Smartwatches that make calls without a phone are few and far between and are known by various names. Some call them “Standalone Smartwatches”, and some “Cellular-enabled Smartwatches” There is also another popular name for it, “4G LTE smartwatches”
We want to clarify a few things about these watches. A standalone smartwatch can’t just make calls without a phone but can also:
Send Text messages
Do Contactless Payment
Browse The Internet
And, it performs all these features right from your wrist without your phone necessarily present around.
We have curated a list of the best standalone smartwatch until now. And, we intend to keep updating this list as new smartwatches (with cellular connectivity) hit the market.
So, without further ado, Let’s get straight to our first pick.
Apple Watch Series 6 is the latest by the tech giant, but it is not the only LTE smartwatch by the company. At a competitive price, you can get the feature in Apple Watch Series 3 up to Watch SE. For iPhone users, and generally, no other watch can beat the Apple watch. No doubt that Apple caps about 50% of the smartwatch market in the US alone.
Apple Watch Series 6 has two variants in terms of size: 40mm and 44mm versions. The latter is suitable for large/thick wrists.
The watch features a Retina OLED display, which in comparison to AMOLED and cheap LCD display technology is crisp, vivid, and offers true blacks.
But there is a caveat, the battery life of nearly all Apple watches is a bummer. Mixed usage of features (GPS, LTE, and NFC) and using it outdoors (Max brightness) takes a heavy toll on the battery life. It hardly makes it through the day.
The watch is ATM 5 rated, so you can swim, shower, and even dive up to 50m. But you can’t spend more than 20 minutes at this depth and should not try to do so.
Other Prominent Features:
Measures blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) on demand
Electrocardiogram (ECG) Tracking
Always-on altimeter for real-time elevation tracking
Fast new processor
Best third-party apps (20,000 plus apps)
How To Set Up Cellular Connectivity On Apple Watch Series 6?
There is this great resource by the company that can help you in this regard.
Usually, you are limited to use the same carrier plan on the watch as you use on your phone. This was true for all previous models, but in Apple Watcht Series 6 you can select a different carrier for family members who don’t have an iPhone. So you can buy this cellular watch for your kids.
Ticwatch Pro (4G LTE) —Best Value Standalone Calling Smartwatch For Android
Water Resistance: IP68 + pool swimming suitable+US Military Standard 810G
Two Minute Review:
Ticwatch Pro 4G by Mobvoi is the best affordable LTE watch so far with Wear OS. To spare you the hassle, this watch only supports ‘Verizon Wireless carrier at the moment. Like other premium LTE watches, it doesn’t require a physical nano sim, but rather an eSIM.
Ticwatch Pro LTE sports a large, chunky design, and if it is bad news for those who love smartwatch case size. However, the watch doesn’t appear unseemly on a large wrist.
In the display department, it competes for head to head with Samsung and Apple watch display(usually considered a GOLD Standard for display technology) 1.39” AMOLED Display offer a high 400×400 resolution and a peak brightness level of 1000 nits. The high brightness compensates for the dismal performance of AMOLED display in outdoor conditions.
The watch is particularly famous for featuring the latest, most powerful Qualcomm processor, Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus. so much so that people often overlook the fact that it is the very first LTE watch by Mobvoi-a Chinese based wearable tech company. The company cut corners in storage capacity which is 4GB less than Ticwatch Pro 3 GPS.
To deal with a battery-hungry Wear OS, the watch is featuring Dual Screen technology (Also the very first effort by any company) On low power mode, the watch can last for a whopping 30 days.
Approved by Military Standard and IP standard rating, this watch can withstand a fair share of abuse and is highly resistant to water and dust.
Other Prominent Features:
Being 45 millimeters in diameter and 12.6 mm thick, suitable for large wrist size
There is also a voice-to-text option, Google Assitant Integrated
Safety features included: SOS and 911 auto-dialing and location sharing
Spotify, Google Pay Integrated.
How To Set Up Cellular Connectivity On Ticwatch Pro 4G?
Till now, this smartwatch offers 4G LTE connectivity with ‘Verizon Wireless’ only. Verizon customers will need to pay $20 per month extra to add the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE to their plan on top of standard data rates.
If you don’t own a smartphone, you can pay $10 per month for a single-device plan with 1GB of data and unlimited talk and text. (Credit: TomsGuide.com)
This valuable Resource by Mobvoi can help you to set up your Ticwatch Pro with Verizon carrier.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2— BEST GPS + Cellular Smartwatch For Android
Water Resistance: 5 ATM IP68 + Military Grade 8100
Two Minute Review:
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, also known as GWA2, is a universal watch by Samsung that has wide compatibility and a versatile set of features. We have featured this watch under different titles as it is the best all-rounder watch.
