The Gear S3 is Samsung’s latest attempt at the smart watch scene. It comes in two designs, the formal looking Gear S3 Classic and rugged looking Gear S3 Frontier. Only the physical appearance varies (and the straps that comes with them) but the functions and specifications are roughly the same. This is our review of the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier.
Build and design
At first glance, the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier can pass up for a standard rugged sport watch. Samsung designed the Gear S3 with a classic design approach, improving the already good looking Gear S2. At a hefty 62g, it weighs like an actual watch too. The Gear S3 has a diameter of 49mm making it Samsung’s biggest smart watch to date. The beautiful 1.3 inch Super AMOLED display has a pixel resolution of 360×360 and is protected by Gorilla Glass SR+.
Like the Gear S2, the Gear S3 features a rotating bezel like that of a typical watch. The bezel is used to navigate thru menus and apps but you can also do so thru the touch screen. The rotating bezel is mechanical and each turn is met with subtle resistance. There are also two physical keys completing the classic watch look and feel.
The Samsung Gear S3 has a built in mic and speaker so you can answer phone calls James Bond Style. It supports vibrate mode as well for needed discreet notifications. The Gear S3 is customizable as the watch straps are replaceable. You can swap any 22mm band to match the occasion.
The Gear S3, having a Super AMOLED display, also supports the Always-ON technology seen in the S and A phone series. This allows the devices to display the time and notification icons in white texts while turning of the other pixels not in use, thus with minimal effects on battery consumption.
The Gear S3 is built to face whatever everyday life throws at it. It’s certified to withstand dust, water and extreme temperature as it has IP68 certifications. That puts it in the same league as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, as well as the Sony Xperia X Performance.
While those with big wrist and hands appreciate the size of the Gear S3, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It is yet uncertain if Samsung plans to release a smaller version of the Gear S3.
The Gear S3 runs on Samsung’s very own Tizen OS (pronounced as Tay-zen) rather than the more popular Android Wear. Based on sheer numbers of applications available, it may not be comparable to what the Google Android Wear app environment has for now but is certainly, slowly getting there. While Samsung relies on Android OS for its phones, it stands by the Tizen OS for its wearables. The Tizen OS has its own application store which offers both free and paid applications. Built in functions of the Gear S3 includes a S-Voice, which works like Siri (but not yet as capable), step counter, heart monitor, the S-Health app, World Clock, Alarm Clock, Weather and Reminders.
Unlike with previous iterations, the Gear S3 can be used even if you don’t own a Samsung phone. It works with Android powered phones with at the very least running on version 4.4 Kitkat. It also works with Apple’s Iphones. The catch here is that some features may not work.
Below is a chart depicting functions enabled for Samsung phones, other Android powered phones and Apple Iphones.
Running under the hood is a dual-core processor clocked at 1GHz paired with 768 MB of RAM. It also has a generous 4GB of built in storage. This is more than enough to power the Gear S3 and support the built in hardware technology and sensors. The Gear S3 supports LTE, 3G, NFC, GPS and Bluetooth connectivity. Sensors includes a speedometer, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer ambient sensor and heart monitor.
Pairing the watch with a phone is quite a simple task. You just have to download the Samsung Gear app on your phone, follow the instructions and should be done in under a minute. The Gear S3 is very responsive to the touch and in no way did I experience lags while using it. I used it to track my steps for the day as well as time my night jogs and also how good my sleep was. The built in S-Health app acts like a personal trainer, constantly reminding you to get moving if you’ve become stagnant.
In a similar fashion popularized by Motorola for its smartwatch offering, Samsung went for the wireless charging technology for the Gear s3. The Gear s3 comes with a wireless cradle, with magnets, ensuring the watch stays in seat while charging. It has a built-in in battery measuring at 380mah capable of lasting me up to 4 days before needing to be charged again (this with Always-On feature deactivated, LTE and GPS de-activated). That is a pretty impressive feat for such a small device.
Smartwatches haven’t really flown off the shelves, especially in the Philippines. We have seen the evolution of the designs, from square-ish piece of tech to closely resembling actual watches. Hopefully the manufacturers do not give up on the technology and continue to introduce innovations to sway the general consumers into owning one. In any case, here is our verdict of the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier.
- Amazing battery life
- Gorgeous Super AMOLED Screen with high PPI
- Always on Display has minimal effects on battery life
- Life proof
- Classic inspired design
- Rotating bezels and physical buttons
- Supports multiple connectivity and sensors
- Large watch
- S-Voice needs to be improved
- Small number of third party applications available
- Size not for those with small wrists
- Design language caters toward men