When it comes to true smartwatches, there’s not a whole lot of choice; there’s Apple Watch and the Samsung Gear line, plus a small group of others. Yes, you can find watches that dabble in certain smart functions, but for the whole package of functionality, your choices are limited.
All about Samgung Gear S3
I recently received a test sample of the new Samsung Gear S3, Samsung’s newest smartwatch iteration, for a few weeks of testing to see what’s new.
Setting Up Samsung Gear S3
This Samsung device is powered by the proprietary Tizen operating system and obviously meant for Android users. But it does work with Apple smartphones, though some functions are missing. (We’ll get to that in just a sec…)
I paired the Gear S3 with my iPhone 6 Plus for testing and setting it up was simple. It connects right away with the help of the Gear app for Apple.
Features of the Samsung Gear S3
Make & receive Phone calls
Samsung’s ‘S Voice’ technology lets you dictate while the Gear S3 sets reminders, makes calls, writes texts, and searches the web. The watch actually has a built in speaker and microphone, so you can even make and take calls from your wrist, even without your phone nearby. While this feature sounds cool, it did not work with my iPhone, so I wasn’t able to test it out.
Get all kinds of notifications and alerts
One of the things that surprised me most abut the Gear S3 is how many apps it plays nicely with. I was able to get alerts right on my wrist for apps like Twitter, and Facebook, but also for my Ring Video Doorbell, among others.
It tells TIME!
Of course as a smart watch, the Gear S3 also tells time. Interchangeable watch faces allow you to customize the look you want right on the watch, or you can download different faces.
Fitness & activity tracking
Samsung tracks and manages health data via it’s S Health app. It uses the S3 watch to count steps and track sleep, plus it will also take and track your heart rate. Activity tracking, water and caffeine intake can be manually added.
There’s an app on the watch called SOS that allows you to call for help by pressing three times on the home screen. Your location will be sent to whomever you choose so they can call for help. You can also record your medial information, including blood type, to aid rescuers. You’ll need to set up this feature before you use it, so be warned.
Long battery life on Samsung Gear S3
Battery life is another area where Samsung has Apple beat. Where the Apple watch needs charging pretty much daily (getting 18 hours of battery life), the Gear S3 gets four days of life, meaning you can wear it all day and all night for the better part of a week. Plus it only takes two hours to fully recharge.
Size/Style – Samsung Gear S3
My biggest knock on this device is its sheer size. It’s definitely made for a man’s wrist, and it’s overwhelming for a woman to wear. While I liked a lot of things about the Gear S3, I don’t think I’d get it because it becomes a massive accessory when I wear it. I’d rather have the subtle elegance of something like the Apple Watch in this case.
There are two styles; Classic and Frontier. Frontier is more rugged looking with a notched bezel, while the Classic is sleeker and more professional; Frontier has a rubber watch band while the Classic has a leather band. Both are the same price.
The bezel (the ring around the watch face) on both watches rotates doubles as a navigation dial, allowing you to turn to swipe through messages or settings. It works easily and is really big and easy to operate; something you won’t have on the Apple watch.
Resistant to water and dust
The Gear S3 is water resistant, but it’s not made to wear swimming. It’s rated IP68 so it’s able to withstand dust and dirt and being submerged up to 1.5 meters or for up to 30 minutes, but make no mistake, it’s not for use with water sports.
Overall review of Samsung Gear S3
I think the watch is very functional and versatile, even with its more limited Apple functions. I was able to get most alerts to my watch, though I couldn’t respond; but I’m sure the connectivity and interaction between a Samsung phone and the Gear S3 is outstanding.
I have to say I didn’t like the size of the S3. These are clearly made for men, and I think many women will be driven to Apple’s watch just on sheer fashion appeal and femininity alone.
The Gear S3 is definitely fun, customizable and it does a lot, but as a woman and an Apple user, I’ll be passing on this offering. I’d love to hear feedback from Android users about your experience and how you’re liking it. Post in comments below.
The Samsung Gear S3 is priced at $349USD $469CAD. get more info on the Gear S3 here.