You are probably thinking, “does a smartwatch with a SIM card slot exist?” And the answer to that is yes. While quite rare due to the complexity and expertise needed to make them, smartwatches with SIM cards are the very pinnacle of wearable tech. Once seen as fictional spy tech in Bond films or science-fiction, like Star Trek, watch-sized communicators and devices are today’s reality with smartwatches. While most are simple health monitors or GPS devices, there are also quite a few smartwatches with sim cards on the market. These make them complete “standalone” smartwatches that are fully functional without needing a smartphone to connect with.
There are a few trustworthy choices when picking a SIM-equipped smartwatch. These choices range from Apple’s tried and tested Apple Watch series, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch series, and from newer brands like Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro. To help pick the best smartwatch with a SIM card for you, here’s our curated list with only trustworthy brands and models!
Inside This Article
- Best Smartwatch With a SIM Card
- Premium Pick – Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm GPS + Cellular model)
- Best Choice – Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE
- Best Value – Samsung Gear S3 Frontier 4G LTE
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (46mm 4G LTE model)
- Apple Watch SE (44mm GPS + Cellular model)
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 (44mm LTE)
- Apple Watch Series 3 (42mm GPS + Cellular model)
- TickTalk 4
- Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE
- Honorable Mentions
- Why a Smartwatch With a SIM Card?
- How to Choose Your Smartwatch With a SIM Card
- Where to Get Your SIM and Data Plans
When choosing the best smartwatch with a SIM card, you have quite a few trustworthy options. There are a lot of cheap smartwatches with eSIMs or SIM slots. Most are, at best, unreliable and, at worst, useless junk. For this list, though, we only picked smartwatches from trustworthy and high-quality makers and brands that are readily available and compatible in the US. We also added what SIM type each device has and a short description of why we like it.
SIM Type: eSIM
The current pinnacle of the Apple Watch is the Series 7. A smartwatch with a SIM card, the cellular model sports an eSIM compatible with most major data carriers in the US. With this full standalone smartwatch, you can take calls, send texts, surf the internet, and stream audio or music. It also has a crack-resistant front crystal display, wireless charging, IP6X dust protection, and most importantly, is swim-proof! Aside from working as a full standalone phone, it also has upgraded health monitoring systems like a blood oxygen sensor, barometer, as well as Sp02 and VO2Max monitors.
SIM Type: eSIM
A smartwatch with a SIM card from a new player in the smartwatch industry, Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE is just the right balance of premium and price. The standalone 2020 model has a maximum of 18 hours of operating time in continuous cellular mode. That may sound like a downgrade from the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3, but cellular smartwatches are understandably more power-hungry than GPS, which is what the previous model is.
The TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE comes pre-loaded with a Verizon eSIM for the US version but has different carriers for their UK and Germany versions. It is IP68-rated swim-proof and dust-proof, and passes military standard grading for MIL-STD-810G like hardy tactical watches.
SIM Type: Physical SIM
Our best value smartwatch with a SIM card choice is Samsung’s Gear S3 Frontier 4G/LTE model. While a bit old now (released 2016), the S3 Frontier is still a useful piece of tech. It has all the basics for a standalone cellular smartwatch and would work just fine for day-to-day needs. This particular model comes with an AT&T SIM pre-installed, but there are also Verizon and T-Mobile versions available.
While it may not last long due to Samsung moving to Google’s WearOS from their Tizen OS, its low cost and reliability make the Gear S3 Frontier 4G LTE a solid choice for the near future.
Related: WearOS vs Tizen OS
SIM Type: eSIM
Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 is available in several configurations; we prefer the 46mm 4G LTE model for this list due to its larger screen size and cellular capability. Conforming to MIL-STD-810G standards, the Watch 4 is IP68 certified and is water-resistant for up to 50 meters. Aside from its full standalone cellular capabilities, it also has the standard features that all smartwatches have — monitors for ECG, Sp02, sleep, and more. If you have an Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the better choice for you instead of our premium pick due to its enhanced compatibility.
