Tech for your connected self

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

Our favourite apps to get downloaded to your Samsung smartwatch first

Despite the arrival of the Samsung Gear Sport, the Samsung Gear S3 is still one of the best smartwatches you can get your hands on right now.

The Gear S3 Frontier and Classic watches have that wonderful rotating bezel, some solid sports tracking and health features and one of the most intuitive smartwatch operating systems in Tizen.

However, app support is not one of its strengths compared to other smartwatches, but things are slowly improving as Samsung rolls out regular software updates to improve its hulking Gear S3 smartwatch duo.

Hands on:Samsung Galaxy Watch review

While it might be slim pickings on the app front, we've managed to pick out the ones S3 owners need in their lives and will actually find useful on a daily basis.

Got any questions or thoughts about our selections? Hit us up in the comments section below.

Spotify

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

Sorry, Apple Watch owners, the Gear S3 is the only smartwatch with an official Spotify app to allow you to enjoy music from your wrist through Wi-Fi or LTE.

You are free to browse through your playlists, charts and search for tracks on the app, with offline support for Android users also now in tow. This allows Premium users to listen to saved playlists even when not connected to an internet source.

Under Armour Connected Fitness Suite

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

With Samsung only offering basic Strava support, the third-party options for exercisers isn't all that strong. But with the recent Under Armour collaboration, the Gear S3 supports the Under Armour Connected Fitness suite - meaning you have access to apps like UA Record, MapMyRun, Endomondo, and MyFitnessPal.

This not only gives you a bit more choice when it comes to how you want to enjoy untethered GPS tracking and route viewing, but you can also keep tabs on your diet, too.

Uber

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

You know how it works by now, but the good news is that the S3's version of the cab-hailing app doesn't skimp on the features. The screen is big enough that dragging the marker to your chosen pickup location is easy, while the rotating bezel lets you zoom in and out of the map, and scroll through your choice of ride, be it a Pool, SUV or just a regular Uber X. It's the same deal as the S2 version - our favourite Uber smartwatch app around. Just be warned, this one is exclusive to those of you with Samsung phones.

Facer

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

If you're all about watch faces, then this is a download essential. After flexing its customisation skills on Wear, Facer is available for Samsung's Tizen-running smartwatches.

Essential reading: The best Samsung Gear S3 watch faces

You can pick from over 15,000 different watch faces specially designed for the Gear S3 or you can have a go at creating your own through the Facer Creator portal where you can add in any images, pick different fonts, watch hands and drop in your favourite watch widgets.

Nest

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

An unofficial app previously let you control your home from the wrist, but now Nest has unveiled its own app for you to enjoy.

This allows users who own the Nest Learning Thermostat to monitor temperature, set the device status to 'home' or 'away' and even control the heat through the watch's rotating bezel. Nifty.

Find My Car

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

You've taken the kids out to a theme park for the day. You left the car in car lot K, zone 4… you think. But it's dark now, the kids are cranky from their sugar comedown and you could spend days in this concrete hell. That is, unless you've used the Find my Car app, which marked the location when you arrived. You can also leave yourself a voice memo to remind yourself "Car is parked by red bollard" or "Never let the kids eat ice cream again".

Flipboard News briefing

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

One of our recommended Gear S2 apps makes a return as a pre-installed app on the S3, and again, it's a bit of a surprise hit. You might not think watches were made for reading news, but Flipboard makes it work well, distilling stories down to the need-to-know facts. You can then tap a button to open the full story on your phone should you want to dig into the meat of it.

Rolling Hams

The best smartwatch games for Apple Watch, Android Wear and more

Twist the Gear's bezel to navigate through a series of increasingly challenging labyrinths. The levels are vibrant, the gameplay will keep you hooked, and it's a great showcase of what the Gear S3 can do which rivals cannot.

Glympse

The best Samsung Gear S3 appsGlympse's function is simple: let people know where you are. Say you're meeting friends in an unknown part of town, simply send them your GPS location through the app and they'll be able to get to you. The Gear app simply lets you do it faster. You can also request a friend's location by tapping a different icon. We likey.

Fruit Ninja

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

Not the official version, but this replica is a surprisingly good fit on Samsung's watch, letting you command with a lot of precision. It can get a bit juddery now and then, but nothing that will spoil the endless fun of carving airborne watermelons. And it's free - fruity bonus.

Pear

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

Sadly, the Nike+ app isn't likely to come to Gear due to Nike's partnership with Apple. To make matters worse, the selection of other running apps to choose from is woeful. Samsung Health isn't terrible, and is getting better, but if you want another option, Pear is free and works without your phone, offering audio coaching and tracking heart rate, distance and calories.

White Light

The simplest app on our list, but quite a useful one. White Light turns your S3 into a mini torch by turning the display white and upping the brightness to max. Useful in a moment where you need some light and don't want to fish out your phone. Unless you're someone who sensibly carries a torch with them. Weirdo.

Camera Gear

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

Turn your S3 into a remote photo and video shooter. The app streams the image from either your phone's front or rear camera to your wrist, where you can remotely capture or set a timer. It also supports a flash mode.

BMW Connected

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

Running and listening to music is great, but sometimes you just want to feel like James Bond, right? Thankfully, if you're the owner of a compatible BMW vehicle, you can.

Read next: Top Samsung Gear S3 tips and tricks

The BMW Connected app allows you to lock/unlock doors, check how much fuel is left in the tank, view details of your next trip and, conveniently, check just where exactly the car is - all from your wrist.

Here WeGo

The best Samsung Gear S3 apps

If you're going to download a maps app on your S3, we recommend this one as we find Google Maps a bit too fiddly on the watch. You can set a route and have it cache to your watch, so you can continue to use it without your phone later on. Handy. This one's free, but if it's navigation you're looking for, Mobiteka's paid Gear Navigator Standalone app may also be up your street. Get it?


