Monthly Archives: August 2016

Samsung Gear S3 hands on

The Samsung Gear family of smart wearables is starting to get a little crowded – the Gear S2 brought a rotating clicky bezel and the Gear Fit 2 recently filled the fitness segment. Now we have an updated Gear S smartwatch that is basically bigger than the S2 in a lot of different ways. So how does it compare? While we won’t be able to fully answer this question until we have more time with in, let’s jump in and take a first look at the Samsung Gear S3.

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Now, one of the first aspects of the Gear S3 that needs to be mentioned is that it is not replacing the Gear S2. Rather, it is sitting alongside last year’s model because it fills a different portion of the Gear spectrum. While the Gear S2 had a sportier original version and a Classic edition with more fashion-forward looks, both Gear S3 watches derive from the Classic and take it too the next level.

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The Gear S3 comes in a Classic edition, as well, which is the baseline model without LTE connectivity, but there is also a Frontier edition that is more rugged and is geared toward the more hardcore outdoorsy type. Think of a high-end Tag Heuer analog watch with all of the ruggedization and you get the idea. The result in both devices is a large body that might not appeal to all users, as it looks a bit bulky on even my own wrist. This is mostly due to the 1.3 inch Super AMOLED display and the large rotating bezel that looks much like the Gear S2 classic.

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With the Gear S3, the Always on Display has been enhanced to support 16 million colors so there will be plenty of room to customize the screen when the watch is not in use via the Gear Manager on the smartphone.

The entire body of the Gear S3 is IP68 certified for water and dust resistance, but extra military-grade protection gives it a boost in ruggedization. Our demo with the Gear S3 Frontier, in particular, saw the phone placed under extreme cold and extreme heat, still performing as normal even under such conditions. As for the screen, Gorilla Glass SR+ (SR means ‘scratch resistant’) will hopefully keep the touchscreen from scratching.

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The more rugged Frontier version of the Gear S3 has a matted body with flatter buttons on the side, compared to the circular buttons that pop out the side of the Gear S3 Classic. Just feeling the Frontier edition does bring to mind thoughts of hiking, camping, and generally just being outside.

The tactile feel of the rotating bezel is still pleasing to click around. The bezel has also been given a few new capabilities, like rotating it in one direction or the other in order to accept or reject calls and certain other notifications. The dial is still is utilized for a lot of other functions, like changing music volume or dialing in the amount of time for alarms and timers.

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Above and below are larger lugs for watch straps that take any standard 22mm strap, plenty of which will be made available from Samsung to customize the look of the watch. And of course there is the heart rate sensor found on the under portion of the watch’s body.

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As mentioned earlier, the Classic edition does not come with LTE connectivity, giving the Frontier version a special advantage with this added sensor, on top of all the existing connections like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. On both models, plenty of sensors are available for typical usage, like an altimeter and barometer.

LTE makes the Gear S3 a standalone device in a lot of respects, where notifications can come straight to the watch and users can actually take calls using a built-in speaker and microphone. Yes, you can take calls right on the watch and hear the caller through the speaker that is nestled on the back portion of the phone. For a bit more privacy, using a Bluetooth headset connected straight to the Gear S3 will also allow for calls.

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Speaking of Bluetooth headsets, audio is a bit of a bigger focus in this new version, which can hold local music files and play straight to any paired set of headphones. This is much like the functionality we already experienced on the Gear Fit 2, which also brought streaming capabilities with Spotify. The same streaming ability is on the Gear S3, which is especially useful on the LTE-enabled Frontier.

All of this bolsters the existing ecosystem of Samsung’s Tizen OS on the Gear smartwatches. Much of what was already introduced in the Gear S2 and the Gear Fit 2 return here, including all of the fitness capabilities. That said, the watch might be a bit too big for many people to bring to the gym or even out on a run, but those who do so will enjoy the same S Health capabilities.

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The biggest addition to the Gear S3, then, is Samsung Pay. After it is set up directly on the watch, the NFC and MST (magstripe reading) tech put into the watch can be used at a majority of pay stations across major stores. To activate it, just hold the back button until Samsung Pay launches. Select which card to use and bring the watch close to the card slider or the NFC portion, if available. Being able to pay for items using the watch is pretty cool, and Samsung Pay’s wide support should make the Gear S3 appealing to people who actually want to use such a feature.

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Overall, the Gear S3 is a good addition to the Gear line of smart wearables and it is nice to see that Samsung doesn’t want to just strike the Gear S2 from the record. Instead, Samsung knows that the Gear S3 appeals to a specific segment of users. Even if LTE capabilities, Samsung Pay, and the move away from proprietary watch straps on the Gear S2 might put the new devices a few steps ahead of the curve, at least those who haven’t made the leap to smartwatches can still go to last year’s Gear S2 for a more accessible size and look. As well as a more affordable price, thanks to recent price drops.

Stay tuned to Android Authority for more on the Gear S3 and even more from Berlin as we cover IFA 2016.

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Samsung Gear S3 officially announced: here’s what you need to know

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Samsung may not be focusing on the Android Wear platform anymore, but that doesn’t meant the company is scrapping its smartwatch plans altogether. 2014’s Gear S certainly left much to be desired, though last year’s Gear S2 was a very impressive offering. Now Samsung has just taken the wraps off its new Tizen-powered smartwatch, the Gear S3! Featuring the same great rotating bezel, an all-new design and many more enhancements, this new smartwatch is definitely a step in the right direction.

