With Europe’s biggest consumer tech event, IFA Berlin, comes a ton of new gadgets and product announcements, the latest big one in the wearables sector is the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch.
The announcement came today, not long after Asus officially unveiled the Asus ZenWatch 3.. Three seems to be the number of the day.. It’s been a year since Samsung’s first circular smartwatch, the Gear S2 appeared on the scene with a rotating bezel design that Big Sam reckons marked a new era in smartwatches.
What’s New With the Gear S3
Like its predecessor, the smartwatch comes in two versions: the Wi-Fi enabled Gear S3 Classic, and the Gear S3 Frontier which offers the same connectivity, but also comes with or without LTE cellular calling.
Both the Classic and Frontier come in a 46 x 49 x 12.9 mm case, but the Frontier weighs a bit more at 62 grams, the Classic weighs 57 grams. Both come with interchangeable 22mm straps.
The Gear S3 Classic and Frontier both offer the same 1.3-inch 360 x 360 Super AMOLED touchscreen protected by the recently announced Gorilla Glass SR+. Last year’s Gear S2 has a 1.2-inch 360 x 360 Super AMOLED touchscreen protected by Gorilla Glass 3.
Although the watch case and display is the same on both versions, the Gear S3 Classic and Frontier could almost pass for being completely different wearables at first glance. This is due the Classic looking more like a timepiece to be worn with your night-time garb with its brushed metal rotating bezel and round buttons; and the Frontier boasting looks oriented towards sports, with a slightly thicker rotating bezel with inlaid indexes and rectangular buttons.
Other than what I’ve mentioned, the two versions are the same. They’re both packed with sensors, including a heart rate monitor, barometer, altimeter, GPS and GLONASS with a new SOS emergency mode. Basically, you’ll be able to track just about everything. They also have a built-in speaker and microphone so you can chat to your wrist and boss S Voice around.
Last year’s Gear S2 3G also has a built-in GPS, but it requires a Wi-Fi signal to work, good thing it has 3G then. I’m not sure yet whether the GPS on the new Gear S3 requires Wi-Fi or not.
The new Gears are equipped with Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, MST and Wi-Fi. They have increased the 512MB of RAM found on last year’s Gear S2 to 768MB, but still offer the same 4GB of storage and dual core 1.0 GHz chip. The water and dust-resistance rating has increased from IP67 to IP68.
As far as smartwatch battery life goes, last year’s Gear S2 is pretty good, lasting 2.5 days if you’re lucky. The Gear S3 has trumped that with an increase of battery capacity and an extra 27% running time, according to Samsung. Google’s calculator tells me that 2.5 + 27% = 3.1 days of juice. According to big Sam, this figure also applies to LTE usage. Almost definitely not GPS usage though.
There are so many more features that my fingers would melt before I finished writing about them.. In short, it’s a damn decent smartwatch..
The Samsung Gear S3 will be shipping with Tizen 2.3.2 in Q4 of 2016. We’re not sure about the price yet, but at a guess, the different versions will range from $320 to $400 USD.