At the beginning of this year, Samsung surprised us by releasing an app for iOS to control its most advanced smart watches. Although they were aware already knew the intentions of the Koreans from September 2015.
I have had the opportunity to test the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier For more than one week, using it every day with an iPhone and Apple Watch on the other wrist. As a result, and unlike other analyses with an Android device, the focus of this article is from the point of view of a user’s iPhone. Is the S3 Gear a good alternative to Apple Watch?
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier: technical specifications
- Dimensions: 49 x 46 x 12.9 mm.
- Weight: 62 g.
- Screen: 1.3 inch circular Super AMOLED.
- Resolution: 360 x 360 pixels, 278 ppp.
- Operating system: Tizen.
- Internal memory: 4GB.
- Connectivity: 802. 11n Wi-Fi, 4.2 Bluetooth, NFC.
- Sensors: GPS, accelerometer, barometer, light, heart rate.
- Resistance: IP67, water resistant.
- Battery: 380 mAh.
- Load: inductive and wireless.
- Price: 399 euros (359 euros at Amazon).
A different and interesting hardware
Personally, I had a special interest to see what it was capable the most formidable competitor of Apple smartphones and smart watches. The first thing you notice when you take the Gear S3 Frontier in your hands is its weight and dimensions. It is a large smartwatch. Very large.
according to Barblejewelry.com,The size of a watch is a matter of taste. But compared with a Apple Watch steel’s first generation, the S3 Gear weighs enough, almost 25% more. And it is also voluminous at the wrist. By my weight, my wrists are thin and the clock stands out at the top and at the bottom.
Its circular design, great autonomy and bezel are the salient features of the S3 Gear
One of the aspects that most will like is the bracelet. Samsung has chosen standard 22mm for bracelets, so that you can put any of this type. The next series has a small tab to accommodate it without tools, which is a very comfortable detail.
But what is most striking in the S3 Gear is undoubtedly its bezel. It’s the same bezel that have some traditional watches for certain functions, In addition to protecting the glass. In this case, Samsung has decided to use this element “of another era” and attach it to a tech product. The result is very satisfactory.
The bezel is particularly useful, but the placement of the buttons is intended for the left hand
Steadily, one is by turning it simply for the pleasure of playing with it. Although its function is much more practical than aesthetic, already that through this bezel can move along the selection of apps that you have installed, as well as vertical menus and widgets. The answer is instantaneous.
On the right side we find the ‘back’ button and launcher for apps, both with a correct answer. The problem is that There is no way to change the orientation of the software for comfortable use in the right hand. If you put it there, touch the buttons with your thumb is not comfortable.
We can not forget the huge battery life. In my tests, it took an average of three days of baggy, an autonomy that will draw attention for those seeking a smartwatch with excellent battery life. Although, as we shall see below, it is determined by the software.
Integration with iOS which does not hold water
Despite the good feelings that leaves Gear S3 Frontier, tastes aside, where the clock does not hold water is in integration with iOS. The software of this watch is the Samsung’s own operating system, called Tizen. In conjunction with the hardware I have not experienced any lag or wait when she opened apps, unlike in the original Apple Watch and despite watchOS 3.
Where there is waiting is when you need to bring your phone’s information to show something. Unless you try a smartwatch with data connectivity, in which case you do not depend on anyone. This is a step Samsung has been moved forward to Apple. All this does not matter because the integration of the Gear S3 Frontier with the iPhone fails almost constantly. These are the most serious problems:
- The S3 Gear lets you know that to be able to act as a speaker on phone calls, You must establish a second bluetooth connection with your iPhone. Initial synchronization was already difficult in and add a second track takes a considerable time.
- You can not trust the connection with your iPhone. You may be receiving notifications and calls for most of the day and after a few hours you realize that do not receive any. This is because the companion of Samsung app you have to be always open in the background. So if iOS close app for any reason, you won’t have more than a slight vibration in the wrist to tell you of missing.
There are no excuses: integration with iOS is incomplete, and leaves much to be desired
- Update and download apps works when it wants to. I have received the impossible message update an app more times that I can remember. In the end it is a losing battle.
- S Health should be a separate app, but instead is contained inside that controls the Gear. This is the only downside I’ve found him, because otherwise it gives enough information and clearly. Sometimes it shuts down unexpectedly, but it is no longer surprising.
- Samsung Pay does not work with an iPhone. There is the option to activate it, simply.
- Enter music into the device is extremely complicated. You need to plug your Gear to a Wi-Fi network, connect a computer to the same network and type the IP address in the browser. You must then cross your fingers that sync.
- S Voice simply does not work. Always that I have asked him to put a countdown, call or write to someone or that told me the time, answered me that I could not process the request. That after waiting several seconds with arm raised (much more than with an original Watch).
The experience is very touched with the many problems that we find the S3 Gear and an iPhone. It is true that some of them they are due to that Apple has not created a development kit for third-party, leaving the deeper integration for your Apple Watch. But others are the responsibility of Samsung.
These problems cast a shadow over the good points that has Gear S3 Frontier. And they are quite interesting:
- Areas of other developers, a claim that we have been asking for since Apple introduced its clock. There are all interests, with complications and shortcuts to apps and widgets. This is just what you need Apple Watch and does not.
- A system of navigating through menus, texts and very simple apps thanks to the rotating bezel. Fast when you are used to use and enjoyable. Much better posed as “panel” apps of the Watch.
- Easy access to the information during a training exercise. By turning the bezel we have everything at our disposal (although we miss having the time in your main menu).
- A few widgets very handmade (never better said), thanks to the bezel. Although the information provided is not updated quickly.
Gear S3 and iOS: conclusions
Samsung has contributed good ideas to this smartwatch. The rotating bezel, round design, software response and great autonomy they are its best letter of introduction. However, while the software is interesting, they are isolated and buried by a connection with the iPhone erratic and incomplete. Most of shares cost too many steps to complete them, if he gets.
It is not known how it is limitation of iOS or your own Samsung. The beta of the companion in iOS app should never have left in its current state. The Koreans have left much work to do. Perhaps, the version with 3G have a more independent behavior and allows you to ignore part of the synchronization with the terminal, but there are things like notifications that may not.
The S3 Gear is in an awkward position against Apple Watch in a platform such as iOS
Our colleagues from Engadget already warned their lack of integration with Android smartphones from brands other than Samsung. In the case of iOS, this integration makes not be an option for those who have this platform as a primary device. Unlike the good rapport which has this smartwatch with a Samsung smartphone, the iPhone and the Gear are not nothing good.
It is a pity because this tells us that the only complete alternative in iOS is Apple Watch. A clock whose rectangular design It is more efficient when it comes to displaying text, but it is not for everyone’s taste. That Samsung has not passed this test is a sample that is likely to get no more alien to Apple. Will we see someday a development kit for manufacturers of wearables in iOS?
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