The smartwatch market is a curious one. On the one hand, you are seeing more and more new models coming out, mostly from fashion brands and accessory makers rather than manufacturers. On the other hand, there hasn’t exactly been any major progress on the platforms themselves, especially lesser known ones like the Tizen OS used on the Samsung Gear smartwatches. That changes slightly today as Samsung pushes out an update for the Gear S3 that, while not a complete overhaul, promises to make life easier for the smartwatch’s owners.
Unlike smartphones and tablets, which seemed to be designed to have your face glued to it as long as possible, smartwatches work best the less time you spend fiddling with the screen or, in the Gear S3’s case, the bezel. Quite appropriately, the latest update brings features that lets you do more with less.
For example, you can now create new contacts and events right on the smartwatch itself instead of simply viewing what’s already there. You can even edit checklists or tick them off on your wrist, perfect when you’re doing groceries.
What has made the Gear S3 unique among other smartwatches in the market is its almost ingenious use of one of the most useless, from a utilitarian standpoint, part of the watch: its bezels. The rotating bezel has given users a sometimes more intuitive way to control their smartwatches instead of touch. In the latest update, Samsung has changed how much information is displayed depending on how fast or slow you twist the bezel. Rotating it slowly, you see one watch face at a time, for example. Twist it faster, and you get to lump them together into a group.
Samsung has also added visual indicators that take advantage of the smartwatch’s circular shape, like a circular progress bar, curved text at the sides, or gauges for weather information.
These new features are rolling out to Gear S3 owners via the Samsung Gear smartphone app. Do note that some features, like those tied to Health, Reminders, and Contacts, require the appropriate Samsung apps to be updated and used as the default.