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    Samsung announces Gear S3 in 2 variants at IFA 2016

    Just a week ahead of Apple's planned September 7 event, Samsung today unveiled its latest smartwatch, the Gear S3. Samsung's newest wearable device comes in two varieties - a "Classic" model with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and "Frontier" model that features LTE support. The new devices are large at 12.9mm thick, and either weighs 57g or 62g depending on model. That's why Samsung will continue to sell the Gear S2 for those who find the S3 too big. For comparison, the Apple Watch 42mm model is 10.5mm thick and weighs 50g.

    The Gear S3 smartwatch is powered by a dual-core 1.0 GHz processor driving a 1.3-inch circular 278 ppi AMOLED display. It's still the same 360 x 360 super AMOLED always on screen, so is still one of the sharpest smartwatch screens in the business. The screen is also layered with Corning Gorilla SR+. Both models have 4 GB of storage, and 768 MB of application RAM. Both models have Bluetooth 4.2, 802.11n wi-fi, and NFC. Sensors included on both models are an accelerometer, a gyro, a barometer, a heart rate monitor and an ambient light detector. GPS, a new feature, is built into each model.

    Samsung Gear S3 Classic drawbacks

    The Classic Gear S3 has a minimalistic, analogue look with its stainless steel body and circular buttons next to the brushed metal rotating bezel. So like the Gear S2, this is one for the office and showing off in your business meetings.

    The Frontier Gear S3 on the other hand, is aimed at fitness and 'exploration' fans, as Samsung puts it. The sportier S3 has a slightly larger, raised bezel (also rotating) with rectangular, textured buttons. It's also heavier weighing in at 62g, in comparison to the Gear S3 Classic's 57g body.

    Samsung Gear S3 average battery life

    The Samsung Gear S3 now has full support for Samsung Pay - both NFC and MST (S2 did only NFC). And all versions of S3 will be able to handle calls - the LTE versions can dial on their own, the Wi-Fi ones just act as a hands-free.

    The watches are surprisingly rugged too. Officially, they score an IP68 rating, but their 316L stainless steel body should handle even corrosion from salt water. The screen is guarded by a specially formulated Gorilla Glass SR+ - Samsung says it's almost as tough as sapphire. The company also had impressive displays of how the watches handle extreme temperatures - from the freezing cold of dry ice to the scorching light of heat lamp.

    In terms of battery, the Gear S3 is a big upgrade. At 380mAh, the smartwatch has easily surpassed the S2's 250mAh, meaning you could see roughly 3-4 days of usage with and without LTE, compared to the usual 2 days that the majority of smartwatches can offer before dying out.

    One thing you won't be short of with the Gear S3 is strap options. It works with standard 22m watch straps if you don't fancy living with Samsung's ones. Plus, artist and industrial designer Arik Levy has helped create some strap designs. He's also produced a series of watch face designs to compliment the 15 faces already pre-loaded onto the watch.

    Samsung hasn't announced pricing or availability yet, but the S3 is expected to land on our wrists by the end of the year. Apple may release details on its next-generation Apple Watch at its September event. Rumors suggest the device will include a faster processor, a better battery, and built-in GPS, but design changes are not expected.


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