Samsung has unveiled the Gear S3 and it’s coming in two flavours. First up is the Samsung Gear S3 Classic, the natural successor to the Gear S2. Then there’s the more rugged Samsung Gear S3 Frontier.
Both still feature that rotating bezel that the Wareable team are all big fans of. Both pack in the same features across the board, but there’s some small differences in the design and connectivity departments.
Smartwatches are looking more like normal watches, but they’re still entirely different objects. You can’t unlock their full functionality unless you tether them to your phone. And battery life is an issue—you’ve got to charge a smartwatch every day.
Those things don’t change with Samsung’s new smartwatches, but they take a step in the right direction for wearable tech. Given Samsung’s one of the biggest makers of smartwatches behind Apple, and it’s been working hard on its own OS for the platform, any new device from the brand is a big deal. So let’s dig in to see what’s on offer:
- What is it? Samsung’s refinement of an already-decent smartwatch
- When is it out? Announced August 31, released in the latter half of 2016
- What will it cost? US$250 (about £189, AU$330) depending on the model
One thing you won’t be short of with the Gear S3 is strap options. It works with standard 22m watch straps if you don’t fancy living with Samsung’s ones. Plus, artist and industrial designer Arik Levy has helped create some strap designs. He’s also produced a series of watch face designs to compliment the 15 faces already pre-loaded onto the watch.
The Gear S3’s come with a 1.3-inch screen with a 46mm body which is a bump up from Gear S2’s 1.2-inches and 42mm body. It’s still the same 360 x 360 super AMOLED always on screen, so is still one of the sharpest smartwatch screens in the business. The screen is also layered with Corning Gorilla SR+.
There’s a much larger battery sitting behind the larger screen. At 380mAh, the Gear S3 has certainly surpassed the S2’s 250mAh. That means you get about 3-4 days of usage with and without LTE, compared to the usual two days the majority of smartwatches can muster.
Also now you can rotate the bezel to answer/reject phone calls – yes, it does that- but what’s more interesting is that it’s now opening up the feature to third party app developers.
In terms of software, Tizen continues to the run the show with the latest version of the Samsung built OS on board. That’s powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor along with 758MB of RAM. With that latest version of Tizen comes a handful of new software features like the ability to write or draw on the display to respond to messages or create short reminders.
If there’s one thing these two watches are not short of, it’s sensors. There’s the usual suspects like an accelerometer, ambient light sensor and the same heart rate monitor as the Gear S2. On top of that you now get an altimeter, barometer and speedometer to track things like altitude and atmospheric pressure and sudden changes in the weather when you’re out exploring the great outdoors. and the big one, GPS.
Speaking of sensors and software, Samsung Pay is now going to be supported on the Gear S3 after being trialled on the Gear S2. Using NFC and MST (magnetic secure transmission), you’ll be able to tap your watch against any card reader.Samsung emphasized that phones and even LTE aren’t needed which should be great news for joggers or people who’ve forgotten their mobile device at home.
The Gear S3 stands a good chance at being the best of the full-fat, give-you-everything-possible smartwatches out there. It’s certainly building on a good foundation and it’s the product of a company that’s increasingly asserting itself as a design leader.
In other IFA news,
Sony is about to announce its new smartphones tomorrow but the press photos have already leaked revealing multiple camera sensors and the professional design in a more detailed look, Lenovo just hit the mother-box of innovation with its new Yoga Book which is nothing like anything you’ve seen before which can also be said aboutAcer’s new predator 21X, not so innovative but you’ve definitely not seen anything like this either. So much is happening at IFA. And HTC announced its new and “improved” A9s but the only thing it improves on is it’s cloning of the iPhone design yet being different.