Samsung's flagship smartwatch, the Gear S3, has only been out for a short time, but the Tizen-based wearable is already proving itself as a worthy device, rocking Samsung's excellent rotating bezel found on its predecessor, alongside a number of improvements.
Many people doubt the appeal of smartwatches. What exactly can one do with a smartwatch? Do these functionalities justify shelling out a few hundred dollars? Well, for starters, it can pair with a smartphone and do a number of tasks remotely, such as control music, answer or make calls, experiment with wacky watchfaces and even provide fitness tracking metrics. But most important of all, it can run third-party apps.
Here are the best apps available now for the Samsung Gear S3. Apps can be downloaded via the Galaxy App for Gear S3.
By now everybody knows what Uber is and how it works, but for the uninitiated, Uber is a cab-hailing service that has ride-sharing options to cut costs. The good news is that the Gear S3 version packs a lot of punch, with the screen's size large enough to drag the marker to one's chosen pickup location. The rotating bezel even zooms in and out of the map, which is an intuitive input method compared with tapping on-screen controls.
Who knew that booking a ride only takes a couple of minutes with one's wrist?
Ported games on a smartwatch often look clunky and unseemly given the device's small screen, but Fruit Ninja is the antithesis to this, offering users precise controls that make playing it on a smartwatch less tedious. It can get a bit jittery every now and then, sure, but the snags are minimal and far for game-breaking. Best of all, it's free.
Sleep As Android
Sleep As Android is regarded as one of the best alarm clocks around, and the Gear S3 version doesn't disappoint. For those who aren't fans of being woken up abruptly in the morning, Sleep As Android will employ machine learning algorithms to determine the best time to issue an alarm. It even tracks the user's movement overnight, which enables it to administer its "Smart wake up" feature. Never have a sordid wake-up call again with Sleep As Android.
Glympse is simple. It lets people know the location of the user, which is incredibly useful for hiking trips or out-of-town meanderings. Simply send out a GPS location to friends and they'll be pinged about where the sender of the geotag is. The Gear S3 version comes with all these features, but it also offers a request functionality to find a friend's location.
White Light is a drop-dead simple app, but one that's extremely useful. No need to fish out one's phone to use a flashlight, as White Light can do the same for one's smartwatch. The app ups the Gear S3's LCD on command, which is very useful in moments when a light source isn't readily available.
Google Maps is also available on the Gear S3, but it's not as streamlined as Here WeGo. It's a standalone app that doesn't need to be synced to the smartphone version, though routes set by the user need to be cached beforehand. Here WeGo is an all-around great navigation app that rivals Google Maps' fussy interface.
The State of Smartwatches
Sure, there's still pretty ample support for smartwatches in general, but the industry is lacking market enthusiasm as of late, proven by a number of setbacks the industry has suffered recently.
A key player, Motorola, has stepped back from it temporarily, and Google has delayed Android Wear 2.0, its custom smartwatch OS. Pebble has recently shut down, and profits recorded this past Q3 aren't exactly stellar.
Collectively, these throw a vibe of palpable dispiritedness. But even so, the apps listed above prove that there's still so much to love about smartwatches, and there's so much untapped potential about these wearables.
The Samsung Gear S3 is available now, available in Classic and Frontier variants. The Gear S3 Classic with Bluetooth retails for $299 while the Gear S3 Frontier with 4G LTE retails for $349 on AT&T and $399 on T-Mobile.