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The best LTE smartwatches

These smartwatches don't need a phone to keep you connected.
By

Published onJanuary 10, 2024

Apple Watch Series 9
MSRP: $399.00
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Positives
Powerful new S9 chipset
Brighter AMOLED display
Expanded Find My Phone feature
Onboard Siri query processing
Excellent WatchOS 10 updates
Negatives
Key new features not available at launch
Battery life still unimproved
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
MSRP: $299.99
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Positives
Bigger, brighter AMOLED display
Snappy Wear OS 4 software experience
Sporty yet tasteful aesthetic
User-friendly quick-release strap
$100 less than Watch 6 Classic
Negatives
Mostly minor improvements over Watch 5
Unreliable touch bezel
Inconsistent GPS and heart rate data
Some features only available to Samsung phone users
Google Pixel Watch 2 (LTE)
MSRP: $349.99
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Positives
Runs a snappy Wear OS 4
Added and upgraded advanced health sensors
New training features and automatic workout detection
Fast charging alleviates battery woes
Safety Check and other safety features
Negatives
Only available in one size
Some health features feel underbaked
Fitbit app redesign oversimplifies
Flaky GPS recording
Setup isn't seamless
Apple Watch SE (2022)
MSRP: $249.00
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Positives
Great value
Speedy S8 processor
Handy Low Power Mode
A lot to like in watchOS 9
Negatives
No always-on display
Limited screen real estate
No SpO2 sensor
No advanced health tracking features
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
MSRP: $279.99
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Positives
Classy, durable designs
Multiple size options
Good value buy
Negatives
No solid software update commitments from Google
Some features for Samsung phone users only
Slow, slow charging
Garmin Forerunner 945
MSRP: $79.99
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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.

Buying the right smartwatch with 4G LTE

The allure of a smartwatch with cellular connectivity 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.

Do you really need cellular connectivity?

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.

The tangible drawbacks

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.

Android or iOS?

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.

The cost consideration

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 best 4G LTE smartwatches you can buy

  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is the best LTE watch for Android phone users. Samsung’s new Wear OS watch line retains its predecessors’ excellent health sensor suite and adds new hardware and a larger display. It’s the most complete LTE smartwatch package on the market.
  • The Apple Watch Series 9 is the best LTE watch for iPhone users. The Series 9 introduces welcome upgrades to the Series 8 experience, including onboard Siri computations.
  • The Google Pixel Watch 2 is the best Fitbit LTE smartwatch (sort of). The second edition Google watch keeps its Fitbit integration but upgrades all the hardware that matters.
  • The Apple Watch SE 2 is the best Apple LTE smartwatch for those on a budget. It trades several health features for its lower price, but that’s worth it if smart features are more important to you.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the best affordable LTE smartwatch option for Android users. It might be two generations old, but it still feels surprisingly current, even in 2024.
  • The Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE is the best purpose-built running watch with LTE support. The Forerunner 945 LTE is also the only Garmin smartwatch with LTE connectivity.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6: The best 4G LTE smartwatch for Android users

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
AA Recommended
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Bigger, brighter AMOLED display • Snappy Wear OS 4 software experience • Sporty yet tasteful aesthetic
MSRP: $299.99
Bigger and better.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 brings the best of Wear OS 4 and Samsung's smartwatch features to the table. A large display and full Samsung Wallet app make the Watch 6 a powerful standalone device, while integration with Samsung phones makes the Watch 6 a valuable part of your Galaxy ecosystem.

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.

A Galaxy Watch 6 Classic user checks their sleep tracking data.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Pros

  • Elegant design and build materials
  • Running the latest Wear OS build
  • Bright, vibrant AMOLED display
  • Robust, snappy software experience

Cons

  • Only minor upgrades over Watch 5
  • Imperfect heart rate data
  • Disappointing battery life
  • Some features only work with Samsung phones

Apple Watch Series 9: The best 4G LTE smartwatch for iPhone users

Apple Watch Series 9Apple Watch Series 9
AA Editors Choice
Apple Watch Series 9
Powerful processor • Upgraded display with 2000 nit brightness • Gesture controls and Siri features
MSRP: $399.00
Apple's most convenient smartwatch
The new S9 chip makes the Apple Watch Series 9 the most capable, and battery friendly Apple watch to date. Enjoy improved security, improved functionality in low-connectivity situations, and improved health tracking. Introducing new Double-Tap gesture.

The Apple Watch Series 9 finally brings some welcome feature additions to the wearable line. It keeps all the polish introduced by the Series 8, and introduces a new chipset enabling onboard Siri computations, a brighter display, and a Double-Tap gesture, allowing users to control the watch with a click of their fingers.

If you’re away from your router, the LTE Series 9 can stream content to your paired Bluetooth audio equipment, receive and place calls and messages, and use Apple’s Walkie-Talkie smarts. Notably, onboard Siri means that without LTE service, the device can still process voice assistant tasks on your watch.

Beyond specs, the Series 9 introduces a new colorway to the Apple Watch party — pink.