SIM Type: eSIM
Albeit being a slightly older model of the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch SE has similar features to the Series 7. It has a slightly smaller (44mm compared to 45mm) case, wireless charging, swim-proof, Bluetooth 5.0, and full standalone capabilities. Basically, the Apple Watch SE is a slightly less feature-complete version of the Series 7. Even with that, the SE is still a good smartwatch and can last a few more years due to its already advanced features when it was first released.
SIM Type: eSIM
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, fitting its title, is made specifically for “active” users. It has several fitness modes and an advanced sensor that consistently monitors your physical activities. Because it has standalone cellular connectivity, you can also keep up with calls and text as well as stream music and even videos.
However, these features are power-intensive and continuous use of them may drain Galaxy Watch Active 2’s battery fast. It has a decent 340 mAh that can power the device in standby mode for more than a day. But, the battery may quickly drop under the always-on display mode.
SIM Type: eSIM
An even older version of our premium choice pick for a smartwatch with a SIM card, the Apple Watch Series 3 is still a good buy in this day and age. After all, it was the first to include cellular capabilities among the Apple Watches. While it was first released back in 2017, the Series 3 still does what is expected of it.
With most of the available Apple Watch 3 units being “refurbished” Apple Watches, it is a great bargain. If you are an Apple user and want a functional Apple Watch for a fraction of the price, the Watch Series 3 is a good pick.
SIM Type: Physical SIM
A smartwatch for kids with a SIM card, the TickTalk 4 looks a lot like a kid’s toy. It is a bit of an odd choice among the adult-marketed smartwatches on this list, the TickTalk 4 has the full capabilities of a cellular phone. While it has talk, SMS, MMS, and even video calls through cellular data, the TickTalk 4 lacks some of the advanced features smartwatches are supposed to have. These include the different health and body monitors, sleep monitors, and GPS navigation. That said, it really does not need to have them.
The TickTalk 4 was created for parents to connect and monitor their kids and has a few features to help with that. Aside from “kid-proof durability,” it has free unlimited music streaming through iHeartRadio Family, a step counter, and the Android/iOS TickTalk Parent Control App that can let parents track their kids through GPS.
SIM Type: eSIM
A mainstay in the smartwatch scene, Garmin also has its own smartwatch with a SIM card, the Garmin Forerunner 495 LTE. While a SIM-equipped smartwatch, sadly, the Forerunner 945 LTE only has limited LTE features and lacks any cellular features. The Forerunner 945 was made to support and help sports persons and athletes with their training. Due to this focus, the Forerunner 945 is unable to use call, SMS, or MMS features. Instead, it uses its LTE connectivity for 24/7 user safety, guidance, and monitoring assistance.
While not a fully functional “standalone” smartwatch with a SIM card, the Forerunner 945 LTE is still a powerhouse of a device. Those that want this model should know that the LTE functions require a subscription plan with Garmin and only has limited coverage outside the US and EU.
Related: Reviewing The Garmin Vivoactive 4
Since we did promise to show you the best smartwatch with a SIM card on the market, we have a few honorable mentions that are not supported or not yet available for US consumers. We should also mention that the upcoming Google Pixel Watch may stir up this list, so check back on it from time to time!
SIM Type: Physical SIM
The Zeblaze THOR 6 is a smartwatch with a SIM card that is fully designed to replace your smartphone. It is equipped with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of ROM, Android 10, and the Mediatek Helio P20 Octa-core chipset. Basically, this makes the THOR 6 a miniaturized smartphone with smartwatch features like health monitors and sports modes.
This could have been our premium pick smartwatch but had to be dropped due to its unavailability worldwide, with the model sold out even on Zeblaze’s website. Because it has a physical SIM (nano-sized) slot, we expect the THOR 6 to work with all cellular carriers.
SIM Type: eSIM
Another great smartwatch with a SIM card unavailable to US customers is the Amazfit Nexo (sometimes called the Verge 2). Made by the wearables pioneer Amazfit, the Nexo can pretty much go a few bouts with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 or the Apple Watch Series 7. Running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2500 processor with a 4GB ROM and 512 RAM chipset, the Nexo is pretty up there in terms of processing power. Sadly, the Amazfit Nexo is currently only available to UK, Germany, Spain, and Vietnam customers due to their eSIM compatibility.
