In a wearable world that's mostly dominated by Apple Watch, the best fitness trackers, and Android Wear devices, the Tizen OS-running Samsung Gear S2 made quite the impression - and the Gear S3 duo offers some big improvements to the wrist-based smart thing.
There are, in fact, two Gear S3 models to choose from: the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier and the Samsung Gear S3 Classic - and they're pretty much identical apart from slight design tweaks and connectivity.
Given Samsung's one of the biggest makers of smartwatches behind Apple, and it's been working hard on its own OS for the platform, any new device from the brand is a big deal. So let's dig in to see what's on offer:
- Fancy something with a little Android flavor? Here are the best Android Wear smartwatches.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Samsung's refinement of an already-decent smartwatch
- When is it out? Announced August 31, released in the latter half of 2016
- What will it cost? US$250 (about £189, AU$330) depending on the model
Samsung Gear S3 release date and price
Samsung has used its IFA press conference to talk up the new watches - sadly there's no release date nor price available yet.
We're expecting them to emerge by the end of September, but in terms of price the Gear S3 duo would do well to stay at its current entry price of US$299. Of course, we'd love to see a lower price, but that's probably not on the cards.
Like the Gear S2, the Gear S3 has emerged in two different models, and if the same pattern is followed then the Classic will cost US$50 more than that standard model, but offering a more elegant steel build and leather band.
Samsung Gear S3 design and performance
Samsung claims it has spent a lot of time studying watches – both of the smart and classic variety – to come up with the ultimate wearable, and it has produced two distinct models: the Gear S3 Frontier and the Gear S3 Classic.
The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier is aimed at more active wearers, with a rugged design and built-in LTE mobile network connectivity and GPS, which allows it to continue functioning as a smartwatch even when it's not connected to a smartphone.
Meanwhile, the Gear S3 Classic aims for a more iconic appearance, with a size and weight (which is lighter than the Gear S3 Frontier) that aims to replicate the balance found in hand-crafted luxury watches.
Apart from the design, LTE support of the S3 Frontier, and weight, both versions of the Gear S3 are evenly matched in the spec stakes, with a dual core 1.0GHz processor, 4GB internal memory, 380mAh battery and 768MG RAM.
Both smartwatches run the Tizen operating system and are compatible with Android devices running Android 4.4 or later. The two variants of the Samsung Gear S3 will also be highly customizable with support for swappable 22mm straps and interchangeable digital watch faces.
Samsung Gear S3 features
Both Samsung Gear S3 models come with support for IP68 water resistance and mobile payments through Samsung Pay. The Samsung Gear S3's 1.3-inch circular Super AMOLED always-on display has a resolution of 360 x 360 and a pixel density of 278ppi (pixels per inch), and it's protected by extra-tough Corning Gorilla Glass SR+, which is a first for a Samsung Gear wearable.
By having an always-on display, wearers will be able to quickly glance at the watch to tell the time, like a classic timepiece, rather than having to wait for the screen to turn on, as with other smartwatches.
There's also the same Samsung Pay support that's found in the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge models (as well as the recent Note 7) - which means you can pay using any terminal with an NFC or magnetic stripe payment section using the watch.
The Gear S3 Frontier also features an SOS mode that allows users to activate location tracking to alert families, friends and emergency services if the wearer encounters any problems, even when they don't have their smartphone on them.
The Gear S3 battery life looks to be massively extended too: where most Android wear watches are promising a couple of days' use before conking out, the two new Samsung watches are tipped for four days' use between charges.
This is down to a pretty large 380mAh battery as well as a much more efficient platform in Samsung's proprietary Tizen operating system (AKA the Tizen Based Wearable Platform 2.3.2).
GPS and a barometric altimeter are big additions to the mix here: with this on board you'll be able to take these watches out for a run, learn how high you've gone, track your distance and listen to music too. If you're using the Frontier, you'll even be able to get phone calls without needing to staple your phone to your arm or stomach.
And finally: let's not forget that these watches are IP68 water- and dust-resistant rated, which means they can thrive under one meter of water for 30 minutes - just like the S7 pair.
We'll be updating this hub with information as we get it - stay tuned folks!
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