Samsung Gear S3 frontier smartwatch review

Multimedia and call quality

There are 4GB of built-in storage on the Gear S3 frontier, and half of that is available for the user’s data – apps, watchfaces, images, and music. Yes, music – the Gear S3 frontier can act as a music player, which I find really cool. The main idea here is that you can leave your phone behind during workouts, and the music stored on the watch can be played directly on a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Listening straight from the built-in speaker is also an option, but I’m not a fan of that. It can’t play music as loudly or as clearly as a phone’s loudspeaker, which is to be expected from a device of this size.

The speaker is good enough to handle a phone call, however. While you risk looking silly in public while talking over your watch, you have the option to do so. And phone calls are clear enough on both sides of the line, although I do admit that I had to turn the speaker volume to the maximum in order to hear the other person properly.

Battery life and charging

As expected, the Samsung Gear S3 frontier can last several days between charges, mostly thanks to its 380mAh battery. Personally, I was using it with the Always-on Display option enabled and the brightness set to 7/10 – not the most economical configuration possible – yet it easily lasted through two full days of usage.

Of course, your mileage will vary, depending on how you’re using the Gear S3 frontier. I noticed that workout tracking with heart-rate monitoring and GPS enabled consumed about 10 percent of battery life per hour. But when used lightly and with the Always-on Display option disabled, the watch would easily last you even longer than the couple of days I was getting.

What I’m less impressed by is the battery’s recharge time. Giving the Gear S3 frontier a quick, 15-minute charge is only able to get its battery from zero to about 10%. After an hour of charging, the battery is still halfway empty. I understand that’s not too big of a deal since people would most often recharge theirs overnight, but I still think the battery’s rather slow recharge time should be mentioned.

Speaking of charging, the magnetic charging cradle is an elegant complement to the Gear S3 frontier. It uses wireless charging to transmit power to the wearable, and an LED indicates when the charging process has ended. I only wish that the wire connecting the wall charger with the cradle was a bit longer.


Last year’s Gear S2 was already a great smartwatch. While a little rough around the edges, it set the bar high for what was expected out of a wearable – great performance, ease of use, long battery life, to name a few examples. Because of this, the Gear S3 frontier only feels like a minor upgrade, even though it is still one of the top smartwatches to get this holiday season. And if you’re in the market for a smartwatch, I’d still recommend getting one, although not before pointing out a thing or two.

First of all, I really think the Gear S3 should be improved to be a better activity tracker. There’s no shortage of sensors on it, that’s for sure, but a watch of this class should be able to accurately track a broader range of activities and sports. On the other hand, if you’ll be using yours mostly at the gym or while running in the park, then Samsung’s wearable should suit your needs just fine.

Another drawback of the Gear S3 is that the selection of apps still leaves room for improvement, although I do appreciate seeing a number of familiar names in its catalog: Uber, Yelp, iHeart Radio, HERE Maps, and Nike+, for instance.

That aside, the Gear S3 frontier is a pretty great smartwatch – it is fast, it is durable, it packs a long-lasting battery, and delivers notifications to your wrist with style. As I’m writing these lines, Samsung’s wearable is on sale for $300 at major retailers across the US, which is a more than reasonable price for what you’ll get in exchange.


  • Battery can last several days per charge
  • Resists water, dust, and shock
  • Bright and good-looking display
  • Standard 22-mm wrist band can be easily exchanged
  • Simple, easy to use interface with convenient rotating bezel
  • Samsung Pay support


  • Activity tracking capabilities could be improved
  • Limited selection of third-party apps
  • Limited compatibility with non-Samsung phones, still no iPhone support
  • Samsung Gear companion app can be buggy

PhoneArena Rating:




47. backto1

Posts: 17; Member since: Jan 10, 2017

Samsung Gear S3 News: Don’t Charge Your Gear S3 with a third party Charger​s-dont-charge-your-gear-s3-with-a-third-party-char​ger/

46. backto1

Posts: 17; Member since: Jan 10, 2017

Introducing New Wallpapers and backgrounds for Samsung Gear S2 and Gear​ers-and-backgrounds-for-samsung-gear-s2-and-gear-s​3/

45. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2292; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Looks like a cheap @ss Timex.

