Can a Smartwatch work without a Phone?

The creator of this post has chosen the Apple Watch Series 6 as the best smartwatch that works well without the need for a paired smartphone.

Owning a smartwatch has a lot of benefits, you could, for example, receive an incoming message on your smartphone and have that message received to your smartwatch at the same time.

In this way, you could easily take a look at your watch to see what came in and not have to take out your smartphone every time you receive a message.

But wouldn’t it be nice if you could use your smartwatch without having to carry your smartphone all the time?

I was asking myself the same question and I decided to look for the possibilities.

This is what I found.

A smartwatch can definitely work without having it to be paired with your phone. Examples of features that would work on most devices without having paired connection to your smartphone are activity tracking, an altimeter, a barometer, a pedometer, a thermometer, setting alarms, checking your calendar and checking the time. If you, for example, would like to be able to receive or make calls from your wrist, then a standalone smartwatch will be needed, which will have a built-in cellular radio that can connect to 3G or LTE and can operate on a SIM card, which could be a software-based eSIM or a SIM card that you can just plug-in into your smartwatch.

The Best Smartwatches For Women And Men



* Great For Women *

  • The smartwatch comes with a GPS.

  • It can monitor your heart rate.

  • It comes with Amazon Alexa built-in.

* Great For Women *

  • The smartwatch runs on Wear OS.

  • The display is 1.19-inches.

  • Has 4 GB of internal storage.

* Great For Women *

  • The display is 1.28-inches.

  • Has 8 GB of internal storage.

  • The smartwatch runs on Wear OS.

* Great For Men *

  • The smartwatch comes with a GPS.

  • It comes with an ECG-monitor.

  • It can be used to track your daily fitness routine.

* Great For Men *

  • The display is 1.4-inches.

  • Has 4 GB of internal storage.

  • The watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters.

* Great For Men *

  • It can monitor your heart rate.

  • You can make contactless payments with this watch.

  • This smartwatch has 1.2-inches.


Quick Navigation

What Is A Standalone Smartwatch?

What Does The Abbreviation LTE Stand For And What Does It Mean?

What Is An eSIM?

What Are The Pros Of Choosing A Standalone Smartwatch?

What Are The Cons Of Choosing A Standalone Smartwatch?

Examples Of Reliable Standalone Smartwatch Models And At Least One Key Feature Per Model

Examples Of Standalone Smartwatch Models That Claim To Be Reliable And At Least One Key Feature Per Model

Examples Of Helpful Standalone Smartwatch Apps

Can I Use Navigation On My Smartwatch Without My Smartphone Being Connected?

Will The Standalone Smartwatch Be Able To Fully Replace Your Smartphone In The Future?

A standalone smartwatch is basically a smartphone on your wrist because the functionalities that a smartphone can offer are equal to what a standalone smartwatch can do.

Initial pairing the smartwatch to your smartphone is necessary for most devices, but when that’s done the smartwatch will be able to operate on a SIM card.

This could be a software-based eSim or a SIM card you could plug-in into your smartwatch.

Connecting to a 3G or 4G network should be no problem with the SIM card in place and with a connection to the internet, you could browse websites everywhere you want.

Besides this, they are able to update you about incoming messages or notifications, can be used to answer incoming calls and make calls yourself.

There are standalone apps available that you can install on your smartwatch, which will add a lot more functionality to your watch, whilst not having a smartphone with you.

Examples of standalone apps will be covered further in this article.

If you decide to give the standalone smartwatch a try, I would recommend you to choose the same carrier that you are currently using for your smartphone, because in this way the two devices will be able to work the best together.

When you leave the phone behind, you’ll have to make sure that the watch is linked to the same mobile number that you use for your phone.

Otherwise, you will not receive the calls on your smartwatch when somebody is calling you on your smartphone.

The mobile network operator EE knew as “Everything Everywhere” is an example of a company which is using smart number technology.

With this technology, you’ll be able to not only use your mobile number on just your phone, but also on other devices including your smartwatch.

Besides it being a standalone smartwatch, it will work just like a normal smartwatch when it’s connected with your phone and you’ll still have to sync the watch to the phone on a regular basis.

An example of a standalone smartwatch (Apple Watch Series 3).

The term LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution”, which is a 4G wireless broadband standard.

Having a higher bandwidth, which LTE offers basically means better connection speeds, which is more suitable for applications that require high connection speeds.

4G LTE has many times been declared as the real potential of any 4G network.

The maximum download speed for LTE is 100 megabits per second.

Previous 4G networks like WiMax are already replaced by LTE and it is at least 10 times faster than a 3G network.

Some notable improvements compared to older wireless broadband standards are: increased upload time and download speeds, greater support for mobile devices, the latency between data transfers are lower, more devices are able to connect to an access point at a certain time, LTE is more beneficial for watching streams and your voice will be more clear during a call.

If you would like to be able to use LTE on your smartwatch, then make sure the watch is LTE compatible.

The word eSIM is short for embedded SIM, which basically means that the SIM card is built-in into your device.

Which is very nice, because you won’t have to carry a SIM ejector around with you all the time.

