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Product review: Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Smartwatch(vs Galaxy)

The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Even Has Offline Maps!

So, I had wanted to get a smartwatch for a while, but I was undecided about which one I wanted. I knew I wanted it to sync with my phone, so I could read texts and see who was calling without digging out my phone, but I wasn’t sure about all the other cool options these gizmos could do. So, the search was on! My initial criteria were that the watch had to be under $400, not be too big and bulky, and be aesthetically pleasing. Not too hard, right. Not for Samsung, it’s not!  Introducing the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier.

I went to a Murder Mystery Dinner at a friend’s house awhile back, and he was wearing a pretty nice watch with a neat face on it (It was The Punisher), so I asked him about it. Of course, he didn’t know much more than that his wife got it for him, it was a Samsung, and he could make it look however he wanted. Thanks, you’ve been an enormous help! Thankfully his wife was able to tell me what kind of Samsung watch it was by looking on her Amazon account. Time to do some research.

Keep in mind; every fitness smartwatch is designed with a specific user in mind. Samsung had met my initial criteria of not too big and bulky and aesthetically pleasing. As soon as I searched it up on Amazon, I saw it was also within my budgeted amount (although the price has gone up since I bought mine, it is still under $400)! Chalk one up for the Frontier.

But wait, what’s this Galaxy watch? It was pretty nice looking too. I liked the look of both the Galaxy and the Gear S3 Frontier watches (the Galaxy watch in black is like the Frontier’s mini-me), and I LOVE the rotating bezel. More research and a trip to the store to see the physical specimens was in my near future. I checked out both the S3 Frontier and the Galaxy Watch, and here are my findings on the features, pros, and cons, and the differences in some main features.

     

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Size – (My Choice = Samsung Gear S3 Frontier)

The Frontier, at 46mm and 63g (without the strap), is bigger than the Galaxy watch at 42mm and 49g. However, I don’t feel like either are bulky or uncomfortable to wear. (To the left is the Frontier on my wrist). The Frontier wins in size, in my opinion, because I felt like the Galaxy looked a little too small on my wrist. I think the Galaxy may be the ideal size for a smaller wrist.

Look – (My Choice = Samsung Gear S3 Frontier)

Both watches are similar, so not much to say here; it’s all personal preference. They look like a traditional watch with their round face, and nothing about them screams “smartwatch” The screen on the Galaxy is only slightly smaller despite the overall size difference between the two watches. Both screens are bright and comfortable to view day or night.

The Rotating Bezel – (My Choice = Samsung Gear S3 Frontier)

Both watches have a rotating bezel. I found the bezel on the Frontier was easier for me to use. It is a little thicker than the one on the Galaxy, and it has more prominent notches. The bezel on the Galaxy fits right into the watch’s face, so to rotate it, you have to do it from the top of the watch, but on the Frontier, you can turn it from the top or the side.

App Navigation – (My Choice = Tie)

Both watches are very intuitive in navigating through all apps and widgets. You can use the touchscreen, the bezel, and the two buttons on the side to navigate and select your apps.

GPS and Maps Navigation – (My Choice = Samsung Gear S3 Frontier)

This was a game-changer for me and tipped the scales in the Frontier’s favor. I use an app called HereWeGo, which is kind of like Google Maps, but it functions both online and offline. To use it offline, you download maps of the desired area, so you have them even if you have no web access. The only bad part is that you can’t see a satellite or topographic view. However, I tested it, and all the trails I took were on there. If I go hiking and get lost, I have a general idea of where I am and can see it on the map.

Both the Galaxy and the Frontier have built-in GPS, and they can map your route, analyze routes, determine the best ways to take, track your average speed and distance in real-time, and have a built-in altimeter and barometer. HereWeGo does not function on the Galaxy watch unless you’re connected to your phone because you can’t download offline maps to the Galaxy. According to Samsung support, they might add this capability in the future, but we are in the here and now.

Mobile Phone Compatibility – (My Choice = Tie)

Both watches allow you to connect to your PC, laptop, phone, or tablet and are compatible with iOS and Android platforms. Both will enable you to accept phone calls, have conversations through your watch, and see notifications without having to have your phone in your hand to do so.

