Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 LTE vs Bluetooth only: which model should you buy?
Also read: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 LTE vs Bluetooth
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 LTE can make and receive calls without the need for a smartphone (you can use your existing number and it costs a bit extra. For additional info, check your telecom operator). The Bluetooth version relies on your phone to do that. Both versions have an integrated speaker and a microphone, so no need for earphones
- The LTE version offers more freedom in general, you can leave your phone at home and go for a ride, a jog, or a hike. You can send and receive messages, listen to music streams, receive notifications, use applications that require an internet connection
- The Bluetooth version of the Galaxy Watch 3 is cheaper. Not by much but it’s still a consideration if you’re on a budget
- The LTE version drains the battery faster. It’s a serious consideration given the small battery capacities in smartwatches
LTE stands for Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and is a standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals. In layman’s terms, an LTE device is capable of connecting to a mobile network on its own. While Bluetooth smartwatches rely on your smartphone to access the internet, receive notifications, send messages, LTE devices have antennas and modems that can connect directly to cellular networks. This undoubtedly brings some advantages over Bluetooth-only (or Wi-Fi) smartwatches.
Main benefits of an LTE smartwatch
The main advantage of an LTE smartwatch is portability. You don’t need to carry your phone around all the time. LTE smartwatches can send and receive messages on their own, hook up to music streams, use various fitness apps that require a connection, etc. Some LTE smartwatches can make and receive calls too, and the Galaxy Watch 3 LTE is one of them.
Samsung has done quite some work on gesture navigation in its latest smartwatch to enhance this feature. If your watch starts ringing, you just have to clench and unclench your fist to pick up. You can shake your hand to ignore a call, too. Sounds great, right? So why not make all smartwatches LTE-capable?
Price and battery life
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Battery life is something important when we talk about smartphones but it becomes crucial when smartwatches are involved. Due to the compact form factor, smartwatches sport considerably smaller-capacity batteries than smartphones. Galaxy Watch 3 has a 247mAh battery in its 41mm iteration and a 340mAh in the bigger 45mm version.
There’s a core difference between a Bluetooth and an LTE smartwatch in regard to battery usage. Bluetooth is a low-energy connection and basically your phone does the heavy lifting connecting to all those cellular towers and constantly communicating with different services. In an LTE smartwatch, all the work is done on the device itself. The watch scans for available networks, manages switching between cell towers, initiates and receives calls and messages, and constantly looks for that signal. That can drain the small battery really fast.
The second drawback is that LTE smartwatches are more expensive than their Bluetooth counterparts. We’re not talking about a big difference, but it is there. The Galaxy Watch 3 Bluetooth-only versions start at $399 for the 41mm and $429 for the 45mm model. For the LTE version, prices start at $449 for the smaller 41mm model and $479 for the 45mm model.
It’s worth mentioning though, that the LTE version still has Bluetooth connectivity and when your phone is around, you can just use the Bluetooth connection to save battery.
Is LTE worth it on the Galaxy Watch 3?
In the end, everything boils down to personal needs. If you carry your phone with you all the time, you won’t reap the benefits of an LTE smartwatch. You can save some money and enjoy longer battery life by opting for a Bluetooth-only version of the Galaxy Watch 3.
On the other hand, if you want maximum portability and often find yourself in a situation where your smartphone is left behind, an LTE smartwatch is a must. You can hit the track, go on a hike, and enjoy a wide spectrum of smartphone-free activities without sacrificing connectivity.