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Samsung today said that its Gear S3 smartwatches with optional LTE connectivity will go on sale on November 18 and that it would start taking preorders on November 6. The company first unveiled this series of smartwatches — with Frontier and Classic versions — in August.
The watches will start at $349, according to a statement. They’ll be available through Samsung.com, Amazon, Best Buy, Macy’s, and certain wireless carriers.
Samsung has faced issues stemming from the recall and then the killing of its premium Galaxy Note7 smartphone. While watches are certainly separate from one model of smartphones, the larger Samsung brand has still been damaged to an extent. On the most recent Apple earnings call, one analyst, Toni Sacconaghi of Sanford C. Bernstein, said that Samsung was “in complete disarray.”
That said, these Tizen-powered watches do appear to be fairly smart. After you’ve set one up, you can make five or more payments (it depends on which kind of SIM card and carrier you use) with just the watch through Samsung Pay even when you don’t have a Samsung Galaxy phone nearby, according to the statement. After the initial five you’ll have to reconnect to a Galaxy phone over Bluetooth — unless you have an LTE model, in which you case you won’t need to reconnect, of course.
The watches have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support; a 1.3-inch circular super AMOLED always-on display with Gorilla Glass; a dual-core 1GHz chip; 4GB of storage; 768MB of RAM; a speaker and microphone; NFC; magnetic secure transmission (MST); an accelerometer, gyrometer, barometer, heart rate monitor, and ambient light sensor; a 380mAh battery that can last up to three days; and wireless charging. Plus, it’s IP68 water and dust resistant. That is, it can be under as much as 5 feet of water for up to a half-hour.
Update on November 7: Added information about MST and payments through the watch.
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