A genuine survivor: Samsung’s Gear S3 smartwatch reviewed

The smartwatch universe is generally divided into those that are done for Android Wear and those that are done for Apple, nonetheless Samsung’s Gear intelligent watches cut a personification margin differently.

Designed with both a touchscreen and a spirit of primer ring-based control, they’re a opposite difficulty of smartwatch and they now work for some-more than customarily Android, with iPhones, too.

Is Samsung’s Gear S3 singular adequate to be a best smartwatch around?


Samsung is no foreigner to a wearable, carrying motionless to get into it even before Android Wear popped adult on a scene.

You competence not remember those watches, nonetheless we do, as a “Gear” name was used for somethat was good and truly gear, during slightest in a clarity of a word.

This time, a name is back, with a watch about attempting to ideal a efforts of Samsung in a past few years, holding a round S2 smartwatch and optimising a whole lot of things, while giving it that many indispensable cloak of paint and cosmetic to build a whole thing like a watch.

Inside this watch, Samsung has supposing a possess processor to pull things along, with a dual-core Exynos 7270, a 1GHz processor that works with 768MB memory and 4GB storage, permitting we to supplement in a sincerely immeasurable volume of apps (if they exist) and strain too, of course.

Samsung’s possess handling complement “Tizen” arrives on this phone out of a box, opposite from a common conflict of Android vs. Apple.

Connecting a Gear S3 smartwatch to your phone happens over Bluetooth 4.2, nonetheless Samsung has also supposing 802.11b/g/n WiFi, GPS, Near-Field Communication (NFC), and support for Samsung Pay’s Magnetic Stripe Technology that vibrates a right proceed to trigger a comparison captivating remuneration machines ordinarily seen during EFTPOS terminals.

A 380mAh battery is enclosed in a Gear S3 smartwatch, and this is matched with a good collection of sensors, including gyroscope, accelerometre, barometer, and a heart-rate guard found on a underside of a watch. Wireless charging is also built in, fasten to a captivating horse that takes a energy from a USB source.

On tip of a battery — indeed everything, indeed — is a 1.3 in. 360×360 arrangement stable by Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass SR+, a transformation on Corning’s work that appears to be built to tarry a unchanging day-to-day.

Samsung has also enclosed a microphone, speaker, and tiny haptic motor, while a Gear S3 smartwatch is not customarily rated for IP68, it also is authorized to troops standards (MIL-STD-810G).


With a facilities all listed, let’s get stranded into bargain a watch, given make no mistake, a Samsung Gear S3 is a watch, it’s customarily a watch that does something some-more than your customary timepiece.

One thing it does, though, is demeanour like a watch. Forget about a squared off designs of a aptness watches, and even Apple’s malleable block — a “squircle” as it has spin famous — given a Gear S3 uses a round shade identical to what Android Wear has spin famous on.

Samsung’s take here on a Gear S3 is a small some-more watch-like even than what a customary round shade that Android Wear makers like LG, Motorola, and Huawei provide, with dual buttons on a right and a round circle on top, creation a whole thing feel customarily that many some-more sporty and built for adventures.

That’s what a Gear S3 Frontier offers, nonetheless a “Classic” transformation is similar, customarily with differently accented buttons and a tip circle nonetheless any decorations.

Overall, though, a pattern comes off like what you’d pattern a watch to demeanour like.

This competence sound like a bit of a non-issue, nonetheless few intelligent watches grasp a aim of looking and feeling like a bizarre material, and Samsung’s does that is indeed an achievement.

Granted, it’s a small large and bulky, nonetheless if you’re used to a somewhat thicker watch than a slim Swatch and Skagen, you’ll be during home here, also given a tip and sides of a watch feel solid, too.


With a pattern that extends itself to looking and feeling some-more like a required outdoor watch, you’ll be gay to know that Samsung hasn’t done things accurately like a other companies.

