The 5 Best Samsung Gear S3 Watch Features

Do more with that wrist

The Samsung Gear S3 watch, introduced in November 2016, includes an array of features including the ability to make calls, send texts, play music, track fitness activities, and built-in Samsung Pay. The smartwatch comes in two designs: frontier and classic. Frontier, as its name suggests, is more rugged looking, while the classic design is on the stylish side. It comes in only one size—46mm—so it might be too large for some. Other Samsung watches, such as the Galaxy Watch, also offer a 42mm option.

Like all Samsung watches, the Gear S3 ships with the Tizen OS, not Wear OS by Google. It's compatible with Samsung smartphones as well as Android phones running Android 4.4 and higher with more than 1.5GB RAM. The watch also works with iOS 9.0 or later running on the iPhone 5 or newer.

All versions of the watch have built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, a heart-rate monitor, and a microphone and speakers. There's an LTE version that lets you make phone calls and send texts from your wrist even when you leave your smartphone behind. The built-in LTE is convenient for when you want to go for a run without carrying your phone and comes in handy in an emergency. You can send canned text replies from the watch and even send voice messages to your contacts. Finally, the LTE version enables you to use Samsung Pay on your watch, whether your phone is nearby or not.

These are the five best Samsung Gear S3 features.

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Rotating Bezel

Side view of Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch (Frontier design)

The Gear S3 has a rotating bezel that you use to navigate the smartwatch, including answering calls, reading messages, and accessing apps. You can twist the bezel left to see notifications or to the right to view available widgets, such as a calendar, music player, or health information. It's the easiest way to interact with the watch, though you can also navigate using the touchscreen.

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Built-in GPS

Young sporty woman checking her smart watch in city
d3sign / Getty Images

The watch has built-in GPS so you can track not just how long you've been running and walking but how far. This information is especially useful if you're training for a race or have a distance goal you'd like to hit.

You can also use the GPS to share your location in case of an emergency via SOS mode. Once you enable the feature in your watch settings, you'll need to assign at least one emergency contact. You can create a new one or pull one from your saved contacts.

To activate SOS mode, press the watch's home key three times in quick succession. Your emergency contacts will receive an SOS message along with your location. They will also receive a link that tracks your whereabouts on a map for up to an hour. You can also opt to have the Gear S3 automatically call your first emergency contact when you activate SOS mode.

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Tracking Activity Progress

Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch activity tracking screen

The built-in GPS, mentioned above, helps you track runs, while an accelerometer will count your reps when doing other exercises, such as weight-lifting and aerobics. The watch also integrates with Samsung Health so you can see your overall stats. The watch can also nudge you to get moving when you've been sitting too long, and prompts to do some stretching too.

The Gear S3 counts steps and even measures elevation if you're the hiking type, or you take the stairs a lot. Note that the watch won't necessarily realize you're on an escalator, though. You can also manually input water intake, and weight and the watch can track your sleep and heart rate.

While the watch is waterproof, Samsung doesn't recommend using it while swimming; it can withstand showers and rainstorms, though.

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Watch Always On Feature

Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch (classic design)

The Gear S3 has an always-on option in which you can set the watch to display a clock even when the screen is turned off. However, this will eat up battery life, especially if you're using other functions, such as exercising and listening to music.

To enable this setting press the home key or rotate the bezel to apps, tap Settings > Style, and then the checkmark next to Watch always on.

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Design Your Watch Face

Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch watch face color selection screen

Finally, you can customize your Gear S3's watch face by rotating the bezel to the left or right to see the watch face choices. Tap the one you want to use; then you'll be able to customize the font, color, and other attributes, depending on the watch face. The watch also comes with 15 preset watch faces, and you can download more in the Gear store. Each watch face also has an always-on version that you can also customize.