Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier is a fitness watch with a built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, Wi-Fi, speaker and microphone. It has a timeless look, designed to be both stylish and have the latest innovative technology. It has a beautiful 1.3” full-color super MOLED display that is always on, surrounded by a rotatable steel bezel that allows the wearer to access notifications and apps. When connected to a compatible smartphone, users can make calls, texts, and receive notifications directly from the watch. Samsung Pay allows wearers to pay with their watch and the GPS allows users to track activities and share their location with friends. The Gear S3 is compatible with most smartphones with iPhone 5 and iOS 9.0 and later, and Android 4.4 and above. Its durability is military grade and it's resistant to dust, scratches, extreme temperatures, water and even being dropped. The battery can last up to three days between charges and the band can be easily swapped out for different looks. If you are a runner looking for a smart watch with lots of built in features in order to improve your overall fitness, continue reading to see if the Samsung Gear S3 is right for you.

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners.

Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Good durability against dust, water, extreme temperatures, scratching and dropping
  • Built-in GPS for location tracking
  • Built-in Wi-Fi allows apps to run without always needing to connect to a smartphone
  • Built-in speaker and microphone work well
  • Clear and bright screen with nice watch face options
  • Cons
    • Heavy for a fitness watch
    • A bit on the expensive side
    • Not as many apps as some other smart watches
    • Designed for people with large wrists
    • Key Features
      The Samsung Gear S3 was designed for all-day use. Especially designed for hikers and runners because of its built-in GPS and heart rate monitor, it can also be used while driving around and to check into locations throughout the day. Other possible activities include cycling, rowing machines, elliptical trainers, lunges, squats, mountain climbing, swimming (up to five feet underwater for up to 30 minutes; although it doesn't track swimming specifically) and dynamic workouts.
      Basic Features
      The Gear S3's basic features can be navigated through by rotating the bezel located around the watch's face. It tracks the distance ran, calories burned, current speed, and cadence for cycling. Users can start and stop workouts by tapping the screen and the S Health app keeps a 24-hour log for all activities.
      Advanced Features
      The Gear S3 has a built-in GPS for location tracking and sharing, and a built-in heart rate monitor for a better picture of your overall health and better calculating the number of calories burned during exercise. The Maps application is very detailed and allows users to zoom in and out, but needs a smartphone connection for navigation. It has an altimeter to measure your elevation, a barometer for detecting the weather, a built-in speaker and microphone, and a music player so you can listen to music without having to connect to a smartphone. It is water-resistant up to five feet for up to 30 minutes and can also withstand extreme temperatures and high elevation/low pressure.
      The Samsung Gear S3 has good accuracy. The GPS is accurate but the watch does not wait for a connection before starting the runs, so the distance can be short by a bit: the distance covered by the wearer before the signal was acquired. The heart rate monitor is also accurate, but the watch needs to be worn snugly in order to achieve an accurate reading. The altimeter and barometer have great accuracy.
      The Gear S3 uses Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone. The ideal smartphone is Samsung Galaxy, but it is compatible with Android 4.4 and above as long as there is at least 1.5 GB of ram, as well as iPhone 5 and later with iOS 9.0 and later. It can also use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet, and GPS for activity tracking and location sharing. Wi-Fi and GPS signals work well, but can sometimes take up to a few minutes to connect.
      There are some good apps, but the Samsung Gear S3 doesn't have as big of a selection of apps as some other phones. The Samsung Gear app works as a companion to the watch. Samsung Pay allows users to pay with their credit cards by registering them on the Gear app and then pressing the Pay button. The S Health app keeps track of challenges, floors, steps, heart rate, the leader board, allows users to log their water and caffeine, and keeps a 24-hour log for all activities. Maps is very detailed and can be zoomed in and out by rotating the bezel, but requires a smartphone for navigation. The Pear app provides training. NPR, The Wall Street Journal, Uber, and The Weather Channel have apps. Apps for Google, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Groupon are not available for this watch and do not give notifications. Apps can be installed onto the Gear S3 instead of through a smartphone.
      The Gear S3 is fairly comfortable. The band is able to be adjusted to a comfortable fit, although a somewhat snug fit is necessary for accurate heart rate monitoring. It can be switched out, and there are two sizes and different materials available for different preferences. The Frontier watch without the band weighs 2.2 oz (63 g) and the Classic watch weighs 2.1 oz (57 g), which is a little more than twice as heavy as the Apple's Series 2 watch and also larger and heavier than the previous Gear S2. Some people found this a little heavy, and the face was clearly designed for larger wrists, which can be a bit awkward for wearers with smaller wrists. But overall, the Gear S3 is comfortable to wear for most people.
      The Samsung Gear S3 comes in two styles: Frontier and Classic. The Frontier watch has a rugged look, a dark grey bezel with large bumps and tick marks for seconds when the watch face is showing. The Classic watch has the iconic watch look with a silver bezel with small bumps and a smooth surface. The large 1.3” face is great for readability but not as fashionable on smaller wrists. Both watches come with a black 22mm silicone strap that can be switched out with another strap of the same size in different colors and materials so that wearers can go for different looks during various events throughout the year. Testers liked both watch styles and the fact that there are two options for different preferences, as well as thousands of watch face designs to choose from.
      The Gear S3's durability is described by Samsung as military grade and has a MIL-STD-810G rating for durability. It is water and dust resistant, with an IP68 rating meaning up to 30 minutes under up to five feet of water, although it should be rinsed off and dried after being underwater. It can also withstand extreme temperatures, shock and vibration, high altitudes or low pressure, and can be dropped up to 4.9 feet. The Gorilla Glass SR+ watch face is resistant to scratches. The bands have good to great durability depending on the material used, and can be easily switched out with a different 22mm band if something happens to it. The battery lasts from one to three days between charges and can be recharged as many times as the wearer needs to, although after a year or two it starts needing to be charged more often until the battery gets replaced.
      The round face is 1.3" in diameter and is covered in Gorilla Glass SR+ for extra protection against scratches. It uses a Super AMOLED full-color screen with a 360 x 360 pixel resolution and 278 pixels per inch. The colors are vivid and the picture is crisp and clear. The face is always on, although this setting tends to drain battery life; if you choose to have it not always on it can be easily turned on by raising your wrist. The face is customizable, with thousands of designs and colors to choose from.
      The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier comes with a black 22mm silicone band and the S3 Classic comes with a black 22mm genuine leather band. The band is durable, comfortable, and adjustable due to the buckle. It should be worn slightly tight so that the heart rate monitor can detect the wearer's pulse. Replacement bands include a blue leather strap for a business casual look, a green silicone strap for an adventurous look, a red alligator grain leather strap for a fun look, and a black alligator grain leather for a sleek and classic look. Any 22mm band will work, and materials from other vendors include nylon, stainless steel, genuine leather, and soft silicone in a variety of colors.
      Sizes Available
      The Gear S3 has one size available for the main part of the watch, which is a large watch face that looks like it was designed for people with large wrists but can also be worn by those with smaller wrists even though it might look a bit big on them. The strap and buckle and buckle band are 70mm (2.76 inches) long. The large strap is 130mm (5.12 inches) long and the small strap is 110mm (4.33 inches) long. Replacement bands come in small, large, and extra large sizes and vary by brand.
      Ease of Use
      This watch is very easy to use. It has a touch screen for starting and stopping the timer and the wearer can rotate the bezel to change between cadence, calories, distance, heart rate, music controls, pace, and speed. It can sometimes take a few minutes to get signals for GPS and Wi-Fi, but is easy to connect. The heart rate monitor is easy to use as long as the watch is worn snugly so it can get a good pulse reading, and the altimeter and barometer work automatically. Making calls and texts with a Bluetooth-connected phone with the watch is easy but does not work with all smartphones, so potential buyers should check the manufacturer's chart for compatibility before purchasing.
      Power Source
      The Gear S3 uses a 380 mAH Lithium ion battery that can last up to three days between charges. Testers noted that it can sometimes only last for around 24 hours before needing to be recharged, especially when the face is always on or apps are constantly running. The battery can be easily recharged using the wireless charging dock and display stand that come with the purchase of the watch.
      The Samsung Gear S3 is slightly pricey for a fitness watch, around 1.75 times the cost of some fitness watches, but its many features make it a good investment for runners who want/need those features. With a built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, altimeter, barometer, music player, speaker and microphone, it is very convenient to use even without connecting to a smartphone. When connected to a smartphone, it has even more features. However, it does lack apps that are available to other smart watches and is slightly large and heavy. Released in fall 2016, some retailers sell it for up to $50 off new or $100 off for a used watch.
      The main accessories for the Gear S3 are the interchangeable bands in different sizes, colors and materials, but there are other accessories as well. There are tempered glass screen protectors to help protect the face against smudges and cracks. There are also wireless chargers and replacement chargers, charging stands and charging docks, protective covers for the metal outside of the watch, and wireless headsets.
      Key Features
      • Watch face with 1.3” display is always on

