With its rotating steel bezel feature encasing a beautifully-rounded 1.3-inch display, the Samsung Gear S3 is one of the best-looking smartwatches on the market today. Available in both the Classic and Frontier versions, wearers have the option of a sleek, elegant design or a more rugged, military-grade athletic wrist watch. If you’re looking for a powerful digital assistant instead of just a well-designed Fitness Tracker, you may want to look elsewhere – Samsung still appears to be working out some kinks, app-wise.
It’s no secret that Samsung struck gold when it engineered the rotating steel bezel. The circular dial navigates seamlessly through onscreen menus without relying on swipes or button controls. Similar to operating a PlayStation remote control dial, wearers end up defaulting to the mini steering wheel over the navigational buttons on the side of the watch.
Powered by Samsung’s Tizen interface, the Gear S3’s main menu has been strategically designed for the rounded display. The highly intuitive platform allows you to swipe down for easy access to battery life, swipe right to check notifications, and swipe left to check out widgets. A simple button click activates the radial app menu, enabling you to once again control the rotating bezel wheel. It really makes you look like you’re navigating a compass instead of geeking out on your smartwatch while you’re trying to open an Uber app.
Speaking of apps: this is where the Apple Watch completely crushes Gear S3 even though Samsung added Spotify, Uber, Yelp, Nest, and Samsung Pay. They also made sure their newest edition was both Android and iOS compatible with the Frontier coming with both 4G LTE and Bluetooth connectivity. Still, there seems to be limited access to some of the most popular apps, including Priceline, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Lyft, Foursquare, etc. Samsung only recently added both Yelp, Uber, and Samsung Pay – probably because of the resounding outcry from its users.
If you’re interested in using the S3 as an aesthetically pleasing Fitness Tracker, then you’re choosing wisely. The S Health app is pretty much a personal trainer strapped to your wrist. Whether its tracking steps, monitoring heart rate, calculating calories burned, or computing average speed and pace, you have a rather intuitive assistant at your disposal. With Gear 3’s built-in GPS you can be running down your favorite off-road trail and all the functionality stays with you. By simply using your mobile data plan, you can send texts, get e-mails, receive notifications, and even make calls without needing your phone.
Outside of the rather noteworthy display and user-friendly interface, wearers have been impressed with the S3’s long-lasting battery power. Compared to other high-end smartwatches known for staying charged for a day or so, the S3 gets three days on a single battery charge. You also have the option of adding the wireless charging dock accessory.
In closing, Samsung’s Gear S3 is a really cool looking watch but it just doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the Apple Watch. Without the access to a full array of popular smart device apps, you really just have yourself a glorified Fitness Tracker capable of receiving notifications. Once Samsung jumps full throttle into boosting their app selection, the S3 will certainly have the dual threat of aesthetics and functionality.