4 Best Standalone Smartwatches with LTE SIM Card Support In 2020Published: | Updated:
If you’ve shopped for a smartwatch recently, you’ll have probably noticed that smartwatches tend to be listed for specific markets. For instance, outdoor and rugged smartwatches make different lists than fashion and luxury smartwatches. However, what these devices have in common is that they usually require a connection to your smartphone to be useful – or at least, for you to use their best features. This is where standalone smartwatches with LTE connectivity come in. They are ideal for everyone who wants to leave their phone at home while doing some fitness routines with a Smartwatch, or even for people who are looking for smartwatches for kids. Having a standalone smartwatch means to enjoy the best features without having to carry two different devices.
Why get a smartwatch with SIM Card – No phone needed
There are usually a few key reasons.
1) You don’t want to give your children smartphones for gaming but you want to be able to stay connected with them.
2) You want a smartwatch that can replace 99% of your phone’s features.
The solution to the issue of smartphone-tethering smartwatches is to buy a standalone smartwatch with Sim card support, which lets you use all its best features without having to have a smartphone around you.
Below, we have listed 10 standalone smartwatches that you should know about. We’ve covered everything from the most capable of the cheapest and most novel. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have a few ideas for when it comes time to make a purchase.
Our List of the Best LTE Standalone Smartwatches
Apple Watch Series 5
By far the best example of a standalone smartwatch is the Apple Watch. Now in its 5th iteration, the Apple Watch has been refined over the years to become the perfect standalone smartwatch.
One of the most crucial components for a standalone smartwatch is its processor, and the Apple Watch doesn’t disappoint. The Series 5 features the all-new 64-bit dual-core S5 processor which is up to 2x faster than the S3 processor found in Series 3. This means that the Apple Watch Series 5 has ample processing power to launch apps, track data, and more all on its own, without relying on your smartphone to do the heavy lifting.
On the hardware front, the Apple Watch is built with top tier components, such as a beautiful OLED screen with a resolution of 448 x 368 pixels (~326 ppi density). The screen also gets bright enough for outdoor use, maxing out at an incredible 1000 nits. To top it all off, the screen is also made from sapphire glass, making it very durable against scratches or drops, and is water-resistant to 50 meters.
Moreover, the Apple Watch Series 5 is running Watch OS 6, which not only comes with all the health tracking features you’ve come to expect from Apple’s WatchOS, but also gives the watch even more audio streaming capabilities. If you’ve opted for the cellular version of the Apple Watch, you can stream music to your headphones wirelessly directly from your watch on the go. This means you can be listening to music or podcasts on your run with just the Apple Watch on your wrist and some wireless earphones.
With Apple Pay, you can also use your Apple Watch to make payments and get paid, all from your watch. With support for transit tickets in cities like Portland, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, and London, you can also pay for your transit right from your wrist without pulling out your phone.
Also, the cellular version of the Apple Watch will allow you to make calls and text using voice dictation right from the watch without a tethered connection to your phone. This covers the essential communication needs for most people, making one of the most versatile standalone smartwatches in our list.
The only caveat here is that you’d need an iPhone to utilize most of the features that come with an Apple Watch, and if you’re on Android, you might face some compatibility issues with certain apps.
Reasons to buy:
– Fantastic build quality
– Rich features make it the most capable standalone smartwatches
– Great compatibility with iPhones
– Comes with Watch OS, one of the best software for smartwatches
Reasons not to buy:
– Lack of compatibility with Android Phones
– Certain models are pricey
– Lack of camera or other nifty features
The Apple Watch is a great buy if you own an iPhone and want the ultimate standalone smartwatch. We recommend the cellular version if you often find yourself going out on a run or a swim and can’t access your smartphone, as the cellular version is so much more capable than the one without cellular.
Priced at around $400, depending on the size, we think the Apple Watch is a worthy purchase at this price as it checks every box for a standalone smartwatch. With that said, we can’t recommend this for Android users as you’d be missing out on a lot of features, such as Apple Pay, and there are plenty of options in this list that would work much better with Android phones.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
The brand new Galaxy Watch Active 2 is here, just after some months of the release of its predecessor, and it’s one of the best standalone smartwatches for Android users.
One of the biggest upgrades in the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the new touch-sensitive rotating bezel. Don’t confuse this with a physical rotating bezel though, as you wouldn’t be physically twisting the bezels here, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Instead, Samsung has opted for a touch-sensitive one, meaning you’d run your fingers on the touchscreen at the bezel of the screen in a circular motion to navigate between apps and widgets.
We found this more intuitive than swiping across different apps as the Active 2’s interface is mainly built around circular designs, and encourages you to quickly navigate between apps like fitness, calendar, and weather. This intuitive interface makes it far easier to get the most out of the watch, especially if you want to use it as a standalone smartwatch.
Other noteworthy hardware features would be the 360 x 360 Super AMOLED screen, which has vibrant colors and plenty of brightness for outdoor use. The LTE version of Active 2 also comes with extra RAM, which will come in handy to ensure that apps load up fast on the watch.