      • Rotatable steel bezel for accessing notifications and apps

      • Make calls, texts, and receive notifications from the watch when it's connected to a smartphone

      • Samsung Pay allows wearers to make payments using a Bluetooth connection

      • Built-in GPS for activity tracking and location sharing

      • Military grade durability allows the watch to resist dust, water, scratches, extreme temperatures, and even being dropped

      • Compatible with Android 4.4 and above with 1.5 GB of RAM, and iPhone 5 with iOS 9.0 and later

      • Battery lasts up to three days

      • Built-in speaker and microphone

      • Swappable band can be changed for different occasions
      Bottom Line
      The Samsung Gear S3 is a nice watch with many built-in features that are great for runners and other athletes who want to track and improve their fitness levels. It can track many different activities, has good accuracy and connectivity, and has built-in Wi-Fi, heart rate monitoring, GPS, a speaker and microphone, a music player, and even an altimeter and barometer. It is fairly comfortable to wear, has two popular styles with swappable bands, a long battery life, excellent durability, and a large, crisp, always-on watch face. The price is above average but its many built-in features make it worth the investment,especially for those with compatible smartphones that can also make and receive calls, texts, and notifications. Possible areas for improvement include a lighter weight, smaller face options for people with small wrists, and more app choices. Overall, the Gear S3 is a good investment for runners who want to start tracking their activities and fitness.
      Where to Buy
      By Stephanie Potter
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 27. 2021

      Join our private, growing community of passionate runners

      Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.