Buying a watch with music playback may sound straightforward, but there are so many options to choose from that you need to be sure you know what you’re signing up for.
The good news is that we have independently reviewed five of the best watches that play music and have shared the results of these reviews in this in-depth guide.
You will find honest information about the five top watches on the market as well as a comprehensive buyer’s guide that outlines the key features that can make a huge difference.
Our mission is to give you the confidence you need to find and purchase the best smartwatch for music with the least fuss and bother.
The Top Smartwatch Music Players Compared
If you’re in a hurry take a quick look at our recommended smartwatches for music in the table below.
Following the table we review them all in more detail.
Our Top Pick
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Best for Fitness
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Fitbit Versa 2
Our Recommended Smartwatches for Music
Take a moment to check out our five top recommendations and see why we think they’re special. They each offer something a little a bit different. We’ll start with our favorite.
Our Top Pick – Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
When it comes to finding the best smartwatch for music, you will be hard-pressed to find anything better than the latest iteration of the Galaxy Watch from Samsung. With LTE internet capability you can stream music with ease to both the in-built speakers or to Bluetooth headphones.
There is no hassle with having to download music or worry about storage space (though you can do this too), and the Spotify app is pre-installed and ready to go as soon as you strap it on your wrist.
The only thing you need to be aware of with this device is that while streaming music is the most convenient way of listening, it will also drain your battery, so you will need to be prepared to charge each night, but this is a small sacrifice for having this amazing watch on your wrist.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 also comes with a huge range of other features that will help you organize your life. The Tizen Store is ready for you to personalize your experience and offers lots of fitness tracking options, including the ability to automatically track your activity so that you do not need to set it before starting your regime.
It is even water-resistant so that you can take it in the pool or the shower without worrying about water damage.
The watch comes in two size options so that you can select the style that suits your wrist the best, and the screen is very easy to read due to it’s clear and crisp brightness. Plus, it is able to work with most smartphones so that you can get it even if you don’t own a Samsung phone!
This really is a titan smartwatch that plays music too.
Best Fitness Based Music Watch – Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
If you are an exercise fanatic and want a Bluetooth MP3 watch that plays all your favorite tunes, then the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is a great choice!
I own this watch and can personally vouch for it! I go running most nights and this watch paired with my Bose Bluetooth headphones is an awesome wireless combination that leaves me free of bulky phones.
If you need a smartwatch that plays music for workouts or long runs then you really can’t beat this one.
You can play your favorite tunes via Spotify, Amazon, or Deezer, but be warned you will need an active paid subscription with one of these music streaming services.
The one issue with this watch is that you will be unable to stream music directly and so you must download the music that you want to listen to before you get stuck into a workout. This involves selecting the specific songs you want to store and then transferring them to the watch via a wireless connection.
The in-built storage can hold +500 songs so this isn’t something you’ll need to do very often. I usually change up the music on my watch every month and it really isn’t an inconvenience at all. Just select a few playlists or albums and then leave the music to transfer while it charges.
In addition to the music features, this smartwatch also offers a great training support package that not only monitors the work you have put in but helps you to understand it you are working too hard or not working hard enough.
Built for runners, this watch takes your safety seriously, and if you have a trip or fall, you will be able to use it to send your physical location to emergency services who can respond with support.
If you want a watch that does not need daily charging, then this device may be a perfect choice. It remains charged for seven days in smartwatch mode, but this will be reduced when you play music or use the GPS tracking option.
However, these modes will not be in constant use, so you can realistically expect to charge your watch every few days.
Great Value Choice – Fitbit Versa 2
Fitbit has made a strong name for themselves by releasing a range of fitness trackers that help you to live a healthy life. The Fitbit Versa 2 is a smartwatch with music capabilities so that you can use it when you are out and about, connected to your headphones.
Similar to our top fitness pick, the Garmin Forerunner 245, this device requires you to download and store your music choices onto the watch as streaming is not possible.
This Fitbit makes use of Spotify and recommends that you sign up for a paid subscription so that you can transfer the music you want with minimal hassle. When you have managed to get your songs onto the device, you can then use it to track your exercise, steps, and even your heart rate.
