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If you’re shopping for the best smartwatches for texting, you need to think about your current smartphone or tablet and its operating system (OS). Because Apple devices don’t support text and calls through Android devices, it’s important to find a watch that uses the same OS as your smartphone or tablet. Next, think about text functionality. Do you merely want to have access to quick replies or do you prefer a robust texting feature? And you should consider other functions such as calls, contactless payments, or even streaming media. However, all of the above smart features can quickly drain a watch battery so you’ll want to look at the listed battery range, and how quickly a watch can be fully recharged. Yes, you have to do the same even if you are buying the best smartwatch.
After conducting thorough research through countless customer reviews, we nominated the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 as our Top Pick. Keep reading to learn more about our selection criteria and to shop from our recommendations on the best smartwatches on the market today.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best smartwatch for Android users that supports text and talk with wireless Qi charging and decent multi-day battery life makes this a smart choice.
While most Android-based smartwatches can be paired with the iPhone, for this guide that’s focusing on full-text support, we’re solely looking at Android-based watches for Android phones. As we’ve stated in our criteria below, the iPhone can’t properly support texting through an Android smartwatch. So, hands down, the best smartwatch for an Android user is going to be from Samsung. We’ve nominated the Galaxy Active 2 smartwatch as our Top Pick because it’s a fully-fledged hands-free alternative to using your Android phone. Plus, you’ll get a multi-day battery range and wireless Qi charging that allows you to charge your watch by simply laying it on your Samsung phone if you have that brand.
The Samsung Galaxy Active 2 supports sending and receiving calls as well as texts thanks to a talk to text feature. You’ll also have full access to managing emails and calendar events, along with contactless payment through the Samsung Pay app. For people that rely on voice assistants, Samsung’s proprietary Bixby assistant is ready to help you. You’ll also get fitness tracking with an automatic detector that instantly senses the type of activity you’re engaged in and tracks accordingly. Standard health metrics include a continuous heart rate monitor, step tracking, calories burned, and sleep tracking. Nice value-added features like their stress tracker and access to the Calm app help you manage the day to day stress. The only real complaint we saw from our review of the Samsung Galaxy Active 2 is that many people felt that the interface was clunky as was the app management feature. A better option may be one of the best hybrid smartwatch that features an on-screen display for more than just fitness metrics.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best smartwatch you can text on with an iPhone thanks to its native OS support, a 50-meter water resistance, and the ability to put this watch on a separate mobile line.
We can’t stress enough that Apple iPhone owners who want to find a watch that seamlessly supports texting need to focus on the Apple Watch. It’s the only watch we’ve found through our research that doesn’t require a complicated workaround for sending texts. The Apple Watch is a smartwatch you can text on with an iPhone and is designed to be a hands-free iPhone replacement. The Series 6 Apple Watch is the latest release and is full of features that allow you to leave your iPhone behind if you prefer. This is proven by the fact that you can put your watch on a separate line on your phone plan so that you don’t even have to worry about having your iPhone nearby to access the smart features. While we’ve given it the Honorable Mention award in this guide, it’s the top pick for an iPhone owner who wants to send texts from their wrist.
Along with phone and text support, key features that people love are the always-on retina display with a screen that’s 30% larger than the Apple Watch Series 3. You’ll get enhanced health and fitness tracking for sleep, continuous heart rate monitoring, ECG readings, and blood oxygen levels. All of this data is tracked through Apple Health which you can access on your watch or iPhone. Contactless payment is supported through the Apple Pay app. You’ll get a 50-meter water resistance rating which makes it safe for swimming. The one main drawback — which is consistent across all Apple Watch generations — is that the Apple Watch has one of the worst battery lives for a smartwatch. Although the brand promises 18 hours, your mileage will vary depending on how frequently you rely on the smart features such as phone, text, and streaming media content. Consider instead the best rugged smartwatch that features the Max Battery GPS Mode that can run up to 145 hours on solar charging or 70 hours without solar.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: A smartwatch that texts without phone connectivity because you can put it on a cellular line, and that includes location targeting, enhanced fitness trackers, and an always-on retina display.