GWA2 has a crisp AMOLED display. Everything on the watch appears vivid, sharp, and remarkable. The straps are interchangeable, and with an easy release mechanism, you can customize the watch.
Galaxy Smartwatches features Tizen OS which unlike Google Wear OS is much faster. But it has its own downsides. For instance, Bixby is not up to par with Google Assitant. Also, you will have a limited pool of applications to choose from.
We are featuring the largest version of the watch as with LTE functionality these versions offer the best battery performance. The battery life depends majorly on the usage. LTE and GPS usage will sap battery life fast.
Other Prominent Features:
ECG tracking (Available for Samsung Phone users)
Touch screen bezel
Track over 39 workouts
Can stream Spotify Playlist
Has Samsung Pay (Coverage: 24 countries)
How To Set Up Cellular Connectivity On Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2?
Samsung has elucidated the process step by step in this post.
Fossil announced this watch just at the start of this year at CES 2021. The watch is the LTE version of its Flagship smartwatch, Fossil Gen 5. Though calling and texting functionality in the smartwatch is a welcome feature by fans, many were expecting something more than cellular connectivity. (A fast processor)
Snapdragon 3100 was released almost 2 years ago and people were expecting this watch to feature the latest by Qualcomm, Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus. This along with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB storage makes solid specs for a watch to deliver robust performance.
In the display department, the watch has kept everything the same way as it was in the previous version. The 1.28″ AMOLED display with a large bezel offers 416 x 416 px resolution, Plus, the Always-on Display is a handy feature.
If you own a Fossil Gen 5 watch, switching to Gen 5 4G/LTE version would be tempting. The calling, texting, or music streaming right from your wrist is worth spending money. However, Keep in mind that this watch wouldn’t last long and probably not make it through the day.
Lastly, the watch is ATM 3 rated, which is a little disappointing as even the cheap smartwatches stick to the minimum standard ATM 5.
Other Prominent Features:
Google Assistant and Google Pay
Spotify integrated into the watch
Customizable battery modes
How To Set Up Cellular Connectivity On Fossil Gen 5 LTE?
Currently, we don’t have a relevant, authentic resource. We will add it as soon as we get around one.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 ( 4G LTE)— Best Standalone Smartwatch For Android
Water Resistance: 5 ATM IP68 + Military Grade 8100
Two Minute Review:
As the Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2 have almost similar features and are offered by the same company, we need not explain the same features again.
One prominent difference is that of price. Unsurprisingly, Watch 3 is more expensive. Another difference is the size and design, the largest variant of Watch 3 is 45mm and has a rotating bezel which gives chunky look to the watch.
Another key advantage the Watch 3 has over the Watch Active 2 is the storage, double the size of the latter. Good news for fans who appreciate offline Spotify playback.
Also, Galaxy Watch 3 is featuring the latest version of Tizen OS which means enhanced performance.
To save you the spoilers, this watch can only text, steam music, and send emails via 4G LTE connectivity. There is no microphone or speaker on the watch, so you can’t call on the watch. Also, it is an exclusive product for Verizon users. The eSIM technology on the watch mimics the details of your cell phone contact to send and receive messages.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music 4G LTE is also lauded for its safety features. The watch auto-detect the emergency and send a message to three contacts with your GPS location. You have a standby time of 5 sec to turn it down. Remember, it needs not to be connected to the smartwatch to perform this function.
The Display of the watch is not an extraordinary department. Though AMOLED screen technology, the images are not as sharp, vivid, and crisp as you find on the like of Samsung and Apple watches.
The battery life of the smartwatch is sufficiently good and also the comfort and ruggedness. The GPS tracking on the watch is complemented by a vast set of satellites to offer you better coverage.
The watch is essentially an enhanced fitness tracker with music storage up to 500 songs. Plus, you can listen to your Spotify playlist if you pay for the premium account.
Other Prominent Features:
Comprehensive Activity tracking
Good GPS and heart rate monitor
How To Set Up Cellular Connectivity On Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music LTE?
This smartwatch is a Verizon Only wearable. It means the 4G LTE connectivity is only feasible if you use the Verizon network on your smartphone.
Here, you will find all the necessary information on how to set up your Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music LTE
It is a small size watch suitable for slender wrist and offers LTE connectivity only in selected countries. Guess what, the US is not one of them. But the company has a high aim to expand its network to new markets by partnering up with local carriers.
For an inexpensive watch, Nexo has a remarkable display. It features a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with whooping 454 x 454 px resolution. It means that the watch will appear shiny, the icons sharp and bright.
Except for the design, and of course cellular connectivity, all other features are those one can expect from a cheap watch. For instance, Snapdragon Wear 2100, Qualcomm dying processor, and limited 512 MB RAM. The buggy Amazfit Wear is another reason not to buy this watch.
