Gear s3 classic
Samsung Announces the Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier
At its press event in Berlin during IFA, Samsung announced the Gear S3. The Gear S3, like the Gear S2, comes in two different styles – Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier. As for what’s new, both models feature a 1.3″ circular Super AMOLED display with Always-On technology. The display also has Gorilla Glass’s new Glass SR+.
Other specifications include a dual-core 1GHz processor, Tizen wearable OS 2.3.2, 4GB of internal storage, and 768MB of RAM. If you enjoy working out or getting messy while wearing a watch, both devices feature IP68 water and dust resistance. Samsung currently advertises 4-day battery life, all coming from a 380mAh built-in battery. On the connectivity side, the Frontier features LTE for taking calls, while the Classic does not. However, both feature NFC and MST for mobile payments usage.
The Gear S3 Classic features a more classic appearance, coming with a leather band and not-too-flashy appearance. On the other hand, the Gear S3 Frontier is more sporty, coming with a silicone band, glossy bezels, and flush buttons along the side.
Gear S3 Frontier, Gear S3 Classic
To sum up both devices and compare them to the Gear S2 models, the S3 Classic and S3 Frontier offer a beefed up processor, RAM, better displays, screen protection, more accurate activity tracking, and longer battery life. Overall, they appear to be very nice upgrades for those interested in the Tizen wearable OS.
As for availability and pricing, Samsung has not yet announced specifics for the US. However, you can guess it’ll be sometime around the holiday shopping season.
Gear S3 Launch FilmVia: Samsung
Samsung Gear S3 classic LTE
|Status||Available. Released 2017, May|
|Dimensions||49 x 46 x 12.9 mm (1.93 x 1.81 x 0.51 in)|
|Weight||57 g (2.01 oz)|
|Build||Stainless Steel 316L|
|SIM||Electronic SIM card (eSIM)|
|Samsung Pay IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)|
Compatible with standard 22mm straps
|Type||Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||1.3 inches, 5.5 cm2 (~24.2% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||360 x 360 pixels, 1:1 ratio (~392 ppi density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass SR+|
|Always-on display Rotating bezel|
|OS||Tizen-based wearable platform 4.0|
|Chipset||Exynos 7 Dual 7270 (14 nm)|
|CPU||Dual-core 1.0 GHz Cortex-A53|
|Internal||4GB 768MB RAM|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, heart rate, barometer|
|S-Voice natural language commands and dictation MP3/M4A/AAC/WAV player Photo viewer|
|Non-removable Li-Ion 380 mAh battery|
|Charging||Qi wireless charging|
|Stand-by||Up to 72 h (mixed usage) (2G) / Up to 72 h (3G)|
|Price||About 330 EUR|
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Samsung Gear S3 Classic vs. Frontier
Prev Article Next Article That's right, I much prefer one of the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatches over the other. Is it the Classic or Frontier. Find out here and why (I have both). - Advertisement -
On the face of it you might be having a hard time choosing between the Classic and Frontier.
If that’s the case, I think you’ll have a hard time choosing because as far as I’m concerned, one has a much better design for it’s main purpose.
Which one is better?
I much prefer the Classic.
Because the Classic looks the part. The Classic is designed for everyday wear. It’s beautiful in it’s simplistic design. I love the silver case and black band. I can wear this watch for any occasion. It’s definitely one of my go-to smartwatches.
The Frontier, on the other hand, has that rugged, outdoor design. As far as I’m concerned, Samsung designed Frontier to be an outdoor enthusiast smartwatch but dropped the ball in one major respect by failing to make it fully waterproof. Seriously… an outdoor purposed watch, smart or not, must be fully waterproof so you can swim, surf and not worried about it getting soaked. Unfortunately this is not the case with the Frontier (nor the Classic, which is okay because the Classic is not purposed for outdoor adventure). The Frontier’s waterproofing is up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes. That ain’t gonna cut it.
Moreover, the Frontier is not a fitness watch. It’s heavy. It’s big. I prefer smaller, square band-style smartwatches such as the Gear Fit 2, Garmin vivoactive HR or even the Fitbit Surge for the gym.
Where does that leave the Frontier?
It leaves the Frontier in no man’s land. Yes, you might prefer the rugged design for everyday wear, but I just don’t think it’s properly designed for more formal occasions. It’ll look weird if wearing a suit or blazer. It just does.
The Classic, on the other hand looks great with jeans, slacks, blazer, suit or even tuxedo.
