Which Gear S3 Should I Get?
When you decide that you really like the Samsung Gear S3 watches, be it the Classic or Frontier, you will start investigating the differences between the two. You will ask, “Is one better than the other? If so, which one, and why?” In this article discusses the difference between the two watches to help you determine which model is right for you.
Perhaps the first question you should ask yourself is, “Am I a business type of person or an outdoor type of person?” Where do you spend most of your time? Is it inside or outside? Is it in the board room or on the construction site? The Gear S3 Classic has more of a professional business look to it. The Frontier smartwatch has more of an outdoorsman look to it. Where you spend your time might help you determine which watch might work best for you.
Samsung Gear S3 Classic vs Frontier Comparison Table
|Features||S3 Frontier||S3 Classic|
|Battery Life||3-4 days||3-4 days|
|Dimensions||1.8 x 1.9 x 0.5 inches||1.8 x 1.9 x 0.5 inches|
|Weight||2.2 ounces||2 ounces|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi b/g/n, NFC, MST, GPS/Glonass (3G/LTE on the LTE version)||Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi b/g/n, NFC, MST, GPS/GLONASS|
|Notifications||Calls, texts, and smartphone app notifications||Calls, texts, and smartphone app notifications|
|Water Resistance||Can be submerged up to around 5 feet||Can be submerged up around 5 meters|
|Music||Can be played through apps||Can be played through apps|
|Platform Support||Android, iOs with limitations||Android, iOS with limitations|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Who is the Classic for?
If you spend your time in the office, or in business meetings, you might prefer the Samsung Gear Classic over the Frontier. The public speaker or College Professor will enjoy its sleek design. It just looks more professional and business-like. It is bold and powerful. When I wear it, I feel like wearing short sleeve shirts. Discretely checking your text messages or e-mail while enduring a never-ending business meeting is just plain fun. It makes you feel like you are getting away with something. Just after I got my Samsung Gear S3 Classic, I received a compliment from a woman who didn’t realize that I was wearing a smartwatch. When I showed it to her, she was amazed at the clarity of the digital interface, pointing out that it looked so real. I could not help but smile.
Who is the Frontier for?
The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier has that rugged masculine look to it, and the bezel is by far, easier to use. It is as if it was designed for those who might be wearing gloves when navigating the bezel (more on that later). When you dress the watch up with the right watch face, along with the right band, you can pretty much take it anywhere and it will still not look out of place. In contrast to the Gear S3 Classic, in my opinion, the Gear S3 Frontier definitely looks better for those who spend a lot of time outside—be it camping, bicycling, fishing, hiking, or playing outdoor sports, among other things.
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Samsung Gear S3 Specifications
The Samsung Gear S3 series is noticeably larger than the Gear S2 series. This is because the new devices have better specs, larger displays, and longer-lasting batteries. Both the Classic and Frontier have a gorgeous Corning Gorilla Glass SR+ circular AMOLED screen size of 1.3 inches that is 360×360 resolution, with a PPI of 278. Gorilla glass with an AMOLED display of this resolution is just astounding—and you want it to be this good so that you can show any one of the hundreds of available faces that can be displayed on it.
Gear S3 Commonalities
The Tizen Operating system (126.96.36.199 as of February 2018) has a dual-core 1GHz Samsung Exynos processor with 768mg of RAM and 4gb of storage with a 380 mAh battery that easily lasts 2 full days (and even longer if you turn off “Always on Display” and disable weather notifications).
Both the Gear S3 Classic and the Gear S3 Frontier now support LTE. They both also support Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, and MST. This was not always the case. When the Gear S3 series was initially released, only the Frontier supported LTE; however, the community as a whole was not happy with the decision to exclude the Classic from integrating LTE, and today, you can buy either watch with or without LTE.
Both watches are rated IP68 (more on that later), but only the Frontier has the Military grade of MIL-STD 810G. In a nutshell, the MIL-STD 810G rating means that both watches can endure extreme temperatures and humidity levels, allowing for high altitudes and even immersion underwater. How deep can you take the watch and for how long? We will address that in a minute.
The band size for both watches is 22 mm, meaning that any Samsung Gear S3 series watch band will work on either device.
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Does the Gear S3 Classic Function Differently from the Gear S3 Frontier?
