Ah, smartwatches. We’ve covered them aplenty here. However, if you haven’t noticed already, all of them seem to have one common point. That is, their inability to function without the help of a smartphone. This begs the question though, can you use your Smartwatch without a phone? And if so, how?

Yes, you can use your smartwatch without physical access to your phone. However, your smartwatch will need to have cellular connectivity in order to do so. But, your watch will still need to be paired to a phone at ALL times in order for this to function.

So, if you were thinking about going completely phoneless – that still remains a pipe dream. But, we’re going to be mentioning a few products that might satiate your thirst for getting a smartwatch that truly requires no companion.

Using Your Smartwatch Without A Phone

While we’ve shed light on this briefly, there’s a lot of nitty-gritty that needs getting into when it comes to using your smartwatch without a phone. You see, while most companies offer an LTE smartwatch – their functionalities are quite varied depending on the brand.

For example, Apple seems to be the most cognizant of this niche and has therefore implemented quite a few functionalities that you can use even if your phone is not located near you, they are:

  • Listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks
  • Recording and playing voice memos
  • Using transit cards
  • Using find my device, find items
  • Making purchases using Apple Pay,

However, as you’ve seen already – you are not able to receive or make calls through your Apple Watch unless you are on the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone. So, in essence, while you can do a lot – you will still need your phone with you in order to do most of what you can expect.

Samsung, on the other hand, has stepped up its game over the years allowing users to even send and receive calls using their phone’s SIM card if their phone is connected to the internet. However, from our experience, the experience is not exactly very intuitive and does suffer from hiccups. 

With that said, here’s a quick list of all the brands that currently produce LTE-enabled watches that can work without your phone being closeby alongside their overall functionalities:

BrandNotable ModelsFeatures
AppleSeries SE, 6, 7Wi-Fi Calling, Music Playback, Navigation, Using Applications, Contactless Payments (Apple Pay)
SamsungGalaxy Watch 4, Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, Active 3, Gear S3 FrontierCalling and Messages, Music Playback, Navigation, Using Application, Contactless Payments (Samsung Pay)
TicwatchTicwatch Pro 4GCalling and Messages (Verizon only), Data usage, Navigation, Contactless Payments
GarminGarmin Forerunner 945 LTESafety assistance features, live location, audio and text messages

If you were to ask us, we’d go for the Apple Watches if you are planning to use the watch with an iPhone. And, any of Samsung’s offerings for an Android device. While the Ticwatch is a great pickup, it is only restricted to Verizon’s cellular network as of yet which is a big bummer. 

Why Do Smartwatches Always Need A Phone Connection?

Smartwatches are companion devices that are meant to supplement your phone, not replace it. In essence, most of the tasks that you do on a smartphone cannot be replicated on your watch. They simply lack the processing power and the real estate to be able to work as standalone devices.

Therefore, they work as great complementary devices and help you use your phone less. But, besides that, they won’t be acting as independent devices anytime soon. 

Using A Standalone Smartwatch

We aren’t huge fans of standalone smartwatches, most of them are relatively clunky and shy away from the actual essence of a smartwatch. To be clear, the Apple Watch or any Samsung Watch for that matter are not standalone smartwatches.

In essence, while they can receive calls and texts, they are still extremely clunky and run a primitive version of Android in most cases. Since they are independent in their own right, they do not mirror the notifications you get on your phone. But, instead, have their own.

As such, while you might be intrigued with the premise of a standalone smartwatch such as the TICWRIS Android Smart Watch, you are left better off with the above-mentioned options. While they aren’t truly standalone, they do bring in a lot of functionality that you can’t expect from other brands.

Founder & Chief Editor | + posts

I bought my first smartwatch in 2018 and have been wearing one ever since. It might get frustrating at times to receive 100 notifications a day. That's why we need to know how to make the best of them and how to use them to improve our daily lives, not the other way around. I write about the newest smartwatches, I create top picks, and I write helpful guides and simply explain complicated things.