Read full reviews:
I extensively reviewed each of these watches. Check them out:
- S3 Classic review
- S3 Frontier review
- Beds In Dubai
Otherwise both are identical
If you’re wondering whether there are any software or smart feature differences, don’t worry. Both are identical in that respect. Both have the same user interface, have a Tizen operating system, operate with the Samsung Gear app, have a rotating bezel, 2 buttons and work with the same fleet of Gear apps. Yes, both have a heart rate sensor and built-in GPS too.
The only decision to be made if choosing between these 2 smartwatches is which design you prefer. If you’re looking for an outdoor, rugged look, the Frontier is your watch. If you prefer a more elegant design, go with the Classic. That said, if you’re looking for a hardcore outdoor smartwatch, you’re better off getting a fully waterproof option such as Nixon Mission, Garmin Fenix 3 or Casio WSD F10.
Here’s a video demo of the Classic S3
Here’s the video demo of the Frontier S3
Poll: Cast Your Vote for Favorite Gear S3 Smartwatch
Buy S3 Classic at Amazon Buy S3 Frontier at AmazonPrev Article Next Article
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier & Classic Smartwatch Hands-On Debut
Allow me to take the opportunity, while writing from the Samsung Gear S3 product launch event, to once again quickly muse on the topic of smartwatches. Contrary to the sentiments of many of my colleagues, I am pleased to see the lines between “smartwatch” and “watch” blur. I’ve seen the “watch future,” my friends… and it is closer than you think. Moreover, my prediction is that sooner rather than later consumers will begin to use these two different terms less as smartwatches become the norm (and are just called “watches”), and all those that don’t offer modern functionality might be watches that get a more descriptive title given their more niche status (I really hope it is not “dumb watches”).
Today in Berlin, prior to the electronics trade show IFA, Samsung releases their newest smartwatch and the seventh such device in their collection with the Samsung Gear S3 – and this time around, I’m actually helping Samsung to launch it by being part of their Unpacked event. Last year around the same time, Samsung released the Gear S2 which, for the first time, saw the Korean electronics giant adopt a round case design as well as implement a user interface navigation method that involved rotating the bezel – they call it Circular UX and it works pretty well. While the S2 will continue to be sold (for at least the time being), the Samsung Gear S3 offers a sharp upgrade in terms of a very key element of the device: how it looks on the wrist.
Developing The Samsung Gear S3
Samsung chose to work with Swiss watch industry veteran, personal colleague, and interesting guy all-around Mr. Yvan Arpa on the Samsung Gear S3. While Mr. Arpa is known around aBlogtoWatch for his extremely avant-garde watch brand Artya (and before that, Romain Jerome), he is actually quite capable of producing more conservative watch designs. For Samsung, he helped ensure that, visually speaking, the Samsung Gear S3 would look much more like a “real watch” on the wrist. Much of this was making the case shape, materials, and finishing something that those familiar with more traditional watches would find both familiar and immediately inviting. Whereas some smartwatches are clearly approached from the perspective of being a wearable gadget for the wrist, with the Gear S3, Samsung wanted to borrow success from lessons the traditional watch industry learned long ago. And to be honest, in my opinion, they did a really nice job.
Samsung’s approach to being inspired by the several-hundred-year-old watch industry is distinct from that of Apple with the Apple Watch, even though it is true that both companies have been smart to seek inspiration and guidance from an industry which has managed to keep timepieces relevant and desirable even long after they ceased being necessary tools. What the traditional watch industry has that tech companies often lack is the ability to produce timeless designs with materials and finishes that are both inviting to the eye and to the touch.
Notable differences: the new S3, right, looks more refined and grown up both in design and execution. See here the size, shape, and finishing of lugs and bezel.
Put the Samsung Gear S2 and S3 side by side, and you learn a lot of things about where Samsung decided to go with its newest smartwatch product. You can tell that both products are of the same ilk, but the Samsung Gear S3 is worlds apart in how much it appeals to me as a fan of traditional watches. The roughly 46mm-wide case of the Samsung Gear S3 is produced from grade 316L steel (the type of steel used in the utmost majority of decent-to-high-end steel wristwatches) with a mixture of brushed and polished surfaces, along with a case shape that traditionalist watch lovers will find immediately appealing.
Case Proportions & Design
On the wrist, the Samsung Gear S3 is large (and looks even larger on my small-ish 6.75″ wrist – co-editor David), but in many ways because it needs to be. Arpa was keen to ensure that the Samsung Gear S3’s case was proportionate – and to make sure that the case does not appear too thick, he designed the lugs, color contrasts, and finishing to help reduce visual mass. Some clever design tricks include the placement of the lugs not at the very end of the case, and coloring the bottom half of the Samsung Gear S3 case in black so as to draw the eye’s attention to the upper, thinner portion of the case.
