Samsung Gear S3

The Good Well-constructed; attractive design; clever spinning bezel interface. GPS, speakerphone, optional stand-alone LTE phone service and work-anywhere Samsung Pay. Spotify app streams music on the go. Works with most Android phones, and even iPhones to a degree.

The Bad It's big. Tizen-based software has less app support than Apple Watch or Android Wear. iOS connection works, but it's very buggy. Few killer apps take advantage of stand-alone LTE services.

The Bottom Line Samsung's watch survives, for now, as one of the better options for Android phone users.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 8.0
  • Battery 7.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Software 6.0
  • Features 9.0
7.1 Overall

Compare

Samsung Gear S3 Classic
Samsung Gear S3
Apple Watch Series 1 (42mm space grey aluminium case, black sport band)
Apple Watch Series 1
Apple Watch 42mm Stainless Steel Case (Milanese Loop)
Apple Watch
Apple Watch 42mm Space Black Stainless Steel Case (Space Black Link Bracelet)
Apple Watch
Apple Watch 38mm Space Black Stainless Steel Case (Space Black Milanese Loop)
Apple Watch
Price $375 Android Enjoyed $399 Apple
Design
8
9
9
9
9
Battery
7
6
6
6
6
Performance
7
7
7
7
7
Software
6
8
8
8
8
Features
9
8
8
8
8

Review

Samsung tries to throw it all on a watch, but it doesn't all stick

Smartwatches are experiments. For a taste of the future, you've got to live with compromise on your wrist. But for a lot of people, connected watches are best kept simple. Battery life wins out over tons of features, and ease of use over feature bloat. After all, that's what phones are for. Watches are where we check things quickly.

The problem is that the Gear S3 still feels like an experiment, when, in its second iteration (the S2 was the first major redesign), it should really start feeling like a more mature, polished product. If you're looking to see where watches will go next, Samsung's exploring the ideas now. Stand-alone cellular LTE connection without a phone? Check. Spotify on-wrist? Check. Use-anywhere wrist payments that are even more versatile than Apple Pay? Yes.

The Gear S3 is an insanely feature-rich smartwatch with a big, bold design. But unlike the latest Apple Watch and Android's upcoming 2.0 software update, Samsung's Tizen-based Gear S3 doesn't do enough to improve the experience or support more apps. And few of those apps actually use the Gear S3's standalone LTE. In terms of hardware, it's a better watch than last year's bold, clever Gear S2. And yet, it fails to take enough leaps forward in its software. Last year's S2 was innovative, but it needed polishing. And it really, really needed more apps.

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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Samsung
  • Product type Smartwatch
  • Type Tizen OS
  • Features Water resistant, NFC technology, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Smart notifications, Touch screen, Twist bezel, Altimeter, Barometer, Accelerometer, Heart rate sensor, GPS enabled, Built-in speaker, Built-in microphone, Samsung Pay, Automatic exercise recognition, Ambient light sensor, Wireless sync, Music player
See full specs
model Samsung Gear S3 Classic

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