SIM Type: eSIM
Apple and Samsung are not the only ones who have a smartwatch with a SIM card since Huawei has one too! Their Huawei Watch 3 is also a standalone smartwatch capable of making calls, SMS, and MMS without a smartphone. Released in 2021, it has an impressive chipset with 16GB of internal memory and 2GB of RAM, a 3-day battery on Smart Mode, and over 100 different workout modes.
Why it is so down the list, though, is due to its compatibility. Its cellular ability won’t work in the US. While it does say that it is compatible with both iOS and Android phones, user experience has reported that it is unreliable at times. Added to battery problems and other regional compatibility and servicing problems for US users, the Huawei Watch 3 is an impressive yet problematic smartwatch for a US consumer.
You can read our Huawei Watch 3 review if you want to learn more about its pros and cons.
SIM Type: eSIM
Another great smartwatch with a SIM card is Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra 4G/LTE. Two TicWatch series’ ahead and a newer version of our best choice pick, the TicWatch Pro, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra 4G/LTE is an overall improvement to the original TicWatch Pro. With better batteries, an upgraded processor and chipset, MIL-STD-810G-compliance, and even more health monitors, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra 4G/LTE is Mobvoi’s premiere smartwatch. Due to similar eSIM reasons as Amazfit’s Nexo, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra 4G/LTE is only available in France, Spain, and Poland.
Now, you may be wondering why anyone would want a smartwatch with a SIM card. The answer to that is quite simple since most smartwatches already have similar capabilities to smartphones. Some examples include SMS, MMS, video calls, voice calls, online audio/video surfing, and Bluetooth connectivity. These similarities have one exception — a smartwatch needs to have an NFC or Bluetooth connection to an Android or iOS device to fully function.
A smartwatch with a SIM card is standalone and does not need that smartphone connection. Because it has an integrated SIM card or an eSIM (electronic Subscriber Identification Module), your smartwatch can do all these things without needing a smartphone at all. This lets your smartwatch virtually replace your smartphone for your day-to-day needs.
Aside from the convenience of not having to lug your smartphone around, a smartwatch with a SIM card also offers everything a smartwatch has. They can include health tracking features like integrated ECG and blood oxygen monitors, fitness monitors, and “sports modes,” as well as other tech like GPS guidance.
You are probably giving owning a smartwatch with a SIM card a thought now that you know how can they be useful. To help you with that, here are a few good tips on getting a smartwatch with a SIM card.
SIM, eSIM, and Unlocked Smart Watches
The first thing to look into when choosing a cellular-equipped smartwatch is to see whether it uses a physical SIM or an eSIM. While both serve the same purpose in allowing your smartwatch to connect to a cellular network, having a physical or digital SIM can make a big difference. This difference will limit or expand your options when choosing a cellular and data provider for your device. This is due to how devices with eSIMs are not as widely accepted by data carriers which may have compatibility issues. It will also determine whether you can have two “numbers” on your watch. Most watches with physical SIMs can only have one “nano” sized card, while eSIMs can sometimes have two or more providers registered on them.
You also have to know whether your device is “unlocked” as an unlocked device allows phone carrier networks to access the device. Similar to unlocked phones, an unlocked smartwatch can have any compatible SIM or eSIM registered on it from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or other cellular carriers.
Brand, Build Quality, and Repair
Every smartwatch with a SIM card on this list comes from reputable brands with well-known build quality standards. That said, when choosing any smartwatch, you should always look at the brand and its construction quality. Most no-name or cheap Chinese brands will offer you good deals with their smartwatches but will only last a few months at most.
Another thing to consider when looking for a SIM-equipped smartwatch is if the brand has accredited repair centers nearby. This problem is a bigger one to niche foreign or imported brands like Mobvoi and Zeblaze compared to Apple or Samsung. Aside from having a faster return time when having repairs done, nearby service centers can also offer more precise after-sales care.
