Top positive review
A good reason to wear a watch
May 30, 2017
Not many people seem to wear watches these days - and it's no wonder since for many it's just as easy to glance at your cell phone as it is to peek at your watch. This is where the Gear S3 excels - it gives you a good reason to wear it on your wrist. This smart watch is feature packed and delivers lots of goodies. You get expected features like a large selection of watch faces, ability for receiving text messages & notifications, ability to answer/place calls, fitness tracker functions (pulse monitoring & step counting). There are some nice surprises also: It is water resistant, has an excellent battery life, and the Samsung pay feature lets you store your favorite credit/debit card information and pay by holding your watch up to almost any credit card reader - this always causing amazement in the checkout line. It even has its own built-in GPS. This watch uses Samsung's unique smartwatch OS called Tizen instead of Android Wear. For me, performance has been rock steady and I've only needed to reset it a couple of times during the entire time I've used it. I have the Bluetooth model that makes calls through the paired smart phone, in my case the Galaxy 7 edge. The quality of the speaker phone is surprisingly good.
SOME OBSERVATIONS: The rotating bezel is the bomb. This greatly facilitates navigating watch menus, adjusting the volume of the speakerphone, etc. The display is crystal clear and visible even in the brightest sunlight. It doesn't have that annoying dead space at the bottom of the display. I was worried about having to push a button to activate the display, but no worries. Simply moving your wrist upwards to check the time is usually enough to turn the display on. At first I configured it to always have the display on but then discovered I really didn't need to. Next, charging the watch means placing it in a dedicated charging cradle. A magnet holds the watch in place, and charging is "wireless" from the cradle to the watch, although the charger itself is plugged in, of course. This process works well, but that means you can only charge it on the cradle (no directly attaching a cable). You can purchase another cradle to keep somewhere else, which is pretty handy. What about apps? Samsung has an increasing number of apps and watch faces you can download from their app store. There are some interesting ones like a simple navigation app that ties to the phone and even a weather radar. Many are free, but some of the watch faces have a nominal $1 or $2 fee. (The one in the picture is my current favorite) I love to switch these in and out. Fitness applications for the S3 may not be as robust as you would get through a dedicated fitness band but impressive enough for me nevertheless. My heart rate data, step count, and activity levels are logged backed to the Samsung SHealth app on my phone. It even records my sleep patterns and gives me a pretty decent summary of how much restful vs fitful sleep I've received.
COMPARISON WITH GEAR S2 CLASSIC: I've actually used both models, first getting a "certified refurbished" S2 to try out last year. I eventually returned it due to display issues, but really liked it otherwise. On the other hand, the S3 is a good bit bigger on your wrist, but has a much longer battery life. Both the S2 and S3 have an "always on" feature that displays a dimmer, less-colorful display in exchange for shorter battery life. The S3's always-on mode looks much better than the S2's. One big difference between the two is the S3's larger size and greater weight. Some reviewers complained about this. I even went as far as to make a paper-cut out template to gauge the size on my wrist. The end result is I took the plunge for the S3 and am glad I did even though the S2 is a now a good bit cheaper.