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Samsung Gear S3 Review


Alex

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We once looked on wearables as the future, but now that they’re actually here, we haven’t been quite as enthused. Things started off well with various smartwatches from a variety of OEMs, but one-by-one those companies are either pulling out of the smartwatch market temporarily, shifting focus to other platforms or form factors, or closing their doors entirely. However, there is still hope.

We’ve long recommended Google’s Android Wear as one of the best wearable platforms, but sometimes it’s easy to forget it’s not the only one, nor is it for everyone. I’m here to tell you that Samsung’s Tizen has quietly grown into a fantastic option. Last year we saw it make a splash with the unique Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic, but this year, we have the Gear S3 and, spoiler alert, it’s fantastic…

THE HARDWARE |

Just like on the Gear S2, Samsung has thankfully opted for a circular display on the Gear S3, and it has a fantastic design overall. Also like its predecessor, it comes in two models, the Gear S3 Frontier and the Gear S3 Classic.

Frontier or Classic?

I spent my time with the Gear S3 Frontier and personally speaking, it’s exactly what I love in a watch. It looks rugged, yet a little fancy at the same time. The charcoal color and subtle grooves along the bezel give this the look of a classic watch.

However, if you’re looking for something a bit classier, the Gear S3 Classic is the better bet. It has a polished stainless steel design which also looks wonderful, and even better, it ships with a leather band instead of the silicone one the Frontier comes with.

Regardless, the build on both of these smartwatches is nothing short of excellent. The stainless steel body is hefty and feels durable, all while looking like a premium device.

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Size & Thickness

However, both variants of the Gear S3 have two aspects that not everyone will love — they are both thick and big. These aren’t outrageously large devices, but compared to the Gear S2 or most Android Wear devices, they are fairly big. If you have small wrists, this may not be the watch for you. But beyond that, I found the thickness to be of even bigger concern. It was tough to fit the watch under a shirt cuff or even a jacket, and the LTE variants would be even worse.

That Bezel (And Buttons Too)

The big story with the Gear S3, of course, is the bezel. Compared to other smartwatches, this is where Samsung’s options stand out. The rotating bezel on the Gear S3 provides an excellent experience when it comes to navigation, offering an intuitive and tactile way to interact with the software on your device. You can still interact with the touch screen to control most of the experience, but the addition of the bezel and two buttons make the experience that much better.

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Band

As for the band, the Gear S3 Frontier comes with a thick silicone band which is black and has a slight texture to the outside. It looks good and feels pretty decent as well, but it’s not a premium band by any measurement. I wouldn’t really hesitate to toss a leather or metal band on this watch. Luckily, that’s pretty easy with the standard 22mm size and quick release latch.

THE SOFTWARE |

As for its software, the Gear S3 comes with Samsung’s in-house Tizen operating system. Despite that, it works with almost any Android powered smartphone, and believe it or not, Samsung has done an absolutely fantastic job crafting this wearable OS.

This Just Makes Sense

The Gear S3 has a circular display, but it’s not the only wearable to have one. Many Android Wear devices also use circular display, but they’re never felt truly optimized for that form factor. The Gear S3, on the other hand, has software that makes sense. There’s certainly a lot different about Tizen compared to Android Wear or Pebble, so there’s a definite learning curve. However, everything on this watch makes sense.

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From the watchface, there are a few actions to get to various areas of the interface. Rotating the bezel (or swiping) to the left reveals your notifications in the order they arrived. A swipe up on that notification removes it from the carousel and tapping it reveals the full text as well as several actions such as “open on phone.” Going to the right, you’ll find various customizable widgets. On my Gear S3 I have widgets such as weather, steps, calories burned, heart rate monitor, calendar, music controls, and more.

To go back, you hit the top button. Once back on the watchface, there are two other actions available. The first is the app drawer. From here you can view all of your apps in a customizable order. Navigating the apps is as simple as rotating the bezel to select the app of your choice and tapping the name to open the app. The other action from the homescreen is long-pressing the top button. This opens Samsung Pay, which we’ll get to in a moment.

Another small note I need to make on the software is about the input methods. Not only do you have voice replies, but there are also canned messages, emojis, drawing replies, and even a full keyboard (or a T9). It all works well and really comes in handy at times.

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay is easily the standout feature of the Gear S3. Just like on recent Samsung smartphones, Samsung Pay on the Gear S3 is a mobile payments service which matches Google’s Android Pay and Apple’s Apple Pay systems beat for beat with full NFC compatibility. However, Samsung Pay’s big advantage is using MST technology to “trick” standard card readers into thinking you’re using a standard card. The tech is ridiculously cool, and easily a selling point for the device, but it’s not alwaysreliable.