The Samsung Gear S3 is large, sure, but it isn’t crazy large, wearing smaller than the Casio WSD-F10 smartwatch and probably about the same as the TAG Heuer Carrera Connected. With the right strap, the Samsung Gear S3 is really comfortable, and it has been designed to work with any standard 22mm-wide watch strap out there (even though Samsung will have its own official variety of straps for people to choose from).
Samsung will offer two distinct versions of the Samsung Gear S3 known as the “Classic” and the “Frontier.” The former is offered in a natural steel case with more polished elements (the dressier model), while the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier is in all black tones with a more outdoorsy, edgier look – they both have 316L steel cases. Although the two Samsung Gear S3 cases have different pusher and bezel styles, their functionality and all internal components, save for standalone LTE connectivity (more on that in a bit), are completely identical.
From a marketing standpoint, Samsung is sort of positioning the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier as the more “outdoorsy” model, but from what I understand, both models can but up with the same type of daily abuse which include being IP68 rated (dust, dirt, and shock resistant), rated to spend up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 meters (that is about 5 feet). That technically means you can play in the rain and wash your hands with the watch, but Samsung is actually being humble about the actual water resistance which includes light swimming as well.
Samsung also claims that the Gear S3 has been built to be more shock resistant and to better handle sudden temperature and humidity changes, from below freezing point up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit)
Samsung and Arpa designed the Samsung Gear S3 Classic to have plunger style pushers and a smoother, brush-finished bezel, while the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier has closer-to-the-case, rounded rectangular pushers with an insert that has a knurling texture to it. It also has a bezel with markers more akin to those on traditional sport watches with rotating bezels.
The rotating bezel system which is used to help navigate the user interface is very clever. Magnets in the hardware help to dynamically create resistance and feedback so that when you turn the bezel, there are natural “stops” or “notches” where there are menu items or whatever it is that you are scrolling through. When you reach the end of a list of menu items, there is a more powerful vibration to give tactile feedback for running out of menu items.
The bezel is both fun to use and inviting, being paired with two external case pushers as well as a touch screen. I think the Circular UX input system is here to stay, and even though it works very well right now, it is so useful that I can’t see Samsung not continually making advances with it. One can call it Samsung’s version of Apple’s Digital Crown, but in practical daily use, the size and prominence of a rotating bezel make it easier to use for many tasks (including simple things like turning it to reject or answer a phone call).
The Gear S3 Frontier with its display in Always-On mode: colorful, animated and detailed.
The Epic Always-On Display
People who like watches such as myself should be the most excited about one particular feature of the Samsung Gear S3 that is crucial to the watch’s appeal: the Always-On display. It is true that the case is attractive to wear and look at, but that alone is hardly enough to attract a large group of people to wear and enjoy any product. I’ve made the analogy before of comparing a watch face to a human face: without being able to see it, one is not able to convey personality. In other words, if a watch case is its body, then the watch face is its soul. What many smartwatches lack, in my opinion, is the soul of a timepiece. And of course, this is something I and probably many others have brought up time and time again.
In fact, my biggest gripe with the generation one Apple Watch is that it lacks an always-on state for the display. Here is this cool device I see on people’s wrists, and yet the personality I want it to have in terms of the dial is missing most of the time. With an always-on display, you get the feeling of a “real watch,” and that, for me, is a serious game-changer. To be fair, Samsung didn’t invent this system for the Samsung Gear S3, but the way it is implemented in the watch is novel, and totally worth being excited about.
The “Always-On Display” system works better than pretty much all the other ones I’ve seen out there, even taking into account the smartphones that do this. What this means is that even when the screen is not fully activated, there is a persistent always-on state to the screen which means that the screen never goes totally black. Yes, you get a different dial when the screen is fully activated, but even in the AOD state you get a full-color display with continuous animation. Speaking of the screen, on the Samsung Gear S3 it is protected with something they call Gorilla Glass SR+. That is basically one of their newer protective glass products which is not only supposedly very scratch (and shatter) resistant, but also happens to repel finger print smudges really well.