The Active 2 also runs on Samsung’s proprietary Tizen software, which brings support for Samsung Pay and plenty of third-party apps. Samsung Pay deserves a special mention here, as it technically works with any credit card terminal since Samsung Pay is linked with your credit card. This means you could technically use Samsung Pay in more locations compared to Apple Pay.
It comes with Spotify and YouTube built-in, which covers most people’s needs when it comes to streaming audio. Also, the Active 2 boasts one of the best battery life for a smartwatch, with Samsung claiming that it goes well over a day on a full charge. This is imperative when it comes to a standalone smartwatch that you want to get most things done with. You can even charge your Active 2 with wireless power share if you have a smartphone with reverse wireless charging capabilities.
With that said, the Active 2 would only work best if you have a Samsung phone specifically, as you would need to install a plethora of helper apps to get it working on other Android phones. We’d also recommend the LTE version as it’s only one of truly capable of being a standalone smartwatch since you’d need cellular connectivity to access Spotify, make calls and text, and more without a connection to your phone.
If you’re using a Samsung phone, the Active Watch 2 is the best choice for a standalone smartwatch bar none. For Android users with phones from other manufacturers, you’d have to live with a compromise that some apps will be fully functional.
Reasons to buy:
– Intuitive touch bezels
– Covers the basics of a standalone smartwatch
– Amazing battery life and charging options
– Compatible with Samsung Pay which is more widely accepted
Reasons not to buy:
– Lack of compatibility with other Android phones and iPhones
– While basic apps are covered, has poor support for third-party apps
The Active Watch 2 is pricey at around $500, but if you have a Samsung phone, we can’t think of a better option to go for. With class-leading battery life and the widespread usability of Samsung Pay, the Active 2 is as close as you can get to a fully-fledged standalone smartwatch.
Ticwatch Pro 4G/LTE
The Ticwatch Pro offers a unique selling proposition in the smartwatch space: battery life. Featuring a unique dual-layer screen, the Ticwatch Pro can swap between a power-sipping LCD display and a vibrant AMOLED screen depending on your needs. With this dual-layer screen, the Ticwatch can last up to a whopping 30 days on a charge for the LCD screen, or 2-5 days for a mix of the 2 screens. As a standalone smartwatch, this added battery life gives it far more utility than the other options in this list which needs to be recharged every single day.
If you haven’t heard of Ticwatch, they are from a new Chinese company called Mobvoi and one of the best Chinese made smartwatches. They came into the scene with a Kickstarter campaign last year. Their initial offerings, the Ticwatch Express and Ticwatch Sport came in a fraction of the price of the competition and offered impressive performance. That’s why Ticwatch also leads our list of The best cheap smartwatches. The only caveat with those 2 watches is their subpar build quality, which has been a key focus for improvement on the Ticwatch Pro.
The Ticwatch Pro now sports a stainless steel case for an incredibly sturdy build and a far superior strap that features a mix of silicone and leather. These much-needed improvements now put the Ticwatch Pro on the same playing field as big names in the smartwatch space such as Samsung and Apple.
Not to be outdone by the competition, the Ticwatch is also a waterproof smartwatch with an IP68 water resistance rating. Mobvoi claims that the Ticwatch Pro can be submerged in 1.5m of fresh water for up to 30 minutes, though they don’t recommend you swim with it.
The key feature of the Ticwatch Pro, the dual-layered screen, really does give you the best of both worlds. The LCD display is specifically built to only display to show basic info such as the time, date, or any health data that you want to be displayed without consuming the power of the OLED screen underneath. This lets the Ticwatch achieve superb battery life while still being easily visible outdoors.
On the software side, the Ticwatch Pro runs Wear OS, Google’s operating system for smartwatches. This means that the Ticwatch has support for plenty of apps such as Whatsapp, Google Maps, and so on. Wear OS also comes with Google Assistant, which can help you send texts using dictation or even give you directions via Google Maps.
The Ticwatch is also equipped with an NFC chip, and combined with Wear OS, this means that the Ticwatch is capable of contactless payments via Google Pay, a widely adopted payment option across the world. The option to make payments right from a smartwatch is a huge win when it comes to a standalone smartwatch, and the Ticwatch most definitely checks this box.
Coming in at $299, the Ticwatch Pro is one of the more affordable standalone smartwatches in this list, but has one shortcoming that might turn some people off. Despite using a recognized processor under the hood, the Ticwatch Pro can be slow to load up certain apps. While it doesn’t make the watch unusable, the subpar performance is still something that is distinctly lacking from other options in this list.
As a standalone smartwatch, performance plays a huge role in making the watch an actual replacement for your phone. While the Ticwatch Pro excels in other areas, it’s lack of optimal performance means that we can’t wholeheartedly recommend this option for most people. However, if you value battery life over performance and can live with the compromise of less-than-ideal performance, the Ticwatch can still be a viable option.