Apple has come a long way since the first Apple Watch. While the Series 6 is the latest iteration, the Series 5 Apple Watch is still a strong contender. This is especially true for anyone that wants a smartwatch with the bells and whistles minus the sticker shock for the latest edition. Thankfully, the Series 5 Apple Watch is a smartwatch that texts without phone pairing required since you can assign a separate line for it with your cellular plan. This is because the Series 5 comes enabled for GPS, WiFi, and cellular connections. Common Apple Watch features include tracking for steps, sleep, continuous heart rate, and ECG monitoring.
You’ll also get fall detection with Emergency SOS calls and elevation tracking. Choose from a 40- or 44-millimeter case size. Another cool Apple feature is Hand Off, which lets you open an app on your iPhone or iPad and seamlessly continue using the app on your Apple Watch. The always-on retina display also includes a digital crown with haptics. But, as with other Apple Watches, the Series 5 is no better when it comes to battery life. Most users agreed that the 18-hour claim by Apple isn’t possible for power users and especially if you don’t turn off the always-on retina display. You may want to consider purchasing the best smartwatch for seniors that comes in a 41 and 45-millimeter case size with up to 56 hours of battery life.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best budget smartwatch for texting for Android users that supports contactless payment through Samsung Pay, with a three-day battery life range and proven military-grade durability.
It’s no secret that feature-heavy smartwatches can be expensive. So, we’re nominating the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier as the best budget smartwatch for texting for Android users. Along with being wallet-friendly, it also has one of the best battery ranges we’ve seen from more intensive smartwatches. At three days, that’s pretty impressive considering that this watch supports texts, calls, streaming media, and more. As is fairly standard with Samsung’s watches, the Samsung Gear S3 was tested against the military-grade MIL-STD-810G standards and passed.
And like with other Samsung watches, the Gear S3 is designed to support wireless charging. You’ll get access to GPS with GLONASS integration along with an accelerometer, barometer, compass (ABC) sensor. Other features include access to Bixby Samsung’s voice assistant and auto exercise tracking for select gym and outdoor activities. And thanks to Samsung Health, you’ll have access to constant heart rate monitoring, steps, floors climbed, water, caffeine, exercise, and more. However, the one main drawback we saw with the Samsung Gear S3 is that the water resistance rating is IP68 which means it’s not ideal around water for anything more than washing your hands. Even use in the shower is ill-advised. Compare that to one of the best smartwatch for running that gets you a 50-meter water resistance rating and still supports swimming.
Award: BEST FOR WEAR OS
WHY WE LIKE IT: The decent smartwatch with messaging support thanks to Wear OS’ voice-to-text feature and basic GPS support.
Samsung and Apple aren’t the only enhanced smartwatch makers on the market. But since both of them have a proprietary OS, other watch brands need a third-party platform to create a true smartwatch. And this offers a natural segue to Wear OS. It’s not uncommon — especially with traditional watchmaker brands — to see their smartwatches run on Wear OS by Google. While these watches technically support pairing with Apple devices, full smart functionality isn’t available for an iPhone owner. Typically, texting or answering calls isn’t supported on iPhones. So, in this guide, if you see a watch that’s powered by Wear OS, know that we’re focusing on it as an option for Android users only.
With that being said, Motorola’s Moto 100 is one of the best smartwatches with messaging functionality that runs on Wear OS. We like that it features one of the more robust connectivity ranges. Along with Bluetooth and WiFi, you’ll get GPS. Thanks to Google’s voice support, you have access to talk to type. And we especially like that the Motorola Moto 100 supports drawing on the touchscreen watch face. This includes the ability to create emojis and share them in your messages. Because the Moto 100 runs on Wear OS, you have access to most Google-based apps, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Play, and Google Pay. The only real drawback we saw with this watch is that you have a lower 50-meter water resistance rating which makes it safe for showering and possibly for very light swimming in a pool. And if you’re a cyclist, have a look at the best smartwatch for cycling that offers you enhanced safety features with a live track, group live track, live event sharing, incident detection, and assistance.