Actually, you can disable the always-on display in order to further increase battery life. Without it, the Gear S3 manages to get 3-4 days of battery life, as reported by Samsung. With the always-on display active, you get 1-2 days of battery life, but the reward is a bright (naturally OLED-lit), full-color (16 million colors) display that is attractive and can be seen from a few feet away. Coming in at 1.3″ wide, the display is noticeably larger in diameter on the Samsung Gear S3 when compared to its predecessors, and with its 16 million colors and 360 by 360 pixel resolution and impressive brightness, it does not fail to impress – not after the first sight, nor after some extended wear.
Speaking of the battery, the Samsung Gear S3 is equipped ith a 380 mAh battery that can be charged wirelessly, using a compact dock that, in turn, is powered by your standard micro-USB cable. We’re told that with 15-minutes on the charging dock, the Samsung Gear S3 can go from a completely depleted battery to 8-hours worth of capacity – claims which, along with a more detailed run down on battery life, we’ll test in a full review.
Using its movement sensors, the dial simulates the sheen of metal dials on traditional watches.
As I noted previously, the display is even animated so you can see things like the seconds in constant operation. This is an incredible step forward in a smartwatch having the requisite characterful personality a lot of people demand when wanting to wear a timepiece that is both useful but also speaks about who they are. You can never deny that a watch is about both utility and style, and in the Samsung Gear S3 you get both.
In designing the Samsung Gear S3’s always-on display, Samsung pulled form lessons it learned when making the Galaxy S7 and Note 7 phones which have a similar always-on state. It is true that previous Samsung Gear models had an always-on state, but the battery drain it caused was not ideal. The Samsung Gear S3 uses a distinct system with its own RAM to power the always on-state of the AMOLED screen so that it doesn’t pull from the main processor when the watch is in a resting state.
TAG Heuer’s Carrera Connected came with a cool always-on display that I heralded as being a welcome addition to the brand’s first smartwatch. However, the Connected has a less-bright and monochromatic display which isn’t as vivid and lively as that on the Samsung Gear S3. In principle, the always-on states are similar, but the Samsung Gear S3 upped the ante on this feature, and I think even traditional smartwatch naysayers will appreciate how cool it is. What’s really impactful is seeing someone else wearing a Samsung Gear S3 across the room in a brightly lit area and being able to clearly see their watch face – that’s how you know Samsung got it right, and I think this is going to be a must-have feature for serious smartwatches moving forward.
Chips & Sensors
Samsung hasn’t quite yet managed to produce a great functioning smartwatch that is 100% independent from its host phone, but it isn’t too far from it. Oh, and I wanted to mention that you can easily pair as many Gear watches to an Android phone as you like. Apple restricts you to just one, which I can understand is limiting to some people. Samsung has, however, taken a huge leap forward in terms of “phone freedom” with the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier: it contains a built-in e-Sim card which allows you to connect to LTE (in participating countries – which is the US and Korea) without having to have a separate phone number or plan.
The Samsung Gear S3 also connects via WiFi, Bluetooth, has an accelerometer, a barometric pressure sensor, GPS, proximity sensor for your hand, ambient light sensor, and heart rate monitor, along with NFC and MST (more on these below). Samsung allows you to do a ton of stuff with the Samsung Gear S3 without the phone, including data connection and things like predicting the weather, or even sending an emergency signal (via SMS) to a preset contact of yours, including your GPS location – just press the lower pusher three times in a row. The GPS combined with other sensors allows the Samsung Gear S3 to also act a speedometer and an altimeter. Now, many of these things aren’t per se new, but they are uncommon in a smart watch that is so suitable to stylish daily wear.
Once we get a chance to review the Samsung Gear S3 we can dive a lot deeper into how all of these sensors and chips inside of the device translate into interesting functionality that we want to use. I will, however, also mention Samsung Pay which, for the first time in a smartwatch, includes both NFC and MST technology. That basically means you can scan in your credit card data and pay not only at special NFC payment terminals, but also any terminals that have magnetic strip readers (which is super cool) – but only in participating countries which currently is just the United States and Korea.
While not wholly independent from a phone (you need to adjust some settings on the watch in your phone, etc.), the Samsung Gear S3 is designed to not require your phone for a lot of things. As I mentioned, while it depends on availability where you live, you can easily get calls on the Samsung Gear S3 when it isn’t connected to your phone and do other things like stream music. While a full review is necessary for me to say more, I do really love the promise Samsung is offering here with a smartwatch product that should be paired with your phone, but actually doesn’t need it do a great many features. This is yet another barrier many people see to wanting a smartwatch that Samsung is helping to topple. Last but not least, for when you go for a run and want to listen to music, but not bring your phone, you can just take the Samsung Gear S3 along with Samsung’s new wireless earbuds and you’ll be all set.