An Apple Watch Series 9 displays the app screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Pros

  • Powerful new S9 chipset
  • Brighter AMOLED display
  • Expanded Find My Phone feature
  • Onboard Siri query processing
  • Excellent WatchOS 10 updates

Cons

  • Key new features not available at launch
  • Battery life still unimproved

Google Pixel Watch 2: The best Fitbit LTE smartwatch

Google Pixel Watch 2Google Pixel Watch 2
Google Pixel Watch 2
Runs a snappy Wear OS 4 • Added and upgraded advanced health sensors • Fast charging alleviates battery woes
MSRP: $349.99
Wear OS 4, advanced health sensors, and upgraded training features elevate the Pixel Watch 2
The Google Pixel Watch 2 retains the first model's successful features and refines several of the original's shortcomings. Added sensors, upgraded training tools, and a few key changes suggest a more finished product. Google's Wear OS 4 runs flawlessly, while advanced health tools from Fitbit join the lineup.

The Pixel Watch 2 isn’t a Fitbit by name, but it’s the best wearable with Fitbit integration and LTE money can buy.

Google’s second-edition smartwatch finally hits the right note, upgrading all the internals that matter from a much-improved wellness tracking loadout to a lighter build and more efficient chipset. The latter makes for a marked improvement in processing speed and battery life, increasing the wearable’s LTE uptime.

When looks alone matter, it’s a gorgeous wearable with a striking aesthetic, while it’s a more than competent fitness watch, packing a cEDA stress sensor, an ECG for heart health, and a skin temperature sensor to boot.

A Google Pixel Watch 2 displays the watch face.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Pros

  • Runs a snappy Wear OS 4
  • Added and upgraded advanced health sensors
  • New training features and automatic workout detection
  • Fast charging alleviates battery woes
  • Safety Check and other safety features

Cons

  • Only available in one size
  • Some health features feel underbaked
  • Fitbit app redesign oversimplifies
  • Flaky GPS recording
  • Setup isn’t seamless

Apple Watch SE 2: The best affordable 4G LTE smartwatch for Apple users

Apple Watch SE (2022)Apple Watch SE (2022)
AA Recommended
Apple Watch SE (2022)
Great value • Handy Low Power Mode • Excellent processor and software
MSRP: $249.00
Apple's budget-friendly lineup packs all the tools the average user really needs
With unrivaled app support, detailed fitness tracking, and improved sleep monitoring, the SE 2022 is a great entry point into the Apple ecosystem. It trades a few advanced health sensor for a more affordable price tag, but still offers all the essential features most shoppers want.

While the Series 9 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.

An Apple Watch SE 2 rests on a tan surface displaying the quick panel menu.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Pros

  • Great value, priced lower than original model
  • Speedy S8 processor
  • Handy Low Power Mode
  • Color-matched back panel
  • Runs on the Series 9’s software
  • Much improved sleep tracking

Cons

  • Still no always-on display
  • Limited screen real estate
  • No SpO2 sensor
  • No advanced health tracking features

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: The best affordable 4G LTE smartwatch for Android users

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
AA Editors Choice
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Classy, durable designs • Multiple size options • Good value buy
MSRP: $279.99
Even if you aren't a huge Samsung fan, you'll find a lot to like.
Samsung and Google combined forces to improve the software situation with smartwatches on Android. The result is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, running a co-developed Wear OS. The standard Galaxy Watch 4 is for the sportier crowd, while the Watch 4 Classic is for those who'd like a watch they can wear to the office.

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.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Modern Minimalist Face
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Pros

  • Classy, durable designs
  • Multiple size options
  • Runs the latest Wear OS build
  • Large models have decent battery life
  • Improved heart rate sensor
  • Useful body composition metrics

Cons

  • Slow, slow charging
  • Poor GPS performance
  • Sleep tracking needs tweaking
  • Small models have short battery life

Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE: The best smartwatch with LTE for runners

Garmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 945
Garmin Forerunner 945
Reliable GPS • Extensive training and recovery features • 36-hour battery life in GPS mode
MSRP: $79.99
A feature-packed triathlon watch from a trusted brand
Garmin's Forerunner series devices are among the top watches available for runners. The Forerunner 945 LTE offers all the best of Garmin's feature set, plus real-time location tracking and incident detection, without your phone on hand. Gear up for races and runs with an accurate GPS, stored music, built-in maps, and more, all right on your wrist.

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.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is the represents the best multisport option from Garmin.
Garmin

Honorable mentions

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

  • Apple Watch Ultra 2 ($759.99 at eBay): The second-generation Ultra takes the best of the original model, slaps on onboard Siri computations and the Double-Tap gesture feature, and presents the most feature-packed wearable Apple has ever made. If you want an LTE watch for hiking and trail running, this is it.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 ($264 at Amazon): Samsung’s older Tizen flagship may still be an attractive alternative for those with iPhones seeking a device with better battery life and a round face.
  • HUAWEI Watch 3 Pro ($80 at Amazon): The HUAWEI Watch 3 Pro is another older watch, but it’s an intriguing alternative for those in Europe who value battery life and aesthetics over fitness tracking and app support.

FAQs

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.

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