One of the coolest things about smartwatches with onboard music storage is that we can easily use them without smartphones. 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. 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 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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- 1 Things to keep an eye out for
- 2 1: Amazfit Stratos: Good Value
- 3 2: Garmin vivoactive 4: Great for Health Tracking
- 4 3: Garmin Forerunner 645 Music: Made for Music
- 5 4: Fossil Gen 5: Most Stylistic Music Watch
- 6 5: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: Best LTE Watch
- 7 Best Smartwatches with Onboard Music Storage: Wrapping Up
- 8 Summary
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.)
So let’s take a closer look at smartwatches with onboard 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 own music library and its audio quality.
And while there is no precise number for everyone, we recommend a minimum of a gigabyte or two (1 to 2 GB).
Ideally, the more storage that you get, the better.
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.
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 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.
Most modern smartwatches allow both streaming and storing music.
Watches, such as the Galaxy Watch 3, 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.
So, before buying a smartwatch, make sure that it supports your favorite streaming platform – or local playback if your music library is DRM-free.
Last, but not least, you obviously don’t want your smartwatch to run out of battery life mid-session.
So, pay attention to what the manufacturer claims and to what reviewers report, but also keep in mind that battery life can greatly differ depending on usage.
For example, 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: Amazfit Stratos: Good Value
The Amazfit Stratos is the first to come out in the Stratos line and, to this day, it still offers a great value for what it is.
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 5 days
Storage: 4 gigabytes
Music streaming: Local only
Features: GPS, and 5 ATM water resistance
Its 4 gigabytes of storage should be more than enough for most people.
But, one thing to keep in mind is that the Amazfit Stratos doesn’t offer any form of cellular connectivity.
So, if you plan on going fully smartphone-free every now and then, you should probably look elsewhere.
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Needless to say that it also supports step tracking, VO2 max, and other basic features that smartwatches come with.
- Plenty of memory for the price
- Fitness analysis is a welcome addition
- Doesn’t support music streaming or music sync
2: Garmin vivoactive 4: Great for Health Tracking
If you want to both stream music and get a lot of health features in one package, we’d definitely recommend looking into Garmin’s offerings.
The Garmin vivoactive 4, in particular, is one of the best smartwatches with onboard music storage right now.
Battery life: Up to 8 days
Storage: 3.5 gigabytes
Music streaming: Local, Amazon Music, Deezer, Spotify, (Subscription may be required)
Features: GPS, Pulse Ox 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 as well.
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.
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- Plenty of health-related features
- Supports some of the most popular streaming platforms
- Garmin Pay is a welcome addition
- The “Garmin Pay” feature only works with newer, NFC terminals and selected banks, cards, and shops
3: Garmin Forerunner 645 Music: Made for Music
For those of you who are looking specifically for a smartwatch that’s made for music and don’t care a lot about other, health-related features, we can’t think of anything better than the Garmin Forerunner 645.
Battery life: Up to 7 days
Storage: 3.5 gigabytes
Music streaming: Local, Amazon Music, Deezer, Spotify, iTunes sync with Garmin Express, and iHeartRadio (Subscription may be required)
Features: GPS, fitness tracking, menstrual cycle tracking, Garmin Pay, and 5 ATM water resistance
It lacks a few advanced fitness tracking features, such as a Pulse Ox sensor.
But, other than that, this is more or less another premium smartwatch with extensive support for music services and an attractive UI.
- Easily download up to 500 songs to your watch, and connect with Bluetooth headphones (sold...
- Syncs music from select streaming services for offline listening (May require premium subscription...
- Unique-looking UI for music
- Supports every popular music streaming platform
- Lacks a few health-related features compared to some of its other siblings (Garmin vivoactive 4)
4: Fossil Gen 5: Most Stylistic Music Watch
As you probably already guessed by the title, one of the coolest things about the Fossil Gen 5 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 should be one of your first go-to smartwatches – be it for music or not.
Battery life: From 1 up to a few days (Depending on battery mode and overall usage)
Storage: 3.5 gigabytes
Music streaming: Google Music, Spotify, plus everything else that’s available on Google Play
Features: GPS, Google Voice Assistant, Google Tiles, Nike Run Club, fitness tracking, Google Pay, and 5 ATM water resistance
It’s also worth noting that this smartwatch runs a modified version of Android that’s called Wear OS.
This means that using it should give you access to more apps than any other watch can offer, thanks to Google Play.
Though, it’s worth noting that Android apps still need to be optimized for smartwatches, or they are not going to run well or not at all.
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- Plenty of apps to choose from
- Lots of stylish variants
- Short battery life despite not having LTE
5: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: Best LTE Watch
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 3 comes in!
Battery life: Up to 2 days
Storage: 8 gigabytes
Music streaming: Spotify
Features: GPS, LTE, Bixby SpO2 tracking, Samsung Pay (No MST), advanced running metrics, and 5 ATM water resistance
It also offers double the storage that every other smartwatch has on this list.
So, if you are willing to spend a premium and you are fine 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.
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- All-around a powerful premium watch
- Lots of storage
- Plays well with Samsung’s ecosystem
- LTE is a huge plus for some people
- Bad battery life
Best Smartwatches with Onboard Music Storage: Wrapping Up
These are our top picks for now. To summarize:
- Amazfit Stratos: A great value for what it offers, but it only plays DRM-free songs.
- Garmin Vivoactive 4: Most feature-rich watch as far as health is concerned while offering support for Amazon Music, Deezer, and Spotify
- Garmin Forerunner 645 Music: Supports every popular music platform while offering one of the best music player UIs we’ve ever seen
- Fossil Gen 5: One of the best-looking watches with plenty of customization options. It supports Spotify and plenty of other apps on Google Play
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: The only watch on this list that offers LTE connectivity. Supports Spotify
- Garmin Venu SQ Music is a new product announced this month and is available for less than $200. The other new Smartwatch introduced this week is the TicWatchPro 3, available for $250 – $299 featuring the 4100 new Qualcomm processor and new bells and whistles.
Lastly, there are also the new and old Apple Watch models that allow you to store some music on-board and also stream directly from Apple Music and Spotify if you have the LTE version of the Apple Watch.
These are a little pricy but worth owning, especially if your mobile device is an iPhone.
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.
Last update on 2021-07-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API