It is therefore the perfect time to analyze the performance of a smart watch that tries to show that Tizen can be as good as watchOS or Android Wear. The new smartwatch from Samsung certainly puts on the table many good options and offers us a device that shows a good evolution in a market without a clear winner. Is that enough?
Design on the Gear S3: more clock, less gadget
Samsung offers two different versions of the Gear S3. First is the issue Frontier, something sportier, which is what we have discussed. Secondly, editing Classic, more focused on trying to offer a plus of elegance thanks to elements such as leather strap and a less “aggressive” finishes.
What is clear in both editions is that the design of these Gear S3 from the beginning makes it difficult to detect which are gadgets. Their finishes and materials identify them more as traditional clocks than as technological devices, and that, we believe, may be a point in favor of their potential acceptance in the market.
We find products slightly larger (1.3-inch screen compared to the Gear 1.2 S2) and a circular design that is already the norm in smarwatches manufacturers except, of course, Apple. The general appearance at hand is that of a “big” and voluminous watch, something that makes it suitable for many hands … but not for all, and here it seems that the orientation is for the male audience.
The use of stainless steel in the watch case gives these S3 a really remarkable consistency, while the belt offered by default is an “active silicone” that is pleasing to the touch but also somewhat “sticky”. His appearance, however, is impeccable, and we can easily exchange the belt if we do not like: Samsung makes use of the standard in this case, with straps of 22 mm.
The design is starring dark colors dominate the clock, but above all there is one key element: circular rotating ring on the outside of the sphere, which already surprised at the Gear S2 and is a unique control system Of the clock options.
On the right side we find two buttons and the small microphone, while on the left side we detect a small grid for the speaker. Behind we have the heart rate sensor, and there is no electrical contacts or making micro-USB, since charging your watch is wireless and induction, as discussed below.
Armed to the teeth, especially in efficiency
There are many improvements that affect the exterior but especially the interior of the new Gear S3. That “battleship” design which allows among other things talked to provide this intelligent clock resistance to water and dust.
He S3 actually meets IP68 certification, but also with the military specification MIL-STD-810G US guarantees that for example you can use the clock for 30 minutes under water a meter deep.
We can theoretically swim with him without problems, although here Samsung, and other manufacturers prefer not to make much noise with this capability, and recommended to use it with caution and wash with running water clock if for example we put the clock in salt water.
|SAMSUNG GEAR S2, TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
|49 x 46 x 12.9 mm and 59 grams
|1.3-inch circular Super AMOLED. Protection Gorilla Glass SR +
|360 x 360 pixels, 278 dpi
|Exynos 7270 dual-core 1 GHz
|4GB (non-expandable microSD)
|Certification IP68, Samsung Pay, microphone, speaker
|802.11n Wifi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS, Accelerometer, Barometer, Heart Rate, MTS (Mobile Payments)
|Accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate, ambient light, barometer; The 3G version adds GPS
In the other specifications there are many highlights, but one is especially relevant: the processor a Exynos 7270 that stands out not so much for its power and its efficiency. The manufacturing technology of 14 nm is key to achieve remarkable performance with very low energy consumption.
In fact this is one of the fundamental reasons why this watch shines especially in the section of autonomy , as other smart watches usually make use of processors like the Snapdragon 400 that are made in technology 28 nm, which makes Less efficient.
There are also notable improvements in battery capacity, now up to 380 mAh from 250 mAh Gear S2, while we also have an important difference in sensors, where the choice is really outstanding. We have accelerometer, gyroscope, and heart rate sensor, ambient light but also the crucial GPS and even barometer.
The WiFi 802.11n connectivity is another good news, especially because it gives even more autonomy (we can use several functions of the clock without it is connected by tethering to the network of data of our phone), in addition of the support Bluetooth 4.2 and two very striking standards: NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission), which are the key support Samsung Pay.
There is an additional version of these watches that offers LTE connectivity through an eSIM card embedded. That option could come in the future to our country, and Samsung officials in fact assert that the product is prepared: it seems that telecom operators and regulators have to enable that option, so there is no specific date for a Option that would of course give a fantastic autonomy to this type of devices.
The presence of a speaker is also new in a watch that because it allows us to make and receive calls from the watch without taking the phone from his pocket (if need be around and synchronized), and even listen to music independently in Gear S3 or receive voice responses from S-Voice.
As we were saying, the use of this new processor and good battery capacity makes us before the highlight of the market in question smart watch battery. In fact in our tests was easy to surpass the two days of use without problems and without recharging, being able to arrive at 3 days with a moderate use.
It does not leave the accounts with the 4 days that Samsung says they can be achieved, but still the figure leaves behind all current competitors. If you are looking for a smartwatch that complies in this sense, this is the option. Point Charging with the small “dock” that includes Samsung is slower than we would like: two and a half hours to go from 5% to 100% (? For when fast charge smart watches), but that is compensated amply with that Autonomy.
Samsung has shown that in smart watches neither watchOS nor Android Wear have a differential platform at the moment, which is why Tizen is a really viable alternative. The device has Tizen 2.3.2, a recent version which among other things gives the Gear S3 an interesting autonomy, albeit limited.
In the Samsung smartwatch we can access the application store and the watchfaces for the device, and do so without being connected to the phone. We can access these options with a WiFi connection (the clock “steals” SSIDs and passwords for WiFi networks automatically when synchronized with our mobile), but of course, not be complete shops, but only a selection of apps display or Spheres highlighted by Samsung.
