Samsung has finally revealed its Gear S3 smartwatch, with this new range comprising the Frontier and Classic models. These two new smartwatches will now retail alongside the existing Gear S2. The new watch has retained the rotating bezel from the S2, but the Gear S3 also features numerous improvements from the previous release. Consumers will wonder whether or not to upgrade to the new units, so here is a comparison of the qualities and specs of the three devices.
Samsung Gear S3 – Display
Both the Gear S3 Frontier and Gear S3 Classic are slightly upgraded from the Gear S2 in terms of display. The two new smartwatches feature slightly increased display sizes over the Gear S2, with both the Frontier and Classic benefiting from 1.3-inch AMOLED displays. There is no improvement in a screen resolution, though, with Samsung sticking to the 360 x 360 pixels which was included in the Gear S2.
It had been suspected that Samsung would upgrade the processor in the Gear S3 in order to ensure that the smartwatch runs more smoothly. But improvements in this department will have to be achieved via software solutions, as the same dual-core 1 GHz processor included in the S2 is retained for both units.
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However, both the Gear S3 Frontier and Gear S3 Classic receive a welcome boost in the memory department, possibly also contributing to the performance of the new generation. The 768 MB of memory compares favourably with the 512 MB which were included in the Samsung Gear S2.
But Samsung has decided against improving the storage capacity included in each new smartwatch generation, with 4 GB of storage being retained for both the Gear S3 Frontier and Gear S3 Classic.
Samsung has given the Gear S3 generation a massive boost with the battery included. While the 250 mAh cell included in the Gear S2 gave reasonable performance of approximately two days of battery lifecycle, this has been significantly improved with the Gear S3. Both the Gear S3 Frontier and Gear S3 Classic are armed with 380 mAh cells, meaning that battery lifecycle is improved to 4 days on a single charge.
Tizen will still be present in the Samsung Gear S3, but an improved version of the software will deliver some valuable improvements according to the Korean corporation. It is believed that this will particularly translate into improvements in battery life, which coupled with the actual increase in battery size could make the watch significantly more convenient to use that the S2.
Size and weight
Both of the new Gear S3 models are somewhat larger than the previous S2 release. The Gear S2 featured dimensions of 42.3 x 49.8 x 11.4mm, while both of the two new smartwatch contenders measure 46 x 49 x 12.9mm. Additionally, the weight of the Gear S2 was was 47g, while the S3 Frontier is 62g in weight, with the S3 Classic weighing in at 59g.
It had been suggested that Samsung could consider improving the water resistance capabilities of the Samsung Gear range for this next generation release, but this has not occurred in reality. So both the Gear S3 Frontier and Gear S3 Classic retain the water resistance of 30 minutes at 1.5 meters which was present in the Gear S2.
Both the Gear S3 Frontier and Classic include some new functionality with the intention of attracting new consumers. A GPS system has been included in both editions of the Gear S3, providing additional health-related functionality, and opening the smartwatches up to a wide variety of tracking applications.
The two smartwatches also benefit from always-on displays, an innovation which has also been linked with the forthcoming Apple Watch 2. And in some territories, the Frontier will be sold with LTE, enabling it to receive calls and mobile data without being connected to a smartphone over Bluetooth.
The Gear S3 Classic is fairly similar in design to the last generation Gear S2, but the two sides-buttons included in the smartwatch are more pronounced in this new release. The Frontier has a bulkier, more robust bezel, and is intended to be the more adventurous release of the two; suitable for those interested in trekking around harsh terrain. Samsung has emphasized the military style protection included with the S3 Frontier, and this helps to explain the slight additional weight of the device in comparison to the Classic.
However, the straps of the two devices are notably different, with the Frontier coming complete with a rubberized strap as standard. By contrast, the Classic has been supplied with a black leather number, although Samsung has already made it clear that it will offers straps in a wide variety of different colors. Flexibility and customization is becoming increasingly important in the technology marketplace, and the smartwatch niche in particular, and this is reflected in the current ethos of the S3 generations.
The new Gear S3 releases have been very much focused on ensuring that Samsung improves the style of its smartwatch. The Korean corporation is up against the almighty Apple in this department, and although the Apple Watch may not have been the huge success that the Californian company was hoping for, it is nonetheless already by a considerable distance the most recognizable smartwatch.
Thus, consumers may be swayed by the attractive new designs that Samsung has come up with for the Gear S3, while the additional specs and new features also ensure that the smartwatch delivers an attractive new package. The combination of these qualities will probably be enough to ensure that big Samsung fans upgrade, but there is no compelling reason to purchase the Gear S3 for more casual smartwatch users.