Following the setup process, which can be a pain depending on your bank, I used Samsung Pay on Gear S3 about 5 times over the course of a few days. During that time, I only got it to work 3 times. What was the issue? I’m not entirely sure. The card reader recognized the watch each and every time, MST or NFC, but in certain stores, it would be declined. From what I can tell, this was an issue related to my bank as many other Gear S3 users report much better success rates on their devices.

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Best of all, though, Samsung Pay on the Gear S3 works on any Android smartphone — not just Samsung devices. Last year’s Gear S2 packs the same Samsung Pay functionality, but there it’s limited to Samsung smartphones. Needless to say, this is a massive selling point for the watch, at least in my opinion.

The Setup Process

Another thing worth noting on the Gear S3 is the setup process. If you’ve got a Samsung smartphone, you won’t have any issues here as all of the needed components are built into the OS. However, if you’re like me and have this connected to another Android device, in my case the Pixel XL, you’ll need to install all of those components. That’s expected for any wearable, but on the Gear S3, it requires far more apps.

During setup I actually lost count of how many apps the watch needed to function. You’ll start with the Gear Manager which will prompt the installation of 3-4 other apps from the Play Store. During the setup process, the app will also download a couple of apps, including Samsung Pay, directly through the Gear Manager app rather than the Play Store. Luckily most of these apps won’t appear in your app drawer, but it’s certainly annoying to have to install so many apps just to use your watch. Samsung really needs to consolidate this.

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The App Gap is Real

The Gear S3’s software is great, but there’s a definite app gap on the Tizen platform compared to Android Wear or even the now-defunct Pebble. Many of the most popular apps aren’t supported yet, the watchface selection is pretty minimal and won’t suit everyone’s tastes, and exploring Samsung’s app store isn’t a great experience. It’s pretty difficult to find some apps, and it’s even worse when you’re looking for watchfaces. I found myself mainly sticking to Samsung’s built-in watchfaces on the Gear S3.

However, that’s not to say things aren’t improving. Tizen is slowly adopting new wearable apps, like Spotify, which will help the experience on the Gear S3 as a whole. Some well-known Android Wear watchfaces are also making their way over, such as Facer.

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Reliability & Performance

Another area the Gear S3 shines in is where reliability and performance are concerned. Never while I was wearing this watch did I have issues with the connection to my smartphone, nor did I miss any notifications due to the software — only due to the vibrations being a tad light.

Performance on the Gear S3 is also stellar. Never on this watch did I notice dips in performance, even when playing some of the games available for it or while using third-party apps. I’ve never had good luck with watches like this, especially on Android Wear, where things would lag and stutter constantly, so I was very pleased with Samsung’s efforts.

Health Features

Already, the Gear S3 wears many hats. It’s a smartwatch, a mobile payments system, and if you’ve got the LTE version, a full-fledged smartphone. However, it’s also a fitness tracker if you want it to be — and it’s a very good one.

samsung_gear_s3_1

The Gear S3 is absolutely packed with outdoor sensors and health features. The S Health suite enables the ability to track things such as calories burned, steps taken, floors climbed, specific workouts (such as a walk, run, or 14 other types of workouts), heart rate, and water/caffeine intake. It’s a generous suite, and everything works relatively well. I’m not someone who works out a ton, but I do take walks or quick runs from time to time, and the Gear S3 made it super easy to keep tabs on how far I’d gone and how many calories I had burned. The watch also has “nudges” that will remind you if you haven’t been active for a while.

BATTERY LIFE |

As for battery life, the Gear S3 goes a little above and beyond compared to other smartwatches. Samsung claims a ridiculous 4 days on a charge, but for the most part, I found myself getting about 2 days on a single charge. That’s with notifications coming in pretty regularly and the always-on display turned on. With that feature turned off, I could squeeze a little under 3 days out of the watch.

Charging

When it comes to charging, Samsung has yet again opted for wireless charging with an included magnetic dock. It works great, the dock allows you to use the watch as a bedside clock, and charging is pretty quick too. Unfortunately, Samsung has changed something in the Gear S3 to where standard wireless charging pads don’t work as they did on the S2. That’s unfortunate because it means you’ll be required to bring the included charger, or a spare, with you on trips.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

When it comes down to it, the Gear S3 is a fantastic smartwatch, and there aren’t strings attached to that. Sure, it’s a little big, but if you can handle a semi-large watch, you’ll love the Gear S3. The software is excellent, the hardware is wonderful, and this watch has just about anything and everything you’d want from a wearable. It has a ton of roles to fill, but it fills each and everyone one of them nearly perfectly.

