Wednesday, 31 August 2016

New Samsung Gear S3 goes big on battery, GPS and ruggedness

Samsung has just uplifted the curtain from its Gear S3 smartwatch the third edition of its Gear Smartwatch. Samsung has unveiled the Gear S3 and it's coming in two flavours. First up is the Samsung Gear S3 Classic, the natural successor to the Gear S2. Then there's the more rugged Samsung Gear S3 Frontier.

It looks and feels much more like a traditional watch, while functionality is on par with a smartphone. The Gear S3 is powered by Tizen – which eventually mean there are far fewer apps available for the Samsung Gear S3 and it’s predecessor, the Gear S2 but Samsung says it has more than 10,000 apps now and that includes apps for the likes of BMW, Uber and Samsung Pay.

The Classic Gear S3 has a minimalistic, analogue look with its stainless steel body and circular buttons next to the brushed metal rotating bezel. So like the Gear S2, this is one for the office and showing off in your business meetings.

The Frontier Gear S3 on the other hand, is aimed at fitness and 'exploration' fans, as Samsung puts it. The sportier S3 has a slightly larger, raised bezel (also rotating) with rectangular, textured buttons. It's also heavier weighing in at 62g, in comparison to the Gear S3 Classic's 57g body.

Another difference is Wi-Fi only and 3G/LTE. The watches now come with a speaker and a microphone as standard, so they can handle voice calls - the watch can make the call itself or just serve as a hands-free for your phone. Note that only the Gear S3 frontier will have a 3G/LTE version. If you want Wi-Fi only, you can pick between the frontier and classic.

It comes with IP68 water and dust resistant certification. Samsung says it has tested the models with military level standards ensuring that they're durable and able to withstand very high and very low temperatures, shock, dust and extreme vibrations.

The Gear S3's come with a 1.3-inch screen with a 46mm body which is a bump up from Gear S2's 1.2-inches and 42mm body. It's still the same 360 x 360 super AMOLED always on screen, so is still one of the sharpest smartwatch screens in the business. The screen is also layered with Corning Gorilla SR+.

There's a much larger battery sitting behind the larger screen. At 380mAh, the Gear S3 has certainly surpassed the S2's 250mAh. That means you get about 3-4 days of usage with and without LTE, compared to the usual two days the majority of smartwatches can muster.

In the US, the Gear S3 will be available later at most major retailers, including Best Buy, Amazon, Macy's and, as well as carriers for the LTE Frontier watch. Still nothing has been mentioned about pricing.