Samsung Gear S3 – the ultimate smartwatch (review revisited)
4.6Overall Score

Price (RRP): $598.99
Manufacturer: Samsung

The Samsung Gear S3 is the most comprehensive, non-Apple, smartwatch with fitness benefits so far – and that is saying something for a smartwatch released back in November 2016!

GadgetGuy revisited the Gear S3 because we needed a current review of a device that has “everything but the kitchen sink.” In designing this, I am sure that if Samsung could have, it would have included that, and an emergency shot of coffee as well. This smartwatch has it all.

It has:

  • Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP ) to connect to your smartphone and headphones/buds
  • Wi-Fi N 2.4Ghz to work stand-alone from your phone (if on the same network)
  • A speaker and microphone to make and take calls and use S Voice assistant
  • 4GB memory (1.64GB usable) to store, play or stream music
  • GPS, Accelerometer, Continuous Heart Rate monitor, gyroscope, barometer and ambient light sensor
  • MIL-STD-810G (Frontier model), IP68 water resistant to a maximum depth of 1.5m for up to 30 minutes (not a divers watch), and protected from dust, dirt, sand and snow.
  • Samsung Pay with MST (swipe) and NFC (Pay Pass)
  • 380mAh battery, fast wireless cradle charger – two to three days use but can be sapped by constant GPS use
  • A magnificent, always-on, 33mm, 360 x 360 colour, Gorilla Glass SR+s, AMOLED screen
  • Tizen OS 2.3.22 and Exynos 7270 dual-core 1GHz processor
  • Uses standard 22mm wristbands
  • 10,000+ apps in the store
  • And that rotating bezel beats using a crown hands down.

I have been using the Gear S3, Frontier version for over a year now as my daily watch. I also have on review a new Samsung Gear Fit Pro 2 and it does most of what the S3 does (no speakerphone capability). While both are aimed at different markets they are excellent examples of what a smartwatch can be.

Out of the box Samsung Gear S3 Frontier model SM-R760

(Classic model on eft is SM-R770, and in the US an LTE eSIM version is SM-R7565F)

In December 2015 I reviewed its predecessor – the Gear S2, and I called it a “sensible smartwatch.” It was more of an extension of a smartphone whereas the S3 is more a standalone device.

It comes in a nice, elegant round, black, cylinder that contains:

  • The watch (available in Frontier and Classic style – identical functions)
  • A magnetic wireless charger (small L-shaped cradle that sits nicely on a bedside table)
  • A USB-A to micro-USB cable (use your own charger)
  • Spare small-sized silicon, spring pin style, 22mm strap (only the side with holes – not the buckle side)
  • A brief manual.

Full manual here.

First impression of the Frontier is a large, round, black watch and silicon band. The Classic version is a little more elegant but as both are 46 x 49 x 12.9 mm (thick) and 62g they are big watches. The large strap fits wrists up to 130mm and the small 110mm.

The set-up is very easy – download Samsung Gear Manager for Android (almost any recent Android phone), pair up, download Samsung Health app and sign up.

There is an iOS version of Gear Manager and Samsung Health, but this review does not cover that.

You can then download thousands of analogue or digital, themed watch faces and apps – many are free. The watch faces look very much like a real watch.

 Usability

I was sceptical at first that a 33mm round watch face had much usability, especially for email. The display is crisp and colourful and surprisingly useful. The ability to choose a larger display font makes it easy if you are long-sighted.

The rotating bezel is the most intuitive interface I have used – and I have used many. Simply rotate the bezel clockwise or anti-clockwise to see different screens or press the settings button and rotate through the installed apps. Tap on an app to active it. You can install extra apps as well.