By Tony Luke. Updated January 15, 2017.
I recently got the chance to try out Samsung's latest smartwatch -- the Gear S3. Being a fan of wearables, I was excited to give the Samsung Gear S3 a shot, and here is what I think of it.
I absolutely love traditional watches. The more a smartwatch looks like a real classic watch, the happier I am, and with the Gear S3 Classic [pictured above], Samsung has nailed it with the design. The watch comes has a very simplistic design with a round face measuring around 1.3 inches. The dial has laser cut markings to mimic the design of a traditional watch, which is also complemented by the two buttons on the right side resembling the crowns. The dial also rocks the famous rotating bezel introduced on the Gear S2 that allows you to flip through pages, menus or scroll through articles. The right side of the watch also houses the speaker while the heart rate sensor expectedly sits at the bottom of the Gear S3.
Beware those of you with slim wrists, this watch isn't for you. Due to its sheer size, the Samsung Gear S3 will not suit someone with a slim wrist, but lucky for me, the size of wrist isn't a problem to rock the Gear S3.
One of the best parts of the Samsung Gear S3 is that it is compatible with almost any 22mm strap, which is something you might do pretty quickly. The strap that the Samsung Gear S3 Classic comes with is made out of stiff leather, a material that might not gel well with everyone. Going for a walk outside in the sun, or even sweating while wearing the Samsung Gear S3 can cause irritations due to the strap.
Samsung decided not to fix what isn't broke, and left the charger similar to the one on the Gear S2. This wireless charging dock is simple and stays fixed on your desk. Once you dock your Gear S3 for charging, it shows a quick indication of current battery status and then goes to sleep.
I love the display on the Samsung Gear S3. Its bright, smooth and the touch response is seamless. Thanks to the Super AMOLED display, the blacks are dark, contrast is high and colors saturated. By default, the display is set to be switched off when not in use. However, this can easily be turned off in the settings menu. I recommend leaving it that way, because it saves battery, but if you prefer not having a blank screen all the time you can keep a watch face always on.
Having used a few Android Wear devices, I personally felt that the Tizen OS on the Samsung Gear S3 could use some work. Using it with my Nexus 6p was a little tricky and I had to depend on the Samsung Gear app for pretty much everything. That meant creating a new account for the Samsung app store to download apps on the Gear S3. On an Android Wear OS device however, I can simply use my Google account, which is much easier. Another hurdle is that health and fitness tracking only works with S Health, as the watch isn't compatible with other third party apps.
The best part about using Tizen on the other hand, is that it incorporates the use of the buttons and the bezel very well into the device. Notifications and alerts have a separate page, and there are no pop-ups to annoy you. Instead you get a small orange dot on the left side of the watch face. You can view the notification and then delete it by simply swiping upwards.
In terms of performance, the Samsung Gear S3 works very well. The dual-core 1GHz Exynos 7270 processor on the device ensures that page swiping or app transitions are smooth. What was a little disappointing was the response time for waking the watch up by raising my arm. Sometimes it was slow, and sometimes it didn't respond at all until I pressed a button.
Lastly, battery life on the Samsung Gear S3 is impressive. Samsung claims that the watch can last up to 4 days which honestly boils down to how much you use it. I was able to get two days of heavy use, but keeping the screen off will get you an extra day.
The Samsung Gear S3 bridges the gap between trendy and functionality really well. The design of the smartwatch makes a statement while the features keep you connected. It obviously provides a better experience if you use it with a Samsung phone but with even with other handsets, the iPhone included, you're getting a good smartwatch.