What Can a Smartwatch Do Without a Phone? (The Truth!)

We are talking about smartwatches over and over again. It is because we use them every day and can not be more satisfied. But there is still a common belief that smartwatches are useless when it is not connected to a phone.

Today, we will talk less about what it can do in general but address how it works without a phone and what features you would miss if you consider taking one without a sim card.

1. The Main Idea Behind Smartwatches

Smartwatch was invented as a means of extending your phone. This means it should inform you when you are getting a call or message, show which music you are playing, and let you do some tasks remotely on your phone without needing you to take the phone out of your pocket.

It was never meant to replace your full-fledged smartphone until recently when companies started to realize people don’t need their phone all the time. How convenient would this be if there is a device which is a subset of smartphone? What if it is so small that it can be worn and be forgotten that you are actually carrying a device on you?

Companies created two subsets of smartphones. One is the fitness tracker and the other is the smartwatch. Fitness trackers have their focus on tracking health and activities. We have an entire post discussing the key advantages of fitness trackers.

On the contrary, smartwatches yield a little bit of fitness tracking and a little of the smartphone. For that reason, we believe it is a sweet spot for any person who wants to put their foot down on wearable tech. It doesn’t matter how advanced you are, you can still rock a smartwatch on your wrist and be satisfied.

We also have talked in another post about what smartwatches can do in general provided you are interested. Since you landed on this post, I believe you may want to keep reading a bit further.

2. Can a Smartwatch Be Used Without a Phone?

Most smartwatches require you to pair a phone with it. This category of smartwatches is called connected smartwatches where the watch works as a remote for a bunch of functions available on your phone. It may also have some additional sensors that can transmit data to the phone.

If you don’t pair a connected smartwatch with a parent device, you will miss out on a lot of features. If we are to estimate a number, you would probably miss 70% of what that smartwatch has to offer.

But there is a solution. A smartwatch can be used without a phone or any other kind of dependency if you pick a standalone smartwatch. What is a standalone smartwatch? It is the same smartwatch but equipped with a sim card and has all the necessary hardware in it to function in isolation from a phone.

Starting from phone calls, text messages to GPS maps and cameras, it could have everything you would need as a daily driver. We have reviewed some standalone smartwatches if that is what you are looking for.

3. What Can a Smartwatch Do Without a Sim Card?

Standalone smartwatches are generally more expensive than regular smartwatches. The reason is very clear that they have to include more hardware to make it independent. Perhaps, you are not ready to invest that much in a device and are more interested in knowing what you would actually miss if you pick a normal smartwatch but don’t connect it to a phone.

The answer, what you are not ready to hear, is it depends. It could be that the watch you are getting has good internal storage and supports loading music locally. In that case, you can play music straight away from your wrist. Another scenario could be that the watch OS you are using has a large app store and some of the apps (e.g. fitness tracking) let you save data locally without needing a connected device.

If your smartwatch doesn’t support a sim card and if it is not connected to any phone, it will not be able to communicate with the internet. This means any feature that requires an active internet connection will not work. This includes some of the main functionalities such as instant notifications, calls, and text messages.

4. Bottomline: Do You Really Need a Smartwatch?

If you have read the blog post, you might have some of your questions answered. Now here comes the final question: is it really worth it? Do you need a smartwatch at all?

This is how we always explain this situation. A smartwatch is not a bare necessity like a smartphone. If you haven’t used a smartwatch in the past, you will not even feel the need. But will a smartwatch make your life more convenient? A one hundred percent.

If you are planning on getting a smartwatch for jogging, workouts, or household chores, we do recommend a standalone one though since you don’t have to care where your phone is. It could be a little pricey, but you will see its worth in a matter of weeks.