Why we’re excited about the Samsung Gear S3

Thankfully, it seems like Samsung has ditched the futuristic design and decided to let watches look like watches.

Meryl D'Souza September 6, 2016

The Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin, or the IFA, is a consumer electronics trade show that takes place in Berlin every year.

The event has gained a reputation for major launches over the last couple of years, from the first few generations of Samsung's Galaxy Note devices to some of Sony's biggest unveils.

The big news coming in from this year’s edition though is Samsung’s Gear S3. While the release dates and prices haven’t been announced, we’ve been given a timeframe: Q4 2016. You know what that means, right? You can gift yourself one for Christmas! Here's what we know about it so far.

Say no to plastic

For the Gear S3, Samsung has unveiled two editions: The Classic and the Frontier. As you may have noticed, there’s no place for a regular S3. That’s good news because no one wants to wear plastic watches.

The S3 Classic – similar to the S2 Classic – is the elegant leather and stainless steel smartwatch with a pair of raised crowns that won’t look out of place with your best suit. The S3 Frontier meanwhile, comes with a bigger bezel with buttons instead of crowns.

Rotating bezel

We were fans of the S2's rotating bezel, so it’s good to see it back with the S3. Though it’s not simply back, it can do much more this time around. Samsung has tuned the watches to use that rotating bezel more intelligently. Turning it can now pick up a phone call or silence an alarm.

Bigger could mean better

In our Samsung Gear S2 Classic review, we mentioned how our stubby fingers got in the way of typing on the on-screen keyboard. It would seem like Samsung took note. The S3 watches feature the same AMOLED screen and a similar 360x360 resolution, but it comes with a slightly larger 1.3-inch panel. While we’re hoping the S3 takes its cues from the Apple Watch in terms of a voice assistant that actually works, the bigger screen could be a blessing to people with broad fingers like ours.

Durable

While the stainless steel bodies can be used with any 22mm strap, what makes the S3 Gear watches stand out is the IP68 rating. This means that both watches are completely dust resistant and water resistant up to 30 minutes in water no deeper than 1.5 metres. Aside from that rating, their 1.3-inch screens are covered with panes of super scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass SR+.

Better battery

We were quite impressed with the Gear S2 Classic’s battery life. The Gear S3 looks to better its predecessor’s record with a 380mAh compared to the Gears S2’s 250mAh. Samsung claims the S3 should last between three to four days. 

Samsung pay

While the Gear S3 will play nice with all Android devices running Android Kitkat 4.4 or higher, you’ll need a Samsung device to take advantage of the S3’s ability to use Samsung Pay.

The new watches both have NFC and MST wireless tech, which covers practically every kind of contactless payment out there.