samsung_gear_s3_9

Greatness Comes at a Price

However, this fantastic smartwatch comes with a pretty hefty price tag. You’ll be paying $349 for either the Classic or the Frontier, and more if you grab an LTE version (outside of subsidies or payment plans). That LTE version is available from carriers, but also requires a $5-$10 data plan alongside it. The $349 Bluetooth version, though, is well within the range of most other premium smartwatches, it’s just not the bargain some others may be. Whether or not you’re willing to pay for that is up to you, but I certainly plan to…

Source: https://9to5google.com/2016/12/30/samsung-gear-s3-review/

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      Samsung Electronics has been shaping the history of television through the development of its technological innovations, from FHD and 4K through to 8K, thanks to its far-sighted strategic vision and an endless passion to bring new technologies to the market.
       
      In order to learn more about the achievements made so far in the field of TV technological innovation, as well as the future of display technologies in the age of UHD screens, Samsung Newsroom sat down with TV experts.
       
      ▲ (From left) Sangmin Lee, Head of the Picture Quality Solution Lab, Hyunchul Song from the Product Development Group and Youngseok Han from H/W Platform Lab of Samsung’s Visual Display Business
       
       
      Pioneering the Future of TV Through Endless Innovation
      These days, picture quality has become one of the most crucial factors consumers consider when choosing a TV. In 1977, Samsung succeeded in the development and mass production of a color TV, the Color Economy TV, for the first time in Korea, ushering in the era of color television for the country. Samsung earned the title of the first color TV manufacturer in Korea thanks to its steadfast dedication to innovation, and the company was never complacent about the colossal success of its black and white TV model, the Econo TV, which took the lion’s share within the monthly TV market at the time.
       
      ▲ Samsung’s first LED TV, launched in 2009, wowed the world as a breakthrough in TV technology.
       
      Next to be developed was the LCD TV, and, in 2009, Samsung unveiled its breakthrough model — the Samsung LED TV. The LED TV was the culmination of all the innovative technologies available at the time, allowing for unrivalled picture quality brought about by light-emitting diodes. All components of Samsung’s LED TV were designed anew, and the number of patents acquired for this model exceeded 3,000.
       
      ▲ Samsung’s QLED TV made its global debut at CES in 2017.
       
      In 2017, Samsung then went on to introduce the world’s first QLED TV based on cadmium-free quantum dot technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The company’s innovative TV was at the center of attention that year, boasting superb picture quality and 100% color volume.
       
      A year later, the company brought to the market a QLED 8K model that incorporated 8K resolution into Samsung’s proprietary quantum dot technology. It featured Direct Full Array, a backlight technology able to precisely control the lighting balance across every part of the picture on-screen, as well as 8K AI Upscaling, an upscaling technology designed to intelligently upgrade lower-quality videos into vivid 8K resolution, for the first time in the industry. Samsung’s innovative QLED 8K technologies are what launched the era of 8K.
       

       
      “In 2020, Samsung unveiled the world’s first bezel-less TV that completely removed the bezels from around the display,“ said Hyunchul Song from the Product Development Group. “A year later, we further solidified our position as an industry leader by introducing our Neo QLED technology based on Quantum Mini LED displays. From FHD through to 8K, we have undertaken ceaseless efforts to develop innovative products that offer differentiated experiences based on consumer needs.”
       
       
      Striving for Superior Picture Quality Through In-Depth Research Into Human Behavior
      Samsung continues to strive to offer the best possible viewer experiences by delivering leading picture quality. However, what does “good picture quality” mean to someone who works on its development?
       

       
      “Picture quality is considered good when it delivers a sense of reality to the viewer that feels as if you are witnessing the images on-screen first-hand,” explained Youngseok Han, a developer from the H/W Lab. “To ensure good picture quality, display performance indicators such as high resolution, high luminance and excellent color expression are essential. What also matters is how well-balanced the other cutting-edge technologies of the display are, including the chip design, the picture quality algorithms and the sound.”
       
      Han went on to provide further insight into the importance of balance to the corresponding picture quality. “The factors that impact picture quality the most are how well you organize the various relevant technologies. These include those designed to reduce distortion and any image transmission noise, those that reproduce colors precisely and richly and create sharp contrast for more vivid, clear images and those motion technologies that ensure the movement of objects on-screen appears smooth and fluid.”
       
      It would be impossible to develop good picture quality with just one singular technology, no matter how great that technology is. This is why Samsung is committed to developing innovative technologies through all kinds of different approaches without resting on their laurels as a leader in the industry. Recently introduced on the 2023 Neo QLED TV, Real Depth Enhancer is one of the new features that has been developed to the end of further improving picture quality.
       

