Samsung Gear S3 heading to the Philippines on January 14

Gelo Gonzales
Samsung Gear S3 heading to the Philippines on January 14
The tech giant's new smartwatch is now more impressive than ever

MANILA, Philippines – Samsung’s newest smartwatch, the Gear S3, arrives in Philippine stores on January 14 for P16,490. The product will be offered in two variants, the “Classic” and the more rugged “Frontier” versions, but will carry the same price tag. The latter has LTE connectivity and is slightly heavier. 

The S3 is bigger than its predecessor. Samsung Philippines said the S2 was somewhat small for many; but the S3 – with its 46-millimeter diameter and 1.3-inch screen – is more of the “standard” wristwatch size. The Gear S3 does make a good first impression. While the size difference may not seem that big (the S2 had a 42-mm diameter, and a 1.2-inch screen with similar specs), the bump-up in size appears to have generated extra presence for the device – especially for those who like their gadgets masculine-looking. 

More than the physical changes, the Gear S3 offers a number of little tweaks that make it more useful. It now has the always-on option for your watchface, which means it functions like your standard wristwatch that doesn’t need a gesture or a tap to show the time.

The Gear S3 also has a built-in global positioning system (GPS) feature. Samsung Philippines offers one usage example for the feature: You can pin where you parked through the watch’s map so you can easily return to your car without going in circles in the parking lot.

The S3 also features built-in speakers for answering calls on the go or listening to music – a feature the S2 didn’t have. 

Perhaps the best part is that its battery has been improved. Whereas the S2 could only last you a day, Samsung PH says that the S3 now lasts 3 to 4 days. No one has the patience to charge a watch daily when you’ve been so used to regular, old, pick-up-and-play wristwatches your whole life. The enhanced battery life makes it less of a hassle to use. 

The S3 has an IP68 dust- and waterproof rating, and can be submerged in up to 5 feet of water for up to half an hour. Its Corning Gorilla Glass display prevents it from accumulating scratches even if you’re particularly active.

If you’re an outgoing individual who enjoys active pursuits, you’re most likely Samsung’s target market for the S3. The device boasts advanced fitness tracking features and a speedometer. The ability to measure altitude and atmospheric pressure with its built-in altimeter and barometer is a plus for the outdoorsy type. 

The rotating bezel, which is used to control the device together with the touchscreen, makes a return. 

Globally, Samsung currently trails Apple and Garmin in terms of units sold in the wearables industry, which has seen a sharp decline as of late. While the Gear S3 features key functionality improvements over the S2, it’s still a device for a niche market. Samsung Philippines admits as much, but remains committed to their wearables for the industry’s potential to disrupt the smartphone market one day and become the daily gadget of choice. 

The S3 is now available for pre-orders. Pre-order units come with two extra straps, each of which costs P1,700.

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.