Samsung’s New Gear S3 Raises Smartwatch Standards


Last year’s Gear S2 gained critical acclaim for its rotating bezel which combined a traditional watch component with modern technology to create an incredibly intuitive form of interaction. This time around, at IFA 2016 in Berlin, Samsung has released two variations of the Gear S3 – the Frontier and the Classic.


The Classic is supposedly the entry level model as it is a bit less robust than its Frontier counterpart. The Frontier edges out the Classic model as it comes with MIL STD 810G rating. In english, that means the Frontier is resistant against physical shocks from drops and is also supposed to survive in both extreme heat and cold. Additionally, the Frontier is an LTE enabled model and so will enable users to completely detach from their smartphones.


The design of the Gear S3 is its most striking feature. Both models look gorgeous and premium. The mimic the appearance of traditional watches as well and match them in size and heft. This time around, Samsung has opted to go for a large 46mm design over last year’s smaller offering. While many will frown at this move, I personally am glad Samsung chose to go big as the Gear S2 felt fragile and minuscule on the wrist. An added bonus – both models use standard 22mm watch bands so you can use any favorites you may already have or select from an endless variety.


With a bigger frame comes a bigger 1.3inch Super AMOLED display and a larger 380mAh battery which Samsung has claimed will provide up to 4 days of battery life. The screen is coated with Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass SR+. The larger watch design means that Samsung was able to fit a GPS sensor in the watches too. The new Gorilla Glass was also unveiled at IFA 2016 and is designed specifically for wearable devices. It sports shatter resistance similar to Gorilla Glass 4 and 5 but its scratch resistance is said to be very close to that of sapphire crystal.


The chassis itself is made of 316L stainless steel (which is why the watches weigh a bit more than competitors). The Classic has a traditional stainless steel finish whilst the Frontier has a more discrete matte finish. Both watches are rated IP68 which means they are dust proof and can be submerged in 1.5m of water for 30 minutes but Samsung does not recommend they be used for swimming. This time around, Samsung has added a speaker and microphone to the watches meaning you can make and receive calls from them.


Samsung has not yet announced pricing for the new wearable but has mentioned that they will be available in late 2016. Samsung has seriously pushed forward the Gear S3 with its premium appeal as one of the smartwatches to beat. It will be interesting to see how the S3 does in terms of sales after the release of the Moto 360 and the Apple Watch 2 which is expected to look more or less identical to the original.


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