve battery life you can turn this option off, it’s nice Samsung gives you the choice.
Ease of Use
The Samsung Gear S3 is easy to navigate, with it’s combination of touchscreen, buttons and the very responsive, intuitive bezel you can easily scroll through and select the application you want. Where the Gear S3 falls down is it’s application support, as Samsung has chosen Tizen you can only choose from the Samsung Gear App which is sadly under whelming, with a limited list to choose from and no option to go to Google Play Store the Gear S3 has a small app pool to choose from. That said there does seem to be growth in this area, Spotify is now available though it has a few kinks to iron out and at CES 2017 there have been hints for My Fitness Pal, among others, joining the group compatible with Tizen, here’s hoping they come to fruition. Samsung’s S Voice and smart notifications work well allowing you to take hand’s free calls with your watch and you can also use the Gear S3 to listen to music via Bluetooth ear-phones, whether you are connected to your smartphone or download to the watch – though bare in mind there is only 4 GB internal memory. The Gear S3 also works as an activity tracker, using the Heart Rate Monitor, altimeter, barometer, speedometer and GPS you can track your activities and sync up to the S Health App to view your stats just like any fitness tracker. While the Gear S3 will track a wide variety of activities the readings are not as accurate as dedicated fitness trackers, an issue a lot of smart watches have. If you are looking to keep an eye on your fitness levels with occasional use rather than monitor your progress daily the Gear S3 is fine, anything more and you need to look at a dedicated fitness tracker. The Gear S3 also tracks your sleep but again readings can vary, though this is an area even most fitness trackers struggle with. Overall, this is an area Samsung needs to work on, the Gear S3 looks and feels fantastic but the apps selection and fitness tracking needs some improvements, while this is not a complete showstopper, it’s something to consider.
The Samsung Gear S3 supports Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and GPS/Glonass. Connectivity is good however you may find your Bluetooth connection with your smartphone randomly knocks off and you connect via WiFi, it doesn’t always occur but when it dies just go to settings and force it back to a Bluetooth connection.
The Gear S3 is packed with a 380 mAh battery which Samsung boasts will last up to 4 days before needing a charge and this statement is actually quite accurate. That said, if you use the ‘always on feature’, GPS or listen to music for hours on end then the battery will run out more quickly, with regular usage however you will get a few days before needing to charge. Charging is done via a wireless charging doc, which is better than awkward wires however there is no fast charge so when the battery does run out you will need to wait a few hours before you have a full battery again.
The Samsung Gear S3 is a chunky smartwatch, bulkier than it’s predecessor and some other smartwatches on the market, however I like a chunky watch and it’s not so big that it’s uncomfortable to wear. In fact for the size it’s actually quite light, the Classic weighs a mere 57 g and the Frontier is a little heavier but still light at 62 g. Those with smaller wrists may want to try the watch on before buying.
S3 face off top bottomS3 face off top bottom
S3 frontier full look left
S3 frontier full closed rightS3 frontier full closed right
S3 frontier front back closedS3 frontier front back closed
S3 classic back HRMS3 classic back HRM
S3 frontier black front sideS3 frontier black front side
S3 chargeS3 charge
S3 frontier chargeS3 frontier charge
S3 classic look rightS3 classic look right
S3 frontier water resistant
S3 classic frontier leftS3 classic frontier left
S3 frontier red black
S3 frontier green red black left
S3 frontier classic rightS3 frontier classic right
S3 classic frontier front closedS3 classic frontier front closed
S3 classic time month dateS3 classic time month date