Award: BEST FOR OLDER IPHONES
WHY WE LIKE IT: An Apple smartwatch with call and text support for late adopters and older iPhones with internal storage, a 50-meter water resistance rating, and your choice of two case sizes.
While the Series 3 Apple Watch is an older model, it’s still incredibly popular and still sold on Apple’s website. This fan-favorite is still here for a reason — because it’s effective and it can work with older iPhones. So whether you’re still a smartwatch skeptic or have an older iPhone, we think the Series 3 Apple Watch is a great option. It’s not quite as tech-forward as the newer Apple Watch models, but since it’s a smartwatch with call and text support, the Series 3 deserves to be on any iPhone owner’s shortlist.
Unsurprisingly, the Series 3 falls short on battery life, just like the generations that came after it. But you’ll still get a retina display, just not preset to always-on mode. Standard features include fitness and health tracking for functions like heart rate, steps, calories burned, floors climbed, and sleep tracking. We did like that this watch has a 50-meter water resistance rating and also supports SOS emergency call support. And a nice feature is that you can choose between 38- and 42-millimeter cases, which is nice for people with smaller wrists. And for your young ones, consider purchasing the best smartwatch for kids that features a dial pad that can be disabled through the parental controls app on your cell phone.
Award: BEST FOR CONNECTED HOMES
WHY WE LIKE IT: A sport-focused smartwatch with a proprietary Samsung Connect app that allows you to control connected appliances in your home from anywhere along with enhanced GPS support.
Samsung smartwatches are a great pick for a variety of reasons. Along with support for calls and text, we like that the Samsung Gear Sport in particular features the Samsung Connect app. This app gives you the freedom to remotely manage connected devices throughout your home such as lights, the thermostat, or even your fridge or oven. This can be a nice value-added feature for people who work late and don’t want to return to a dark home or in the summer or winter when you want to make sure your home is the perfect temperature.
The Gear Sport also features GPS with enhanced GLONASS integration. This makes it nice if you’re the type who likes to hit the trails as you’ll have more precise navigation assistance. You’ll also get water resistance to 50 meters and a watch that’s passed military standards for durability. The Samsung Gear Sport is designed with fitness in mind and does track steps, activity, calories burned, continuous heart rate monitoring, stress, sleep, and more. And contactless payments are supported through Samsung Pay while Bixby serves as your voice assistant. One surprising thing we did note was that while Samsung claims that the battery has a multi-day range, some reviews noted that the battery was so poor that even 24 hours was a struggle before it required recharging. But professionals will love the best smartwatch for business that promises offers up to 12 hours of usage, especially if you’re a power user.
Award: BEST DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: A stylish stainless steel watch designed to turn heads with a beautiful that runs on Wear OS, and supports wireless charging, contactless payments, and multiple watch face designs to reflect your style and personality.
Wear OS by Google is the smartwatch OS of choice for many traditional watchmakers and third-party brands. We’re including the Michael Kors Access Gen 4 Sofie smartwatch because it’s a smaller, stylish choice for people who want to get away from the utilitarian look of most traditional smartwatches. Instead of a silicone strap and a boring case with a clunky bezel, you’ll get a round 42-millimeter two-tone case set with crystals around the bezel and a matching two-tone metal chain link strap. Another nice feature is the multiple watch faces that range from more traditional sporty designs to upscale versions that match the watch bezel.
