For close to two years now, Samsung has been keeping iPhone users away from their alluring Gear S wearables.
But things took an interesting twist recently when the Korean tech giant released its official Gear S and app on the App Store.
So how do they fare as a pair? Pretty good, actually.
Making a connection
Pairing the Gear S3 to an iPhone is simple. On your Gear S3, head to settings and select “Connect to a new phone”. On your iPhone you just download the Samsung Gear S app and turn on your Bluetooth. You can find the Gear S3 in your settings just like you would with any other device.
Once they’re connected, that’s when the fun begins.
What it's like using them together
If you don’t know by now, the Samsung Gear S3 does not run on Android Wear like the Huawei Watch and Polar M600. Instead, it runs on Samsung's Tizen OS which means it doesn’t have a smartwatch variant of the robust Google Play Store.
But it does have its own Galaxy Apps store that has an array of watch faces and apps for you to download to your heart’s content. From watching YouTube videos to playing Fruit Ninja, it has the exact same Galaxy Apps store that you’ll find on Android Devices.
At the time of this writing, third party Android Wear apps are still restricted by Apple. So you’ll be getting more out of your Gear S3 than any other watch running on Android Wear (for now at least).
But after a week or two, the excitement from watching videos and playing games on the smartwatch wears off. What you’ll really be using the Gear S3 for is to check the time (duh), as a fitness tracker and to check your notifications.
As a fitness tracker, it works the same as when it’s paired with an Android device. It alerts you when it senses that you haven’t been walking and sends notifications when you hit the required number of steps you need for the day.
It’s accurate and if you want even more detailed statistics about your health, simply hop onto the app where it shows the track record of your heart rate, how long you have been walking and even the amount of sleep you get.
For the notifications side of things, it’s pretty basic. You’ll receive all the notifications you get on your iPhone from WhatsApp to Telegram and even news alerts. You can also pick up calls if you have a headset connected so you don’t even need to whip out your phone.
SO WHAT AM I MISSING OUT ON?
Well for starters, you can’t reply messages like you can on the Apple Watch. You also can’t check your social media feed and the closest thing you can do is check what’s trending on Twitter, but the available news apps do a better job in giving you news.
Finally, if you think you’ll be able to impress your date by tapping your smartwatch onto the machine to pay for the meal, run. Because Samsung Pay isn’t available for iOS either.
IS IT WORTH IT THOUGH?
Of course, the Apple Watch works best with your iPhone as it comes with a more integrated operating system and more features that you might like.
But if you don’t mind the lack of Samsung Pay and checking your social media feed on a 1.3in display, it can be a very useful companion. You will still be able to control your music even when you are on Spotify, and the vibrations on your wrist make sure you never miss a message or call.
All in all, it’s a competent device that serves as a well-built extension from your iPhone. One can only hope that they will expand their Galaxy App store.