The display screen is large and uses color to show you your stats. You simply scroll through to get to the section you want and then use the touchscreen to navigate from there. It comes with Amazon
Alexa so that you have access to things like weather forecasts, alarms, and timers, as well as being able to control any smart devices that you have linked to your Amazon account.
This watch will even help you to avoid living a sedentary life with hourly movement reminders. These reminders work to get you to walk around 250 steps per hour and help you to avoid any sedentary hours during your waking hours.
You can also track how many calories you have burned during the day to get an idea of how much exercise you need to do to get the balance right.
If you are keen to get a better understanding of your health, then the companion app is fantastic and will help you to understand your sleep, heart rate and helps you to track your weight and water intake.
You can even connect with friends who have a Fitbit device and compete with them on different fitness challenges. It is an all-round great value watch.
The Garmin Venu works to provide you with smartwatch music that needs to be downloaded and stored on the watch. You simply use your Spotify subscription to select the songs that you want to store and then transfer them using the pairing app.
Once they are on the watch, they will remain there until you remove them or swap them for other songs. If you have a specific workout playlist, this is a great way to get to your music without having to spend ages scrolling through song lists, but it does take a bit of time in the beginning to transfer them all.
The AMOLED display makes it easy to read the screen, and you can set your home screen to show you key stats such as your total exercise time that day, steps taken and calories burned as well as seeing the time and date.
The screen is 1.2-inches, and you simply use touch to navigate through the menu to get to the item you want to use. It offers up to five days of battery life when used as a smartwatch, but this time is drastically reduced to just six hours when GPS and music playback is enabled.
Much like other Garmin models, this watch puts a focus on fitness and offers a range of tracking options to keep you informed of how you are performing. Imagine being able to track your stress levels, sleep heart rate, and respiration – you can with this quality watch.
When it comes to tracking exercise, there are over 20 different, pre-loaded activities to choose from, and that includes cardio and strength training as well as yoga and Pilates. You simply select the one you want to track and then begin exercising.
Amazfit Stratos 3
The Amazfit Stratos 3 is a smartwatch with music storage that allows you to download music and store it directly on the watch. Unfortunately, you are unable to stream music to this device and will need to spend time selecting the songs that you want to play before making use of it.
However, when everything has been downloaded, you can start to enjoy the range of features that come with this device.
It offers over 80 different sports modes so that you can accurately track your exercise and see the progress you are making, including swimming, as this device is water-resistant. It has been designed for professional sportsmen and women and boasts incredible accuracy when it comes to tracking your efforts.
One of the key design features is four navigational buttons that make it easier to get to what you want when you are shaking and sweaty after an intense workout.
It is made from stainless steel and has a black silicone strap that makes it comfortable to wear even when you are in the gym. The face is 46mm wide so that you can see all your information on the crisp screen without any difficulty.
The design of the screen makes it easy to read in all conditions so that you can exercise outside and still keep tabs on your efforts.
There are various battery modes to help you get the most from every charge, and even when you have GPS in use and music playing, you can still expect around 70 hours of power until you need to charge!
Now you have an idea of the best watches that play music, you may need some further information on what to look for when you are choosing a new smartwatch that plays music.
The Two Different Ways to Listen to Music on a Smartwatch
When it comes to listening to your music, you will find that there are two ways that you can do this, and the one you use depends on the watch that you select.
The first option is to stream music directly to your smartwatch from an app like Spotify; you select the song you want and choose the speaker you want it to play from, and it will then begin to play directly from your smartwatch.
This option is only possible if you have a smartwatch that has its own SIM card and is able to use 3G or 4G to connect to the internet like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 recommended above.
The second option is to download songs from your smartphone directly to your smartwatch with music storage, where you can then play them when it suits you.
Obviously, streaming music directly from your wrist is the more convenient option but the downside here is that it will eat up your battery life more quickly.
Speakers or Headphones?
The next really important thing you should consider is whether the smartwatch music player you are considering has in-built speakers or whether it uses headphones to deliver the audio to your ears.
If you are looking for a model with in-built speakers, then you may have noticed that there are not many models to choose from. The reason for this is that they are notoriously difficult to get a high-quality sound from, and the models that do offer it tend to come with warning reviews.
