Tech for your connected self

The best LTE-enabled smartwatches: Apple, LG and more

For when you need to live your standalone life

Smartwatches are now well equipped to help you cut ties with your smartphone, but in most cases you still need to keep the two together in order to remain connected.

Right now, LTE smartwatches are few and far between, but thankfully more are on the horizon. Samsung is expected to return to LTE ways with the Galaxy Watch, while the Huawei Watch 3, Apple Watch Series 4 and perhaps even the rumoured LG Libre should all come packing the feature.

Read this: The best Wear smartwatches you can buy

But maybe you can't wait for those next generation options - so, if you want an LTE smartwatch right now, what's on offer? And which one is best for you? Read on, crazy diamond, so that you too can join the life of a standalone smartwatch wearer.

Apple Watch Series 3

The best LTE-enabled smartwatches: LG, Samsung and more

Apple finally embraced LTE-enabled smartwatches with the Apple Watch Series 3, creating its first standalone Watch experience. Not only can you take calls and get notifications, thanks to that built-in e-SIM, but streaming tunes via Apple Music is also available right from the wrist.

Essential reading: How to get LTE set up and running on Apple Watch Series 3

The Watch builds on the Series 2, with a barometric altimeter for tracking elevation, while also promising a 70% performance improvement - all while staying almost identical in size to older models.

Figures and sales reports have consistently indicated that the LTE element of the Series 3 have proved popular around the globe, helping to tighten Apple's grip on the smartwatch crown. As such, you can expect it to remain a big part of the device moving forward and into the next Apple Watch.

And for a more extended look at how the standalone capabilities work in practice, check out our full Apple Watch Series 3 review.

$399, apple.com | Amazon

LG Watch Sport

The best LTE-enabled smartwatches: LG, Samsung and more

With LTE, GPS and NFC support, the LG Watch Sport was - and still is - the closest Wear OS device to a full smartphone replacement. On top of that, it's also extremely powerful, with a 1.1 Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 and 768MB of RAM. Let's also not forget the 1.38-inch P-OLED display, boasting an impressive 348ppi.

That's right, the LG Watch Sport is still easily the best all-rounder in Google's quiver of Wear smartwatches, despite getting very long in the tooth now. You're getting a pretty complete Wear experience with all the benefits of using the device sans smartphone. On the downside, it's a beefy smartwatch.

Check out our full LG Watch Sport review for more, and, as we mentioned up top, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the release of the LG Libre if you'd rather wait it out.

$329, lg.com | Amazon

Huawei Watch 2

The best LTE-enabled smartwatches: LG, Samsung and more

If an all-rounder like the LG Watch Sport tickles your fancy, but you're little afraid of battery life, then the Huawei Watch 2 is your best bet. In our review, we found battery life on the Watch 2 to be among the best in the Wear world.

There's also a neat Watch Mode that'll extend battery life even further should you need it. And of course, you have all the connectivity you need: NFC and GPS are fully on board and ready to go. One problem: the LTE version is not available in the US.

Check out the full Huawei Watch 2 review for more information. There's also the eSIM-packing Huawei Watch 2 2018 to explore (only available in China, for now), with the Huawei Watch 3 expected to launch sooner rather than later.

$199, huawei.com | Amazon

Samsung Gear S3

The best LTE-enabled smartwatches: LG, Samsung and more

Want something a little different? Samsung's Tizen-powered smartwatch is the answer for you. Not only does the Gear S3 have LTE and GPS, it comes in two different styles. There's the more luxury-looking Classic and the more rugged, outdoorsy Frontier.

Truth be told, you're not going to get as many apps with the Gear S3 as you would with an Apple Watch or Wear device, but Samsung also offers a unique enough control input to allow it to stand out. That bezel, which is generally decorative on other smartwatches, actually rotates. It's the way you interact with the OS. If you're tired of the usual smartwatch interaction methods, and you've got yourself a Samsung phone anyway, the Gear S3 will fit right in for you.

Check out the full Samsung Gear S3 review for more, but be aware that the Galaxy Watch is set to soon replace it as the company's flagship, and LTE support is expected.

$349, samsung.com | Amazon

LG Watch Urbane

The best LTE-enabled smartwatches: LG, Samsung and more

LG's first LTE-enabled smartwatch might also still be one of the best looking. Despite its firmly ancient status, the Watch Urbane still screams premium luxury. You've got a stainless steel case, a crisp P-OLED display and arguably the best looks this side of 4G.

It's not the fastest watch in the world, and it's still chunky despite its handsome good looks, but if you're looking for an LTE watch with some good fashion sensibility you're not going to find anything that works better with your fancy evening wear than this.

You should act quick, though, as stock on this one is running out. As is the case with the newer LG Watch Sport, make sure to keep tabs on the rumored LG watches if you want something a bit more cutting edge.

Here's the LG Watch Urbane review for more information.

$289, lg.com | Amazon


3 comments

  • MM2 says:

    Are any of the devices noted in this article water proof as opposed to water resistant?

    I am an avid swimmer and am looking for a device that I can wear in the pool and track my activity in and out of the pool

    • m.sawh says:

      The Watch Series 3 is waterproof so you can go swimming with it. It's great for swim tracking as well based on our experience

    • yogibimbi says:

      Yes, Wear still doesn't have anything for swimmers if you want to have LTE. And watch out for buttonless watches too. Touchscreens are mostly useless in and near the water, so you will need buttons to operate them. Or a rotating bezel, of course...

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