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Smartwatch without a smartphone?

deputc26

Senior member
Nov 7, 2008
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I made two babies and haven't kept up with tech as much since. My wife wants a smartwatch *without* a smartphone, is this possible on a major carrier? How about on a mvno?

I haven't told her it can't be done yet, because I hope it can be. If this can't be done, is it at least in the works? I'm afraid carriers would hate the idea as it would limit user data usage.

Any up to date info appreciated.
 
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Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
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I made two babies and haven't kept up with tech as much since. My wife wants a smartwatch *without* a smartphone, is this possible on a major carrier? How about on a mvno?

I haven't told her it can't be done yet, because I hope it can be. If this can't be done, is it at least in the works? I'm afraid carriers would hate the idea as it would limit user data usage.

Any up to date info appreciated.
The ones that don't require a phone at all... are the ones you don't want. They tend to be poorly done Android phones crammed into a wrist form factor.

With that said: there are smartwatches where you can leave your phone at home in the right circumstances. Apple Watch Series 3, for instance. Just don't expect to demand as much of it as you would a phone, since there's only so much battery you can fit into them! They're best when you're taking the occasional quick call, replying to a text or streaming some music at the gym.
 

MuchTooSexy

Member
Mar 31, 2014
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you want to look for smartwatches with LTE. they can function while being separated from a smartphone (like if you want to go out jogging), but the expectation is that it will still get to connect on a regular basis.

apple watch is probably the best for iphone users. i suggest the samsung gear s3 for others.
 

Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
8,286
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you want to look for smartwatches with LTE. they can function while being separated from a smartphone (like if you want to go out jogging), but the expectation is that it will still get to connect on a regular basis.

apple watch is probably the best for iphone users. i suggest the samsung gear s3 for others.
That's my thinking -- I was remiss to include an option for Android users. You'd think Android Wear would be best, but Samsung just seems to have a better knack for smartwatch design than Google's partners at the moment.
 

JeffMD

Platinum Member
Feb 15, 2002
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smart watches are required to tether to a phone. However the LTE based watches do not need the phone near it. LTE watches are also not tied to a carrier. Some use a sim card, others like apple watches use a software based ESIM.

LTE watches are still in the gimmick stage though. Battery life is horrid. Sizes are bad. Reception is average to bad. And there are some things not ideal for the tiny screen. Keyboards still suck and forget browsing web sites. What exactly did your wife want to do on the watch?
 

dainthomas

Lifer
Dec 7, 2004
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That's my thinking -- I was remiss to include an option for Android users. You'd think Android Wear would be best, but Samsung just seems to have a better knack for smartwatch design than Google's partners at the moment.
Samsung pay is also better than Android pay, and works really well on my Gear S3.
 

deputc26

Senior member
Nov 7, 2008
548
1
76
The ones that don't require a phone at all... are the ones you don't want. They tend to be poorly done Android phones crammed into a wrist form factor.
But there are ones that don't require a phone at all? I haven't seen any, could you list a couple?

To the many noting that that there are smartwatches with LTE that can be separated from a phone but still require a phone, I'm aware of these. I'm looking to see if there are smartwatches that don't require a phone *at all.*
 

Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
8,286
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But there are ones that don't require a phone at all? I haven't seen any, could you list a couple?

To the many noting that that there are smartwatches with LTE that can be separated from a phone but still require a phone, I'm aware of these. I'm looking to see if there are smartwatches that don't require a phone *at all.*
The quintessential example was the Neptune Pine. Unfortunately, it's largely representative of the completely independent smartwatches released since -- it's big, bulky and requires all kinds of compromises. I've seen some smaller Chinese devices that claim to be independent, but they tend to be Apple Watch knock-offs with poor specs (slow MediaTek chips and tiny amounts of built-in storage) and hacked-together interfaces. Look for "Android smartwatch" on Amazon and you'll see some of them.

The problem, as I see it, is that doing a truly independent smartwatch well is difficult. You need a device sized like a conventional watch, but with good performance and a battery that can last all day on cellular. You need an interface that's genuinely well-suited to your wrist, but powerful enough that you can easily handle most common tasks without needing a phone. And we're not there yet -- truly well-made smartwatches don't have the battery life or full independence, while the watches that are independent don't have the performance or the interface.

Right now, the best solution is a cellular-equipped watch that lets you leave your phone at home at least some of the time... say, when you're working out or just want to make a quick trip to the store. It'll be a few years before you can always leave your phone at home or ditch the phone entirely.
 
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JeffMD

Platinum Member
Feb 15, 2002
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Looks like Gear 3 can be set up without a cell phone (android phones must be paired after a clean boot), but they have no app manager so you are stuck with almost no apps until you do synch with a phone.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,038
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Maybe just tell her that she's nuts for not wanting a PHONE? How is she existing in the modern world? Smartphones don't have to be expensive, there are options under $100 a year for phone AND service through Tracfone/etc, though at that price point it's a piddly low data rate so you'd want to do as much as possible through wifi.
 

zerogear

Diamond Member
Jun 4, 2000
5,615
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The Frontier is the one that has a sim and make calls. Classic is BT only and needs your phone.
 
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WhiteNoise

Senior member
Jun 22, 2016
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I know this thread is older now but I just wanted to comment. The wife and I both have an Apple Watch series 3 LTE. They are fantastic. I have owned several smart watches starting with the Moto 360 and the Apple watch 3 is by far so much better. I get over a day per charge. I usually place it on the charger at bed time and it normally has around 40+% battery life left. The downside is I do have to charge it daily but I can easily get through an entire day and then some.

My typical day starts at 6am. The watch is on by 6:30am and I go to bed around 12-1am. That is a good long day and to have 40% or more battery life left is very good compared to most smart watches I have used.

The watch works great on it's own. I have left my phone home and spent a day at work. I never missed my phone. I received all of my calls without issue. We have been having a great experience with it.

I cannot imagine not having a smart phone though. I can get by without things but a smart phone is a requirement for me. A smart watch; even an LTE model IMO is just a companion to a smart phone. It makes things more convenient but is impractical as the only smart device to carry.
 
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BrandonH1987

Junior Member
Jul 9, 2020
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My friend had a similar situation. But still, I don't understand why wouldn't you want a smartphone. He searched for a possible solution, read about every smartwatch that there is out there, but he couldn't find one that would also satisfy his needs. Maybe you should do the same thing as I'm sure your wife needs it for something else. My friend looked on this website called https://findyoursmartwatch.com/ . Anyway, if you don't find anything, I'd suggest you buy a smartphone. It doesn't have to be the newest model on the market. Just one that supports a smartwatch. Talk to your wife, in the end she'l agree.
 
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Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
8,286
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3 years later tech should have gotten better.
Apple is lurching toward this with Family Setup for the Apple Watch, but it seems like it's going to be a while before you can buy any truly viable smartwatch that doesn't require a phone.
 

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