6 best smartwatches with onboard offline music storage

ongoing notification icon at bottom of Samsung Galaxy Watch

One of the coolest things about smartwatches with onboard offline music storage is that we can easily use them without smartphones AND without an active internet connection. Be it going for a run, listening to music, tracking a workout, or combining the above.

At some point, all of us want to listen to our music on our smartwatches without lugging around our phones!

To clarify, when we say onboard music, we mean that you can download and store music on your watch for offline listening. It’s very different than streaming music from the internet.

Onboard music plays even when you don’t have an internet connection–because that music is stored offline inside your device. 

Strangely, it’s often not clear if a smartwatch or tracker allows you to store music. 

And that’s precisely why we’re here to help you out with this task!

So, without any further ado, let us get right into it!

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Things to keep an eye out for

When checking out smartwatch reviews, the easiest way to find out if that watch or tracker stores music is by looking at the features list and technical specifications (tech specs.)

When reviewing a watch’s technical specs, take a close look at the descriptions for music and storage. 

We find that Apple, Samsung, and Garmin are the most consistent brands in offering offline music storage. Other brands, like Fitbit or Amazfit are either switching to streaming music only or in the case of Fitbit, completely removing music storage and streaming on their latest models. 

So let’s take a closer look at smartwatches with onboard offline music storage.

Music Storage

One of the first things to check out in the technical specs is how much-dedicated storage the smartwatch offers.

The exact amount of storage space that you need for music depends on the size of your music library and its audio quality.

Apple watch storage

And while there is no precise number for everyone, we recommend a minimum of a gigabyte or two (1 to 2 GB) and preferably more!

Ideally, the more storage that you get, the better.

Music Sync

Most of us aren’t going to play our music only on a smartwatch or on a smartphone.

Usually, people switch back and forth between devices depending on the situation – and that’s where music sync can come in handy.

Galaxy watch spotify sync

Music sync means that the watch automatically refreshes its music library and continues the same music playback on your other devices.

Most premium smartwatches support it. But it’s still something to keep an eye on.

Supported Music Streaming Platforms

What good is a smartwatch that plays music but it doesn’t support your favorite music streaming platform?

Let’s clarify what music streaming is.

  • When you stream music, you listen over the internet, through WiFi, or using your mobile data. You can only listen when you have an active internet connection.
  • When you have onboard music, it’s stored locally on your device, and you don’t need to be connected to the internet to listen. That means you can listen to music, even when offline.

Most modern smartwatches allow both streaming and storing music.

Watches, such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch, come packaged with Spotify’s music streaming service support out of the box. Others, like the Garmin vivoactive 4, also offer support for subscriptions like Deezer and Amazon Music.

And there are even some smartwatches that don’t offer music streaming at all and can only play songs stored locally – such as the Amazfit Stratos.

Garmin vivosmart 4 spotify

So, before buying a smartwatch, make sure that it supports your favorite streaming platform – or local and offline playback if your music library is DRM-free.

Ideally, if you’re looking for a watch that can play music without your phone and without a data connection, you want a watch with onboard music storage for offline listening.

Battery Life

Last but not least, you don’t want your smartwatch to run out of battery life mid-session.

So, pay attention to what the manufacturer claims and what reviewers report, but also keep in mind that battery life can significantly differ depending on usage.

For example, Cellular/LTE and GPS typically consume more battery than local music playback.

And with all that out of the way, let us check out the best smartwatches with onboard music storage!

1: All Apple Watch models: most consistent Find music downloaded to your Apple Watch

The good news for folks that love Apple products is that all Apple Watch Series models allow offline music storage! The only limitation is that you have sufficient storage space on your Apple Watch to store music (Apple allows you to use about 25% of your total watch storage for music.)

With built-in music playback, you can go for a run just with your Apple Watch, even when you don’t have a Cellular model, and leave your iPhone at home.

Both new and old Apple Watch models also allow you to stream directly from Apple Music, Spotify, and other apps if you have the cellular version of the Apple Watch.

These watches are a little pricy but worth owning, especially if your mobile phone is an iPhone.

Apple Watch is one of the most versatile options for offline music storage. You can download music to your Apple Watch from a variety of sources, including Apple’s Music app, Apple Music subscription, Pandora, Spotify, and other apps. 

The major downside of the Apple Watch is its relatively short battery life–most people need to charge their watches every day.

Additionally, you must connect a set of wireless headphones to listen to music on the Apple Watch. You cannot play music through the onboard watch speakers.

Pros:

  • Lots of storage depending on the watch Series 
  • Access to all of Apple’s ecosystem
  • Offers both GPS-only and Cellular models 

Cons:

  • Bad battery life
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2: Amazfit GTS 2: an affordable oldie but goodie for offline music storage

The Amazfit GTS 2 smartwatch offers great value for what it is. With the GTS 2, you can store and play your music directly from your watch and listen offline via Bluetooth earphones.