       
      When human eyes are focused on an object, attention is directed onto the object by optimizing sharpness, clarity and texture, all while also maintaining the background scene. Samsung’s Real Depth Enhancer technology was developed based on an understanding of this human behavior, and harnesses AI to automatically separate an object from its background to create a greater sense of depth and make the images truly pop.
       
      Furthermore, Neo Quantum Matrix Pro technology improves the playback of fine details through precise control of the quantum mini LEDs across a total of 13,684 levels. This meticulous adjustment further adds dimension and a sense of reality to the images on-screen.
       
      “Our Real Depth Enhancer technology is the result of an optimization of all the relevant technologies in a way that takes human psychology into account, instead of focusing only on improving resolution,” noted Han.
       
       
      From 8K Games to Artworks on Samsung TVs in the Age of 8K Technology
      These days, users are being bombarded by new content. Tens of thousands of new pieces of media and content are being published every day across all manner of platforms — but does the same apply for those contents being made in 8K?
       

       
      “Following the recent growth of 8K devices including smartphones, anyone is able to create 8K content and view it in ultra-high resolution,” said Sangmin Lee, Head of the Picture Quality Solution Lab. “High-performance graphics cards also now make it possible for users to play 8K games, meaning that we are already living in the age of 8K UHD.”
       

       
      Song further detailed the growth of 8K content in today’s viewing market. “There is a growing amount of 8K content available on social media channels, and artists are creating digital artworks in 8K,” he explained. “We added in ‘YouTube Videos in 8K’ feature to the 2023 Neo QLED TV to allow users to peruse the 8K content available on YouTube and explore digital artworks, such as an image in NFT1 form, at a single glance.”
       
      Samsung is also taking the lead in expanding the 8K content ecosystem by being at the helm of the 8K Association, a global non-profit organization established in 2019 with the aim of establishing 8K standards and expanding 8K content. As of February 2023, the association has 33 members, including Samsung, TV panel producers, SoC chip makers and leading content creators. Last year, Samsung released a teaser for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series in 8K developed in collaboration with Amazon Prime Video, another member of the 8K Association.
       
       
      Developing Optimal Picture Quality That Takes Viewing Experiences to the Next Level
      In order to learn more about the next steps for industry leader Samsung in terms of picture quality in the age of 8K technology, Samsung Newsroom asked the three TV professionals what their goals are.
       
      “As a developer, I feel the most accomplished when I hear the feedback that viewers think the images on-screen seem real to them,” said Han. “My goal is to further improve our algorithms by optimizing a range of components in order to deliver picture quality that is ‘more real than real’ to viewers.”
       
      For Song, creating technologies that bring real value to users is of the utmost importance. “While the development department works to create the best picture quality through technological innovation, I am more involved in optimizing products to bring high-quality experiences to as many viewers as possible,” said Song. “I will continue to deliberate on what other kinds of user value we can bring to our viewers.”
       
      Finally, from Lee’s perspective, the goal is and always has been to provide users with experiences that go beyond simply watching content. “The most important value that a display can provide is to present images that seem more real than reality itself,” explained Lee. “Through the best picture quality algorithms and leading sound performance, the optimal picture quality that is delivered then allows users to enjoy their favorite content without having to worry about adjusting the settings. Our ultimate goal is to offer superb picture quality that enables users to thoroughly enjoy their viewing experiences that go beyond simply watching content.”
       
      Stay tuned to Samsung Newsroom for the second and final part in this series highlighting the role of the 8K TV and the innovative technologies Samsung has been developing to provide the best possible viewing experiences to its users.
       
       
      1 SAVAGE is a high quality NFT marketplace featuring 4K/8K video and photography. With over 50 titles at launch in March 2023, SAVAGE will expand throughout the year with more than 250 new pieces from top creators and brands.
      View the full article
    • By Samsung Newsroom
      Technology is no stranger to the art world, and people are still finding new ways to use technology in art every day. Samsung Art Store, for example, works with galleries, museums, independent artists and artist collectives to bring unique digital art experiences to users of The Frame on a brilliant, Matte display. One of these partners, Noah Kalina, is a photographer who finds that technology such as the Art Store can help connect artists to their audiences in new and previously unimaginable ways.
       
      ▲ Noah Kalina
       
      Samsung Newsroom sat down with Noah, whose work focuses primarily on the passage of time, to discuss how his work has changed through the years and what the future of display technology might have in store.
       
