Are there any LTE watches without extra stuff like GPS and HR sensors, at a lower price range?

Hello! I realize this is an atypical use case, but I’m essentially looking for a relatively basic smart watch with a nano sim card slot to use as an “LTE add-on” to compliment a Garmin GPS fitness watch that already does some basic smartwatch stuff (Spotify sync, NFC payments, mobile notifications with quick reply option - but no sending messages outside of those externally configured quick replies).

For nearly 2 years, I’ve used a data-only sim in my phone, leveraging Google Voice for normal calling and texting plus other messaging apps like Signal and Google Hangouts. What I would like to do is add another data sim (which I already have) into a smartwatch so that I could just bring that additional watch instead of my phone when I go on longer runs and still want a way to reach/be reachable by my family in case of emergency.

With that in mind, I really just want something I can put a physical data sim card in and use Google Voice, or another messaging (& calling) app if necessary. That’s basically how I came across the “Full Android Watch” scene, since WearOS devices are pretty much all esim devices now (the LG Watch Sport had a physical sim slot but is 4 years old and apparently discontinued), and my carrier doesn’t work with esim devices. But a lot of the watches I’ve seen do way more than what I need (and come with a price tag to match). I don’t need a heart rate sensor or GPS (the Garmin has those, and they’re quite good and aren’t a complete drain of the Garmin’s battery life). I don’t need a camera, or at least don’t care about the camera quality if there is one. I don’t need a ton of RAM or storage (I’d only be loading a few apps, though ideally it’d have enough RAM to not be sluggish running Android).

With that in mind, popular watches like the Lemfo LEM 12 or 14, Kospet Prime, etc. seem like overkill for my use case. I’ve seen a few watches from these brands at a much lower price (~$40 rather than ~$180-220) but those ones didn’t seem to have nano sim slots. Is there a “middle tier” I haven’t seen yet? I’m basically looking for something in the $50-$100 range (or maybe up to $120ish) that has a nano sim slot and could run Google Voice or another messaging app for texting & calling over a data-only sim.

I do feel like an Android 10 watch is a better option than going for an older model with Android 7, simply because I’m worried I could be out of luck if the apps I need drop support for Android 7. But maybe this isn’t a concern and I should broaden my search to include the older Android 7 watches…any advice from those with experience is welcome.

Let me know if you’ve seen a watch that sounds like a fit for my (somewhat unique) use case. Thanks!

(P.S. Sorry this turned into a longer post - I just wanted to share the context for my personal use case.)

As a runner i have tested most of these watches so results / accuracy etc is important to me . For me the Ticris max S is the best for running . It runs A7.1.1 so " my running app " works perfectly . It specs are higher than you want but good gps for me is vital . Battery also unbeatable etc

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Normally all the radio stuff comes bundled in a single pacakge, so basically if you get LTE on a watch, you can also get GPS for “free” by just attaching a few resistors and an antenna.

Some time ago the baseband, gps, bluetooth and wifi were external to the CPU, you needed an extra chip, but nowadays it all comes inside the SoC (System on a Chip). So, answering the question, no, I don’t think you can find a watch that has LTE and no GPS. Even if you could, the price wouldn’t change.

Regarding the HRS, it’s very cheap to add one, maybe $USD1 per device, so they might as well add it for next to nothing.


Thanks for the replies - much appreciated!

@iscle That makes sense that most watches come with everything since it all comes together in the SoC. I supposed the camera is a separate add-on but I can see how the manufacturers might as well add it if they can do it cheaply (like you said they do for the heart rate sensor).

After I posted, I did come across a few watches at a much lower price range that are marketed as a “Kids Smart Watch” (e.g. “Bakeey FY69 4G”, “PTH-4G 01”, “HANDA Y95”). These seem to be lower-powered devices with smaller batteries, and it’s probably not possible to load any real Play Store apps on them. That said, they do have nano sim card slots and supposedly come with apps that can be used for voice or video calls (the other participant probably has to install the corresponding app on their phone). But they have hardly any reviews and are not from the recognizable brands (Lemfo, Kospet, Zeblaze), so I don’t know if they are reliable. But at the very least, it gives me hope that there’s something bare-bones at a lower price point…

Would I be crazy to give one of those a try? Or would I be better off looking for deals on older models from Lemfo/Kospet/Zeblaze/something else? Again, I really only want a not-too-expensive watch that offers the ability to use Google Voice (ideally) or some other messaging/calling app via a 4G data-only sim card. (My running/fitness needs are already satisfied by the Garmin.)