SOS on the Samsung Gear S3
SOS on the Samsung Gear S3
Do you or a loved one need an emergency alerting system and only have cellular service?  Do you want to avoid another monthly fee? If you already have a smartphone, the Samsung Gear S3 smart watch just might be your ticket to safety at home and on the go!  This watch has all of the great features that many smart watches have such as notifications, phone calls on the watch, step counter, and text messaging. What makes it special is the SOS feature that allows one to push a button on the watch 3 times to alert one or more people that you are in an emergency situation.  To top it off, your loved ones will be able to locate you with GPS and talk with you right on the S3 watch. Once you push the button on the watch 3 times, it will call and/or send a series of text messages to up to 4 people. The text messages will say you need help, give the current address, and a link the loved one to a map from Glympse for up to one hour to help locate you.  You also have the option to put a 5 second delay before the call and texts are sent out to prevent accidental activations.

The caveat to this “no monthly fee” setup is that you HAVE to have your smartphone in Bluetooth range of the watch, which is typically 30 feet, but it could be much less depending on your situation.  The good news is that when you do step out of Bluetooth range and separate from your phone, the S3 vibrates and puts a message on the screen to let you know it is disconnected.

Although the S3 works the best with Samsung phones, as would be expected, Samsung’s website says it is compatible with many other Android phones running the operating system 4.4 or higher.  However, the compatible phone list on the Samsung site indicates that the SOS feature may not work with a non-Samsung phone. Yet I have read other sites that say features like Samsung Pay now work with non-Samsung phones.  So I am hopeful that the SOS feature will work as well.

In regards to iPhone compatibility, this Samsung site indicates some compatibility with iOS, but for iPhone users looking for an SOS emergency feature, I might look to the Apple watch instead.

We tried the S3 with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phone running Android 6.0, and it worked exactly as advertised! It called and texted everyone on the list.  The call was clear and easy to understand.  The GPS located Assistive at our exact Fargo address and when I tried it at another location it located us at the house next store.  I think that is pretty good for a no fee GPS locator and emergency alert.

In the future, I would like to see more compatibility with non-Samsung phones and a larger dedicated SOS RED button with a one hold press requirement.  Otherwise it is another nice “no monthly fee” option for some people.

About Author

Jeannie Krull is the Program Manager for ND Assistive (formerly IPAT). She is an ASHA certified speech/language pathologist and a RESNA certified Assistive Technology Professional, who has worked with people with disabilities of all ages since 1991.