It is not typically recommended that you buy a smartwatch with in-built speakers, but if you are determined to find one, then make sure that you get the sound stats before you buy.
If you are leaning towards getting a smartwatch that utilizes Bluetooth to send audio directly to your headphones, then you are in the majority of consumers who also opt for this. The only thing you need to be aware of when choosing this option is the quality of headphones you opt for. The better quality the headphones, the better quality the sound.
Ultimately, the reason this is the best option is that you are then in control of how much you spend on headphones rather than trying to hear playback directly from your wrist with tiny speakers that do not work that well.
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Having smartwatch music playback means that your device will be using up its charge, and you will need to find a model that fits with your lifestyle and charging requirements. It is obvious that playing music will drain battery life, but many people do not understand what energy is being used to send music out of the watch.
If you go for a streaming option, then you will be using your internet connection to send or download the music to the watch, and it is this action that drains the battery faster than if you do not play music.
The other battery drainer is the Bluetooth connection you will need to maintain in order to listen to your music through your smartwatch accessories. So when you combine this with internet usage, you can start to understand why the battery drains quicker than when you do not play music.
When you start looking at smartwatch models, it is therefore very important to look for an option that offers a high-quality battery, and that charges quickly and easily so that you are not left without your device when you need it the most.
Selecting a Streaming Service
Once you have decided on the type of smartwatch you want, then you will need to consider what streaming service it offers. With Spotify, Deezer, Amazon, Pandora, and many others on the market, it is sensible to opt for the service that you prefer.
Recommended: Find out which smartwatch is best for Spotify in our guide.
Many of us already have a subscription to a music streaming service, so you may want to get a watch that can link up to your account. However, if this is your first streaming experience, you will need to take some time to check out what they all offer before making a final decision.
The other point you will need to factor in is whether you will need to pay for a subscription to the service or if it comes free. The reality is that while many streaming services offer a free option, they are typically very limited or come with a load of adverts that will become increasingly irritating.
Take the time to find out all about each service and the cost that you will incur before making your final choice, as this decision could be key when picking out your smartwatch.
While streaming is a huge part of purchasing the best smartwatch for music, you will also need to take the time to consider what other features your watch will offer. Take a moment to read through the common features so that you can research and purchase with confidence.
Many smartwatches offer a range of fitness tracking capabilities and will provide you with feedback after you have exercised. Common tracking features include running, steps, and gym workouts.
You can even get smartwatches that are waterproof to track your swimming and ones that automatically recognize your exercise so that you never forget to track.
When it comes to understanding your workout efforts, most smartwatches will give you instant feedback on how long you were exercising and how far you traveled so that you can compare it to previous workouts. Many will also track your personal bests so that you are always up to date on what you need to beat.
Health and Wellbeing
Apart from looking for a watch that plays music, you should also consider how your latest purchase will be able to help with your health and wellbeing. Many smartwatches offer heart rate monitoring, breathing focus, and some even offer an ECG option so that you can monitor your heart more closely than ever before.
Many smartwatches offer health tracking apps and will work with your data to help you design a plan that suits your fitness needs. Take the time to decide what you want your new watch to track and then use your list to find the right model for you.
In a similar vein to the health and fitness trackers, you can get, there are also smartwatches that offer a range of different lifestyle apps to help you manage your day. From calendars to notes and even reminders, you can find smartwatches that offer a great range of things to help you live a more organized life.
In a world that requires so much, it is great to have a watch that can help you remain on track. However, there is such a difference in what is on offer that you need to take the time to look at what you are getting from any device that interests you.
Notifications, Calls, and Messages
Getting your notifications direct to your wrist is a great way of staying up to date on what is happening in the world, and with news apps, messages, and calls all able to notify you, you will never feel out of the loop again.
Many smartwatches are enabled to take calls and respond to messages so that you do not need to take your phone out of your pocket when you are out and about. It also means that you can be informed without needing to disrupt a meeting or appointment as you can even read your messages on your wrist.
Taking the time to decide what you want from your smartwatch music player will help you to ensure that you end up with the best device for your lifestyle. Remember to do your research and shop around before you part with any money; that way, you are more likely to find a device that fits perfectly.