For instance, Android Wear is all touch, with all permitted by a round or block touchscreen and tranquil by touches and gestures. Apple Watch doesn’t wandering too distant from that logic, nonetheless does come with a dial that can do a few things to control, nonetheless a event is mostly about touch.

Samsung’s Gear S3 differs by charity a mostly reason interface that can also be tranquil regulating a round dial adult tip and dire a centre of a screen.

This control circle isn’t a new thing for Samsung, carrying expelled it in a prior Gear model, a Gear S2, nonetheless it feels some-more polished in this generation, with small indents as we spin a circle to make feel like we have a reason some-more control as we make your proceed by a handling system.

The OS of choice here — Tizen — does utterly good to accommodate a control wheel, with a round interface with icons widespread out where any of a numbers would routinely be on a clock, permitting we to pierce fast by pages of app icons and duty shortcuts simply by scrolling a wheel.

When you’ve reached a by-pass we wish to run, we simply reason a center of a shade or — if a environment has been switched on — stay on a idol for a second, and a app will run.

It’s a resolution that creates it easier to get around a smartwatch quickly, and even extends utterly good to a customary screen, with a dial to a left divulgence your notifications (with swiping adult promulgation them to a rabble to drop them), while rotating to a right gets we to a discerning app shortcuts for things we competence use some-more frequently, such as a strain app, a sports measurements, a hit we devise to call, and so on.

Really though, it’s this multiple of reason and circle control that assistance to concrete a watch as unequivocally easy to use, given you’re not forced to burst by pages of nonessential icons, and can customarily fast stagger your circle to get where we need to go.

The dual buttons on a side are also handy, with one indifferent for going behind (the bottom), while a other is a by-pass for an app we competence use regularly. Or not, as a box was with ours set to Samsung Pay.

But if we do occur to have use for Samsung Pay, we will find that serviceable here. Currently there aren’t many banks in Australia that will let we use a smartphone-based captivating frame record for wireless payments, nonetheless when Samsung and a banks start scrupulously talking, a inclusion of MST could meant that Samsung’s Gear S3 provides one of a easiest ways to pierce wireless payments to inclination that don’t have support for wireless payments.

Given how many inclination are still being expelled nonetheless Near-Field Communication — Oppo, we’re looking during you — this revives that probability once more, and allows we to take it to some-more inclination after on.


Once you’ve schooled how to use a Gear S3 — and it won’t take long, as a dual methods of control are unequivocally accessible — we get to contend with performance.

Fortunately, Samsung has found a good multiple of tools that work with a tradition software, ensuing in customarily occasional moments of slowdowns that are unequivocally easy to demeanour past.

For a many part, regulating apps and jumping to several multitasking opportunities have no problems whatsoever. It’s still bizarre communicating this thought of “multitasking” in a watch, that said, given it’s a watch, nonetheless a few times you’ll wish to burst between apps, a multiple of a Exynos processor and 768MB RAM (which is 256MB aloft than what we generally see on other Android smartwatches) as good as that cold circle interface helps to click all together, creation for a mostly seamless transition.

Outside of checking a time, many of a activities you’ll do with a Gear S3 smartwatch are around that of health associated — tracking how good you’re doing, running, step climbing, and so on — and holding and creation phone calls, with a rest of a time we peek down during a S3 there given you’ve perceived a notification.

These notifications aren’t customarily willy nilly all we get, either, given we can simply tell a Gear app what you’d like to receive, flicking on SMS and Facebook Messenger, for instance, and gripping off UberEats. Unless we unequivocally adore being told when that food is going to arrive.

Looking down during a screen, you’ll find a certain miss of ambient arrangement many of a time, nonetheless all we unequivocally need to do to get a Gear S3 articulate to we is lift your arm or accept a notification, and if that doesn’t work, press one of a buttons on a side.

Outside, we even found a shade opening rubbed a own, with adequate liughtness from a shade to outcome in a peek not forcing we to run for a shade

It is easy to symbol some misses, however, and these operation from a transformation tracking to a Bluetooth pick-up.

