Home News Samsung Gear S3 Review: The Watch That Does Everything

Samsung Gear S3 Review: The Watch That Does Everything


– [Narrator] What do youdo when you're building a smartwatch for a worldthat doesn't seem to care much about smartwatches? If you're Samsung, you cram in everyfeature you possibly can.

I'm Michael Fisher, andthis is the Gear S3, the wristwatch that does it all.

(electronic music) (calming music) If you watched my handson video from the Summer, you'll know there are actuallytwo versions of the Gear S3, the Classic and the Frontier.

This is the latter, a less looky, but better equippedversion built for those who need to do more than they need to wow.

This one packs Bluetooth, Wifi, NFC, GPS, and cellular radios, and it's ruggedized steel casing is framed by thick rubber wristbands.

All that makes for a beefy wearable, and while it's not as absurdlyhuge as the Casio F10, it's still substantially larger than most of the competition.

On my wrist, the only thingthat really screams big is the thickness.

It's tough to get ashirtsleeve cuff over it, and if I were to buy one, I'dprobably swap the wristband for one that's a little softer, or I'd just buy the Classic model instead, but if I did that, I'd miss out on one of the Frontier's halo features.

The LTE version doesn't needyour smartphone to function.

That includes makingand taking phone calls over the speakerphone.

It was tinny and a bit shrill on my end, but callers on the otherside said I sounded no worse than over a regular phone, and if you want, you canconnect a headset to the Gear S3 over Bluetooth and takeyou calls that way.

Now, the watch does haveits own phone number, but AT&T offers afeature called NumberSync that essentially spoofsyour regular digits, so you don't have todeal with the headache of two phone numbers.

Samsung's new softwarelets you do a few things right on the watch that youused to need your phone for like downloading new watch faces and apps.

The selection's thin, butthere are some big titles here with more presumably on the way.

Besides notifications,the most utility I got out of the Gear S3 was mobile payments.

By now, you're used to seeing people paying for coffees withtheir Apple watches, and Samsung pay offers thesame type of technology, but the Gear S3 workseven on old fashioned credit card terminals, the ones that only havea magnetic stripe reader.

You just press pay, hold yourwrist next to the card slot, and the watch kicks out a magnetic field that emulates the stripon your debit card.

I used this at four orfive different stores and had a smooth check out every time, even when I didn't have my phone on me.

It's easily my favorite feature of the S3.

The watch has more familiarequipment onboard too.

I didn't find much use for the altimeter, but the barometer warned me topack my umbrella a few times when the mercury was crashing, and the health sensors are very smart.

The watch knows when you're taking a walk and automatically starts tracking your movements and heart rate so it can log health data for you.

All that info is fedinto the S Health app, which is fully featured and easy to use, though obviously you're goingto get more accurate metrics from a dedicated fitness band.

If you wear the Gear S3 to bed, it will also automaticallytrack your sleep to paint a more completepicture of your health.

Don't think you're goingto be wearing it to bed too often though.

Despite Samsung's lofty claimsof four day battery life, my typical experience wasabout two days between charges.

That's no surprise given how much tech is crammed into this package.

Also keep in mind I'musing the LTE version.

Like most smartwatches though, you're probably going to want to throw the S3 on the charger every night.

On the upside, that charger is magnetic, it's wireless, and veryconvenient as a bedside clock.

The downside, since the watchdoesn't really play nice with other Qi chargers, you need to remember tobring the cradle with you on every road trip.

In odds and ends, this is anabsolutely beautiful display, and on it is Samsung's best software yet.

You control it through the touch screen, the spinning bezel, andthe buttons on the sides.

It takes a couple daysto settle into the flow, but once you do, it's a lot of fun.

The watch face is in thecenter of the carousel.

Notifications stack up tothe left as they come in, and widgets are to the right.

When you're not actively using the watch, the always on display isthe best I've ever seen.

There are some shortcomings.

Notifications sometimes take a beat or two to make it from phone to watch.

S Voice is still a prettylacking virtual assistant, and there doesn't seem to be a quick way to assign a widget to thingslike the timer or stopwatch.

That seems minor, I know, butthis is after all, a watch.

For what you're paying, it should be the best at the basics too.

What you're paying forthe Gear S3 is $349.

That goes for the Bluetooth only editions.

If you get the LTEversion of the Frontier, you'll be getting it from AT&T or T-Mobile for a different set of prices, and you'll be paying a monthlyservice fee to make it work.

Whether that's worth it to you will depend on how youfeel about smartwatches.

For all its features, the Gear S3 isn't going to transform the category, and I doubt it will convert those who've already written offthe segment as a whole, but to smartwatch appreciators looking for an Androidcompatible alternative to the Apple competition, this is it, and frankly I think it'sbolder than the Apple watch in many respects.

I do agree with my colleaguesat Android Central though.

For all the freedom theLTE version affords, it's just too expensivewhen all is said and done.

If you buy the Gear S3,you'll probably be better off with the Bluetooth only version, as long as you don't oftenstray from your phone, and don't forget to shoplast year's shelves too.

For a similar experiencein a smaller size, the Gear S2 is still on sale, and it's still a good buyat its much lower price.

There are plenty of other smartwatches resting on wrists the world over.

See my other wearable reviews and subscribe to MrMobile on YouTube so you don't miss more mobile tech media dropping twice a week.

Until next time, thanks for watching and stay mobile, my friends.

(cheerful music).

Source: Youtube