Reasons to buy:
– Innovative dual-layer screen
– Outstanding battery life
– Support for 3rd party apps with Wear OS
– Compatible with Google Pay with NFC chip
– Cheaper than the competition
– Study build quality
Reasons not to buy:
– Poor performance
The Ticwatch Pro gets a lot of things right despite being a small player in the smartwatch space and covers almost all the basics when it comes to the core necessities of a standalone smartwatch. However, suboptimal speed is a huge detriment to its appeal and is something you know about if you’re considering this option.
Huawei Watch 2
As a standalone smartwatch, the Huawei Watch 2 stands out from the pack with its incredibly sturdy build quality, featuring a bezel that is supposedly six times harder than stainless steel. This durable bezel can be found in the 2 variants of the Huawei Watch 2: the Classic and the Sport.
The only notable difference between the 2 variants is the LTE connectivity, which is only present on the Sport variant. The lack of LTE severely limits the viability of a standalone smartwatch, and for this reason, we recommend the Sport variant over the Classic. The Sport also comes with a slightly less premium band, but is significantly cheaper than the Classic, making it a much better value for money.
Similarly to the Ticwatch Pro, Huawei Watch 2 also has a mode that saves battery, which is claimed to give the watch up to 25 days of battery life. This is called Watch Mode, which is achieved by only displaying only the watch face and step count but nothing else, unlike the dual-layered screen found in the Ticwatch Pro. Still, this is an awesome feature to have should you wish to extend the battery life on the watch to more than 3 weeks than deal with a smartwatch without battery.
The Huawei Watch 2 is also very competent in tracking features, as it supports not only the required sensors to track GPS, running, cycling and swimming, but does so independently on the device itself, without having to be tethered to a phone.
You can also receive and send text messages and calls right from the Huawei Watch 2, which is a huge selling point for a standalone smartwatch. This can be done either with the built-in speaker and microphone or hooked up to a Bluetooth headset. With its built-in NFC chip, the Huawei Watch 2 is also capable of making contactless payments with Android Pay, yet another highly sought-after feature for a standalone smartwatch.
The only downside here is that the screen is a tad smaller than what you’d expect from other smartwatches, but we don’t think this is a major issue since it can still adequately display all apps and notifications properly. There’s even a Swype-style keyboard to help with touch typing on the small screen.
All things said, Huawei Watch 2 is a beautifully packaged smartwatch that can definitely work as a standalone smartwatch, and the Sport variant which is equipped with LTE is very reasonably priced at just $289.99 for the Grey color and $269.99 for the Black color.
Reasons to buy:
– Great value for money
– Durable build quality
– Watch Mode extends battery life to 25 days
– Compatibility with Android Pay
Reasons not to buy:
– Small screen
As a standalone smartwatch, the Huawei Watch 2 makes for a solid purchase provided you’re fine with a slightly smaller-than-average screen. It checks all the boxes for a standalone smartwatch and comes in at a much more attainable price than the competition.
Conclusion- Which is the best smartwatch with SIM Card
When it comes to a standalone watch that you plan to use as your primary device, picking the right option that is compatible with your needs it absolutely critical.
If you use an iPhone, the Apple Watch Series 5 is a total no brainer. It’s easily the most complete standalone smartwatch in this list, but the only caveat is that you’d have to be in Apple’s ecosystem to take full advantage of it.
For those of you with Android phones, our picks would be the Samsung Galaxy Active or the Huawei Watch 2. The Samsung Galaxy Active would obviously work better with a Samsung phone, but you could still get it to work on other Android phones with some helper apps. Otherwise, the Huawei Watch 2 is also a great option if you rather not deal with that, and comes in at a much more wallet-friendly price than the Galaxy Active.
7 responses to “4 Best Standalone Smartwatches with LTE SIM Card Support In 2020”
Do not but the Samsung Galaxy Active because it comes with a embedded e-Sim card which means your phone carrier charges ridiculous prices for a 2nd monthly Contract plan, One for your Phone and One for your Watch with no PayAsYouGo options for the Watch,
The Huawei Watch 2 Sport 4G comes with a Sim Card slot which means you can put a cheap PayAsYouGo card in and use it in any country on holiday,
I made the mistake of buying the Samsung Galaxy Watch and the first bill was well over £100 as they charge whatever they like with a e-Sim, I sent Samsung Galaxy Watch back to EE and bought the Huawei Watch 2 Sport 4G, At the moment I have a ASDA Sim Card in it Which I put on £5.00 every 6 Months,
It is a Android Wear Watch and fully compatible with all Android Phones, I removed the cheap Watch Strap and replaced it with a Black Ceramic, And now use the Watch to pay for all my Contactless Payments through its NFC and Android Pay, What a great watch.
thanks for your feedback Gary! Will take this into account when we update this piece.
I second the eSIM comment. I have the Galaxy Watch LTE, with eSIM and my phone provider cannot even support that, even if I wanted to pay extra for the service.
Its so hard to buy a smart watch with a Sim card slot and allow google pay? Why is that? And can you recommend a watch that has both these.
Most wearOS watches fit the bill Phil!
Can I use a smartwatch with sim-card without owning a phone? That is the watch having its own phone number?
Can I use a smartwatch with sim-card without owning a phone? That is the watch having its own phone number? Witch brands and models are there?