Let’s go with a transformation tracking first, given we find it rather engaging customarily how simply a Gear S3 is confused by movements.

First of all, we need to acknowledge a good things Samsung is doing by perplexing to get we to move. That’s a eminent gesture, given if you’re sitting down for too prolonged a duration — contend an hour — it will tell we to get adult and to start moving, because, we know, it’s gripping tabs on how you’re doing and how many you’re relocating about.

That’s good. We like to be jabbed by a wrist and have a sign of when we should be removing off a proverbial.

What’s bad is customarily how simply a Gear S3 is fooled, given all we unequivocally have to do is call your arm somewhat as if you’re going to use a rodent or touching a inscription and voila, your watch believes we have gotten adult to move.

Not each aptness tracker is fooled utterly so easily, and many over a past few years will know a disproportion between a shoulder transformation as a physique moves adult and down from walking, and that of a wrist relocating in a atmosphere as a palm on a finish of it stretches a finger out and touches a display.

The Gear S3 can't tell a difference, and so if your do get one of these alerts revelation we to get up, all we have to do is reason an iPad or a Galaxy Tab, or any other device for that matter. It’ll consider you’re a legend, even nonetheless all you’re doing is being a complicated geek.

Our other vicious indicate for a Gear S3 is with a Bluetooth connection, given that’s how this device connects to your phone.

Now there’s zero bad with that, and Samsung has served adult a decent volume of connectors so many that we can span wireless earphones with a watch and even go for a run articulate customarily to strain on a watch. That’s cool.

What’s reduction cool, however, is when a watch automatically intercepts phone calls by Bluetooth and requires we to pronounce by a watch even when we squeeze a call from a phone itself.

We can’t work out given this is a case, and it happened on some-more than one device: Google Pixel XL, Oppo R9s, Huawei Mate 9. You name it: if we’ve reviewed or used it in a past integrate of months, a Gear S3 spoke to it, and this would occur on some-more than one occasion.

More frustrating is that a S3 will always cite to take a phone call over your wireless earphones or headphones, even bringing adult a environment in Bluetooth that would contend your earphones were removing “media only”, valid by a elementary fact that we couldn’t pronounce to anyone wirelessly unless we wanted to use your watch.

It’s a bizarre bug and one we consider can be attributed to a Gear S3’s app and a fact that a dual things — phone and watch — need to be connected during all times to get a many out of a S3.

Hopefully it’s one that can be bound soon, too, given as good as it is that a watch can be used to pronounce to people, station and articulate by your watch can leave we unequivocally mortified and feeling like a bit of a knob. Or even a lot of a knob.

We’re excellent with a Gear S3 vouchsafing us make a phone calls ourselves if we select to. That’s cool, given it’s a choice. Intercepting a phone calls for us is a opposite matter.

Fortunately, we can tell your phone to answer it on a handset by attack a orator options on your handset, so there’s that.

Battery life

A smartwatch can’t be good if it can’t tarry a march of a unchanging day, and that’s a exam few intelligent watches exceed.

It’s a thing that hardware makers are gradually learning, given as good as it is to have alerts and calls and notifications and even that thing called a time, there’s a unequivocally genuine possibility that we won’t make it behind to a horse by a time we get home.

This creates it vicious to get in with over 24 hours of battery life, an feat few intelligent watches nail.

Fortunately, a Gear S3 is one that truly surprises, braggadocio anywhere between dual and 4 days of life in a tests, with a series going adult when we confirm not to unequivocally do many with your S3 watch.

Imagine what a universe would be like if we didn’t constantly have messages from Google, from Twitter, from email and so forth. If we opt to mislay those from a Gear’s presentation list, a watch lasts longer via a week.

With customarily a ones we indispensable switched on, Pickr found a good 3 days of life nonetheless fail, charging a S3 twice per week, as a weekend had us receiving many reduction for us to check a wrists.

