What Is A Standalone Smartwatch?

When smartwatches first came out they used to need to be paired with a phone by Bluetooth or wireless connection. This allowed the smartwatch to get access to data or other sensors. The problem with the smartphone pairing was that the smartwatch often didn’t have all its functions available independently when you took it out on its own. Now you can get what I like to call a “Standalone Smartwatch” these work without a phone. To find out more read on to find out everything you ever wanted to know about standalone smartwatches.

Why do I need a Standalone Smartwatch?

This is an excellent question and it very much depends on what you intend to do with your smartwatch. 

A standalone smartwatch might be for you if you want to do the following:

  • Make and Receive phone calls on your smartwatch without a phone
  • Receive (and send) SMS Messages without a phone
  • Listen to Music without a phone
  • Don’t want to carry your phone everywhere
  • Replace your phone with a smartwatch

Can A Smartwatch Replace My Phone?

In certain situations yes but the actual answer is “it depends”. Let me break this down. If a standalone smartwatch does everything your phone does then a smartwatch does make sense.

Let’s look at some of the things you can do on most standalone smartwatches and phone:

  • Listen to Music
  • Make phone calls
  • Send SMS Messages
  • Track Fitness
  • Use Apps
  • Directions using Maps

The caveat here is that not all phones and smartwatches do this. When purchasing a smartwatch you need to consider what you want from the smartwatch and if it has the features you are looking for.

Ok so let’s look at what you can’t do with a smartwatch:

  • Watch high definition movies
  • Browse the internet
  • Type long emails
  • Work on large documents

The limiting factor here is screen size and lack of decent keyboard. Other than that you can do most things on a smartwatch that you can do on a phone. Yes they might be a bit trickier due to the screen size but it’s doable. 

How Does A Standalone Smartwatch Differ From A Normal Smartwatch?

The main difference between a normal smartwatch and a standalone smartwatch is that a standalone smartwatch like your smartphone has a SIM card.

The reason for this is because true standalone smartwatches need their own access to data such as music streaming services, maps, and the mobile phone network. Like your smartphone it uses the sim card to access the internet completely independently. This enables you to take your smartwatch out and about without your phone and still use all its features.

Do All Smartwatches Have A SIM Card Option?

Here is the thing, not all smartwatches have this option. Fortunately I have been through all of the smartwatches available to provide a list of all of the smartwatches that enable you to put a SIM card in.

Do I Need A Special SIM Card?

Most smartwatches need a micro SIM card. The Apple Watch uses something called an esim which basically means it has an embedded SIM card. You would need to call your mobile phone provider to see if they support esim.

Do I Need A Phone Contract?

The answer is again “it depends”. It’s likely that you are not going to use the smartwatch for things like downloading large files, internet browsing or watching movies. Due to this your data usage is going to be lower.

I always recommend that people start with a pay and go sim only package. This way you have control over the data usage limits and can review and upgrade as time goes on. Its highly unlikely you are going to use 20Gb of monthly data its more likely that you will use well under 5Gb even less. It really depends, I like to start with a low data package and work my way up or swap my phone sim into my smartwatch and try it for a while.

Does My Smartwatch Have A Phone Number?

Yes absolutely, your smartwatch has a phone number. The vast majority of SIM smartwatches do allow you to make and receive calls. You can also send and receive SMS text messages.

The future is here!

What Are The Disadvantages Of Standalone Smartwatches?

There are a few downsides that you need to be aware of.

  • A data SIM is an additional small cost
  • Standalone smartwatches use more power so the battery doesn’t last as long, they are getting better.
  • Email is still a challenge
  • smaller screen
  • Lack of fast keyboard
  • Battery life compared to smartphones

What Are The Advantages Of A Standalone Smartwatch?

Now I have covered the disadvantages lets cover the advantages:

  • Your phone is now on your wrist!
  • Listen to music whilst at the gym without your phone
  • No need to carry your phone everywhere!

Who Is A Standalone Smartwatch For?

A standalone smartwatch as a lot of use cases, lets consider a few senarios:


No need for pockets or to carry a bulky phone at the gym or track. Easily integrates fitness goals and health metrics. 


Some specialist watches are emerging to keep your teen safe. You no longer need to give them an expensive smartphone. Your teen can be contactable through their smartwatch and parental controls make it safe. GPS tracking is also an option so you know they are safe on their own.

Elderly / Vulnerable

Smartwatches are also becoming an important part of keeping the elderly independent. Consider how a smartwatch with GPS tracking can give a dementia or Alzheimer patient the freedom to enjoy their lives and at the same time be traceable and contactable when they need it.


Smartwatch technology is improving and a standalone smartwatch is a reality. Can you replace your phone with a smartwatch? Yes you can as long as your happy with the limitations. I think in the next 10 years we will see smartwatch technology getting better and actually start to replace smartphones.

There are certain healthcare settings where a standalone smartwatch makes sense.

Leave a Comment