       
      The Stories Behind Noah Kalina’s Work
      Q: What drew you to a career as an artist, particularly as a photographer?
       
      In high school, I developed a passion for photography and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where I received my BFA in photography. After college, I worked as a freelance editorial and commercial photographer, photographing portraits, landscapes and architectural interiors for various magazines and companies. By being exposed to different people and places, my personal projects were then influenced, and my commercial work allowed me to pursue my own art practice.
       
       
      Q: Where do you find creative inspiration now?
       
      I still turn to social media platforms to discover new work and find inspiration. I like to see what my friends and fellow artists are working on, so I tend to visit those websites on a daily basis to draw inspiration. Movies are another source for my future projects, and I watch at least four or five movies a week. I take long drives and listen to music because I can think about and conceptualize new ideas there. I also constantly flip through my art book collection to discover more obscure references.
       
       
      Q: Others have described your work as “capturing the passage of time,” largely due to your well-known Everyday project that documented your face everyday for 20 years. How would you describe your own work?
       
      I have always been interested in the passage of time; over the years, much of my work has been conceptually related to that theme. I love to observe how people and places subtly change over time, which can be seen in a number of my series, from Everyday to Lumberland to The River. I’d describe my work as subtle, quiet, slow and beautiful but with a little bit of humor!
       
      ▲ The River / 20220107 (2022)
       
       
      Noah Kalina X Samsung Art Store
      Q: What is the story behind your partnership with the Art Store?
       
      A friend of mine, Cody Cobb, whose work I greatly admire, had pieces in the Art Store. When I first saw his work there, I was enamored with how it looked on The Frame; it’s truly an incredible viewing experience. Shortly thereafter, I was asked to be included and immediately said yes.
       
       
      Q: How has the Art Store partnership with Samsung impacted your career?
       
      It has enabled my art to be consumed by people across the world. Some who have discovered my art through the Art Store have even inquired about collecting physical prints and some of my books.
       
       
      Q: How would you compare displaying your art digitally, such as on The Frame, to more traditional mediums like print or an exhibit?
       
      It’s hard to compare because digital displays are obviously very different than traditional prints. In many ways, digital displays like The Frame are better, especially for works native to the digital ecosystem, such as digital art, photography and video. The Matte display on The Frame and the backlighting can render certain artworks in a truly surreal, almost three-dimensional fashion, which is something a traditional print doesn’t do as well. One of the biggest advantages of a digital display is the ability to change the work over time and display different types of mediums. Being able to use the space a television takes up when not in use to showcase art is also a benefit of digital displays.
       
      ▲ The Redbud / 20140518 (2014)
       
       
      Future of Digital Art
      Q: Has there been a change in how you create art as technology becomes increasingly integrated into the art world? Have you noticed a change in the way people consume your art?
       
      The changes in technology for monitors and displays have certainly affected how I consider and make my compositions. But in reality, I am a photographic purist and generally do my work with a physical print in mind while understanding that my work may primarily be consumed on screens large and small.
       
      I embraced digital technology fairly early and started posting my work on the internet in 1998. The idea of anyone, anywhere in the world, having access to my art is something I have always loved. People having potentially unlimited exposure to my work has always been important to me.
       
      We’re certainly going to see AI impact commercial photography, and I think a lot of the types of photographs I used to be commissioned for won’t exist anymore. That said, AI tools can be used to enhance photographs and make the editing process easier, and I am interested in how I might apply that technology to my own projects.
       
      ▲ Untitled “River” (2013)
       
       
      Q: Which of your works would you recommend to consumers to display on The Frame?
       
      First, I would recommend the Untitled “Diagonal” (2015), which is a fallen tree captured in foggy woods. I had taken numerous photographs of this scene between 2014 and 2017 until the dead tree fell. There is something about this photograph that works particularly well on The Frame. It appears almost three-dimensional. You can read more about this series here.
       
      ▲ Untitled “Diagonal” (2015)
       
      The Lumberland (2015) looks absolutely unbelievable on The Frame and is the first photograph I ever made in my Lumberland series. The series Lumberland is a time-based project documenting a black walnut tree throughout the seasons. I have taken more than 70 photographs of this landscape over the past eight years.
       
      ▲ Lumberland / 20150923 (2015)
       
      My Untitled “Path” (2018) also looks fantastic on The Frame because of its mystery. It is a surreal landscape of a branch wrapped in LED lights set next to a seemingly endless stone wall. This is from a series of works where I insert electronic elements into the landscape.
       
      ▲ Untitled “Path” (2018)
       
      To discover more of Noah Kalina’s artwork, head to the Samsung Art Store in The Frame.
      View the full article





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