Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

9.1
9.1 score
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Editor rating: 9.1 / 10
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Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Review Facts

When we consider the giants that have dominated the smartwatch market, the Samsung Gear has been a steady competitor since the Korean company first released its version of the wearable in 2013. There have been several updates to the Gear line, including the latest S3 Frontier.

The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier watch is effortless to use, a premium smartwatch by one of the biggest tech companies on the planet, and it is jam-packed with all the latest features. Offering a sleek design and premium ruggedness, the Frontier features impressive battery life and quality responsiveness.

Unlike more delicate wearable options, the S3 is tough and durable, and will even stand up to the elements on your next adventure. It is the ideal smartwatch for hikers, ramblers, climbers or cyclists, keeping track of your heart rate and distance, and helping to ensure maximum gains.

The watch runs on Tizen for Gear, which has been created specifically for wearables, and so it is said to offer a smoother user experience. Track your fitness, keep on top of how many steps you are doing each, monitor your heart rate for maximum gains and find your way with built-in GPS. You can even use maps on your watch, as long as it is connected to your smartphone.

Be prepared for any weather with the S3’s barometer, and know your elevation with a built-in altimeter. Track your steps each day and try to hit the target or listen to music via Spotify while you work out. The S3 will even remind you when you have been sitting still for too long!

If you are looking to upgrade your tech with the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier, take time to check out our in-depth review of this premium gadget. With traditional design and watch-like style whilst still being packed full of innovative technology, the S3 Frontier is the watch that does it all.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent durability
  • Packed full of advanced features
  • Sensors
  • Water resistant
Cons
  • Battery life when connected to Wi-Fi
  • Limited app selection
Use

Use

The Samsung Gear S2 was one of my favourite wearables for so many different reasons, and so far, the S3 is a definite improvement. It is super versatile and can be utilised by just about anyone. It is tough and sturdy and would be great for those that like to explore the outdoors, yet it could also be an ideal choice for someone who wants a wearable that combines fashion and functionality.

The S3 Frontier is particularly well-suited to tracking health-based metrics and could be the perfect choice if you are looking for a smartwatch that has all the functionalities of a fitness tracker while still providing smart watch performance.
You can track a whole host of different activities, including walking, cycling, running, lunges, squats, rowing and more. Usefully, the S3 is also water resistant, with an IP68 rating. This means that it would be perfect in the shower or during a rainstorm, but it is not suitable for swimming, with a maximum depth of 1.5m.
The military grade durability, water resistance, and dust and scratch-resistant nature of this watch make it the perfect option if you are looking for a watch with advanced functionalities that will still stand up to your lifestyle.
Power

Power

The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier includes a 380mAh battery, which is charged via handy wireless charging dock. Samsung proposes that the battery can last up to four days; however, this seems a little over ambitious. Around a day and a half to two days is much more realistic, depending on how you are using your watch.

The S3 loses very little power when it is on standby mode, with the face-off for most of the time. As soon as you raise your arm to look at the time, the S3 will show you what you need to know. However, the battery is likely to be less effective when connected to Wi-Fi.
GPS also impacts on the battery life, with one user reporting that a 30-minute run used around 10 % of the battery power. Recently, there have been more concerns reported regarding the S3’s power capabilities, particularly since Samsung updated their software. However, Samsung has already improved its update, and are working to address this issue.
Durability

Durability

The S3 Frontier features a durability rating of MIL-STD-810G, meaning that it is military grade standard. It is super tough and can be dropped up to 4.9 feet. This was affirmed in several reviews online, with a number of users reporting they had accidentally dropped their watch several times, without any scratches or damage.
Dirty conditions will not affect this dust-resistant wearable, and it is able to withstand pretty extreme temperatures. The use of Gorilla Glass SR + on the face is celebrated, as being both scratch and shatter resistant. However, if you are concerned about the glass, consider using a tempered glass screen protector for extra protection.
As we have already mentioned, the S3 is also waterproof, with an IP8 rating. The only issue that has been noted regarding this is that there may be some lag with the touch features of this watch when it is wet, but this is only minimal.
Connectivity

Connectivity

Overall, connectivity on the S3 is excellent. The Bluetooth should connect from within 10 metres, and the watch can also be hooked up to your Wi-Fi. Quite a lot of the Samsung Gear S3’s functionality is dependent on being connected to the internet or a smartphone via Bluetooth. It does have 4GB internal storage, which is ideal for storing music, so you listen without being connected to your phone. Alternately, for an extra money, you could opt for the LTE- connected model with cellular connectivity.

