New Toy: Samsung Gear S3 Frontier
I’ve wanted a smart watch for a while - I liked wearing a watch when I did so years ago, but I stopped when my last one broke (we were not terribly well-off, and I didn’t like wearing one well enough to part with what little bit of money I had left to buy one I liked). My primary concern is battery - I don’t want the damn thing going dead on my wrist at 4pm! I wanted a Pebble for this reason, but it seems they no longer make/support them.
But seeing all those happy folks with Apple watches got me interested enough to research them during my time off (I took a week’s vacation after getting back, primarily to take Duncan to the zoo but in the two days between getting back to Australia and the zoo trip I was utterly lost for something to do).
So the Apple Watch is an absolute no-go for me, as an Android user… they’re apparently exceptionally useless in such cases, which is a shame as if I could at least drive the thing with my Mac and have it get internet from my phone via Bluetooth I reckon I could manage. Plus, the price-tag in Australia was well beyond my pain threshold.
None of the Android Wear watches in the price range I was willing to spend looked worth having, and while I have no love for Samsung as a product manufacturer, their watches seemed okay were it not for the hideous price tags - while in Melbourne for our zoo trip I took a look through JB-Hifi at the watch selection there and grimaced at absolutely every single one of the price tags.
Somewhat serendipitously, I found someone local to where we live selling Samsung’s previous generation watch for basically 1/3rd the price of the brand new unit, which seemed a fairly reasonable price. I resolved to think about it during the trip, but it had sold quite quickly. Bummer.
However on the way home, we stopped in Ballarat for a look around, and I went into Cash Convertors - a vile operation, but the Ballarat location usually has a fair number of old video games and I like to window shop - and they had the exact same model for the exact same price. I decided to pull the trigger, as it was within my “fun money budget”. With the speed at which the other one sold, if I turned out to not like it, I could probably get most of my money back fairly quickly.
First impressions - I absolutely loathe silicone straps, it will have to go. The Tizen OS seems usable enough, not sure I trust the third party apps and there are not too many official apps out there that warrant having - but really all I need is notifications from my phone on my watch, and something to tell the time.
I think the advertised “four day” battery life is unattainable for me, as my phone does not seem to support BTLE and defaults to regular BT… but I still get a good 2.5 days out of it between charges, and after finding the sleep tracking significantly more gimmicky than even Fitbit’s effort, I have taken to not wearing it to bed meaning modulo destroying the battery capacity somehow I shouldn’t have any issues with the battery for some time. I had tried turning off the heart-rate tracking, but that didn’t seem to have any effect on battery life.
I tried out the Samsung Pay (which required a call to my bank, which I’m not entirely upset about… they seem to take my security at least somewhat seriously, though I wish they’d do away with SMS for 2FA) as it’s one of the chief complaints with my phone is my inability to use it for payments. It’s not as useful as I thought it’d be, but it does work for the most part… I may keep it.
The reminders when I’m inactive are nice - I’d forgotten that I’d set that up manually with the Fitbit (having it buzz every hour during my work day to remind me to stretch my legs, as I’m utterly awful at doing it myself).
I adore the bezel ring interaction - it simply makes the most sense for interacting with a watch and limits the number of times I have to put my grubby fingers all over the thing. I also haven’t found a watch-face I like more than the default, but I do have to check out the security implications of buying a watch face from a third-party (it looks like there might be some arbitrary code, as some of them have other features built in?).
Update: I broke down and made two purchases for it: a replacement band, because like the Fitbit, the silicone band gives me the irrits something fierce; and a Fallout-inspired watchface that cost me the princely sum of $1.53. Unfortunately Samsung’s website appears to be terrible, so I can’t link to the watch-face, but it’s called “DT - Model 4000” by DaveAstur Design.