For all other functions, we have Gear Manager, the application that allows us to control different parameters from the mobile and inform us of some hardware and software sections of the watch. The software catalog is decent and in fact, the clock arrives with the game ‘Fruit Ninja’ preinstalled, something that proves that the platform is sufficiently powerful for this type of scopes. Playing on such a small screen does not make much sense, and this inclusion seems more like a “can do” than a “must do”.
One of the striking features of Tizen we can use directly from your phone or from the clock is the ability to customize their appearance. The available spheres allow to offer all kinds of alternatives in this sense, but is that many of them are in turn customizable.
We can choose things like fonts, colors and image background and especially so -called “complications” (a strange name, really), which are nothing more than widgets for this platform with which showing status The battery, counted steps, time in another city, etc. Being able to modify all these parameters from the mobile as well as from the clock is really eye-catching, and makes that ability to leave the clock to our liking to gain many integers.
The interaction with the system is based on both touch gestures and the use of the outer ring rotates in both directions schedules that allows to be moving through the options and then go interacting with them both on screen and with the physical buttons.
This interesting new introduced with the Gear S2 again surprised by its good performance, although for someone who like me was already accustomed to a device with Android Wear and its tactile mechanics, the result is not especially differential. Neither better nor worse, just different, although it is true that for certain scenarios the wheel can better solve the usability of the device. For others, we believe, it gets worse.
You may also like to read another article on improtecinc: Samsung Gear 360, will lead the first generation of 360 domestic cameras
Smartwatches are increasingly quantifying activity
In that bet software highlights especially the attention to the quantification of physical activity, which Samsung have been driving through time through S Health. The heart rate sensor and GPS are great companions for all who enjoy activities such as running or exercise in the gym, and the clock is also able to detect when climb stairs and takes into account to warn us of those little achievements of activity physical.
It detects that we sat long and encourages us to move a little, and records daily activity for aa we encourage us to improve ourselves every day or even compete with friends and acquaintances that have this feature enabled.
In the preferences of S Health also we find different training modes that allow us to specify the activity that we will perform for the watch can make a more accurate accounting of calories that we “burn” with that exercise, but as mentioned most The activities are oriented to exercises in the gym.
For other sports the thing is less remarkable, although the clock is able to detect that we are doing some activity (but not which) and enters an automatic mode in which that effort is evaluated. The accuracy of calories burned counter is also probably moot here : in my case I played basketball, walked and went for a run and while in the latter two cases count calories burned was consistent with the basketball game the numbers were something Strangers: it is a more intense activity than running at a sustained pace, and yet the meter showed a significantly lower than expected.
Here it is true that the inclusion of that GPS is a great news for runners and cyclists, who also can benefit from those 4 GB of storage capacity (actually only 2.4 GB are available to the user after turning on the Clock for the first time) to put music on the clock and listen to it through a BT headphones without carrying the phone on its back. The altimeter is also useful in these cases, since it allows to measure the altitude of the route at any time and make the tracking of the activity (especially when it comes to running or riding a bike) is more accurate.
Can be used with non-Samsung phones, with some buts
While that smart watches Gear range can be used with Android – based smartphones that are not manufactured by Samsung, but for this we must meet a few minimum requirements: have at least Android 4.4 and have 1.5 GB RAM in our mobile.
In my case the tests were performed with a OnePlus One, and the results were mixed. Although the basic functions (notifications, calls, data synchronization) work without problems, there are other options in which it is noted that the integration of the Samsung ecosystem is relevant.
It is the case of the pre-installation of some applications such as mapping : there is no utility in this regard, and the clock does not recognize if you are using Google Maps on your smartphone or not. In order to do something similar to what we do with Android Wear we will have to install for example HERE Maps / Navigator on both the watch and the smartphone.
Integration with many messaging applications is also zero, and we cannot send WhatsApp messages or email with voice commands. The lack of tools for other daily tasks (such as setting a simple countdown) causes us to lose integers here with competitors in which such functions are available as standard.
It is true that in some cases, we can solve the problem by installing applications on the clock and the phone, but in other cases, we will not be able to use those functions when they exist on other platforms. The software catalog is correct but neither can compete with that of Google or Apple, and here we noticed as some tools to control physical activity (Runtastic) or music (Stelio) we use regularly in Android Wear do not work with Tizen. There are alternatives in many cases, of course, but less than on other platforms.
This is where it is also important to note that the behavior of S Voice voice assistant is much more limited than the clocks based on watchOS and especially Android Wear. The attendees of Apple and Google are much more mature and that shows when trying to interact with a service that works in the basics, but that as we say does not support a somewhat more advanced interaction.
The messaging options are an example, but also occur with finding information (we know the weather information, but do not ask what is the highest mountain in the world) and of course with contextual questions that both Siri and Google Now are supporting In an increasingly satisfactory way. This may be solved now that Samsung has bought the voice assistant Viv, but his arrival in these watches will probably take in coming.
Characteristics with future
Smart watches are gradually incorporating qualities that make them somewhat less dependent on the phone or that enhance their use in other scenarios. In the Gear S3 we have for example the speaker opens interesting possibilities when voice to interact with clock and even allows us to listen to music or make and receive calls.
This feature is obviously limited by the characteristics of the device: if there is a lot of noise around it cost us hear our interlocutor in a call with the clock, but also is the social factor. There may be people who feel comfortable talking to a watch like Michael Knight, but today that way of using a device is shocking and can make a lot of other people feel weird.
What is particularly promising is the support Samsung Pay on the clock, a service that could not taste but not only works with phones Of Samsung, but also with Android phones from other manufacturers.Tags: Samsung Gear S3