Samsung Gear S3: Essential guide to the new Classic smartwatch

Everything you need to know about Samsung's new smartwatch
Samsung Gear S3 essential guide

Samsung is getting serious about style with the new Gear S3 Classic smartwatch, which was revealed alongside the more rugged S3 Frontier at IFA 2016.

Both watches are now on sale, with the price for both models set at $349.99.

The Gear S2 Classic was a clear favourite, so it's no surprise to see Samsung following up with another premium wearable that emulates the feel of a classic watch while also packing in a raft of nifty features.

Wareable verdict: Samsung Gear S3 review

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Samsung's sleek new Gear S3.

Samsung Gear S3: Design

The Classic Gear S3 has a minimalistic, analogue look with its stainless steel body and circular buttons next to the brushed metal rotating bezel. So like the Gear S2, this is one for the office and showing off in your business meetings.

With the S3 Classic you're getting a 46mm steel case weighing 57g, which means it's bigger than the S2's 44mm case, and fairly big when put next to many of the other smartwatches out there.

The Frontier Gear S3 on the other hand, is aimed at fitness and 'exploration' fans, as Samsung puts it. The sportier S3 has a slightly larger, raised bezel (also rotating) with rectangular, textured buttons. It's also heavier weighing in at 62g, in comparison to the Gear S3 Classic's 57g body.

All the Gear S3's are ruggedized and have been slapped with an IP68 water and dust resistant certification. Samsung says it has tested the models with military level standards ensuring that they're durable and able to withstand very high and very low temperatures, shock, dust and extreme vibrations.

On the connectivity front, there's differences too. The Classic comes with Bluetooth/Wi-Fi while the Frontier will offer up a Bluetooth or standalone LTE flavour, which comes in handy for some of the new features.

Samsung Gear S3: Screen

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+.

Samsung Gear S3: Straps

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.

Samsung Gear S3: Rotating bezel features

We've already mentioned how we are big fans of the rotating bezel on the Gear S2 and Samsung has decided to make it more useful. Now you can rotate the bezel to answer/reject phone calls, but what's more interesting is that it's now opening up the feature to third party app developers.

Essential reading: Best smartwatch round-up

One of the first companies to jump on board is Nest, letting you rotate the bezel to control your Thermostat.

Samsung Gear S3: Fitness tracking

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.

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The big one though is built-in GPS (Glonass), giving the Gear S3 serious sports watch credentials. But that's not all. It also unlocks a new SOS mode that uses location tracking to alert family, friends and emergency professionals when you're in crisis.

Samsung is also essentially putting the Gear Fit2's fitness features in new clothing here as well. Fit2 users will recognise Challenges, leaderboards and activity auto-recognition.

Samsung Gear S3: Tizen OS

In terms of software, Tizen continues to the run the show with the latest version of the Samsung built OS 9Tizen (2.3.2) 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.

Read this: Living with Android Wear 2.0

There's also a big play to improve things on the app front, something we've been critical of in the past. Samsung says it has more than 10,000 apps now and that includes apps for the likes of BMW, Uber and Samsung Pay. There's also official Spotify support letting you stream music sans smartphone (with the 3G model) as well as control playback, access your library and playlists.

Samsung Gear S3: Battery life

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.

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Samsung were unable to say what the battery life is like in GPS mode, but we have our doubts it can muster up the same sort of stamina as dedicated sports watches from the likes of Garmin and Polar. It still also supports wireless charging like its predecessor and a power saving mode that restricts.

Samsung Gear S3: Samsung Pay

Speaking of Samsung Pay, it's 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 emphasised 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.

Now read: The best wearable payment devices

Using a system of tokens - never your actual credit or debit card number - the Gear S3 stores information on the watch that you can access when paying. 10 transactions can be used before you must reconnect with your phone. To access Samsung Pay, you'll need to type in a 4-digit password pin that you've created. Then it's a matter of choosing which card you want to pay with. If you're worried about the security, if the S3 is off the wrist, the payment system is locked.

Samsung Gear S3: Compatibility

It's only compatible with Android phones though, not iOS despite the beta testing that's already in place with the Gear S2. We asked a Samsung representative about the potential of iOS support for the Gear S3 and they told us the following:

"While the Gear S3 does not offer support for the iOS platform at this time, we continually evaluate ways to broaden the availability of our wearable devices to more consumers by providing them with a seamless, connected experience that improves their daily lives." We think that means Samsung is focusing on getting it working on the Gear S2 before it moves onto the Gear S3.

Samsung Gear S3: Price and release date

Both the Classic and Frontier models are now available for purchase, with prices starting at $349.99 directly from Samsung, or from Best Buy, Macy's or Amazon.

If you're worried that the Gear S3 still might be a bit too big for you, Samsung intends to keep selling the Gear S2 and S2 Classic, which will be available for less than new Samsung smartwatch. Last year's watches will inherit some of the software features introduced on the Gear S3, but none that relate to the new sensors.

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  • LizaS says:

    When is the S3 schedule for release?

    • Dewm says:

      If the Note 7 announcement on August 2nd and the subsequent availability on August19th is anything to go from I would suspect that September 19th could be the day it actually ships.  Such a move could steal some would be apple watch buyers away as I have seen friends that have been long time iPhone users now wanting to switch to the Note 7.

  • Yemi says:

    Nice. Expecting a lot of good things from this launch.

  • kavitamevada says:

    New Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch will be unveiled very soon

    Find more Report Here:

  • jimmychange says:

    Do we know if this could be a stand alone device? I don't want a $400 accessory for my $400 phone.

    • lolghrthrtsdj says:

      first of all i believe the watch will be $300 and if you get the frontier version it has LTE connectivity which allows you to take calls and message people without needing your phone at all

  • giper54 says:

    will the S3 have ant+ radios for chest strap HR ?

  • Jake4243 says:

    Very nice smart watches can't make me mind up witch one can let us know when available to purchase and prices regards simon

  • johnnygrinter says:

    No LTE in the UK fronteir, no money from me.  

  • Imranriaz says:

    Sir tell me the expected price of gear s3 frontier and when it will be available? ?? 

  • brianlbaker says:

    Will it have the "exploding" feature found on the Note 7?

    Actually, I'd buy the Frontier if there was iOS compatibility.

  • doc1709 says:

    Knowing that Samsung are selling both the S2 & S3 (when released) What are the chances of Samsung doing a minor upgrade to the S2 model in the near future?

  • kavitamevada says:

    Samsung announces Gear S3 Classic and Frontier Smartwatch with GPS, LTE and Samsung Pay

  • yogibimbi says:

    Very nice spec sheet, what with GPS and LTE. But you lost me at "Tizen" and "IP68". Pretty happy with my Mission for the time being. Going to the pool with it 3-4 times a week and also sitting in the sauna once or twice, on top of the usual sporty stuff (you know, gym, running, cycling). Nice piece of lower-case gear.

  • lookatbowen says:

    Why is LTE and Samsung Pay not available in the UK. It renders this smart watch useless and pretty much like and of the Android Wear smart watches. Surely the killer features of any smart watch is NFC for quick payment and LTE for making and receiving phone calls or accessing the internet (without smart phone present or within 10m). I just don't understand why Samsung would limit LTE/NFC to certain countries. Makes no sense! Perhaps someone on here can shed some light!

  • ErickArchila says:

    S3 Frontier must be an amazing watch. I read and learned a lot about it and wating mine to arrive tomorrow. :) 

  • Ness0914 says:

    Any word on if they will be launching the S3 in the rose gold that they did the S2 in?  I love the look of the rose gold S2 but I would like the newer technology.

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