It is no secret that the Gear S2 watches were far from perfect even though they were a step in the right direction for Samsung. Today, the South Korean company has expanded its smartwatch lineup with the introduction of a pair of new wearables—the Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier. More elegant and rugged than ever, the new Samsung watches have embedded GPS and cellular LTE connectivity.
Like the 2015 Gear S2, the new S3 range is based on the Tizen operating system that brings some updated software features to the mix. The Gear S3 Classic and Frontier will start shipping later this year.
“With the Gear S3, we continue to build on our wearables heritage of offering diverse choices to enhance consumers’ unique lifestyles,” said Younghee Lee, Samsung’s Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Mobile Communications Business.
First, check out the new watches in Samsung’s promotional video below.
“With smart capabilities and sophisticated, elegant design, the Gear S3 marks a significant addition to our smartwatch portfolio,” said Lee.
Meet the new Gears
Featuring timeless design, the Gear S3 classic pays homage to the minimalist style with its contrast surface finish and the intricate details found on luxury watches. The Classic has a 316L stainless steel body and retains Samsung’s rotating bezel for navigating the user interface while advancing it with new features, like accepting/rejecting a call or snoozing an alarm without touching the screen.
“With the Gear S3, we sought to integrate tradition and technology, bringing to the forefront an immensely intelligent smartwatch,” said Yvan Arpa, Swiss luxury watch designer who was involved in the Gear S3 design process. “The large watch face was inspired by styles emerging from the world’s most premium watch brands,” he added.
The Frontier, meanwhile, has obvious masculine look to it with its deep gunmetal finish.
It’s got two physical buttons—Back and Home—and hour and minute marks etched into the bezel, giving it an impressive look. Frontier’s key differentiators from the Classic are its built-in LTE radio (it’s optional on the Frontier; the Classic only has Bluetooth and WiFi) and a microphone and speaker for making HD voice calls over LTE networks.
In addition, the Frontier is MIL-STD 810G-rated, which should allow it to withstand excessive heat and cold, pressure, shock and vibration. The watches differ mostly in terms of the looks while sharing much of the underlying hardware features, including:
- 46 mm body
- 1.3-inch 360×360 Always On screen using Super AMOLED technology
- Scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass SR+
- Samsung’s dual-core Exynos chipset (same as the Gear S2)
- 786MB of RAM
- 4GB of internal storage
- Standalone GPS radios
- 380 mAh battery (up from 250 mAh)
- Workout tracking
- IP68-rated for water resistance
- Support for Samsung Pay
- Accept standard 22mm bands
As these new devices are a bit clunkier than that Gear S2 range, Samsung was able to outfit them with bigger batteries to give users between three and four days on a single charge. And thanks to the updated software, the Classic and Frontier take advantage of two new battery saving modes.
The first reduces software features to just a basic set of functions (watch face, notifications and incoming calls) as soon as the battery charge drops to 15 percent while the other kicks in once you hit five precent battery, putting the device in a watch only mode that just shows the watch face (which gives you another full day of run time).
Thanks to Samsung’s software partnerships, you can use these watches to stream Spotify music over LTE or Wi-Fi, control Nest thermostats, send money via Wester Union, unlock your BMW and more.
Other new software features include creating short to-dos with a built-in Reminders app, as well as the ability to write or draw on the display to have the software automatically convert your input to texts and emojis.
The Classic/Frontier won’t launch until later this year. Samsung’s said that the existing S2 and S2 Classic range will remain on the market following launch of the S3 lineup.