The Apple Watch Series 3 and the Samsung Gear S2 are examples of watches that have a built-in eSIM.

Some noticeable benefits that eSIM offers are: a smaller size compared to the size of a normal SIM card and sharing your number between your phone and watch have become more efficient because it’s done through software.

If you’re interested in an article that covers more smartwatches that have a built-in eSim then you can check out the following article: “The 6 Best Smartwatches With A Built-in eSIM In 2022“.

Access to functions that would normally require the watch to be paired with your smartphone

Having to dig into your pocket for your smartphone is history with a smartwatch and even with a standalone smartwatch, you won’t have to bring your phone at all.

Even streaming music while your exercising could be done without needing to carry a smartphone with you.

A cellular connection provides internet all over the world

You virtually could be at any place in the world watching your favorite YouTuber newest video, just like you would with your smartphone.

Top brands like Apple and Samsung offer 4G LTE connectivity for lightning fast internet

4G LTE is definitely fast enough to use apps, watch videos and stream music.

A standalone smartwatch is like having a smartphone on your wrist

The watch will allow you to receive messages, watch YouTube videos, look at incoming emails, keep track of notes, make and receive normal calls and video calls and browse websites wherever you are.


The battery life of the standalone smartwatch

The cellular radio and antennas in the standalone smartwatch will drain a decent amount of battery.

The need to recharge your smartwatch on a daily basis can be a hassle for some people.

Cellular service costs for the standalone smartwatch

For the watch to be able to work with a cellular connection, you’ll need a separate voice and data plan to be able to call and receive messages.

The costs of the standalone smartwatch itself

A standalone smartwatch will most likely be more expensive than a normal smartwatch because it offers more functionalities.

A fully independent watch is not possible yet

The keyboard on the small touchscreen isn’t ideal, which probably makes you decide to go for voice recognition instead.

Unfortunately, voice recognition isn’t perfectly working yet as well. Besides that, the watch will still have to connect to your smartphone from time to time.

The design

You want to do the same things that a smartphone can do with your smartwatch, which would most likely lead to bigger touch screens because most smartwatch screens are too small to comfortably go through a certain website.

This will cause the watch to be bigger as well and not everybody is going to enjoy that as much.

Unfortunately, not all devices that are showing LTE in their specifications are reliable, so always make sure before you buy, to read reviews about the device and look for data that testers have published.

Here are some models that are reliable standalone smartwatches considering reviews I’ve read.

Apple Watch Series 3

You’ll be able to give directions to Siri with your voice and you’re smartphone should be at least an iPhone 6 to set it all up.

Every model newer than the iPhone 6 will obviously work too.

Apple Watch Series 4

In comparison with the Apple Watch Series 3, this model has a slightly larger display, the bezel is thinner, the screen curves around the edges and the processor is twice as fast.

LG GizmoGadget

A great option for older kids and teenagers. The battery is able to last for 8 days while being on standby and with GPS turned on the battery lasts for about 12 hours.

LG Watch Sport

With voice commands you’ll be able to call anybody you like and a SIM card can be plugged in.

LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition

Some noticeable differences compared to the 1st edition are that it now can monitor your heart rate and the storage is upgraded to 4GB.

Neptune Hub

This one comes with both a standalone smartwatch and a “pocket screen”, where the pocket screen works just like a smartphone.

Choosing for the hub could be great if you don’t have a smartphone yet or if you are looking for a good combination.

If you however already have a smartphone that doesn’t necessarily need replacing then the Neptune Hub might not be for you.

Neptune Pine

It has a VGA camera that’s facing the front and the rear camera is five megapixel. With both the cameras you can make high-quality videos and pictures.

Omate Rise

There is support for Amazon’s Alexa, which means that you can give it voice commands that will be carried out by the watch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Noticeable differences with the older Samsung Gear S3 Frontier model are a larger battery capacity and a newer processor.

Samsung Gear S

Browse the web from your wrist, take calls, send texts and it comes with a lot of different fitness tracking features to help you with your workout.

Samsung Gear S2

This model is an example of a watch that has a built-in eSIM and can be wirelessly charged.

Samsung Gear S2 Classic

A noticeable feature is the built-in photo viewer and the watch is able to be purchased in the following colors: black, 18K rose gold, platinum and with a ceramic bracelet.

Samsung Gear S3 Classic

Compared to the Samsung Gear S2 Classic, this one has a slightly larger screen size and comes with GPS.

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

Also comes with GPS, has a built-in eSIM and is only available in black.

ZTE Quartz

Is dust and water resistant. Besides these features, it can be on standby mode for 24 hours when you start with a full battery.

For the following models I haven’t read any reviews, but they should be great standalone smartwatches.

So, here they are.

AllCall W1

The watch has a resolution of 400×400 pixels and a quad-core processor.

AllCall W2

It’s waterproof for up to 50 meters and comes in the colors dark gray and silver.

Asus ZenWatch 3

Is able to be fully charged in a little less than 30 minutes.

Bakeey I5S

Support for the following features: recording a video, use as a remote control and monitor your sleep.

BLOCKS Modular Smartwatch

The model is packed with fitness tracking, GPS and a heart rate monitor.

Burg 12

Comes with a 4GB micro SD card to store your music.