Battery Life and Recharging
When picking your smartwatch, you should also be aware of its expected battery life. Like with any gadget, the amount of “up” time a device can have depends on what features it has on. Most smartwatch spec sheets list their standby times and individual function times for every full charge. Generally, though, you want a smartwatch with a big battery capacity to handle your 4G/LTE use.
Recharging is a similar issue, with larger batteries taking longer to charge. Functions like Qi-charging or wired USB Type-C charging will also change how fast or how much your watch charges at any given time.
Features and Integration
As we said earlier, smartwatches have a lot of bells and whistles compared to a smartphone. From health and sleep monitors to fitness trackers and GPS navigation, these features are a plus to whichever model they are on. Know which features you want and which models have those features when you choose your smartwatch.
Comfort and User Interface
Comfort and the smartwatch’s user interface are also things you should keep in mind when choosing your device. While a bit hard to properly gauge during online shopping, knowing the size and material of a smartwatch can help you imagine if it would fit comfortably on your wrist. Bigger models like the Zeblaze Thor 6 are heavier due to their size and might make your wrist sore until you are used to it.
If you can, you should always try to test run and operate your chosen device before purchasing it. There are several operating systems (OS) used by smartwatches, like Apple’s WatchOS, Google’s WearOS, and the depreciated Tizen used by Samsung. Each OS has a different style of operation, compatible apps, and features. Testing it yourself lets you see if you are comfortable with using each device’s user interface. While you can do this in brick-and-mortar stores, those buying online will have to make do with online device operation videos and user reviews.
Finally, the last thing to keep in mind when buying a smartwatch with a SIM card is its price. A lot of these models will cost more than average fitness trackers and some smartphones due to their complexity. Try to find a nice balance between features, battery life, and price when choosing your smartwatch.
You have your smartwatch with a slot for SIM card, so all you need now is the actual SIM! There are quite a few choices when picking your cellular provider. Your best choice would be to use one of the big three carriers because of their extensive network coverage in the US. Let’s do a quick comparison of their mobile data plans, charge rates, and if they have a bring your own device (BYOD) program.
Note that these are only data plans and do not include calls and texts capability, just data. Alternatively, there are different plans for syncing your smartwatch to the same number registered with your smartphone. AT&T calls their program NumberSync, while Verizon’s is called Number Share, and T-Mobile’s program is called DIGITS.
T-Mobile has a bring your own phone program that lets you bring your own unlocked or T-Mobile-locked smartwatch with a SIM card with you if you already have a post-paid plan. They have two add-on data plans specifically made for mobile data users who use smartwatches, tablets, or hotspots. These are the $5 and $10 monthly plans sans taxes and fees. Here is a quick rundown of what you can get with each plan:
|$5/month Plan||$10/month Plan|
|Meant for everyday smartwatch use||Meant for smartwatch use and moderate tablet and hotspot use|
|500 MB of high-speed data per month||Unlimited high-speed data for watches and wearables (Speeds may fall during data congestion and if using >50GB/mo. due to data prioritization)|
|Optional Device Financing||Optional Device Financing|
|Additional high-speed data available from $20 for 5 GB to $50 for 50 GB||Additional high-speed data available from $20 for 5 GB to $50 for 50 GB|
Compared to T-Mobile, AT&T only has one plan that allows a smartwatch with a SIM card cellular data access. Any post-paid plan can add their wearables and other smartwatches to their plan for an additional $10 a month. The data used by your smartwatch will come from the total allotted monthly data for your current post-paid plan.
Verizon’s plans for a smartwatch with a SIM card are quite similar to AT&T’s plans. They also offer an add-on plan for just $10 sans taxes and fees. Compared to AT&T, however, this plan offers an unlimited amount of data. This does have a cap of 15 GB of “premium” data, after which your speeds fall to 600 Kbps per month.
Hopefully, you found a smart watch with SIM card for you from this list. If you have not, check back once in a while as we continue to update the article with even better smartwatches as they come out. As we said earlier, one of the future devices in this list will be the upcoming Google Pixel Watch which we expect can compete against both the Apple Watch series and the Samsung Galaxy Watch series. Those that want a different type of smartwatch might want to look at our other articles like one for the best smartwatch for men or its companion piece, the best smartwatch for women.