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17 comments

  • davidgreditzer says:

    Ya. I am pretty sure that these are the best S3 apps because, well...they are the ONLY Gear S3 apps:)

    • JKVTP says:

      I have to agree, the Samsung App selection really sucks for Gear S3. I have a 300£ smart watch that can do the same as my 8£ Casio, show the time. The Samsung App store is full of pretty watch faces that look good, but suck down you battery and are visible 15s and then go black or rude looking dark mode watch face.  The watch has build in GPS so I want to have simple Apps that can do the same as my ten year old Garmin did, show the GPS coordinates and waypoints. When I try to use navigation Apps, this smat watch wants to suck down my mobile phone battery when it uses mobile phone GPS through the bluetooth connection. Now, Samsung software engineer needs to shape up and kick in some simple navigation Apps that use the build in GPS and other sensors or this watch ends up to be just a watch face swapping toy for people that don't have money to buy real mechanical watches.

    • GVHY says:

      As a businessman the standard Samsung Gear S3 apps I find USEFUL are: 

      1 The digital watch-face, 

      2 the crisp, clear month calendar (better than the iWatch) to see at a glance how far my appointments are & project dates by month,

      3 GPS street map

      3 the  car-finder

      Additional useful features I want are (LISTEN App developers!): 

      a) flight time reminders: flight#, gate, destination, departure/arrival times (iWatch has this!)

      b) multi/dual-time zones, 

      c) currency converters, 

      d) calculators (if possible), 

      No issue with the size of the watch face. It's quite fashionable here in Australia to pay A$1000 for a designer analog CLOCK on your wrist!

  • paindoc says:

    Agree completely. For Samsung to be on its second generation Gear watch, they have done a horrible job making sure there was app development. Nike, Runtastic, Runkeeper, Strava, Mapmyrun, et c should be fighting for the space. No Facebook app? No CNN or Fox News?

  • xman1102 says:

    how come i'm not finding Uber or Pear apps?

    • gghose says:

      At least in the case of Uber, your phone needs to be Samsung as well.

  • Phaux says:

    The app situation sounds terrible.

    Please point me to the official Samsung online catalog of S2 and S3 apps - without my having to buy the watch first!

    Thanks.

    • joyfulmachines says:

      I have tried and don't seem to find much without going through the Gear store - it's an app you can get on your phone, but they control the experience to make sure you have a paired watch.

      For my own part, I don't think the options are TERRIBLE, but they have some room for growth.

      Maybe you could have a look by checking at a Best Buy?

  • Andrew_Thomsen says:

    I'm very interested in the Samsung Gear. S3 watch and wanted to know more about the apps they have on them.  Most of all I would like to know if they have bank apps such as Ally bank and others for stock trades?  I only ask this if I can really ditch my cell permanently and just have the watch.

    Thank you for time.

  • IFRPilot says:

    I agree that Samsung could attract more App developers. But I love my Samsung S3 Frontier. The included Apps cover 90% of what most people would do with a tiny screen. Browsing the web, watching YouTube, and many other options are just gimmicks. For example, most people I know with Apple watches mainly use them as a watch, for notifications and as a fitness tracker. I use my S3 Frontier with an iPhone 6S iOS 11.0.3 and it works great. The 4G LTE is also fantastic. I can’t believe how well it works. The watch looks much better than Apple’s smart watch and has significantly better battery life. The notifications are extremely useful and the Bluetooth range is awesome. Many times I leave my phone in the car while inside a convenience store and never disconnect. The calendar, contacts, photos, Samsung health, all work great. Plus, the watch faces look awesome, stainless steel is a free upgrade (you have to pay extra with the Apple Watch), and again, it looks a heck of a lot better. Samsung also offers watch design software for free. If you want something that’s a little more functional but looks like an iPhone strapped to your wrist, you can always pay $400 for an aluminum Apple Watch, NOT. By the way, I bought my S3 off eBay for $219 and even thought it hadn’t been previously activated, I was able to get ATT to re-activate the eSIM remotely. Many of the customer service reps don’t know this, so be consistent. They have to email a different department to get the imbedded SIM reactivated.

    • IFRPilot says:

      There’s a typo above. My watches SIM “was” previously activated (previous owner), but I “was” able to re-activate it with AT&T (all by phone).  

    • Sleekguy says:

      I agree with you that the included apps cover what most people do with a watch. I think some of the most useful apps are the one preinstalled as reminder, find my phone etc., For me Golfwith  - smart caddie, PPT remote, ESPN, Bloomberg and GOPRO Shutter Pro (for Hero) is very useful. I have also notice that a lot of new apps has arrived to Galaxy apps for Gear during december.

  • simonforinton says:

    They should have just used a minimal version of android and implemented Tizen as a launcher so they could still have access to the play store = No app issue. Simple.

  • carlosberumen says:

    The article shows it's been updated on May 28.

    I have seen the Tripcase app mentioned several times, but the standalone app for the watch no longer exist!, you can use Tripcase in your phone and get the normal notifications to be seen on the watch... but that's it!

    Please update the list with available apps only...

    • m.sawh says:

      Hi, we've updated this now. Thanks 

  • AdeliaJames says:

    Can we connect samsung gear with other brands of mobile?

    • Joey says:

      Yes, I have my Gear S3 classic paired with my Motorola Z2 Play and it works very well. Very similar, if not identical to a Gear S3 paired with a Galaxy Note 8. I was on an OLD VZW plan, so I had to get a current plan. The watch works great on its own, away from my phone, on 4G.

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