First look: Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch [VIDEO]


After much speculation, Samsung has finally taken the wraps off its next-generation smartwatch– the Samsung Gear S3. Although built on their proprietary operating system called Tizen rather than Android Wear, the Gear S3 works flawlessly with all Android phones (not just Galaxy devices) and improves on an already solid offering in last year’s Samsung Gear S2 (which is still the Best Smartwatch for Android).

Samsung’s most elegant timepiece to date

Upon first laying eyes on Samsung’s latest smartwatch one thing struck me immediately: Samsung is inching closer and closer to providing consumers a smartwatch that looks and feels like a traditional timekeeper. The Gear S3 is simply beautiful and does this better than any other offerings from Samsung and perhaps all competitors.

Samsung Gear S3 Classic 3

The Gear S3 comes in 3 different models:

  • Classic (Bluetooth/Wi-Fi)
  • Frontier (Bluetooth/Wi-Fi)
  • Frontier LTE.

Here are the main differences. The Samsung Gear S3 Classic features a more classic design, with smooth bezels and an overall slimmer design, while the Gear S3 Frontier features a more rugged design. Think of it as comparing a Timex to a Casio G-Shock, without all the extra heft.

Additionally, the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier will be available with LTE, marking the first time Samsung is providing a smartwatch with LTE connectivity, moving away from the 3G connectivity of the Gear S2. This will be super useful for folks who are looking to leave their smartphones behind but still be able to get your notifications on the go.

As for the bands, Samsung will be including two different bands within the packaging for each Gear S3 purchased, giving users immediate options. It’s not yet known whether we will be able to select which bands come with our new smartwatches, but options are always good with new products. From the bezel to the stainless steel casing and various band options, the Gear S3 hopes to be the smartwatch for just about everyone.

The bezel to rule them all

Now to that rotating bezel. Yes, the display is a touchscreen and there is a button on the side of the casing to make selections, but (like the Gear S2) the Gear S3 has a rotating bezel that acts as the primary means of navigation. Samsung is taking great pride in this feature of its smartwatches and it’s well deserved; navigating between different widgets or applications is incredibly smooth and enjoyable, bringing a feature to the smartwatch market that other companies can’t or don’t offer.

Gear S3 Frontier

The rotating bezel surrounds a gorgeous 1.3 touchscreen Super AMOLED display, which brings us to the first big addition compared to the Gear S2. The display on the Gear S3 features over 16 million colors, which means that colors will be as vibrant as ever. Thanks to the world’s first Corning Gorilla Glass SR+ display on a smartwatch, you can be confident that your new smartwatch will be protected against the pings and pangs your wrist takes on a daily basis.

What’s under the hood?

Samsung took all its knowledge and experiences from its previous smartwatches and fitness trackers and decided to load everything into the Gear S3. Samsung included Corning’s Gorilla Glass SR+ display, making it the first smartwatch to take advantage of this ultra-rugged display. This will fall right in line with those who tend to bang their wrists into everything, and its IP68 rating ensures that it will be protected from the elements.

Key Specs:

  • Display: 1.3″ Circular AMOLED
  • Resolution: 360 x 360, 278ppi
  • Full-Color Always-On display
  • Corning Gorilla Glass SR+
  • Memory: 4GB Internal
  • RAM: 768MB
  • Battery: 380mAh
  • Weather: IP68 water & dust resistance

You can find the full list of specs for the Samsung Gear S3 here.

Killer features get more killer-er

As with most Samsung products, the Gear S3 is jam-packed with new features. Our favorite? The introduction of Samsung Pay on the newest smartwatch. It became available for the Gear S2 back in July, but the Gear S3 will launch with this feature in tow.

Pay without touching your pocket

You will now be able to pay for items on the go without needing to take out your wallet or your smartphone. Due to the inclusion of NFC and MST, as long as your Samsung Pay information is registered on your smartphone, you will be able to use your smartwatch while in line at the supermarket just as you would normally do with your phone.

Samsung Pay on the Gear S3 is also protected by Samsung’s Knox security measures which are already provided on various smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Samsung Galaxy Note 7. By keeping your information secure, Samsung promises to provide an easier way to pay for goods, even when you’re device is left behind.

Finally, Samsung Pay will only be able to be used if the Gear S3 is attached to *your* wrist and the 4 digit pin has been entered. This will help keep unauthorized parties from using Samsung Pay without your consent and keep your bank information in the right hands.

