Few categories of electronics can be as confusing as smart watches – or smart watches.The first good models of this line began appearing in 2014, led by Apple Watch and devices running Google’s Android Wear.
Samsung also started using Android Wear, but soon expanded to a proprietary software solution and introduced the world to Gear S. Today in its third generation, the Gear S3, the Korean brand demonstrates that it has learned a lot from past mistakes and Continues to improve.
Announced in Brazil in December of last year, the Gear S3 costs $ 2,200 (suggested price by Samsung) and was sent to the Digital Look for a few days of testing.Does the device outperform predecessors and competition?Is it worth the high price?Does any smart watch in the world worth that much money?This is what you will find in the paragraphs below.
For you who do not know what a smart watch is at timedictionary, here’s a quick summary: it’s a wearable, wearable device that you put on your wrist and syncs with your smart phone. From there, you can get quick access to notifications and some basic functions of the phone, such as replying to messages and even answering calls depending on the model.
What happens is that, visually, there is almost nothing that differentiates a smart watch from a regular watch.Gear S3 is a good example of this.The design applied by Samsung is simple, but very bold.It looks like a “normal” watch, but it has several characteristics of a luxury product, aimed at the executive public.
The version that we tested of the device is the Classic, with leather strap (in two sizes for the different pulses of the users).There is another version, called Frontier, with a rubber band and a more “sporty” texture, aimed at another audience.The watch itself, in both versions, is made of steel.
There is no way to go much deeper than that.The Gear S3 is a beautiful and discreet watch without any extravagance.It is not as minimalistic as the Motorola Moto 360, but it also does not try to get past a wrist computer.The best description for the Gear S3 is perhaps the word “smart”.
Carrying a miniaturized smartphone on the wrist means having even more intimate contact with the technology than what we have with the phone or the PC.This also means that the usage experience needs to be as natural and intuitive as possible, so that the user does not feel like a cyborg when moving the clock on the arm.
Although every smart watch is a nightmare in this sense, until Samsung can put some interesting ideas in Gear S3.The main one is the steering wheel around the screen, which allows the user to interact with their features beyond the touchscreen.It’s the same interaction mechanism used in Gear S2, and it comes back here with the same delicacy and precision.
It makes a lot of sense for a smart watch to use its own round format as a form of navigation.This is the most intuitive and natural interaction one can imagine having with the clock.It causes certain discomfort to have to use the side pins as cursors, as does the Apple Watch as it does not look like such an “organic” movement.
There are buttons on the side of the Samsung device that sometimes need to be used to perform certain tasks.At times, using these buttons may seem confusing, and it takes some time for the user to memorize which one does what.But this is just a setback in a very well built user interface.
Another feature that makes the experience intuitive is the Super AMOLED “always-on” screen, which is in a low-light state when the user is not looking and lights up when he senses arm movement from taking the watch to Height of the eyes.However, the feature does not work as accurately as possible.
More than once, I had to lift my arm, lower it again, and rise again, sometimes even wiggling my wrist, so that the screen would light up and I could see the hours.Signal that the motion sensors inside the watch are not exactly perfect, which can make the experience a bit frustrating on a day to day basis.
The screen, in fact, has good resolution and, like its predecessor, the Gear S3 can also keep the contents of the screen readable even in strong natural light – at least when the screen is active.In low-light mode, it is very difficult to discern hands and digital numbers.
Finally, the Gear S3 is IP68 certified, which ensures that it is an almost totally waterproof device.We say “almost totally” because Samsung does not recommend that you use it for swimming or diving, especially not in salt water.Anyway, the watch promises to withstand up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes, which we can conclude in our tests.
Features and performance
Let’s go to the numbers offered by performance analysis applications.The Gear S3 has a dual-core processor of 1.0 GHz, 768 MB of RAM and incredible 4 GB of internal storage.The jump over S2 is crisp and very welcome, making the S3 work much better independently than just reverting the content of the phone.
These 4 GB of internal space can be used to install new applications, but there are not many options in the Samsung store.The big problem with Gear S3 in this sense is its operating system.The software, based on Tizen (from Samsung itself), is much more closed and bureaucratic than Android Wear, used by some competitors.
Pairing the watch with an Android phone that is not a recent Samsung top notch is a somewhat ungrateful task.You have to install no less than three Korean apps just so the two devices can talk more clearly.In a Galaxy S7, for example, two of these apps are already installed at the factory.
That said, Gear S3 even facilitates the “big” job that is taking the phone out of pocket to give a notification (we’ll talk more about this “torture” below).There is little delay between the arrival of the alert on the phone and the clock, and raising the arm to activate the screen gives immediate access to the content of WhatsApp, Messenger or SMS messages.
What Gear S3 does not do well is to provide a mechanism to respond to these messages that is minimally satisfactory.Like any other smartwatch, Samsung’s smart watch has an almost incomprehensible keyboard.The audio detection system also translates our responses aloud very poorly, and neither answering calls – making that famous secret agent pose by bringing the wrist close to the mouth – is the best of experiences.
Only the short answers (“yes”, “no”, “maybe”) are easily accessible.This problem is not unique to Gear S3, of course, but little effort is seen from Samsung to try to fix it.The good thing is that smartwatch bets many of its chips on the independent use of the cell phone, especially when monitoring physical activities, when it stands out.
In addition to the traditional step counters, calories, sleeping hours and heart rate records (which work well, incidentally), the Gear S3 comes with support for Wi-Fi networks. This means that many of its basic functions, such as browsing the map or Take a look at the weather forecast, work even far from the smartphone.
Although it is not completely independent of the smartphone, it is a slight degree of autonomy welcome.Helps the fact that the battery of the device (which has 380 mAh of power) has a reasonable duration: three to four days away from the power outlet.Wireless charging through the dock that comes with the smartwatch, however, is slow as it’s expected to be: as if it were a cell phone three years ago, Gear S3 takes almost two hours to go from 0% to 100%.
The Gear S3 is clearly one of the best – if not the best – smartwatch in the Brazilian market.Which does not mean much, actually.For better, more complete, dynamic and intelligent, the device is just a watch with the same functions as a smartphone.
To date, the technology industry does not seem to have found a clear justification for smartwatches.As we said before, its main function is to shorten the trip from the user’s hands:you do not have to take the phone out of your pocket to see who is calling you at WhatsApp, just raise your arm.
There are those who argue that doing this is safer than leaving the smartphone on display, but the chances of someone stealing a cell phone from your hand are almost the same as that of a thief asking for his watch when he realizes that he turns on the screen alone and has Controls.
All this still for $ 2,199, the price of a great smartphone intermediary.Although it does not seem to compensate, the smartwatches managed to conquer a (very small) slice of the consuming public.If even knowing all this and having a different opinion you want to buy a smart watch, the Gear S3 is an option that does not leave anything to be desired.
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