Smartwatches with LTE or 4G capabilities are simply ones that can operate on a cellular network. These are the watches that allow you to stay connected without the presence of your phone. Therefore, smartwatches with LTE technology are often the top choice for fitness enthusiasts (who would rather not carry their phone on a run, bike, or hike) and outdoor-loving people (campers, boaters, climbers, swimmers, etc.). Or, just, overall busy people who are constantly on the go.
Many view LTE watches as a more valuable option. These watches are usually loaded with other features, are often from reliable smartwatch or smartphone brands, and can often replace your phone. Today’s prominent examples are the ever-reigning smartwatch champs of Apple and Samsung, with recent releases such as the Apple Watch Series 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. However, other watch brands now offer these same capabilities and give the top brands a run for their money—brands like Garmin with the 945 LTE, Venu 2 Plus, or the Fossil Gen 5 LTE.
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What can you do with an LTE smartwatch?
As LTE and 4G technology mean a cellular network, an LTE smartwatch allows you to make/receive calls or texts without your phone. But beyond the basic connectivity features, LTE technology on your wrist also lets you download new workout songs while you’re working out, for example, or get new running routes loaded to your watch- all without your phone!
How does LTE work?
Your smartwatch will need to connect to the same LTE network carrier as your smartphone does. Some smartwatches have serious limitations as to which carriers they will connect to. So it is essential to read the fine print on any LTE smartwatch purchase. Here are two ways to get on the cellular networks. One is LTE and a physical SIM card inserted in your watch, and the other is an eSim or embedded sim card.
What is an eSIM and how does it work?
You cannot remove or insert eSIM cards from your watch like regular SIM cards; instead, they are built deep into smartwatches in their motherboards, making it nearly impossible to lose or break them. You would have to lose your entire smartwatch or break your smartwatch to lose or damage the eSIM. This tiny piece of technology takes on your smartphone’s number and its cellular plan. However, you can easily switch over to other providers if you change your phone.
Are LTE smartwatches worth it?
In having LTE technology, a smartwatch will brandish a higher price tag. It will, after all, work as a smartphone, and those don’t come cheap either. Some may see this as unnecessary, as they already have a phone. But once serious and recreational athletes alike workout free of their phones, it is hard for any of them to return to carrying their bulkier phones with them on an adventure.
Can I use LTE watches with it disabled?
Just like your cell phone, smartwatches have the option to turn your mobile data on or off. It is usually a settings option on the watch. This disables you from accessing network features like notifications, music streaming or downloading, or voice calling.
The one main advantage of turning off the LTE is saving the battery. If you’re out for a workout and have a terrible network connection, you can make your watch last longer by disabling LTE.
Do LTE smartwatches work without phones?
You will need a smartphone to set up most smartwatches and fitness trackers today, like Fitbit trackers, or Garmin smartwatches, for example. However, if your watch has an LTE or eSIM connection, it can operate as its own phone and won’t need your smartphone to work. Again, these are the high-end models of smartwatches, like the Apple Watch Series 7 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Some features may also depend on your smartwatch’s storage capabilities too. Storage affects how much music you have on your wrist and how much call or text history you save on your wrist alone.
What features do you get with LTE?
On the popular Apple and Samsung models listed above, the LTE or eSIM advantages are voice calling/receiving, text messaging, emailing, music streaming from apps like Spotify or Apple Music, and you can receive notifications for your social media and gaming apps, too. In Garmin’s newest LTE model, the Forerunner 945, the connectivity powers do all of the above while giving wearers wrist-access to their Incident Detection, LiveTrack, and Assistance features. These safety perks from Garmin are generally available through synching your watch with the Connect App on your phone, but with the Forerunner 945 LTE, all you need is the smartwatch!
When you workout with any LTE smartwatch, you give yourself way more options for workout apps and features on your wrist. These types of watches are one of the best ways to workout, with all that fitness data on your wrist and with no phone weighing you down.
Read more here about how to improve your health and fitness with a smartwatch.
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Bernadette has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (where she lives). She has a passion for writing and we like her contribution and style to our blog. Bernadette loves the outdoors and things like hiking, camping, and biking. Wishing she could travel more.
Bernadette is an editor, writer and proofreader for Superwatches. Currently lives in Alberta Canada.