If you are looking for a smartwatch that can play DRM-free songs locally with built-in GPS, this is a great pick!

Battery life: Up to 7 days
Storage:
3 GB
Music streaming:
Local only, no third-party app support
Features:
GPS, heart rate and blood oxygen saturation monitoring, and 5 ATM water resistance

Its 3 GB of free space available for music should be more than enough for most people, which translates to about 600 songs.

But one thing to keep in mind is that the Amazfit GTS 2 doesn’t offer any form of cellular connectivity. So, if you plan on going fully smartphone-free now and then, you should probably look elsewhere.

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Needless to say that it also supports 90 different sports modes and other basic features that smartwatches come.

Plus, for those that love tracking your exercise routes, the GTS 2 supports GPS and GLONASS for more accurate location information!

Pros:

  • Plenty of memory for the price
  • Fitness analysis is a welcome addition

Cons:

  • No cellular option

3: Garmin vivoactive 4: great for offline music storage

If you want to both stream music and get a lot of health features in one package, we’d recommend looking into Garmin’s offerings.

Garmin offers quite a few smartwatches that include music storage, from their budget to the higher-end models, for phone-free and data-free listening.

You can download hundreds of songs to your Garmin watch and even download playlists from some of the premium subscription music apps like Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music (subscription fees apply.)

The Garmin vivoactive 4, in particular, is one of the best and most affordable smartwatches with onboard music storage right now. With the vivoactive 4, you can store up to 500 offline songs on your watch!

Battery life: Up to 8 days (up to 6 hours with GPS and Music)
Storage:
3.5 gigabytes
Music streaming:
Local, Amazon Music, Deezer, Spotify (subscription may be required)
Features:
GPS, heart rate and blood oxygen saturation sensor, stress tracking, menstrual cycle tracking, Garmin Pay, and 5 ATM water resistance

It supports most of the popular streaming platforms, including Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer.

One of its few downsides is that while Garmin Pay makes it much easier to pay on certain occasions, it’s still not supported in most places. You also don’t get some of Garmin’s more advanced training metrics and insights.

But if you want a solid GPS smartwatch that offers music storage and fitness and health features, you can’t go wrong with the Vivoactive 4.

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Pros:

  • Plenty of health-related features
  • Supports some of the most popular streaming platforms
  • Garmin Pay is a welcome addition

Cons:

  • The “Garmin Pay” feature only works with newer NFC terminals and selected banks, cards, and shops
  • Doesn’t offer advanced training and recovery metrics

4: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music: made for music and trainingGarmin watch with Spotify

For those of you who are looking specifically for a smartwatch that’s made for music and also cares a lot about fitness and health-related features, we can’t think of anything better than the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music edition.

With Garmin’s 255 Music, you can store up to 500 songs, including any from your music library (MP3) or offline music from premium music subscription services like Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music, or iHeartRadio.

Battery life: Up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, 6.5 hours total with GPS and Music
Storage:
4 gigabytes (for music storage: up to 500 songs)
Music streaming:
Local, Amazon Music, Deezer, Spotify, iTunes sync with Garmin Express, and iHeartRadio (Subscription may be required)
Features:
GPS, fitness tracking, heart rate and blood oxygen saturation, menstrual cycle tracking, Garmin Pay, and 5 ATM water resistance

Outside of music, the 255 offers a host of health and fitness features, including heart rate and blood oxygen saturation monitoring, training tools, and recovery insights like HRV (heart rate variability.) You also get advanced GPS multi-frequency positioning and point-to-point navigation.

And it’s so lightweight (1.7 ounces or about 30 grams) you barely notice you’re wearing it!

We think the Garmin 255 Music is one of the best running and fitness smartwatches out there that also offers music storage–all at an affordable price!

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Pros:

  • Unique-looking UI for music
  • Supports every popular music streaming platform
  • Great support for health and fitness monitoring

Cons:

  • No touchscreen
  • Newer models include on-board running dynamics
  • More expensive than the Vivoactive 4

Other great Garmin watch options for offline music listening include the Garmin Forerunner 945, and Garmin Fenix 7.

5: Fossil Gen 5 or Gen 6: most stylistic wearOS music watch with offline music storage

As you probably already guessed by the title, one of the coolest things about the Fossil Gen 5 and 6 is that it gives you plenty of styling options.

So, if you find looks to be just as important as features, the Fossil Gen 5 or 6 should be one of your first go-to smartwatches – be it for music or not.

Plus, Wear OS gives you access to more apps than any other watch can offer, thanks to Google Play.

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Battery life: From 1 up to a few days (depending on battery mode and overall usage)
Storage:
3.5 gigabytes for music. 8GB total storage on the Gen 6 and 5 (4GB of storage on the Gen 5E.)
Music streaming:
Google Music, Spotify, plus everything else that’s available on Google Play. To store music on your Fossil smartwatch, you must have a paid music subscription.
Features:
GPS, Google Voice Assistant, Google Tiles, Nike Run Club, fitness tracking, Google Pay, and 5 ATM water resistance. The Gen 6 model also uses the newer Google Wear OS 3, while the Gen 5 will not get this update.

The Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus platform, so it’s much faster and more responsive than the Gen 5 ( powered by the older Snapdragon Wear 3100 SoC.)

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Pros:

  • Plenty of apps to choose from
  • Lots of stylish variants

Cons:

  • Short battery life 

6: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Best LTE Watch with offline music storage

The built-in GPS and onboard music storage that other smartwatches offer are no doubt features that help you use a smartwatch as it is without a smartphone.

However, if you truly want to leave your phone behind, you’ll also need wireless connectivity at all times.

And this is where the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (or the older models Watch 4 or Watch 3) comes in! The big difference between the two, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and 5+ run Google Wear OS 3 while the older Watch 3 runs Samsung’s Tizen OS.

With Wear OS 3, the Samsung Galaxy 4+ Watch gives you access to a lot more apps via Google Play.

Battery life: Up to 2 days
Storage:
16GB of internal storage on Watch 5/4 and 8 gigabytes on Watch 3.
Music streaming:
Spotify and the onboard music player on both models. On the Watch 5/4, you can also download music from the YouTube Music app for offline playback (premium account required.)
Features:
GPS, LTE, Bixby (Google Assistant also available on the Watch 5/4,) SpO2 tracking, Samsung Pay (No MST), advanced running metrics, and 5 ATM water resistance

The Samsung watches offer a lot more music storage than almost every other smartwatch on this list.

So, if you are willing to spend a premium and you are okay with either Spotify or DRM-free songs, this is the best smartwatch with onboard music storage that you can get.

At this point, it’s also worth noting that as a Samsung Galaxy device, this smartwatch also pairs very well with Samsung’s ecosystem.

Pros:

  • All-around a powerful premium watch
  • Lots of storage
  • Plays well with Samsung’s ecosystem while the Watch 4+ works with both Samsung and Google’s ecosystems thanks to Wear OS 3!
  • LTE is a huge plus for some people

Cons:

  • Bad battery life

If you want the latest Galaxy watch model, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 both store music internally, so you can play music when you’re offline. Another advantage over Samsung’s Galaxy 3 is that the Galaxy 4+ models include 16GB of internal storage.

You can also store music from third-party apps like YouTube, Spotify, and many others on board for offline playback. And unlike the Galaxy 3, which limits offline music to Spotify Premium and its onboard music app, with the Galaxy 4+ watch, you can store music from any app that supports offline playback

The only downside is that Samsung’s Galaxy 4+ watch does not include speakers or an audio jack, so you need wireless headphones to listen to your music.

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Best Smartwatches with Onboard Music Storage: Wrapping Up

These are our top picks for now. To summarize:

  1. Apple Watch series: Most versatile watch for offline music listening. All models support downloading music to the watch, with some storage limits (25% of total storage available.)
  2. Amazfit GTS 2: An excellent value for what it offers and storing up to 600 songs.
  3. Garmin Vivoactive 4: Most feature-rich watch as far as health is concerned while offering support for Amazon Music, Deezer, and Spotify
  4. Garmin Forerunner 255 Music: Supports every popular music platform while offering one of the best music player UIs we’ve ever seen
  5. Fossil Gen 6 and 5: One of the best-looking watches with plenty of customization options. It supports Spotify and plenty of other apps on Google Play.
  6. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: The only watch on this list that offers LTE connectivity. Supports Spotify. The new Galaxy Wear OS watches are also a great choice, especially for folks that listen to offline music using third-party apps.

Additional options include:

Garmin Venu SQ Music is an affordable option with about 3.5GB of storage available for music. Although a paid subscription is required, you can download songs and playlists for offline listening from Spotify, Deezer, or Amazon Music accounts. Pick this smartwatch with music storage for about $250.

Another great affordable option is the TicWatchPro 3, which includes 8GB of internal storage for your music, and an onboard speaker, and is available for $250 – $299. The TicWatch Pro 3 also features the 4100 new Qualcomm processor and new bells and whistles, including robust health and fitness monitoring. This watch has an awesome battery life, anywhere from 3 days (smart mode) to 45 days (essential mode), depending on use and features. 

Unfortunately, while the Fitbit Versa 2 used to offer offline music storage and playback, it is no longer supported. And Fitbit is also no longer supporting music streaming on ANY of its devices. So if listening to music is your thing, we advise you to stay away from Fitbit.

If you have any questions or other recommendations, shoot a note using the comments. And if you liked this article, you can follow us on social media by using the social media buttons below so that you’ll never miss an article.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I got myself a seniors GPS… Not only does it tell me how to get to my destination, it tells me why I wanted to go there.

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