The Software Experience
This hands-on debut of the Samsung Gear S3 watch isn’t going to get very deep into the Tizen operating system or the many apps available for download. Tizen (pronounced “tie-zen”) is Samsung’s home-brewed operating system which includes a range of products including smartwatches. It exists as a layer over Linux, which is the base operating system which speaks to the hardware. For those looking for specific tech specs, we’ll say that inside both the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier’s and Classic’s case is a Dual Core 1.0GHz processor, with 4GB of internal storage for apps and media, supported by 768MB RAM. What this means for users is a snappy user experience and large set of features, but also some potential limitations.
While the Samsung Gear S3 is designed to work on Samsung and other Google Android-based smartphones, it doesn’t run Android Wear. That means that Samsung has their own place to download for free or purchase apps for the Gear collection of watches. While functionality with the Apple iPhone does not currently exist, there is a planned official Samsung software that will come out soon which will allow for the Samsung Gear S3 to work with iPhones.
As Tizen is a distinct operating system, software developers will have to code applications specifically to run on Samsung’s devices. This can make life complicated for developers who must carefully dedicate their resources to not only writing programs in various device languages (iOS, Android Wear, Tizen), but must also update all of this software. It really comes down to profit motive and if enough good apps on high-quality devices can earn developers money. Samsung is doing a lot to court the interest of software developers to produce apps for Tizen – part of which is trying to put more Tizen-based products on people’s wrist. It is also about being able to monetize apps, and I think especially when it comes to fitness applications as well a watch dials, Samsung can help talented developers earn good incomes.
Unlike Apple, which currently does not allow people to download additional or third-party Apple Watch faces, Samsung (and others like Google) not only allow but encourage this behavior. Samsung still has produced a number of impressively high-quality dials to go with the Samsung Gear S3 that themselves have customization options. Apple still might be the leader in how it handles the customization of watch dials, but the system works well on Tizen, and Samsung offers a healthy assortment of options with the ability to download tons more.
If developers can make money by selling high-quality watch dials and other smartwatch applications to people, then I think they will find the Samsung Gear S3 a very compelling platform, especially with the multitude of sensors inside the watch and other pieces of data it can natively acquire outside of having to rely on its host smartphone device.
The Super AMOLED screen at its brightest setting
Samsung has room to improve when it comes to understanding some elements of watch dial design. For example, one thing they still seem to be shy about it putting their own brand name on the watch dials they made. Think of how nice most of your favorite watches look, and I can probably promise you that most of them have brand names on the dial. It is important not only from a “brand awareness” standpoint but also one of confidence.
What I am saying is that I want to see Samsung put their name (or any name they like for that matter) on their watch faces. This not only will help the good dials look even better and more balanced, but also help consumers understand the growing role brands like Samsung have in the smartwatch universe. If Samsung ever wants to fulfill their dream of really “owning” the smartwatch world, then a good start would be to begin properly branding their otherwise mostly super attractive dials (which take on a cool and customizable personality as well).
Comparing the Samsung Gear S3 to the Apple Watch is natural because the brands are competitors (at least when it comes to many products). With that said, the Apple Watch and the Gear S3 are not really competitors all the time. First of all, each of them is optimized to work in a distinct operating system; and second of all, you can’t even use them in the same parts of the world with the same experience. The Apple Watch is a truly a fantastic product but it has limitations. The Samsung Gear S3 isn’t as polished around the edges, but it is beautiful to look at, highly functional, and a very much like a “real watch” with the always-on display.
Samsung wants people during Q4 of 2016 to think “Gear S3 + Note 7 phone,” and that makes sense. The brand’s mega popular Note phone collection does of course make a good companion for the watch, but the latter isn’t due to be available quite as early as the phone which is due September 2016. Samsung will, however, more than likely make the Samsung Gear S3 Classic and Frontier watches available prior to the 2016 holiday season, and with a price in the vicinity of $400, it is difficult to go wrong with this really cool and impressively vibrant smartwatch experience. Consider traditionalists who still shun smartwatches to have their contempt for progress just that much more eroded after the release of a product like this. We hope to follow up soon with a full in-depth review of the Samsung Gear S3, and thanks again to the people at Samsung for asking myself and aBlogtoWatch to help introduce this product and its story to the world. samsung.com
UPDATE: Samsung has announced that the Gear S3 watch will be available for pre-order (from a variety of retailers) on November 6th, 2016. Price in the United States will “start” at $349.99.