The battery life usually a key strength of the Amazfit watch has seemed to be pretty ordinary in Nexo. The water resistance, IP68, is enough to bathe and swim with it.
Other Prominent Features:
Ambient light sensor
Sleep, heart rate, and activity tracking
ECG version is available in China.
How To Set Up Cellular Connectivity On Amazfit Nexo?
Amazfit Nexo has eSIM capability which is supported by the carriers in the following countries.
Here, you find all the details to enable eSIM functionality on the smartwatch.
Imoo Watch Phone Z6 (4G LTE)—Best Calling smartwatch for kids
The watch is made for the parents who want to keep tabs on their kids and are conscious of their safety. Itscompanion app helps you check kids’ call history. You can attach the photos as caller ID and allow only a few numbers to call on the watch phone. Also, you can set a specific time at which the device will block all incoming calls.
Apart from this, the device allows your kids to video call over a data connection. There is a front 5MP and rear 8 MP camera to switch views. Also, the watch allows geo-fencing which in simple words is limiting the child to a specific parameter for his security.
The battery lasts 3 days on a single charge but probably not on the first day as your child will be exploring nearly all of its features and might overdo it.
The UI of the companion app and the watch itself is a real bummer. This standalone watch needs a lot of design improvements to get at par with the latest smartwatches.
Best Standalone Smartwatch: Our Top Pick
Apple Watch Series 6, being the most powerful and the best our all, is our top pick for standalone smartwatches. But ironically, like all its predecessors the setup of the watch needs an iPhone.
As the tech giant is not going to let users enjoy the Apple watch with the Android phone, the Andriod phone lovers are stuck with Wear OS (by Google) and Tizen (by Samsung) based smartwatches with cellular connectivity, and to call a spade a spade, they are few and far between.
Samsung 4G LTE smartwatches are fast, stylish, and has cutting-edge features. But if you are not a great fan of Bixby (Voice assistant by Samsung’s) and want to have a great pool of apps to choose from, opt for Wear OS cellular smartwatches like Fossil Gen 5 4G LTE, or for best value for the money, tic watch Pro 3 (4G)
Best Smartwatch With Cellular Connectivity: Buying Guide
The standalone smartwatches are so few in numbers that we didn’t have a great many choices.
Apple’s exclusive smartwatch series is forbidden fruit for Andriod users. Nearly all the other options left are reviewed in detail in this article. Before you check any other feature, check the compatibility of the smartwatch with your device.
Fortunately, Google has provided a way to do so. Just visit https://wearos.google.com/wearcheck/ through your smartphone and find out whether the wear OS is compatible with your smartphone or not.
Apple Watch Series 6, the latest watch, is quite expensive so if you are on a shoestring budget and need an affordable Apple Watch with LTE capability, go for Apple watch series 3. For wear, OS watches the most affordable option is Ticwatch Pro 3 LTE.
Samsung Galaxy Active 2 is also an affordable alternative to the Apple Watch for Andriod users.
Using the smartwatch as a standalone device will take a heavy toll on battery life. And if you are using the other functions like GPS and NFC simultaneously, that will bring disaster to battery life.
Apple watches are honest with their claims. These watches would need a regular charge on each day. Those for android make tall claims(more than three days), but they hardly make it through the day.
For best battery life, We would recommend Ticwatch Pro (4G)
The size of the watch is very important as if it doesn’t match with your wrist size, the watch might get you embarrassed.
Most smartwatches with cellular connectivity come in a 46mm variant for large wrists(greater than 7-inch). Alternatively, you have an option to choose the 38mm model if you have a small wrist size.
Resistance To Water And Dust:
As the smartwatches with cellular connectivity are high end watches they usually have a basic level of security against water (you can bath and swim with these watches)
Some however are highly resistant which allows you to submerge the watch up to 50 m. (ATM 5 rated)
Only Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is approved by military standard. It means that it is the toughest standalone smartwatch.
Best Smartwatch That Makes Calls Without Phone: FAQs
What Is A Standalone, 4G LTE, Or A Cellular Smartwatch?
A Standalone Smartwatch as the name suggests can do nearly every single function that a smartphone can do.
The term gained popularity with the introduction of cellular connectivity in smartwatches.
A cellular or standalone smartwatch allows you to directly connect to your carrier’s data plan.
So you can take calls, send texts, emails, stream music, and use internet-dependent apps without your phone being present.
Does LTE Feature On A Standalone Smartwatch Affect Battery Life?
Yes, it does. LTE + GPS connectivity on a smartwatch takes a heavy toll on smartwatch battery life.
So, you should pick a watch that has a large built, and so a large battery size. Or choose one, that offers advanced battery modes.
What Is The Best Standalone Smartwatch For Android?
