After announcing iOS devices could join the Gear family later in the year, Samsung have now given us all another reason to try out their Smart Watches in the all new Gear S3. Whilst we praised the Gear S2 in comparison to other Android offerings, it most certainly wasn’t the perfect Watch, not to mention our nightmare of Samsung’s poor build quality leading to ours having no home button out of the box (hence no review), aside from that we’re going to attempt to give this a fair look.
Visually it’s clear Samsung opted to improve more on the Classic Gear S2 design over the Standard one as both variants of the Gear S3 support a much more rugged design as well as resistances galore, whether that be intense heat or the incredibly cold.
Whilst, just like the Gear S2, the Gear S3 is a very attractive Smart Watch and will sure turn some heads, it’s also clear Samsung haven’t learned where they’ve gone wrong, starting with the main being that the Gear S3 is way TOO BIG!
This may not be a problem for everyone, but this is an all or nothing 46mm Watch with a 1.3inch circular display, meaning it’s actually slightly bigger than the Gear S2 it replaces. In comparison Apple Watch comes in 38mm and 42mm variants.
Don’t get us wrong, the display is good, it’s another great AMOLED display from Samsung, thought disappointing that it has the same 360 x 360 as the screen is bigger, but the screen isn’t the only thing bigger on this Watch, Samsung have packed some extra RAM going from 512MB to 768MB of RAM, though the same rather low 4GB of storage for apps and local music remains … come on Samsung, even Apple have 8GB. BUT, one thing the Gear S3 does debut which is a first, is this is the first Smart Watch to feature Corning Gorilla Glass SR+, so that display shouldn’t in theory be shattering anytime soon.
Battery also takes a jump from 250mAh on the S2 to 380mAh on the S3, which Samsung claim can deliver up to 4 days of battery life, we’ll be the judge of that Samsung. Though it will be interesting if they can pull that off as one of the big changes with the Gear S3 is that the always on display now doesn’t just limit to 8 colours, but now any colour, so be interesting if the Exynos processor can keep that battery pumping for longer with a more demanding display.
We’re not going to call ourselves fashion moguls but we were more than unimpressed with Samsung’s range of Straps for the Gear S3, but luckily you won’t have to worry too much as Samsung are using the 22mm standard for their Straps, meaning you don’t have to wear some of these disgusting displays, you can look elsewhere …thank god for that!
Subtle notable improvements
- LTE – The more expensive Frontier variant of the Gear S3 features and LTE chip, meaning you will be able to use it’s full functionality outside of Smartphone range. Classic just has Bluetooth
- Speakerphones – The Gear S3 now features visible Speakers, which can be used for Voice Calls or media
- System Controls – TIZEN now allows Gear S3 owners (and S2 in an update) to control more System wide controls, such as Display brightness and more much easier, as well as many more previously limited to the My Gear App.
- Samsung Pay – Like the Gear S2 before it, the Gear S3 supports Samsung Pay in it’s available markets too thanks to it’s NFC antenna, but also supports the magnetic transactions like the Galaxy S6 and S7 using MST
The Gear S3 offers a nice improvement to Samsung’s Smart Watch line, though with a pretty sizeable caveat being the size of the dang things, though if you can put up with that, what you’re seeing is probably the best alternative to Android Wear you have on your Android devices, and as we mentioned at the start, soon iOS devices.
Is the Gear S3 worth it for Gear S2 owners to upgrade? Probably not, Samsung have informed that an update will be coming to the S2 to keep the Software in line with the S3 features, and in fact will continue to sell the S2 at a lower price point.
In terms of getting the S3 though, you will have to wait a bit as release date is literally just Q4 2016, and the price is To Be Announced, though we’d be betting on the same S2 launch price of around £299 and £349.