This is not an Apple Watch

I have owned a few Apple Watch models since release, mainly to facilitate freelance work, and to date I have been less than impressed by almost everything the device offers.

From the form factor (too square, too thick, too fiddly) to the limited customisation options to the unambitious fitness implementation, it ticks none of the wrist-based boxes for me and falls into a place that just doesn’t fit my tastes or my needs.

Throw in a battery that requires a daily charge, even if it is a short one, and I struggle to understand why it is so popular. Indeed, it is the only Apple product that doesn’t appeal to me in any way. Apart from the HomePod, AirPods and iPad, but that’s another story. For me, Apple is the iPhone and the Mac and that’s about it, but boy do I enjoy using both of those products every day.

Photo 02-09-2018, 16 24 53

Because of the above the time had come to try something new and so I was given the opportunity to test the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier watch, which is perfect timing considering that the new Galaxy Watch is imminent?

The testing ended up being cut short sadly due to battery performance that was beyond poor. It moved from 100% at 10pm to 0% at 4am and as such failed to track my sleep. I re-charged it and it was gone again by midday.

The watch was reset and I followed all of the online tips to resolve this issue, but it simply would not improve and the end result was half-day battery life which is of course unmanageable.

Aside from this I genuinely really enjoyed the Frontier when it worked. The faces on offer are visually quite impressive, some of the apps actually make sense on the wrist and there is a sense that this is a ‘watch’ rather than a small computer.

The debate surrounding what shape a smartwatch should be continues with some saying that square is the way forward because it makes more logical sense to build it this way. You get more real estate to cram small app interfaces into and it just makes things easier all round. However, for some of us a watch should be round if possible to break up the notion that it is in fact a computer.

This simple change of shape actually means a lot to the experience and in my case I found that I much preferred the Frontier to the Apple Watch on the wrist.

Fitness is catered for well with sleep tracking, steps etc and a heartrate sensor, and with Samsung Health you have the ability to track trends and aim for improvements. The main problem I see though is that it is very standalone with no way to import data from other fitness software. So, if you move from a competing product to this you will effectively be starting over, and the solution is not good enough (in my opinion) to allow that.

As I said, my time with the Frontier was cut short, but I do see something here which reinforces my view that the wrist will become smart and that the age of traditional watches, at least those below £500, is time limited. The Apple Watch may well be selling the most, but in my view there is much better out there, if some of the irritations are fixed.

3 thoughts on “This is not an Apple Watch

  1. I’m guessing you got a defective one – or some very weird software issue. A couple of colleagues in the office have the Gear S3 and swear they’re getting through the day easily (to be fair, I do with my Watch 3).

    I’ve recently gone “to the dark side” with a note 9, and am considering my options right now on watches.

  2. I recently got the S3 Frontier and I love it. I get a day and then some of battery life easily. I went for it mainly for its looks. It’s a watch. But I like that I can change its looks with loads of different watch faces. It does a whole lot of extra things, but I wasn’t after a mobile phone on my wrist, just a nice looking watch that does some cool stuff!

  3. I would have to agree with Peter about you having a defective unit. I have had my S3 Frontier for almost a year, and can always go from 100% at 6am to no less than 60% at 11pm. I only charge for 10-15 minutes twice a day whilst in the shower!
    I don’t use the always on display as I don’t need it, but when I did try it the battery still easily lasted the day.
    Everything else about the watch is great for my needs….notifications, messages, fitness tracking, I can even use the messaging to activate my Hive heating.
    I don’t need a watch to replace my phone (note 8), just to compliment it, which the S3 does very well.
    And finally, a round watch just feels right!

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