Android users will have access to messages and reply to texts along with a wide array of Google apps such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Pay, and Google Play. While you do get tracking support for fitness metrics like steps and calories burned, Wear OS tends to underperform in that department when compared against the Apple and Samsung trackers. We also noted that you’re limited to a 30-meter water resistance rating which isn’t suitable for swimming. Also, note that another common complaint with Wear OS-backed designer watches is that the battery life isn’t great. In some cases, people had to completely turn off all fitness tracking and smart support to get the battery to last throughout the day. Speaking of fitness tracking, have a look at the best fitness smartwatch that gives you access to GPS support for steps, heart rate, and various motion modes.
Award: BEST FOR PROFESSIONAL SETTINGS
WHY WE LIKE IT: A smartwatch that looks at home in professional settings that runs on Wear OS and supports fast charging to up to 80% battery life in just one hour and supports various Google apps.
When you work in an office setting that’s more professional, you might not want to wear a typical smartwatch with your business attire. The Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle is perfect for business professionals because of the leather straps and more understated case. Fossil is a longtime watchmaker who has also entered the smartwatch arena by using Wear OS to power its smart category. The 44-millimeter case is a bit large, making it better for people with larger wrists or men but comes with a 22-millimeter band that can be swapped with any 22-millimeter bands from Fossil.
One of the nicest features we saw with the Fossil watch is that you get fast charging that promises to top off the battery to 80% in just under an hour. And you’ll like that, depending on your power settings, you can get up to two weeks of battery life between full charges. You’ll also rely on Google Fit for tracking health and fitness data that includes calories, steps, floors climbed, continuous heart rate monitoring, sleep, and breathing. However, you’ll only have water resistance to 30 meters, meaning that you can shower with it but can’t go swimming. As with other Wear OS-backed watches, you’ll get a host of Google-based apps, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Assistant, Google Play, and Google Pay. But like with other Wear OS watches, many complaints centered around the buggy Wear OS platform specifically for gestures and dropped pairing for notifications. And if you’re a clinical worker, compare that to the best smartwatch for nurses that offers hands-free support so that you don’t need to glance at your phone between patients.
Award: BEST LUXURY PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: An IP68 waterproof smartwatch powered by Wear OS that supports talk-to-text with advanced health and fitness tracking features.
For people who want everything they wear to be premium, the Ticwatch E3 is a great option. While we think this is more for image than function, it’s a great addition for someone who isn’t looking for a total smartphone replacement like an Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch but still wants something that’s “smartwatch lite.” The Ticwatch E3 runs on Wear OS, so through talk-to-text, you can send messages. Note, though, that it doesn’t support phone calls.
For fitness and health metrics, you’ll rely on Google Fit to track steps, breathing, heart rate, calories, and activity points. However, Wear OS is known to be a bit buggy with accurate step tracking. The battery life just barely hits 24 hours of use, so you’ll be charging it rather frequently. You might also be interested in a smartwatch with a camera that is safe from exposure to moisture.
When you narrow down your smartwatch search to ones that support texting, the field instantly becomes less cluttered. To create our guide for the best smartwatch for texting, we focused on the following key features — OS compatibility, text support, functionality, and battery life. Because texting is a function that separates Android and Apple devices, you’ll find that we narrowed down our criteria significantly so that only Apple Watches were promoted for iPhone users, and all Tizen (Samsung) and Wear OS-backed watches were targeted for Android users. And you’ll note that text support for smartwatches is usually limited to talk-to-text features where a voice assistant or a specific program must be accessed to dictate messages for transcription to your watch.
Aside from texting, most smartwatches that support full-text functionality also support making and receiving phone calls. Likewise, you’ll usually have access to email, be able to manage calendars, stream media, and make contactless payments. But you’ll also want to pay attention to the battery life. Unlike traditional fitness smartwatches with limited smart support, these watches are promoted as hands-free companions that untether you from your smartphone. So, battery life tends to be greatly reduced and your experience may vary depending on how frequently you rely on smart features like texting, phone calls, and streaming media, all of which drain power faster. And a common issue we found was that many brands had watches that fell far short of their promoted battery range. Still, you’ll find a range from just 18 hours to as many as two weeks.