44. Hsharma1

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 03, 2016

Where the hell is Verizon gear S3?? Anyone know? Thanks

43. kopkiwi

Posts: 102; Member since: May 31, 2013

So by PA horrendous bias towards apple. A 7.5 for Samsung is actually a 9.5 Man you guys suck,

41. Supersonic

Posts: 226; Member since: May 15, 2015

PA only gives good rating to Apple product. Everyone knows and hence no one believes their rating

39. zebraman

Posts: 68; Member since: Sep 11, 2013

I'm still confused how apple watch got 8 and this got a 7.5 Apple has 18 hours of battery life. Apple are that embarrassed about the battery they don't announce the battery life. Imagine if it had always on display it would last 4 hours S3 has 3-4 days but with always on display it gets 2 days Apple watch can't make phone calls S3 can make phone calls Plus the S3 looks much better

37. eyedoc81

Posts: 56; Member since: May 20, 2011

I still love my Gear S2 Classic and wear it every day. Not sure it's worth the update, although this one does look really nice. Best looking wearable on the market, imo.

36. cheetah2k

Posts: 2352; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

7.5? WTF?

35. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Stupid this got a 7.5 while the Apple Watch 2 got an 8. The Cons are nitpicking....

33. infinitemethod

Posts: 151; Member since: Sep 04, 2012

Turd article from a turd that doesn't like watches. Why in the world would someone that doesn't like watches review a watch? Mind is blown!

31. schinnak

Posts: 116; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I play soccer too with the watch and as advised by samsung - I let it auto-detect the tracking. It was fairly accurate in my experience. I have not faced any issues with the activity tracking otherwise. overall its a great watch. I have been using it for a week and have been enjoying it.

29. Jo_seph_B

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 29, 2016

You mention Nike+ as an available app, as far as I can tell this support was pulled back on the S2. I'm yet to see this anywhere for the S3 and can't see it coming as Nike joined with Apple. can you clarify if this is the case as for me this is the app I miss the most.

27. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Check one these out at Best Buy and nice. But I thought S2 look pretty great too. But I was their for a tablet and had to tinker with some gadgets.

24. TheChukwu

Posts: 27; Member since: Apr 02, 2014

im wearing my Frontier watch right now, and i got no idea what the hell this guy is talking about. So if you hate watches, why in the hell are your reviewing them. My Score: 9/10

20. jmill75

Posts: 127; Member since: Jul 22, 2009

CON: Doesn't work with Iphone Really, because the Apple Watch works with Android right. But yet you will never here that as a con for the iWatch.

28. Jo_seph_B

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 29, 2016

Does work with iPhone. There is a beta of the Gear Manager. Use google. 10 minute install and a decent enough feature set, although not all the features work.

30. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

of course everyhing need to works with iPhone... and who care if apple watch didnt compatible with android? since every human in this world is using iPhone right now... /s

19. tedkord

Posts: 17544; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I've defended PA before when people claimed they were Apple biased, but it's getting harder to do so. This is just silly.

22. Mxyzptlk unregistered

It's a word called opinion, tedkord.

34. dmh0284

Posts: 50; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

Opinions are one thing. Inconsistencies in judging criteria is another entirely. I've never commented to complain about it, but PhoneArena has historically given apple phones a pass on features that it dings Android phones on. The lack of waterproofing, fast charge, wireless charging on some android phones all caused those phones to explicitly get listed as cons that affected their scores in their reviews. The same generation iPhones also jacked these features but the phones weren't dinged for it.

18. ph00ny

Posts: 2086; Member since: May 26, 2011

Btw, gear s3 is around the same size and is lighter to boot compared to my daily driver (Skyhawk A-T Titanium) Not sure what the big fuzz is about. I even played golf with it on and didn't think for one sec that it was impacting my swing

15. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

It's not about needing 10 million apps in a smartwatch, it's about having the apps available that YOU want to use.

14. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

What is the need for 10million apps on a smartwatch?

13. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010


8. wando77

Posts: 1172; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

No mention in the Apple watch 2 negatives of a lack of Android support.... unbelievable!

10. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

That's bias phonearena for you. This is the first smart watch that has made me want one. I got to play with one a few days ago and it is awesome. But I can't stand anything on my wrist, heck I can't even wear long sleeves with out pushing up the sleeves so I will have to pass on it

7. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1887; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

Best smartwatch to date! The only thing wrong with the one I have is the band irritated my wrist and started making my skin peel. I switched it out with a black leather band and problem solved... Android Wear 2.0 better bring it!

6. DavMor0069

Posts: 266; Member since: Dec 09, 2015

Gear s3-$350 ROUND display Stainless steel material Bigger screen Rotating bezel 3~4 day battery life Compatible with most android phones,with iPhone support to come. Lte option Standard 22mm band MST Samsung pay. Actually looks like a watch Apple watch s2 -$600 Stainless steel material Quadratic screen Smaller screen Tiny crown 1.5 day battery life Exclusive to iphones (thank God) No lte options Must buy proprietary bands ($50 and up) Nfc apple pay Looks like a toy.

9. wando77

Posts: 1172; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

EXACTLY what I was going to put

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