Part of what creates a battery life clever is that screen, and a rather lovable nonetheless also irritating tweak Samsung has done in sequence to keep a life strong: no ambient clock.

For a many part, when we wear a Gear S3 smartwatch, you’ll demeanour as if you’re wearing a vacant canvas, with a shade switched totally off and black, not doing anything until we lift your palm to demeanour during a screen, reason a button, or spin a circle adult top.

To Samsung’s credit, this doesn’t indeed finish adult bothering anyone given it means you’ll customarily see a time if we finish adult indeed scrupulously glancing during a watch rather than chancing a peek all a time and was wasting battery energy unnecessarily.


After a battery life, continuance and sturdiness of a smartwatch is flattering important, given how good it survives your daily life with your arm is a flattering vicious factor.

We tested a Gear S3 with a “Frontier” edition, that is customarily opposite unequivocally in how a surrounding looks and a enclosed band. If you’re deliberation a Gear S3 Classic, all about continuance should hold, we customarily won’t get a watch with a ridges cut into a control ring.

As distant as continuance goes, Samsung has done a leader here, given wearing it for a past month and overhanging a arms about and incidentally regulating a wrists into corners and such didn’t make a hole on a watch.

Meanwhile, going for a sprightly walk, a run, or customarily sweating all over it followed by drowning it underneath H2O also valid no problem, interjection in partial to a troops standards Samsung had a Gear S3 tested for.

Yes, customarily like a flagship phones, this has an IP68 H2O and dirt insurgency rating, nonetheless distinct those phones, it’s also rated for “MIL-STD-810G” that is a technical proceed of observant “life-resistant for drops and things that would make other inclination tumble detached and exhibit their insides”. It’s this arrange of rating Panasonic’s Toughbook would receive, and we customarily usually see it when a device is done to be dropped.

A watch isn’t done to be dropped, nonetheless we do tend to put them by a turn of life that smartphones don’t mostly see, so safeguarding a Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch to a troops customary is many welcome.

A doubt of apps

As many as we adore a Gear smartwatch, a biggest censure is flattering clear: apps.

We’ll contend it again customarily for emphasis: apps.

One some-more time for a inexpensive seats? No?

How about instead we go into given this is a problem, given it is a problem, and something Samsung’s handling complement of Tizen has never unequivocally solved.

Make no mistake, a OS being used on a Gear S3 smartwatch isn’t new, and Samsung has been hawking it for a past 4 or 5 years, ever given it started to play with a thought of an Android aspirant on phones, and afterwards pushed a height out to some-more devices.

You competence not realize it, nonetheless Tizen is on some-more than customarily inexpensive phones that never come to Australia and a Gear intelligent watches. It’s also on TVs and fridges and anything else Samsung doesn’t wish to put Android on nonetheless has a touchscreen determining something.

Simply put, it’s an handling complement that it can secure and control, nonetheless it’s not an handling complement that has been totally embraced by a growth community, and that’s given it’s customarily not found in abundance, not to a turn of a other platforms.

Few developers formula in fewer apps, and that’s one of a biggest problems with a Gear S3, that also extends to a Gear S2.

This means that if we have an app we competence ordinarily use on your other smartwatch — contend a Jawbone Up or Fitbit app — it won’t be here. You won’t find a dedicated strain app for possibly Google Play Music, Spotify, or Apple Music, forced to used Samsung’s possess that can detect a strain and skip track, nonetheless is a small delayed and won’t let we thumbs up, love, bookmark, or do any of those additional things a other apps do.

There are copiousness of watch faces for we to peruse and purchase, nonetheless it’s a miss of particular apps that let we indeed have a smaller wrist-sized chronicle of a smartphone various we found ourselves wanting some-more of.

So apps are a problem, or a miss thereof. Fix a app problem and many of a complaints go away.

We like a watch face we bought from Samsung’s Gear store, nonetheless there aren’t many apps we’d go to a difficulty of installing.


