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article imageSamsung's new smartwatch has a bigger display and built-in 4G

By James Walker     Sep 1, 2016 in Technology
Samsung has announced a new smartwatch, the Gear S3, at the IFA technology show in Berlin, Germany. The Gear S3 differs from its predecessors by adding 4G connectivity, a larger display and longer-lasting battery. It comes as smartwatch sales decline.
The Gear S3 succeeds last year's Gear S2. Two models will be available, the Gear S3 frontier and Gear S3 classic. The frontier is designed as an all-round smartwatch, capable of blending into any environment. The classic is styled after some of the world's most iconic timepieces. Samsung has paid "meticulous" attention to detail to evoke the feel of a crafted luxury watch.
Samsung has enlarged the watch face by 0.1-inches. It now has a 1.3-inch circular display, making it easier to read at a glance. The display uses Super AMOLED technology so it is bright and vibrant. It supports Samsung's Always On Display mode, enabling it to constantly display the time rather than fading away to black.
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung
Samsung has also added 4G connectivity, although this is only available on the frontier edition. Classic models will need to be paired over Bluetooth with a smartphone to get online. The feature will allow owners of the frontier to leave their phone behind, using the cellular data provided by the S3 to receive calls and texts.
Joining the 4G support is built-in GPS, available on both models. This can track a variety of fitness stats, providing data such as height climbed, distance travelled and average speed. It can also monitor more specific changes in atmospheric pressure and weather. In the event of an emergency, a built-in SOS feature alerts friends and family with a text message containing the precise location of the watch.
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung
The final connectivity feature is built-in Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) and Near Field Communication (NFC) support. This has allowed Samsung to integrate its Samsung Pay mobile payments service into the Gear S3, letting you pay for things in select markets by raising your watch against a payment terminal.
Samsung's Tizen operating system supports a variety of apps and watch faces. Samsung has updated the Gear S3's interface with new features, including the ability to accept or reject calls and snooze alarms without touching the screen. The watch is controlled by rotating the screen's bezel, a multi-purpose input control used to switch between apps and scroll through menus.
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung
The Gear S3 is a significant upgrade over the Gear S2. With more capable mobile connectivity, enhanced tracking capabilities and a larger 380mAh battery, Samsung has attempted to create a smartwatch that operates independently of its companion smartphone. It can last for up to four days on a charge, overcoming a major limitation of most smartwatches.
"With the Gear S3, we continue to build on our wearables heritage of offering diverse choices to enhance consumers’ unique lifestyles," said Younghee Lee, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing and Wearable Business, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics.
"Samsung Gear S2 achieved meaningful progress in the smartwatch category with a personalized watch face and a versatile rotating bezel that provided an intuitive smartwatch experience. Now with the new Gear S3, we expand our Gear collection and introduce not only a great smartwatch, but a great watch. With smart capabilities and sophisticated, elegant design, the Gear S3 marks a significant addition to our smartwatch portfolio."
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung
The Gear S3's unveiling comes as smartwatch sales decline. The wearables are still struggling to get established in the same way as smartphones have. Overall shipments were 32 percent lower in the April-to-June quarter compared with the same period during 2015.
However, much of the decrease has been attributed to reduced sales of the Apple Watch. The lack of any major upgrades since its launch caused a 55 percent decrease in year-on-year growth. It remained the most successful wearable in the quarter though, selling 1.6m units. Samsung saw a 51 percent increase in sales but shipped only 0.6m devices.
Samsung remains the largest single manufacturer of smartwatches other than the Apple Watch. Its Tizen-based devices are proving to be more popular than the Android Wear rivals it's faced with. The Gear S3 could further solidify its dominance, holding the brand up until Apple finally launches the Apple Watch 2.
More about Samsung, gear s3, samsung gear s3, tizen, smartwatches
 
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