Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Review | A Modern Classic
We’ve been trying out the new Samsung Gear S3 Frontier for the past few weeks and we absolutely love it. These days, it’s hard to get excited about a smartwatch with so many of them on the market, all doing the same sort of thing. So why do we love the Gear S3? Call us shallow but it’s all about the looks. Not only is it one of the most advanced smartwatches on the market at the moment, it is also one of the sexiest. The Gear S3 comes in two versions, the Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier. The Classic is crafted to complete the look with a smart collared shirt and pair of chinos while the Frontier is built to look like it can endure the same pain you will go through when completing those 50 burpees following those 50 kettlebell swings.
A lot of wearable tech gadgets try too hard with an overly sleek and futuristic design that usually ends up being outdated shortly after release. Samsung’s Gear S3 moves away from the sleek design of its predecessor and has gone back to making the S3 a more timeless timepiece (see what we did there?).
The Frontier model has a bold active look. The watch case and bezel are made of sturdy premium stainless steel, long favoured by artisanal watchmakers. Its screen is cut from Corning’s Gorilla Glass which is incredibly hard to scratch and greatly reduces reflection. It’s also dirt and water resistance, making it an excellent sports and outdoor watch.
Unlike other smartwatches that rely purely on interactions via a tiny touchscreen, the Gear S3 also has a rotatable bezel that navigates you through the simple yet efficient Tizen OS. The watch comes with an impressive 1.3 inch Super AMOLED screen, displaying amazingly deep blacks and high contrast. The screen is really bright and has never been hard to see, even in direct sunlight. Samsung has provided 15 different watch faces for you to choose from, some of them are stunning, so you’re sure to find one that suits. Our favourite is the default Frontier for its classic masculine look. If none of them takes your fancy, you can download more watch faces from the Samsung Galaxy App store.
Like a traditional watch, the Gear S3 is compatible with any 22mm watch band which means it’s a lot easier to find the strap of your choice. We were quite happy with the standard silicone band included (It actually comes with 2 straps, a large and small sized band). The matte finish and texture of the band gives it really good grip and looks great with the knurled brushed metal bezel.
Specifically designed for an active lifestyle, the Gear S3 is fully equipped with a built-in altimeter, barometer, speedometer and GPS. It records your journey and metrics such heart rate, burned calories and also keeps count of your lunges, squats and burpees. The altimeter calculates your altitude while the barometer measures the atmospheric pressure, making this incredible for hiking. All of your fitness information is synced to the S Health app so you can easily keep track of your progress.
The watch also has Samsung Pay built in, which means you can have all of the conveniences of leaving the house without your wallet and phone. When you need to make a payment, you just need to hold the watch near an NFC card reader and confirm the transaction on the watch.
The Gear S3 works amazingly well with music apps like Spotify and SONOS. It gives you good basic controls to the music playing on your phone or through SONOS speakers. This is awesome because you can change the song that’s playing while you’re in the shower, if you don’t like it, or you can pump up the volume if you can’t hear it.
There is also the “Stand Alone” mode which lets you play music directly through its tiny built-in speakers or through wireless Bluetooth headphones. Another great feature is that, even though you can’t use Spotify in offline mode on the watch, you can stream songs over the built in Wifi or LTE connections. So if you’re at the gym and have access to their Wifi connection, you can just open the Spotify app on the watch and stream the music directly to your watch.
The Gear S3 also comes with a 4G LTE model that allows you to read emails, receive notifications, send texts and even make calls all without your phone. You can even speak to the watch to open an app, dial a contact or dictate a text.
What we also really liked about this watch is its “Always On” mode. With the mode active, this behaves like a traditional watch, always ready for a quick glance at the time. However, this convenience will cost you battery life. Normally, the S3 Gear has a 4-day running time on a full charge, which is pretty good for a smartwatch. This mode will cut it in half. This wasn’t much of a problem since we were already used to charging our phones several times a day. The watch comes with a wireless charging dock connected a micro-USB cable. It charges pretty quickly so you can leave it on the dock while you’re working away or watching an episode of Game of Thrones.
One more thing, the Gear S3 is now compatible with iOS, which is pretty exciting. You’ll have to download the Gear S app from the Apple App Store to make it work and for syncing health data. Unfortunately, the health data doesn’t feed into Apple Health as yet which is a bummer if you’re already tracking health information with your Apple Watch and want to be able to switch between the devices on a daily basis.
The Wrap-Up – Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Review
Overall, the Gear S3 is not just a great smartwatch, it’s also a great watch. The bold, rugged design is balanced with its understated brushed metal black body that’ll look good on, for any occasion. However, it isn’t made for everyone as it will look out of place on smaller than average wrists. That aside, with a strong focus on fitness, this watch truly delivers with its aesthetics and functionality.