In terms of function, there is no difference between the Classic and the Frontier watch, as they both utilize the same Tizen version of the operating system. However, in terms of design, they are quite different.
The Classic edition is very polished. It just looks beautiful. This is a watch that you would wear with a suit, but you probably would not wear it while out fishing. It might just be me, but the Gear S3 Classic just screams “class” when wearing it. Perhaps I am biased because I have always worked in a business environment. Both the Classic and Frontier have slightly different designs, but both appear to be catered to the user who would wear them. They have identical dimensions, 46 x 49 x 12.9 mm, but the Frontier weighs in just 5 grams heavier, at 62 grams.
Let’s begin with the bezel on the face of the Gear S3 Classic. The brushed finish on the bezel of the Gear S3 Classic prevents sunlight from glistening. This is a good thing because, when you are outside, you do not want it blinding you when you look at it in bright sunlight. Instead, due to the brushed metal, it actually prevents the sun from reflecting into your eyes when looking at the watch.
The dark-colored Gear S3 Frontier has 60 notches around the bezel (which allows for better grip) and the Classic has 108 notches around the bezel. I know, I counted them. While the Frontier bezel may have 60 notches around the bezel for timers and navigating by using GPS (depending on the face used), the Classic bezel is purely aesthetic. It is as though Samsung went the extra mile to give the Classic that classy look and feel. Again, nice touch, Samsung.
What really stands out is that Samsung developed two very different types of watches for people of like mind—the Gear S3 Classic for the business-minded, and the Gear S3 Frontier for pretty much every other field of industry. Not only did they design each watch very well for their respective fields of industry, but they also did a great job delivering a superior product. Take the Frontier, for example; it comes with a black polyurethane band that will not have you worrying if it is going to crack with time.
The Default Classic Band vs. the Default Frontier Band
The Gear S3 Classic has a genuine cowhide leather band that comes with it, and the Gear S3 Frontier comes with a silicone band. I have a friend who has been wearing his silicone Gear S3 Frontier daily for almost 2 years now. I inspected it to look for cracks or wear, and it looks like he bought it yesterday. There literally is no “wear” that can be seen. If I were to inspect a Gear S3 Classic genuine leather band that had been worn for the same amount of time, it would show wear, and perhaps even stains. Worse yet, it would probably have an odor to it if it had not been well maintained.
Which Samsung Gear S3 Watch is Waterproof?
The Gear S3 is IP68-rated, meaning that it can stay under 5 feet of water for no more than 30 minutes. This means that if you happened to drop your watch in the toilet, bathtub, or kiddie pool, it will be just fine if you take it out within 30 minutes. You could take a shower with it (assuming that you do not take long showers), but I definitely would not go swimming with it. I understand that if you swim laps at the pool, your watch would never be under 5 feet of water and that you probably only plan on being in the water for 15 or 20 minutes. However, do you really want to test the limits of the IP68 rating on your $350 watch? I once read an article where someone went “splashing” in the ocean for less than 30 minutes in waist-deep water. He ruined his watch. Granted, he was in saltwater, but again, do you really want to test the limits each time you go in the water? It was not designed for swimming, as it is not truly ‘waterproof’, but rather, ‘water-resistant’.
“Water-resistant” is not the same as “waterproof.”
Did you know that the Federal Trade Commission will not allow companies to use the term “waterproof” for watches? That is why you will not find the term, “waterproof” on any watch, smartwatch or mechanical.
Surprisingly, the Frontier watch is not rated IP69K, which is currently the highest-rated protection available, or even 5ATM like the Samsung Gear Sport. Because the Frontier appears designed for more outdoor use, I would have thought that they would have made it even more durable than it is; but, they did not. Perhaps with the release of the Samsung Gear S4, it will be rated IP69k, which allows high-pressure water to be sprayed against any part of the case housing from every direction (think of taking a spill while jet-skiing, without causing damage to the unit). With an IP69K rating, you could swim, or even jet-ski, to your heart’s content without worry.
If you know of any other differences between the Gear S3 Classic and the Gear S3 Frontier that have not been addressed in this article, I encourage you to comment below for the purpose of educating the community as a whole. Keep it positive and beneficial to those who want to know more about the Samsung Gear 3 series.