Burg 31

Has a built-in media player and GPS to lead your way.

Burg Neon 16A

This watch is compatible with both Android and IOS.

DIGGRO DI06 Smartwatch

It has an intern storage of 16GB and a 2.0 MP HD camera.

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Comes with a built-in compass and a wrist heart rate meter.

Huawei Watch 2

Uses Near Field Communication (NFC), which brings you the possibility to wirelessly pay with your watch.

Huawei Watch 2 Classic

The display on this watch has Corning Gorilla Glass for protection.

InWatch Z

You can capture high-quality photos and videos with the built-in 5.0 MP camera.

KingWear KW88

The watch can last for up to two days, but it would require normal usage.


It has a 2.0 MP camera and the screen size is 1.3 inch.


This one is waterproof and has an internal storage of 16GB.


The screen size is 1.54 inch and a SIM card can be inserted.

LG Watch Urbane

You’ll be able to respond to incoming text messages with your voice.

LooK watch

The heart rate monitor can be used during workouts to keep track of your heart rate.

Microwear H5

On the front of the screen is a camera, which is great for having a video conversation.

Omate Truesmart

The battery can last up to four days and the model is waterproof.


The device supports a micro SD card up to 32GB and the device itself weighs 50 grams.


The following sensors are built-in: vibration functionality, proximity sensor, gyro sensor, and the accelerometer.

Samsung Gear Fit 2

A great watch for people that love sports, it has an activity tracker and the screen is 1.5 inch.

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro

The watch has a built-in step and calorie counter.

Scinex SW20

It can last for two days on a full battery and if you like larger watches, then this one could be for you.

Scinex SW30

The watch has a Cortex-A7 quad-core processor, which makes the watch quite fast.

Sony Smartwatch 3

You can charge the watch wirelessly and it’s water and dust resistant.

Spice Dual-SIM Smart Pulse

The watch band is interchangeable and the watch itself has a squarish shape.

UnaliWear Kanega Watch

The watch can use GPS to help you find your destination.

Xiaomi Huami Amazfit Bip

The watch weighs 32 grams and the resolution is 176×176 pixels.

Xinyi X01S

It has a dual-core processor and a gravity sensor.

Zeblaze THOR 4

In about an hour the battery can be charged by 75% and it supports Bluetooth music.


The watch has a 2.0 MP built-in camera and it comes in the black color.

Standalone apps are apps that work independently of a phone.

Coming up are the standalone apps that I would recommend.


Provides you with daily weather forecasts to inform you if you need that umbrella today or not.

Facebook Messenger

You’ll be able to send quick replies to your Facebook friends through typing and voice commands.

Pulse SMS

An example of a messaging app that lets you create group chats with your friends.


This fitness tracking app is able to monitor distance, elevation, pace and the number of calories burned during a workout.

Seven Minute Workout

A great workout app that provides you with animated guides on how to perform your chosen workout.

Once you get the hang of it you won’t even have to look at your watch anymore and the watch will vibrate to keep you informed when you should stop to take a break or move on to your next workout.


An alternative app to Google Fit, which can be used to track your exercises. Two examples of sports you could do are cycling and running.


Is an alternative to Whatsapp and offers a great messaging experience across all your devices.


With the Uber app, you can easily order a ride to wherever you want.

Within the app, you can check the progress of the driver and it will tell you how long the journey to your destination is going to take.

Wear Casts

A podcast app that lets you download and stream podcasts from your wrist.

With the Android Wear version 2.0 and above, you’ll be able to use navigation without needing a connection to your smartphone.

Keep in mind though that your smartwatch is going to require built-in GPS, which is a feature most newer smartwatches support.

Although the smartwatch is getting closer to the functionalities a smartphone offers, it, unfortunately, isn’t quite there yet.

The smartphone has aspects that a smartwatch might not ever be able to offer.

For example, the screen size of a smartphone is way more user-friendly, when it comes to serving the web or typing long text messages.

Also, the batteries of different standalone watches aren’t able to last for long if you are a medium to a heavy user, but with the evolving technology, this might be an easy fix in the coming future.

Personally I’m curious what the future holds for this device, but for now, we just have to wait and see.

The Best Smartwatches For Women And Men



* Great For Women *

  • The smartwatch comes with a GPS.

  • It can monitor your heart rate.

  • It comes with Amazon Alexa built-in.

* Great For Women *

  • The smartwatch runs on Wear OS.

  • The display is 1.19-inches.

  • Has 4 GB of internal storage.

* Great For Women *

  • The display is 1.28-inches.

  • Has 8 GB of internal storage.

  • The smartwatch runs on Wear OS.

* Great For Men *

  • The smartwatch comes with a GPS.

  • It comes with an ECG-monitor.

  • It can be used to track your daily fitness routine.

* Great For Men *

  • The display is 1.4-inches.

  • Has 4 GB of internal storage.

  • The watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters.

* Great For Men *

  • It can monitor your heart rate.

  • You can make contactless payments with this watch.

  • This smartwatch has 1.2-inches.


Wouter is a passionate technology-related blogger who enjoys researching and writing about smartwatch-related topics.

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