Here’s what you need to know about the Samsung Gear S3.

pebble time review aa (2 of 17)Related: The best smartwatches14

Samsung Gear S3 specifications and design

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Much like its predecessor, the Gear S3 will be available in two versions – Classic and Frontier. The Gear S3 Classic is, as you may have guessed, the more elegant-looking watch, sporting a classier design and no LTE connectivity. The Frontier version, on the other hand, is the more rugged, sporty model that does feature LTE connectivity.

The Gear S3 Frontier can be used as a standalone watch

In terms of design, the Frontier version features longer, flat buttons, while the Classic model sports more prominent, circular buttons on the side.

Of course, both devices come with the popular rotating bezel that first appeared on the Gear S2, only this time it comes with a few more capabilities. You can now accept and reject calls by rotating the bezel, for instance. The rotating bezel can still be used in other cases, like when changing music volume and dialing in the amount of time for alarms and timers.

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Both models feature a 1.3-inch Super AMOLED fully circular display, along with that same rotating bezel found on the Gear S2. The Gear S3 also comes with Samsung’s Always On Display feature that now supports 16 million colors. The displays are covered in Corning’s new Gorilla Glass SR+, which will hopefully keep scratches at bay.

Both Classic and Frontier versions also sport IP68 ratings for dust and water resistance, as well as an extra military-grade durability rating to help the watch stay functional in extreme temperatures.

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The Gear S3’s 380mAh battery is a huge upgrade from last year’s model

It should be noted that the Gear S3 is quite a bit larger than the Gear S2, almost to the point where it may be too big for more average sized wrists. While that bigger overall size might seem like a major caveat, that also means Samsung was able to pack in a much larger battery this time around. The Gear S3 comes with a 380mAh battery, compared to the S2’s 250mAh cell. The S3 also has a power saving mode that will get you a day’s worth of use with only a 5% charge, and there’s also a watch-only mode if you don’t need any of the smartwatch features. Oh, and if you’re a Gear S2 owner who wants to upgrade, the Gear S3 is backwards compatible with the Gear S2’s charger.

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The Gear S3 supports just about any standard 22mm watch strap out there, though Samsung will be launching plenty of its own straps for more customization options.

Under the hood, you’ll find plenty of sensors and components that will make using the Gear S3 a breeze. It comes with an altimeter, barometer, speedometer, optical heart rate sensor and even a GPS. There’s also a built-in SOS feature that will send your exact location to an emergency contact if you’re in trouble.

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Both watches also come with a built-in speaker and microphone

As we mentioned earlier, the Classic version does not come with LTE connectivity, so you’ll need to rely on either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections. The Frontier version, on the other hand, does sport LTE connectivity, so you can leave your house without your smartphone and still receive notifications and perform Google searches on your watch. What makes the standalone functionality of the Gear S3 even more great is that both models come with a built-in speaker and microphone. This means you’ll be able to take calls right on the watch and hear the caller through the speaker. Pretty awesome, right? And if you need a bit of privacy, you can always pair some Bluetooth headphones to the Gear S3 if you don’t want your calls to be heard.

The watches can also hold local music files, so you can play music from the speaker or through a paired set of headphones. You can also stream Spotify through Wi-Fi or LTE, which is also a nice touch.

Samsung Gear S3 software

As you probably expected, the Gear S3 runs Samsung’s Tizen OS. Samsung says the Tizen Store now has over 10,000 applications available for download, so you’re bound to find some useful apps that will suit your needs.

Samsung Gear S3 and Samsung Pay

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Perhaps the biggest news here is the addition of Samsung Pay. This will allow you to easily pay with your smartwatch without the need to take out your phone. Just set it up on your watch, hold the back button, and Samsung Pay will launch. Select which card you’d like to use, hold your watch close to the card slider or NFC payment terminal, and that’s it! Easy.

Samsung-Pay-1See also: Samsung Pay: What is it, how does it work and how do I use it?40

Samsung Gear S3 pricing and availability

Unfortunately Samsung hasn’t mentioned any pricing or availability details as of yet. We’ll be sure to update you as we learn more.


What are your thoughts on the new Gear S3? Will this be your next smartwatch, or are you not impressed with Samsung’s new offerings? Be sure to tell us your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned to Android Authority for more IFA 2016 coverage!

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New Gorilla Glass SR+ from Corning is for your next smartwatch

While it’s not attending IFA 2016, Corning went live with a new product today from its offices in New York. We’ve seen Gorilla Glass on phones and tablets throughout the years, but we haven’t seen it just yet on wearables; however, Corning is now making a play for smaller devices with this new Gorilla Glass […]

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Watch Samsung’s IFA 2016 event right here!

At 12:00PM ET, Samsung will announce the Gear S3 as well as any other surprises the company springs upon us. Hit the break for the livestream. Be sure to stick with Talk Android throughout the week as we’ll be providing live coverage from IFA 2016 in Berlin. Come comment on this article: Watch Samsung’s IFA […]

Come comment on this article: Watch Samsung’s IFA 2016 event right here!

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ASUS ZenPad 3S 10 offers a high-resolution screen, crisp audio, and a fingerprint scanner

The brand new ASUS ZenPad 3S 10 is a mouthful to say, but it looks like one of the best tablets the company has ever released. Considering ASUS was the manufacturer of the original Nexus 7, that’s saying something. The new ZenPad does kind of look like a mashup between an iPad and a Samsung […]

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