Samsung Electronics launched its latest smartwatch, the Gear S3, in two variants at IFA 2016 in Berlin on Wednesday. And the two devices, though bulkier than their previous avatar, pack a mean punch.
The large size, which some may find inconvenient or outside their personal preference for watch-design, is a deliberate move by the South Korean company, which said large sizes are the "trend in the luxury watch space right now." The problem is perhaps more with the thickness of the watch (12.9 mm, or about half an inch), but the large size of the dial, and the device in general, has many other benefits.
The large 1.3-inch display (with a 360x360 resolution) makes it easier to read messages on the watch, and the body has enough space to allow for integration of GPS and an embedded SIM card, which gives the smartwatch further independence from a connected smartphone to make and receive calls.
Both the variants of the Gear S3 — Classic and Frontier — have the same external dimensions and feature the same hardware too, the only difference being one of design. The Frontier has a more sporty, outdoor look while the Classic is understated elegance. Both designs are available in Wi-Fi only and 4G LTE variants.
The Gear S3 has an always-on display, just like regular watches, and the option to change the face of the watch makes it look more regular as well. Samsung says the device also goes for up to four days on a single charge, which given the always-on display, is pretty good for its 380 mAh battery.
With an on-board accelerometer, gyrscope, barometer, altimeter as well as a heart rate sensor, the watch also has 4GB of storage and 768MB of RAM. The face is covered by Gorilla Glass SR+, designed especially for watches and inside, Gear S3 is run with an Exynos 7270 Dual 1.07 GHz chipset. Other than the mic and speaker, the smartwatch also features an IP68 ingress rating, making it safe for up to 30 minutes in up to 1.5 meters of water.
If there is a drawback to this device, other than its heft, it is probably the fact that it uses Samsung's own Tizen OS. While the Tizen-based Wearable OS 2.3.1 is far better suited for the smartwatch, there are very few apps for the OS, taking away somewhat from the smartness of a smart device. Samsung, however, has said it is working to bring thousands of more apps to the Tizen ecosystem soon.
There are already integrations with smart home devices, such as the Nest thermostat. A turn of the watch's bezel will change the temperature.