As I detailed in my Samsung Gear S3 first impressions, there are a few things missing from the Gear S3 that would make it the best smartwatch available. But Samsung has since made updates, and as of a couple of days after my post, you can now use Samsung Pay on the Gear S3 without a Samsung phone.
In addition to the Gear S3 I bought a week ago, I also purchased a used Google Pixel XL on Swappa. I set that device up with the Gear S3 and have been using this combo for the last several days.
The day I purchased my Samsung Gear S3, a press and hold of the top right button did nothing even though the documentation for the smartwatch showed that this action would launch Samsung Pay. After my article, Samsung replied to me on Twitter stating that I could update the Samsung Gear app on a non-Samsung Android phone and use Samsung Pay. I was excited to try this out since I no longer have a Samsung phone after returning my second defective Note 7.
@palmsolo You can now update your Samsung Gear app and use Samsung Pay on your Android phone. Give it a try and let us know how it goes!
Pressing and holding the Gear S3 top button launched Samsung Pay on the watch and then text appeared directing me to look at my phone to complete the setup. I repeatedly tried updating and restarting the Samsung Gear app on my Google Pixel XL, but I kept getting an installation failure message after initiating Samsung Pay on the watch. Samsung confirmed, without further explanation, that Samsung Pay does not currently work with Pixel devices.
I searched around online and found a few discussions over on the Android Central forums that confirmed my experiences, while also stating Samsung Pay was working with other Android smartphones. I switched my SIM to the LG V20 and now have Samsung Pay up and running on my Gear S3.
The LG V20 runs Android 7.0 and is not on the current Gear S3 comptability list, but it works perfectly well with the smartwatch and Samsung Pay. The issue with the Google Pixel may be Android 7.1. It's not clear what is preventing Samsung Pay from working with the new Google Pixel, but hopefully Samsung provides support for this device soon.
While I have used Samsung Pay since the first beta, I discovered that my bank is finally now supported by Samsung Pay, so I'm thrilled I can now take Samsung Pay with me on my wrist and use whichever Android phone I desire -- except for the Google Pixel.