SAMSUNG'S TIZEN-TOTING smartwatch has made a bold return at IFA 2016. The new device comes with GPS and a bigger screen, and one model has cellular connectivity.
Just like the Gear S2 before it, the new Classic Gear S3 and Frontier Gear S3 come in a number of variations.
Both models have undergone transformations in design, replacing the plastic-looking bezel of old with a ridged, brushed metal rotating bezel.
The two models are noticeably more bulky than last year's Gear S2, up from 11.4mm to 12.9mm in thickness, which might be a problem for those with thinner wrists.
The added girth isn't just for show. Samsung has included GPS in both models, and one of the two Frontier variants offers LTE connectivity. The other uses Bluetooth/WiFi as standard, as does the Classic.
The Classic is stainless steel, while the Frontier has a matte black finish, and both come with a leather strap.
The Frontier incorporates a slightly larger, raised bezel that adds a certain ruggedness and explorer feel. The only other difference to 2016's line-up is the Frontier's rectangular, textured buttons vs the Classic's rounded ones.
The face has grown a touch - 1.3in compared with the Gear S2's 1.2in - and uses the same 360x360 resolution. However, the Gear's screen remains on at all times while displaying its full colour range. The Gear S2 showed only eight colours when in standby.
Samsung claims a battery life of three to four days. Capacity has been upped from the S2's 250mAh to 380mAh, but how this fares in the real world will need to wait until our full review proper. The good news for existing S2 owners is that the new watches use the same charger.
Samsung still uses Tizen as the operating system, so if you want Android Wear you'll have to look elsewhere. But it does come with a number of useful software improvements that make greater use of the bezel to control the watch's functions.
For instance, you can now answer a phone call by turning the bezel left or right, and it makes it easier to navigate apps than having to swipe the tiny touchscreen.
The Gear S3 supports Samsung Pay via NFC and MST (magnetic secure transmission), the latter providing compatibility with older-style mag-stripe terminals.
Both models are expected to cost €399 and will be available before the year is out. µ
Another fine mesh
But, er, it'll be available in pink
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