With Samsung unveiling a new addition to its smartwatch arsenal, it’s time to see how it compares to its predecessor, the esteemed Samsung Gear S2. With the release of the S2 Frontier back in 2015, Samsung left little to be improved. So, is S3 really worth the upgrade? You can decide for yourself with our Gear S3 vs Gear S2 comparison.
At the outset, it’s essential to note that there aretwo versions of the Series 2 models, the Gear S2 Classic and the S2 sports version. The Gear 3 also comes in two variants, the S3 Classic, and the durable Gear S3 Frontier. Each model does come with a 3G equipped version and a non-3G equipped version. Both models offer some unique benefits, and the differences can be found both in design and features. Let’s find out.
Samsung is well-known for providing unique and distinctive designs for its smartphones. Since their venture into the smartwatch marketback in 2013, the same can be said for their smartwatches. Between the S2 and S3, there are effectively three designs to choose from, the boldest of the bunch being the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier.
The S3 Frontier’s high-end rugged design makes it a pioneer of the smartwatch industry. It combines functionality with a stylish look to create a watch that suits any occasion. The tough-looking exterior of the S3 watch does however come at a price, weighing in at 62g the S3 is much heavier than the S2 and S2 Classic, both weighing only 47g. It’s also more than double the weight of its competitor,the Apple Watch Series 3.
In contrast to the Classic variants of the Gear S2 and S3; which favor an analog-type design, the S2’s elegant curves, and premium all-in-one finish, coupled with a tasteful rotating bezel, deliver a seamless user experience. All variants of the Gear 2 and Gear 3 have a stainless steel build, offering sizeable quality in a small and unique package.
In comparing the Gear S2 classic to the Gear S3 Classic, it’s safe to say that its weight isn’t the only factor that makes the S3 watch bigger. The S3 boasts an impressive 49mm x 46mm x 12.9mm body, making the 44mm x 40mm x 11.4mm build of the Classic S2, pale in size. The screen size on the Classic S2 model is 1.2inches, whereas the Classic S3 Model comes in at 1.3inches.
While both screens have a 360 x 360 resolution, the S3 watch has higher pixel density. Pixel density (ppi) refers to how sharp the image on the screen looks. With the S2 Frontier having a 302ppi, and the S3 close behind with 278ppi, both screens look sharp and vivid, and the difference isn’t noticeable, especially with Samsung’s Super AMOLED screens.
The stylish circular design of the watch is complemented by the smooth stainless steel body and choice of quality straps. Not only does stainless steel protect against corrosion and create a robust-looking watch, but its dense nature gives the watch a premium feel, resulting in a comfortable wearing experience. If Samsung doesn’t have the watch strap design or material that you are looking for, there are plenty of third-party sellers who offer far more varied designs, at a fraction of the cost.
Both the Gear 2 and 3 are IP68 rated, meaning that your watch is protected from everyday elements like water and dust, and with the upgrade to Corning Gorilla Glass SR+, from the older Gorilla Glass 3 on the S2, your watch is also designed to deliver unparalleled toughness and scratch resistance, to keep your watch looking as good as new.
Features, Software, and Compatibility
Samsung’s watches use a Tizen-based operating system. Tizen OS has been stirring up the competition for some time, competing well against OS like Android Wear. The new and updated specs for the Gear S3 models include a whopping 50% increase in RAM and a 50% bigger battery.
With the S3 packing a new 1GHz dual-core Exynos processor, alongside 768MB of RAM and a 380mAh battery, it delivers fast and stable performance without compromising battery life. The Gear 3’s battery can last up to 4 days, which is a significant upgrade over the average 2-day battery life seen on the previous generation of Samsung’s watch.
Speaking of battery, both of the Gear watches supportQi wireless charging. The compact design of the wireless charger is designed for charging on the go.
With the addition of integrated GPS, it is a welcomed surprise to fitness fans who are now able to track their exercise sessions accurately. Apart from fitness, GPS works effectively with maps and other navigation apps as well.
Although the Samsung Galaxy watch comes preinstalled with a selection of handy apps, you can access theGear App Store directly from the watch. A quick twist of the bezel showcases all the available apps you can download, and even lets you change your watch face to one of the thousands of stylish options.
Samsung has also made it possible to answer incoming phone calls on your watch, and there are two ways to do this depending on which model of watch you own. If you own a Bluetooth only model, you can answer incoming calls if you have a paired mobile device. If you have an LTE model, you can answer calls directly from your watch. We have writtena guide on standalone smartwatches, check it out.
Another unique feature isSamsung Pay, which uses NFC to turn your watch into a walking bank card for on the go purchases. Finally, if that wasn’t enough to satisfy your appetite for awesomeness, Gear watches can stream all of your favorite music right on your watch, with built-in apps like Spotify.
Both the S2 and 3 watches are compatible with smartphones running Android 4.4 and above, with a minimum requirement of 1.5GB of RAM, and iPhones running IOS 9.0 and later. For a full list of compatible devices,check Samsung’s website here.
Health & Fitness
With health and wellness being a prevalent part of today’s wearables, it’s no surprise that Samsung has jumped on the fitness tracking bandwagon. Samsung’s watches come with a series of health apps and widgets such asSamsung Health, which offer an in-depth look at your health in great detail.
Samsung Health tracks your activity, sleep patterns, and nutrition to show you what’s happening under the surface. The app allows you to set your own personalized health goals so you can start managing your fitness and wellness. One of the most common features expected on a smartwatch is the heart rate monitor, which pairs nicely with Samsung’s Automatic Workout Detection feature. It records your activity even when you forget to log the workout manually.
If the various tracking features weren’t enough, Samsung offers in-app meditation training to aid with relaxing and sleeping. The app also offers regularly updated health-related content such as articles and promotions to keep you on track of your goals.
Value for Money & Alternatives
If you’re looking at purchasing a Gear 3 Frontier or Classic, it will set you back around $280, whereas the second generation of watches is now priced around $180. Both watches are capable candidates and offer a wide variety of features, and priced lower than its competitor, the Apple Watch Series 3. The price of these watches fluctuate on retail sites and can be found a lot cheaper on Amazon or eBay.
TheSeries 3 Apple Watch has similar specs to the Samsung Gear 3, with the most noteworthy difference being Apple missing the Always-On display feature. This feature offers a broader array of customizations for the Gear 3 watch. Combining this with its longer battery life, and you have yourself a cheaper alternative to Apple’s debut smartwatch.
TheMoto 360 2nd Gen is another alternative to Samsung’s watches. It was released a year before the Classic S3 Model but, the price of the 2nd Gen Moto 360 doesn’t seem to offer more than the average smartwatch. The watch does, however, offer a range of premium colors that could be a selling point for some people.
As expected, the Gear S3 is, in fact, a worthy successor to the S2. When it comes down to the finer points, the S3 secures its place in first. Not only do the new and updated specs of the S3 watch increase compatibility for future apps and updates, but it also makes your favorite apps run smoother without any stutters.
The Gear S2 is still going strong and is far from being made redundant by its novel adversary. For those who don’t see themselves needing integrated GPS, or for those with smaller wrists that would prefer a sleeker design of the watch, the S2 is still a viable option.
It is important to note the $100 price difference though, which may sway some people towards the Series 2. But realistically, the choice is down to preference and whether you see yourself needing those new features that come with a hefty price tag.