At $599, however, we get pegged onto another issue: price.

Smartwatches are still sincerely new, and Samsung has packaged a lot into this small thing, with ruggedisation, H2O resistance, a heart rate monitor, Gorilla Glass, a 3 day battery, and a feel that yes, this is a genuine watch.

But as good as a record is in a Gear S3, it’s tough to come divided from a $599 cost to consider you’re removing extraordinary value, generally as a smartwatch cost wars start to feverishness up.

A discerning peek during a marketplace currently and you’ll find Android watches from $470 to $700, that puts this tighten to a centre, nonetheless while inclination in a top finish of this tend to go for an superb and fashionista steel proceed — a correct watch look, so to pronounce — Samsung’s Gear S3 Frontier is a small some-more concentration on walkabouts with a demeanour for a $599 cost tag. If we sell that for something simpler, a Gear S3 Classic doesn’t utterly have a same turn of magnificence as contend Huawei’s W1 that is full steel and comes opposite like a digital Rolex.

Both Samsung inclination cost a same and embody a same components, so during slightest a choice of picking a watch comes down to privately that one we like a demeanour of.

One of a few long-term uses, Samsung Pay is singular in Australia by a perfect miss of support.

Honestly, a onslaught with a cost is a realization that after a good week or dual — once a gimmick has ragged off — we will some-more than expected customarily use a Gear S3 smartwatch as a watch with notifications, and afterwards customarily a aptness tracker, and that creates it costly for what it does.

The doubt of apps is where a Gear S3 loses a value, given with both Google’s Android Wear and Apple’s watchOS charity a flattering immeasurable library, a gimmick of regulating a second shade on your wrist can be extended roughly indefinitely.

But if we don’t have as many apps — if a watch is fundamentally customarily a round aptness tracker that looks some-more like a time screw — a value is reduction pronounced, generally given it’s a good $300 some-more than Samsung’s many new aptness tracker regulating a identical OS.

There is one unequivocally clever positive, though: Samsung’s Gear won’t keep we sealed to a phone, that is simply one of a biggest problems with Apple’s Watch.

Right now, if we wish to switch to an Android, your costly watch will not work. Samsung’s will, fasten Android Wear as understanding of both vital platforms (sorry Windows Phone users, it’s not you… it’s your handling system).

Final thoughts (TLDR)

Still a sincerely new thing, a smartwatch is in that rather vicious partial of a life as a difficulty as business try to work out either it is merely a gimmick or something indeed usable.

A second shade knowledge for your wrist, a smartwatch frequency adds anything to a watch-wearer’s experience, outward of maybe delivering notifications and tracking fitness.

That’s a problem each smartwatch builder has to understanding with, from Apple to Sony to Fitbit to Garmin to LG to Huawei, and yes, even to Samsung.

For Samsung, a Gear S3 still faces that same onslaught to make a smartwatch some-more than a gimmick, and it’s something we’re not certain it has succeeded with simply given of a miss of apps and a miss of tie with your smartphone outward of notifications and alerts, and outward of time checking and aptness monitoring.

Despite this doubt mark, Samsung’s Gear S3 manages to come divided as a best smartwatch we’ve reviewed yet, and there’s a good reason why: battery.

That’s one of a biggest doubt outlines confronting smartwatch customers, given like a genuine watch, we wish a battery to survive. You don’t wish to forget to get to a horse nightly and have your watch die. Rather, we wish it to live, to tarry a few days so we don’t need to remember after that inebriated night out that a watch needs to go on a charge, customarily like a headphones and phone and all else in your life.

Many of us live in a watches, and like a marriage ring, they frequency come off. There aren’t many smartwatches — if indeed any during all — that can lay explain to that, nonetheless Samsung’s Gear S3 gets close.

Indeed, Samsung’s Gear S3 proves that a smartwatch can start to live on we like a genuine watch. A genuine survivor, it’s one of a best around.

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