Fitness Tracking – (My Choice = Galaxy)

The Frontier collects your fitness data and allows you to view your progress history on the S Health app. It also monitors your heart rate and other metrics automatically. The Galaxy far outshines the Frontier here. The Galaxy boasts a whopping 39 different activities that it tracks, AND it will track your sleep too!

Battery Life – (My Choice = Frontier)

This varies based on how many apps you are running and if you are using GPS a lot, but on average, the battery on my Frontier lasts about four or five days before I have to recharge it. The Galaxy has a decent battery life of about three days. Both are very easy to recharge; place them on their charging blocks, and you’re all set.

Water Resistance – (My Choice = Tie)

Both are equally water-resistant (not waterproof) up to about 1.5 meters and can handle up to 30 minutes of continuous water exposure, so you don’t have to take your watch off to take a shower. Still, I wouldn’t swim laps or go diving while wearing it.

Contactless Payments – (My Choice = Tie)

Both watches allow you to use contactless payment on any terminal that accepts contactless card payments.

Notify Emergency Contacts – (My Choice = Frontier)

Another cool feature of the Frontier is that you can set up emergency contacts. When you click the home button three times, your location will be sent to your emergency contacts! I learned about this feature later, so I am not sure if it is an option on the Galaxy.

Streaming Music – (My Choice = Frontier)

Enjoy listening to music by streaming to your Bluetooth headphones. For the Frontier, the Bluetooth model requires you to be near your phone or a Wi-Fi zone for live streaming, but the 4G model does not. For the Galaxy, this option is only available with the LTE version.

Downloadables – (My Choice = Galaxy)

Download apps, watch faces, and much more from the Gear App store directly from your watch. Many apps provide you with a one-year free membership through Samsung too.

Smarthome Compatible – (My Choice = Galaxy)

The Galaxy will allow you to control smart appliances like your TV, A/C, or vacuum. This feature is not an option for the Frontier (or if it is, I haven’t figured it out yet).

Final Verdict – (My Choice = Samsung Gear S3 Frontier)

As I said before, for me, the Frontier was the winner. I really liked the offline map option and the size better than the Galaxy. The Galaxy has more fitness tracking features, but that was not the primary purpose for the watch for me, so it did not carry as much weight in my decision. Overall, the Frontier exceeded my expectations and has continued to provide me with excellent performance. I would highly recommend this watch.  If you enjoyed this review, please check out my other reviews here!

My trusty Samsung Gear S3 Frontier on my hairy wrist!

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6 thoughts on “Product review: Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Smartwatch(vs Galaxy)”

  1. It’s a very good review. I think it would be helpful, not just veterans like me, but to any disabled person as well. Nice job on this one, don’t stop posting these!!

    Reply
  2. Hey Tom,

    I am so pleased that I came across this article because I have been looking for something to buy my brother for Christmas. Now I know, and I thank you for that. My brother is a huge fitness fanatic and so is my nephew, they could really benefit from the Frontier watch. I agree with your verdict because they could also benefit from the GPS and maps.

    I won’t tell my brother that I will get him this watch, but I will let you know what he thinks when he finally starts to wear it after Christmas.

    Thank you again for sharing and giving us such a great review and choice to make.

    Keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    Reply
    • Hi Tom! (Great name by the way 🙂 ) Thank you for taking the time to read my review and for leaving an amazing reply! I love my Frontier and I am glad that my review helped you find something for your brother! I am sure he will love it too!

      Reply
  3. I’ve been looking into these types of watches for my husband for Christmas! You broke down the functions and options very well and I feel like I know what to look for now. Thank you so much. This was so helpful!

    Reply
  4. With its slick and durable design, GPS and optional LTE, the Gear S3 Frontier has all the makings of the best smartwatch ever — if only it had more apps.
    For those who have Android phones, the Gear S3 is probably the best smartwatch yet, as it’s generally more functional as a stand-alone device than any Android Wear watch

    Reply

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