Ticwatch Pro 3 (4G LTE), if you are a big fan of google assistant and want the fastest smartwatch with Wear OS. Also, it has dual screen technology to compensate for the toll on battery life that LTE functionality takes.
Samsung Galaxy Active 2, Galaxy Watch 3 if you can live with Tizen OS, especially if you have a Samsung smartphone.
Does A Standalone Smartwatch Cost Money?
Yes, it surely does if you use the LTE functionality.
How much On Average?
We cannot just pull a figure from thin air as it depends on the carrier you decide to go with. Deals are often bundled with the smartphone network plan.
How To Insert A Sim Card In A Smartwatch?
We have written a dedicated article to answer this question.
In most cases, you won’t need to insert a physical ‘nano sim card’ into the watch. The eSIM feature in the smartwatch will make your life a lot easier.
What Is An eSIM?
eSIM stands for ‘Embedded’ SIMS.
eSIM is a ‘small chip’ embedded inside your smartwatch/smartphone and works similarly as NFC works. (IF you don’t know, NFC is the technology behind contactless payment)
eSIMs are programable, so in theory, we can switch between networks by rewriting the information on the chip. In practice, most network providers don’t support eSIM, and even if any of them does, you will have to call the network provider to switch network)
eSIM is a technology of the future. They will save space in wearables by supplementing the need of a physical sim card.
Is The 4G LTE Smartwatch Worth It?
Totally worth it if you can’t live without the internet and yet don’t want to carry around your phone every time you leave home.
Totally a waste of money, if you are looking for a basic smartwatch with long battery life and decent fitness features.
We can decide the answer to you, it totally depends on your subjective experience.
Can We Use Whatsapp On A Standalone Smartwatch?
There is no Whatsapp Application for Apple Watch OS or Google Wear OS.
But wait a minute, there is an alternative app.
A third-party app called ‘WatchChat’ lets you send and receive WhatsApp messages on the smartwatch.
Also, you don’t need a 4G LTE smartwatch to use WhatsApp this way.
Many smartwatches come with WiFi connectivity, so you can access WatchChat, and through it, “WhatsApp Web” on the watch.
Can We Stream Music On A StandaloneSmartwatch?
Yes, for sure.
Both WatchOS and Wear OS popular streaming apps like Spotify, Deezer, Pandora. Apple has its own music streaming app, Apple Music, integrated on the latest Watch Series.
Some 4G LTE smartwatches have streaming apps preinstalled (Ticwatch Pro 3 LTE has Spotify)
What Is The Best 4G LTE Standalone Smartwatch?
Apple Watch Series 6 is the best so far. But it can only be set up using an iPhone.
For Andriod Users, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Ticwatch PRO 3 LTE.
Bluetooth Vs Cellular Smartwatch Calling?
In Bluetooth smartwatch calling your watch needs to be connected to a compatible smartphone.
The watch establishes a “tethered Connection” with either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity to make a call.
In cellular smartwatch calling, the watch uses its own Simcard (or eSIM) in making calls and do so without having to go through the smartphone first.
Can We Call From A Fossil Smartwatch?
Yes, you can with the latest Fossil Gen 5 LTE which the company released just recently.
As it was the only watch by Fossil with LTE/cellular connectivity you cannot directly from the smartwatch.
In previous models, the only way you make a call from a fossil smartwatch is to establish a ‘tethered connection’ with the smartphone
Best Calling Watch For Kids?
Imoo Watch Phone Z6 is the best calling watch for kids. It is designed for kids aged between 4-15 years and does support 4G connectivity. Moreover, it also features two sets of cameras, Front (5MP) Rear (8 MP), and so is the first watch that can make video calls.
Read the detailed review above.
Best Garmin/Suunto Smartwatch With Cellular Connectivity?
Only the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music has cellular connectivity but the LTE features are exclusively available through Verizon.
Suunto LTE smartwatch model is the most awaited as the company hasn’t released any watch with cellular connectivity yet.
Best Smartwatch Network Plan?
To name one: Verizon Wireless. Keep in mind that your smartwatch network plan will be bundled with your smartphone plan.
Other US-based carriers include:
Can We Talk Or Text Through A Smartwatch?
Yes, of course, we can. For this to be possible, your watch should have 4G/LTE connectivity. Or if not this, must be connected to your phone via Bluetooth or WiFi
Can A Standalone Smartwatch Replace Your Phone Completely?
For the essential features, a standalone smartwatch is a good alternative for a smartphone, but it can’t at this moment, completely replace the smartphone.
You can obviously make calls, text, send emails, pay bills, or listen to music on a standalone smartwatch but smartphones continue to be the most responsive and user-friendly devices. So, you would love using your phone for doing things most of the time even if your watch can do so.
Anyway, the answer is more dependent on a subjective taste than any objective metric.