Solving the dead battery dilemma

Some may be disappointed by the size of the battery (380mAh), but Samsung promises better overall battery life with the Gear S3. Samsung is expecting for the Gear S3 to be able to last between 3 and 4 days depending on whether you purchase the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth model or the LTE version. The new display features Samsung’s always-on display and two new power-saving modes to make sure you get through the day while still being able to tell the time.

The regular power-saving mode activates at 15% remaining and will only allow specific notifications to come through on your wrist. The Watch-Only mode – a pretty ingenious addition – activates when the Gear S3 is down to 5% and will restrict usage to just telling the time. Samsung promises the Watch-Only mode will be able to get you through a full days usage while still being able to tell the time. That’s pretty amazing in that it prevents our biggest complaint about smartwatches: the possibility that they completely die on your wrist leaving you wearing a watch that can’t even tell the time.

Apps, widgets, watchfaces, and more

With the Gear S3, Samsung is really pushing the inclusion of widgets which can be accessed by either rotating the bezel or swiping across the display. The widgets will give users access to their most important pieces of information, including news updates and any missed notifications.

Uber Gear S3

Samsung is also partnering with popular companies to provide exclusive experiences that can’t be found elsewhere, including:

  • Spotify – stream music directly from your new smartwatch. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to save playlists and music from Spotify for offline usage.
  • Nest – control your Nest thermostat directly from your wrist.
  • ADT – brings a new level of personal security with Samsung’s new SOS service. Provided with a subscription the ADT SOS service will reach out to ADT call centers and notify the local authorities to your location and can even call on your behalf in the case of an emergency.

Surely more exclusive partnerships will come and Samsung has stated there will be over 10,000 apps available in the Gear Store at the launch of the Gear S3. This includes various watchfaces that can be downloaded which somewhat inflates the stats, but it’s a pretty impressive start for the launch of Samsung’s latest and greatest wearable.

Fitness with your phone left behind

Gear S3 fitness

When the Samsung Gear Fit 2 was announced, Samsung drove the point home about the ability to leave your phone behind and let the new fitness tracker be your hub. The same sentiment can be said about the Gear S3 as Samsung has included many of the awesome features from the Gear Fit 2 with the new smartwatch.

Starting off is 4GB of storage that is built into the smartwatch. This will allow for users to not only download apps or widgets but also load music from your personal library directly to the Gear S3 for listening offline.

Gear S3 rear

The Gear S3 also includes a whole slew of new sensors that will improve the statistics of your workouts and your general usage. This includes an altimeter, barometer, GPS, and SOS sensors. The built-in GPS sensor will allow for your runs, hikes, or bike rides to be accurately measured and synced with Samsung’s S Health application once you’re back in range of your Samsung smartphone. That means you can take phoneless fitness adventures but still get all the great data you want to collect.

Weathering the storm

Gear S3 Frontier 5

If you’re worried about having to weather the elements with a smartwatch this gorgeous, get rid of that notion now. The Gear S3 comes with an IP68 rating and has military grade certifications for extreme temperatures, dust protection and even altitude protection of up to 15,000 feet. The IP68 rating will allow for you to take the Gear S3 under 5 feet water for up to 30 minutes which means you can get a couple of laps in the pool completed without worrying about your new smartwatch going on the fritz.

Size matters

Not all things are roses and daisies with the Gear S3. According to internal research, Samsung will only be providing the Gear S3 in a 46mm casing with 22mm bands. This decision could cause a bit of backlash from the ladies out there due to the wrist being “too large”. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out, but with Samsung continuing to sell and support the Gear S2 lineup, as well as the Gear Fit 2, it may be a moot point.


The Samsung Gear S3 is one gorgeous smartwatch that not only improves on the Gear S2 but adds the fitness features that turn the Gear Fit 2 into one of the best fitness trackers of the year. Once released, the Gear S3 is an awesome option that can do everything you could want in a smartwatch and a fitness tracker in one elegant package.

We’ll be sure to give everyone an in-depth look at the Samsung Gear S3, so stay tuned for our full review. We are expecting the Gear S3 to launch later this year and will be available from major retailers and US carriers (for the Gear S3 Frontier LTE).  In the meantime, drop us a line below and let us know what you think about the Gear S3 and whether it will become the top dog in the smartwatch market.


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