Whilst the S3 is regarded as being compatible with most smartphones, some have suggested that this is inconsistent and that it is not as efficient when connected to phones other than Samsung. Samsung has since made some improvements towards this, with increased capabilities with other devices, although it continues to be easier to pair up with Android phones.
Style

Style

The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier has to be one of the nicest smartwatches to look at! It is a good looking piece with a timeless design that is reminiscent of a more traditional watch. The watch-like feel is certainly stylish, particularly when you compare it more futuristic- looking options from other brands.The Samsung S3 Frontier is fairly comfortable, although it is quite heavy and a little bulky. The bulk of the watch may mean that it can look a little awkward if you have smaller wrists, and if so, you may prefer to pick one that is smaller.

The watch comes with a thick rubber wristband in black and a replacement strap. If you prefer, you can easily replace the band, and Samsung has a whole host of colours, patterns and designs to choose from, starting at an affordable price. From alligator grain leather in red to a cool khaki silicone, you can show off your style with the impressive selection available. The face of the watch is usually shown as black on photos, but again this can be changed up. There are other 70 watch face settings to choose from, each of which has different features and designs.
Apps

Apps

Unfortunately, the available apps are one of the biggest drawbacks of this watch. While there has some improvement over the years, it remains that you just do not have the choice that is available on other models.

Regardless, if you are an Android user, this continues to be the best wearable for you; particularly when you compare the features with an Android Wear option. Plus, there are still tons of apps and impressive features on the S3 Frontier! For example, it is the very first wearable to feature Samsung Pay, which can be particularly handy in tricky situations. Also, the futuristic element of paying for your groceries with your wrist-watch is bound to impress. S-Health is probably the app that I use the most, with the ability to track fitness and exercise throughout the day.

Although the S3 does not have specific WhatsApp or Facebook messenger app, you are able to respond to messages when your phone is connected via Bluetooth.
You can type, dictate or choose from one of the pre-established replies. With regards to Spotify, it took a while for this to work on the Samsung S3 Frontier, but the app is now in place. It does not feel as comfortable compared to using it on your phone, tablet or laptop.
Plus, regardless of whether you have a premium Spotify service or not, you are not able to download tracks onto the watch itself. However, listening to music via your watch can drain battery life, with the S3 lasting for around 2 hours of constant Spotify streaming.
Size & Weight

Size & Weight

Yes, the Frontier is certainly larger than other recent releases or even the previous S2, but this is due to the fact that it has so many more features!

It is a fairly significant piece at 46 x 49mm, and a 12 mm depth, with some reviews online suggesting that the watch is too large; particularly if you have smaller wrists. The watch band measures at 22mm and can be adjusted to fit. Also, the Frontier is slightly heavier than the Classic (59g), at 62g, and you are looking for a more lightweight watch, the Classic version may be the better option for you. The LTE model is also larger to accommodate the inclusion of a micro-SIM.
Ease of use

Ease of use

The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier is user-friendly with surprisingly easy navigation and excellent responsiveness. It is quick to act, and the bezel is an effective way of navigating through the watch with ease.

The way in which Samsung has developed this bezel has certainly been welcomed by fans, with improvements being made since the S2. The bezel rotates with a light click action, with just enough tension; similar to the set up on a diver’s watch. Using the bezel reduces the risk of fingerprints, but you can also access the S3s wide selection of apps and features by touching the face directly.
It is a reasonably comfortable experience, but it has been suggested that it may be a little too sensitive. One reviewer noted that the touch-sensitive operation is so good, that they could easily use their watch even when wearing gloves.

Alternately, the watch has also been equipped with S Voice, Samsung’s voice control, and you can tell your watch precisely what you want it to do. Voice-activated virtual assistants have improved significantly over the years.
However, there are always some issues with voice-activation, particularly if you have an unusual accent. There was certainly some difficulty in the watch understanding my delightfully northern Mancunian tones, and a few people across the web echoed a lack of understanding due to accent.

Unlike the S2, the S3 also comes equipped with a speaker, which means that you will no longer require Bluetooth headphones to make a call throughout your watch device. However, while this is a novelty at first, headphones are still the better option for clarity.
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Keeping you notified, the S3 Frontier is undoubtedly worth the investment, with a huge selection of widgets and features to fit your needs. I was a big fan of the Gear S2, and yet I feel that the S3, in general, is already a significant improvement. It has more of a watch-like feel with traditional styling, whilst also being a futuristic device with amazing capabilities and advanced features.

If you are looking for a watch that tracks basic fitness, you may prefer to opt for a more affordable option. However if you are in the market for a watch that will upgrade your performance, track your results and help you to evaluate your technique, the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier could be an ideal choice. It is jam-packed full of features that are bound to impress.

This is considered a mid-level price, particularly when you compare it with its biggest competitor, the Apple Watch. The S3 is intuitive and quick to respond; it is super stylish with exceptional durability and features a 360x360 resolution that provides deep contrast and vibrant colours.
Overall, it is an excellent addition to the wearable collection, and the perfect choice if you are shopping for a timepiece with advanced functionality.