Gear S3 Frontier: Big really is beautiful

WHEN it comes to watches, big is beautiful and Samsung's Gear S3 Frontier is certainly that.

This is a rugged watch made for an adventurer with a big wrist.

But it does have a couple of problems.

Firstly, it's a little rude.

"Get moving", it says after a lack of activity.

That's even after you've conquered a bushwalk of more than 10,000 steps the day before which involved no less than 29 floors of climbing.

This is a smartwatch that shows no mercy, takes no prisoners.

But it is beautiful to behold, so you find yourself forgiving its lack of compassion.

The all-metal design, longer life battery and always on display makes it a watch you will want to show off all the time, just as you would with any good looking time piece.

With a black case, elevated bezel and bold buttons it's far from geeky, even a little gritty.

While it's arguably better looking than an Apple Watch, it won't suit those with a smaller wrist or those looking for a more subtle design. The more modestly priced Gear Fit2 is a better option there.

Another big downside is that is not fully waterproof like the series 2 Apple Watch, which you can swim with.

The Gear S3 is rated IP68 so it's able to withstand dust and dirt and being up to 1.5 metres or 30 minutes underwater.

But Samsung advises against swimming or diving use.

One of the big advantages of the watch is its interface.

The bezel interface of the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier is great to use.
The bezel interface of the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier is great to use.

You can scroll through information, emails, apps by simply turning the bezel on the front of the device.

It remains the best way of navigating menus of arguably any smartwatch on the market.

The S3 Frontier comes with a decent array of watch faces and changing them is as simple as pressing on your current face and scrolling to another.

You can download other watch faces.

The display, covered with Gorilla Glass to prevent scratches, is super clear and packed with colour.

While you can set the watch to display always, if it is off, it seems slower to respond than the Apple Watch.

The watch features voice functionality so you can respond to texts and messages using that or by handwriting on the screen, which works very well.

Samsung Gear S3 frontier is designed for the adventurers among us.
Samsung Gear S3 frontier is designed for the adventurers among us.

Notifications can be customised according to what you want to see but you can expect plenty via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as news apps you may have downloaded.

One of the big pluses of the watch is that it has a standard strap so you can purchase one from any supplier without having to pay through the nose.

The 380 mAh battery can offer two to four days of life on a single charge, depending on whether you have the always on display off or on, and your usage.

When it comes to monitoring, there's plenty of options on offer including an alti, barometer, which promises to signal weather changes, a heart rate monitor and speedometer.

It's auto detection feature works with running, walking, cycling and rowing machines.

With a built-in GPS, it can record every run and bike ride without needing a smartphone.

This information is stored on the S Health app.

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier supports Samsung Pay.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier supports Samsung Pay.

One of the best features of the watch now is that it works with iOS devices as well as Android. That is also the case for the Gear S2 and Samsung Gear Fit app for the Gear Fit2.

Samsung says there are more than 10,000 apps for the S3 but the range is not as extensive yet as that for an Apple Watch.

But for most people, the range of apps and faces will be more than enough, while the availability of Samsung Pay in Australia is another plus.

With a RRP of just under $600, it's not a cheap smartwatch, but it's certainly one of the best out there.


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