The best LTE smartwatches in 2023 - Android Authority

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An LTE or cellular connection on a smartwatch is a surprisingly helpful feature. It can stay connected to the world without a tethered phone and power music streaming, messaging and calls, and emergency features. Many of the best smartwatches boast LTE connectivity, but which are the best for your budget? We round up the best LTE smartwatches you can buy below. Analog Watch With Step Counter

The best LTE smartwatches in 2023 - Android Authority

The allure of an LTE smartwatch on your wrist is clear. The potential of (almost) limitless connectivity without a smartphone will intrigue most. But there are a few things to consider about LTE smartwatches before buying one.

If you constantly have your phone on your person and tethered to your smartwatch, you likely won’t require an LTE watch. However, you might occasionally leave your phone at home or require a secondary emergency device on your wrist. An LTE watch might suit you if you’re in the latter camp.

Despite their clear advantages, cellular-connected watches do have their flaws. They generally use a little more battery than their Bluetooth/Wi-Fi-only counterparts. Thanks to the added components, they may produce more heat and weigh slightly more. In addition, 4G LTE connectivity shouldn’t be the only factor you consider when buying a smartwatch. Smartphone compatibility, battery life, health and fitness tracking kit, and price are all worth considering.

Apple and Samsung dominate the LTE-enabled smartwatch market, offering practically every smart and health-tracking feature you could ever want. Both companies provide slightly cheaper variants of their devices, too. If you’re looking for an LTE smartwatch to pair with your Android phone or iPhone, picking a device from these two companies will serve you well.

Finally, there’s something else you should consider above and beyond a smartwatch’s capabilities. LTE connectivity is usually a costly extra on smartwatches in terms of initial cost and connectivity costs each month, even though this shouldn’t be the case. When looking at your available options, consider any deals carriers offer. The best LTE smartwatches may not be the most economical option over time, especially if your plan is expensive.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 builds on the solid platform of its two Wear OS-powered predecessors. It might flaunt similar stylings to the Galaxy Watch 5 it replaces, but the wearable gains a larger screen, bigger battery, and new watch strap fastening mechanism that makes switching out bands a breeze.

Adding to these aesthetic tweaks, the Galaxy Watch 6 series also gets a more efficient hardware package, making LTE on the watch more performative and efficient. The Galaxy Watch 6 remains an adept fitness tracker, packing plenty of unique features you won’t find on other non-Samsung watches, like body composition and blood pressure monitors. Adding LTE to this only sweetens the deal, allowing users who leave their phone at home to stream music, message contacts, or place and receive calls from their wrists.

The Galaxy Watch 6 series isn’t perfect, though. We experienced sub-par battery life during our review of the returning Classic model. This doesn’t bode well for LTE models in the series. Once again, Samsung is restricting certain features to Samsung phones.

Notably, you can still gain a bigger battery and a more rugged LTE smartwatch with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro for a little more cash.

The Apple Watch Series 8 continues where the Series 7 left off. It doesn’t bring many new big-ticket features, but it does add further polish to an already stellar smartwatch. The Series 8 gets a welcome software boost from watchOS 9, while its skin temperature sensor is the most impactful health tracking inclusion. It informs more accurate fertility cycle and sleep tracking, which makes the Series 8 the best choice for those who menstruate, too.

Battery life gets a boost thanks to Apple’s new low-power mode, but the Series 8 require a charge before much of its competition. Adding LTE connectivity exacerbates this, making the device infinitely more useful. The LTE Series 8 can stream music and podcasts, use Apple’s Walkie-Talkie feature, and place/receive calls and messages. You’ll also get the benefit of Apple’s emergency features.

It’s not strictly a Fitbit, but the Google Pixel Watch is likely the closest we’ll ever get to a Fitbit with LTE. The Pixel Watch is an excellent device in its own right. If you look past its first-generation issues, it’s a beautiful timepiece with a distinctive aesthetic. Although it uses an older chipset, it includes the smoothest Wear OS experience we’ve had thus far. As for its fitness tracking credentials, it leans heavily on Fitbit for tracking activity, monitoring sleep, and general wellness.

The Pixel Watch has plenty of cons as it’s Google’s first foray into the segment. For one, Battery life is below average, especially when lumping LTE into the mix. Speaking of LTE, we’ve heard several reports from users of setup issues with cellular. You might want to ensure your carrier is Pixel Watch-friendly before purchasing one. Finally, some features on the Pixel Watch, like messaging, require your phone to be on even if your watch is connected to an LTE network. It’s a quirk related to Google’s text messaging sync system.

While the Series 8 fails to be truly affordable, the Apple Watch SE 2 excels. For under $300, it’s the best LTE smartwatch you can buy, at least for those in the Apple ecosystem. Best of all, you lose none of the device’s smart abilities like the Walkie-Talkie, calls and messaging, and content streaming.

Affordable products are all about compromise, and Apple has stripped the Watch SE 2 of several health features to bring its price under control. The device lacks an SpO2 sensor, ECG, and skin temperature sensor. With this device, you won’t get any blood oxygen data, heart health information, or more accurate fertility tracking.

If you can look past these issues and can afford the $50 premium over the base model’s price, the Apple Watch SE 2 is a great gateway LTE smartwatch that packs all the essentials.

The Galaxy Watch 4 might be 2021’s flavor, but it’s still a reliable smartwatch. You won’t find too many missing features versus its newer siblings, at least in raw processing power, smart capabilities, and software support. Yes, it lacks the skin temperature sensor and larger battery of the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 6, but those are really the only notable omissions. In reality, these omissions aren’t deal breakers, either.

While the Galaxy Watch 4 LTE launched for $299, you can regularly find it discounted on popular retailers’ sites. If you can find the Galaxy Watch 4 at the right price and opt for the larger model, it’s an excellent budget cellular-capable smartwatch.

Finally, here’s an option for those who love the open road. The Forerunner 945 LTE isn’t Garmin’s latest multisport watch, but it curiously remains the only Forerunner model with cellular connectivity. Despite its age, the 945 LTE remains a competent running and triathlon companion.

Its strength is Garmin’s health tracking and training features, from Body Battery energy management to its Training Readiness algorithm. Training Status and Garmin Coach also help users improve their training regimens, while Training Effect and Recovery Time provide post-workout recommendations. The 945 LTE also packs plenty of features for race day, including built-in mapping and onboard music support.

However, it’s important to mention that this is not an LTE smartwatch in the true sense of the term. You cannot use its cellular smarts to place calls or send messages, or stream music while on the run. Instead, the cellular feature powers Garmin’s live race tracking and reporting system, emergency features, and spectator messaging. It’s a training watch with LTE enhancements.

That’s it for our list of the best LTE smartwatches, but there are plenty of others out there. Find additional recommendations below.

LTE smartwatches, or smartwatches with cellular and data capabilities, are wearables that can connect to the internet without a tethered phone. They’re often pricier than their Wi-Fi-only counterparts but are more useful when not tethered to its companion phone.

LTE on smartwatches is helpful for those who are often without their smartphone and who require data connectivity for emergency features, communication, or content streaming.

The best LTE smartwatches in 2023 - Android Authority

Sports Heart Rate Usually, LTE smartwatches are more expensive, and you’ll likely have to pay an additional monthly connection fee to your carrier.