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Best smartwatches for music 2022: Time to rock with our essential guide - Louder

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By published 14 April 22
We’ve taken the time to dig into the numbers and bring you an up-to-the-minute guide on the best smartwatches for music
Only a few years ago, the thought of having having music strapped to our wrist was something you could only dream about – or see in some far-fetched sci-fi flick, but the marketplace is now crammed full of such tech and more and more people are now on the lookout for the best smartwatches for music.
From GPS running watches to smartphone connected smartwatches, there are plenty of options to suit varying needs. You may want a running watch that lets you go out without taking a phone, but still keep your music playing. Or perhaps it’s a more general smartwatch that lets you message, make shop payments and more all while listening to your favourite tunes. Whatever your need, there is a range of options that vary in price.
This guide will help you think about what it is you need to look out for so you can find the ideal smartwatch for music.
Top of the pile of the best smartwatches for music has to be the Garmin Fenix 7. It offers offline Spotify music storage and Bluetooth for headphones. That means you can go for a run, track it all, and listen to your favourite music as you do it. This even has Garmin Pay so you can tap to pay for that much needed drink stop, all without your phone or wallet. Plus, this has a super battery so that won’t be a worry no matter how far you go.
For those that want to keep to a budget but still want music on their wrist, the best option is the Amazfit Stratos 3. It’s super affordable so that’s a win, but it does mean you’ll need to drag and drop tracks in MP3 file format manually before connecting up those Bluetooth headphones for a phone-free experience.
Best smartwatches for music: Garmin Fenix 7
The Garmin Fenix 7 is the company’s ultimate smartwatch which not only means superb sports support and a mega-rugged build, but also lots of music support. This watch will store music files with a 1000 song limit, but you can also offline sync your streaming from the likes of Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer as well as getting iHeartRadio music. 
Unlike many of the other options out there, the Garmin Fenix 7 has a super long battery life in standby mode but also an impressive 10 hours of use with both GPS and music playback active. Connect your Bluetooth headphones directly and this is all you need to listen to music wherever you go.
If you want the Garmin Fenix 7 for sports, then you’re covered for nearly anything, from trail running to skydiving. This will get metrics like VO2 max and heart rate variability for the ultimate feedback and guidance on your workouts. There’s even a solar edition that gives you more charge when out in direct daylight. And they both let you tap to pay, ideal if you’re wallet-free too.
Best smartwatches for music: Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch Series 7 isn’t a massive jump forward from the previous generation, but it remains one of the best smartwatch options out there right now. Not only does it look superb in a variety of colours, it has a fantastic display, easy to use controls, a multitude of apps, a wide range of strap and face designs – and it it also packs in music support.
This is good for both streaming and offline sync of Spotify, Apple Music and podcast app content, making it ideal for going out without the need for a connected phone. 
Onboard GPS means you can track a run while still listening to music connected to Bluetooth headphones. Sure, the battery life when tuned into your music collection could be better, but the Apple Watch Series 7 is a great option for those who love to work out thanks to Apple’s Fitness+ app. Here we have dedicated workouts – complete with music – for a wide variety of activities including running, walking, cycling, yoga and meditation. Pair the Apple Watch Series 7 with your iPhone and a whole world of fitness routines will open up.
Best smartwatches for music: Samsung Galaxy Watch
Samsung have listened to the people for its latest smartwatch upgrade and has given them what they wanted, more battery life. As a result, the Galaxy Watch 4 can nearly double the battery life of the Apple Watch, with 40 hours of mixed use. Sure, when in GPS and music playback mode that drops considerably, and it’s not as good as the Garmin Fenix 7, but the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is  still impressive for a fully functioning smartwatch.
For music you get Spotify and offline sync but also, thanks to Wear OS, YouTube in offline mode too. There’s an impressive 16GB of storage so you can cram it full of MP3 high-quality tunes as well.
With LTE connectivity, an ECG sensor and over 90 guided exercise programs, this is a very capable fitness and lifestyle smartwatch. The fact it looks good and comes in 40-46mm sizes is just a welcome bonus.
