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We live in an age of connectivity where everything from our smartphones to our household appliances are capable of connecting and communicating with other tech in order to make daily life as convenient as possible. It’s no surprise, then, that smartwatches are no different. In fact, there are smartwatches that use the LTE network and all the benefits of 4G without having to connect with your handhelds.
It can be difficult to find watches capable of great 4G LTE performance without falling into the trap of buying very high-end models when that may not be necessary. We’ve done the homework for you, gathering five great examples of 4G LTE smartwatches from across the pricing spectrum for you to consider.
We’ve also written a small buyers’ guide and FAQ, a handy tool for those of you who may need to brush up on your jargon, which can also help you find the best deals since we’ll outline which features to look out for in a good smartwatch.
In a hurry?
This is our Winner!
Need to get connected ASAP? For those of you in a hurry, let us show you our top product so you can check it out and go about your day. We chose the TicWatch Pro 4G LTE Cellular Smartwatch because of its great features and trademarked tech designed to improve your lifestyle. See why we chose it below:
Verizon phone plan users can use this watch as they would a cellular device, and it can last 18 hours to five days.
Trademarked tech like TicPulse and TicSleep monitor your heart rate and sleep patterns.
Can withstand accidental water contact thanks to its IP68 rating.
Best LTE Smartwatch - Comparison Table
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Best LTE Smartwatch - Reviews
Our first watch is the TicWatch Pro 4G LTE Cellular Smartwatch, which is as good a name as any given what we’re on the search for. It’s drowning in brand-specific features that make it a great cellular smartwatch, as well as a competent watch in general.
This watch works with Verizon phone plans to enable you to not only make calls and texts, but also sync notifications, stream music, and even control smart home appliances once activated via their My Verizon app. The catch is, of course, that you’re required to have a Verizon phone plan. They may be the largest provider here in the US, but it won’t be suitable for everyone.
As we already mentioned, the TicWatch Pro benefits from brand-specific tech like TicPulse and TicSleep that help with day to day lifestyle management. TicPulse is a heart rate monitoring function that can warn of abnormal heart behavior, whilst the TicSleep app is a sleep study app that can take a look at your sleeping patterns, movement during sleep, etc. if you leave it on when you go to bed.
What this entry can boast over our number one product is the fact that its battery is pretty good considering its features and its mid-range pricing. It’s easy for smartwatches to suffer in the battery department since they get loaded with features and used often, but this watch can last about 18 hours during cellular use and two to five days on other power settings.
It’s a durable watch at 810G military standard endurance rating and is rated IP68 which means that it’ll face any accidental water contact it’ll get through and come out fine.
The second watch we have on the list is one from a brand that many people know and love, it’s the Apple Watch Series 5, and it’s a version that includes improved cellular capabilities.
The Apple Watch 5 already has so many connectivity options, including app connections for pretty much any handheld you can think of, but what earned the Apple Watch’s place on this list is the fact that this is the “with cellular” option. This means it can take advantage of 4G LTE, and use it to make calls, send text messages, and stream Apple Music without your iPhone being present.
The screen of the Series 5 is also 30% larger than the previous models, which is cool, but the cellular version makes that feature much more useful as it becomes easier to read and write text messages on the watch.
This watch also uses optical and electrical heart sensors, like an ECG with a connected app, that checks your heart’s rhythm and electrical activities. This can serve as a monitor of your overall health and stress but is also useful for those into fitness too.
They work in tandem with an SOS system that can detect sharp stops or periods of unusual stillness during certain activities where those things shouldn’t be happening, i.e. bicycling. So, what does it do then? The system will send out calls to nominated emergency contacts, which can include the emergency services, until somebody answers.
Like any smartwatch worth its weight, the Apple Watch 5 has GPS capability too, and a built-in compass so you always know where you stand. It’s also swim proof, being rated as being able to function down to 50 meters below water. That isn’t a challenge for you to prove though, hence why we’re saying it’s alright for a light swim to be on the safe side.
It also has GPS capability with a built-in compass so that you’ll always know exactly where you are, and is swim-proof, meaning that it’s waterproof for a given period of time and so should withstand any water it’ll come across.
The battery performance is lackluster, especially in comparison to the other features of this watch, so that may be something to be aware of if you’re shopping for longevity.
Our third smartwatch capable of 4G LTE is actually the only product in their catalogue that has this functionality. Garmin is a very reputable name when it comes to smartwatches, but the Garmin Vivoactive 3 remains (for now) their only foray into LTE capability.
This watch is a collaboration with Verizon Wireless and so, once connected with your Verizon plan, the watch will enable you to send and receive text messages. Provided you have premium music streaming service subscriptions, you can download and stream music from the watch too. Once again, you’ll need a Verizon phone plan for this one.
It’s intended as a sports and fitness smartwatch, as is Garmin’s forte, and it shows with this watch’s GPS capabilities and the fact that it comes preloaded with 15 sports apps that help you to hone your exercise routines. It even has a safety feature of its own with an incident detection system that will send your location to emergency contacts, separate from the phone function.