Best smartwatches for music: Fitbit Versa 3
If you’re on Team Fitbit and already using the app, then this is the smartwatch for you. This takes all the best bits about Fitbit, like its health and fitness tracking, and adds music support. The Fitbit Versa 3 can store 300 MP3 tracks that you can drag and drop right on there. It also works with Pandora in the US and Deezer in Europe with offline sync support for each. Unfortunately there’s no Spotify support in that capacity with the app simply working as a wrist based controller for the app on your smartphone.
This is an affordable option if you’re after a smartwatch that offers music, GPS run tracking, Bluetooth headphone connectivity and an accurate heart monitor rate on your wrist.
Best smartwatches for music: Coros Vertix 2
The Coros Vertix 2 is the best smartwatch for battery life bar none thanks to its whopping 60 day standby mode and 140 hours of use with GPS tracking on. That drops to 35 hours when using GPS and music playback to Bluetooth headphones,  but it’s still far more than the competition can offer. The Coros Vertix 2 is also a lot cheaper than the Garmin Fenix 7 and now offers impressive sports training insights.
You don’t get streaming music support though. Instead this uses classic drag and drop file transfers for MP3 music, so you’ll need a PC to hand. But with 32GB of storage onboard you should be able to fill it with enough to last that 60 day battery life and more. It’s also waterproof, rugged and looks great.
Best smartwatches for music: Amazfit Stratos 3
This affordable option from Amazfit, made by Zepp Health of Xiaomi fame, offers an affordable way to get all the useful sports tracking on your wrist as well as your music. The Amazfit Stratos 3 doesn’t offer any streaming service but instead lets you load it with MP3 music. You’re limited to 4GB but that’s good enough for around 500 songs which should see you head bopping for plenty of hours beyond its five day battery life.
You also get heart rate tracking, VO2 max data and GPS with GLONASS support for all your sporting needs. This’ll also give you smartphone notifications like a capable smartwatch should these days. It’s a lot for the money and looks pretty attractive too.
Best smartwatches for music: Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
This option might be lower down on the list, but that’s only because the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music smartwatch is a jack of all trades, master of none. If you want to keep the price down, get all the smart Gamrin fitness tracking, offline sync for Spotify and Deezer, plus great smartphone notification support – and save a buck or two – then this is it.
In short, this watch does it all and keeps the build compact, if not a little more plastic looking than some. You are limited to a six hour battery life with GPS and music on but that’s still above average and gets you through a marathon or longer. This is also super tough and waterproof so you can take it anywhere, worry-free.
It’ll hold around 500 songs too, meaning there’s a decent amount of audio content strapped to your wrist.
Best smartwatches for music: Garmin Venu 2
The Venu 2 is Garmin’s answer to the Apple Watch, offering a high-end, bright AMOLED display for rich and colourful interactions. Yet it is still a sports watch primarily, meaning you get all of those great Garmin fitness tracking and training features. This includes GPS and music playback while training but also heart rate monitoring and smartphone notifications.
The battery goes a good eight hours on GPS and music playback mode and you can sync several streaming services for offline use including Spotify, Deezer, iHeart Radio and Amazon Music. A great looking Garmin option that does all most users could want and still manages to compete on price – and it’s got massive storage that’ll see you choosing between roughly 2000 songs.
It’s worth narrowing down your needs so you can look out for features you can’t live without but potentially save money by going for those which don’t have features you can live without. Here are a few key areas you’ll want to give some thought.
How connected do you need to be? Some watches will come with a SIM allowing you to always connect to data without a phone nearby. This is ideal if you always want access to your music streaming without having to limit choice. However, you can save money and battery life by going for an option without this connectivity. In this case you’ll ideally want one that lets you save music for offline listening.
I, like a lot of people, stream music these days, while others prefer having stored music instead. This can mean high fidelity audio or simply your music library all offline to listen to anywhere. Whichever class you fit into, make sure you look for a watch that suits those needs. If it’s storage then you’ll want a smartwatch with plenty of storage capacity. If it’s streaming, then you may want one with a better battery life, or at least that offline storage option.
The battery life on smartwatches is fairly similar with a day or two on a watch with GPS and smart connections. Some go longer but the key is to make sure yours charges quickly. That means it won’t matter so much how long the battery lasts as you can top up quickly ready to go again.
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