There’s also the Garmin Pay app that exists to make your day to day life a bit more convenient by allowing you to use the Vivoactive 3 to make contactless payments at supported establishments.
Our fourth watch is the Allcall GT 4G LTE Smartwatch, an LTE-capable watch that can take SIM cards in order to achieve cellular functions. It also has Bluetooth which can help you connect to Bluetooth headsets and listen to music.
You get that music by using this watch’s large 32GB memory storage to install your favorite apps like YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook, as well as music apps, obviously. When those apps are open, they operate off of 3GB of RAM to run as smoothly as possible.
What sets this watch apart from many of the others is the fact that it has two cameras built into it, too. These can be used to take pictures, which will store on the watch, but their primary use is for facial recognition to stop intruders from trying to enter your phone.
The watch itself is rated to IP67, a modest but capable waterproof rating that should protect the watch through the water you come across in the day to day.
Our last product on this list is the Smart Touch ST66 4G LTE Smart Watch. It’s a multifunction watch that uses its connectivity to allow for real-time notifications, but can make texts and calls with no phone present. These features, particularly the texts, are helped by this watch’s 1.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen.
It’s capable of monitoring your fitness and health activities with pedometers and calorie counters, and also monitors your sleep so that you can better your sleeping habits. It’s waterproof at IP67, which only means that it can survive a meter of water for approximately half an hour.
There are a few ratings and they’re split, hence why it finds itself at the bottom of this list. The battery life also seems to be lackluster, lasting from a quarter to a half day when in use and tending towards the former.
Best LTE Smartwatch - Buyers Guide
How to pick the best LTE smartwatch
Due to the nature of LTE smartwatches, they’re packed with features that can be confusing to the uninitiated. Don’t worry, this buyers’ guide exists to explain different functions of these watches, and why they may be desirable or undesirable. This way you can break products down by their feature qualities yourself to make smarter purchases. We’ll be explaining LTE compatibility, tracking features, downloadable apps, waterproofness, and battery life.
As seen with our top product in this list, not all watches are compatible with all data plans. Whether it’s agreed-upon exclusivity or an appeal to the market majority, some smartwatches will only work with data plans for the most popular network carriers in the States. This means that if you’re with a relatively obscure service you may have some trouble. That said, whilst smartwatches from well-known brands may have compatibility issues, there are many watches that will work with any network carriers.
These are features like pedometers, calorie counters, running route GPS tracking, heart rate monitors, and sleep study capabilities. They’re more important for those who are buying purely on the basis of fitness or general health, but we’d say they’re still a good thing to have in any smartwatch. You can count these features to generally discern how high-end the watches you’re looking at are.
Higher-end models will have storage and RAM memory specs listed. This is because they’re capable of downloading content from stores such as the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store, from novelty apps to apps that contain maps, streaming service music, and contactless payments. It’s not unusual for smartwatches to have apps preloaded too, especially if they’re a fitness watch.
Smartwatches can be a considerable investment, so you’ll want to make sure your watch can face against the elements they’ll be subjected to when worn frequently. Probably the most common and dangerous is water, but luckily a lot of smartwatches are waterproof to some degree. Those degrees are usually either 3 or 5 ATM, and IP67 or 68, and either one will help your watch resist water damage.
5 ATM means that the watch can withstand 50 meters below the surface of the water before damage is sustained, whereas 3 ATM is weaker. No matter the rating, we wouldn’t recommend tempting fate by immersing it. Just know that these ratings make the watch splash-proof and able to temporarily survive being submerged by accident.
Last but certainly not least, battery life for smartwatches often depends on how often and hard you use the watch. We recommend watches with power settings so that you have more control over your battery. It shouldn’t be hard to find smartwatches with different power modes, they’re very common in today’s market. When buying, pay attention to the numbers given on the product page since there’ll often be several based on the power settings.
Battery life tends to suffer in mid-ranges since the smartwatches have weaker batteries but many of the great features of their high-end counterparts that drain said batteries faster. This isn’t a problem with the lower or higher end watches as much, but there’s very few LTE smartwatches that would be considered low-end.
Smartwatches with long battery life are also ideal for usage by children.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does LTE stand for?
LTE is a telecommunications abbreviation that means Long Term Evolution and is a standard for wireless broadband communications. It increases the capacity and speed of these communications. Not all LTE is technically 4G, often instead called 3.95G since it falls just short, but on the market it’s usual to see 4G and LTE paired together.
Do LTE smartwatches need data plans?
LTE smartwatches aren’t dependent on your handheld devices for their features, but instead they work independently of your phones by linking to your data plan. This means that if you want your smartwatch to mimic your phone, you’ll need to do two things. First, you’ll need to link your phone number to the watch, and then you’ll have to be connected to a network carrier.
Do SIM cards need to be switched over?
Not often, no. There are smartwatches that can come with their own SIM cards but most simply use irremovable eSIMs housed in the watches themselves. This is because it’s simpler, not to mention handy because they’re smaller and allow you to efficiently share your number and data through the use of software instead of suffering through tedious physical cards and ejector trays.