One of the most convenient features offered by most fitness devices and wearables is the option to play music remotely. From the outside, this may not seem like much but when you’re in the middle of a workout it’s a real pain to have to fiddle with your smartphone. It’s much easier to reach down to your wrist and skip tracks, pause playback or even increase the volume.
Some of the best smartwatches play music natively stored on the device, although you won’t have as much content ready considering wearables commonly include about 4GB of space. That said, a lot of them will stream music wirelessly from a connected smartphone. This allows you to leave the smartphone in your pocket, in your gym bag or even sitting nearby. You don’t ever have to pick up your phone either because you can check notifications, alerts, track your excercise and even control music playback all via your watch — provided you have a wearable that’s capable of these features.
The Best Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers With Music Playback Support
Not all devices are created equal and that means not all of them support remote music playback. To help out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best smartwatches that do, in fact play music remotely. Please keep in mind, each device on this list may offer different features elsewhere. The common element here is that they will all allow you to listen to music while you’re exercising, without the need to interact with a smartphone.
Let’s shuffle right to it, shall we?
Sony SmartWatch 3
Sony’s latest wearable release the SmartWatch 3 kind of went under the radar what with all the popular devices hitting market recently like the LG G Watch R, Samsung Gear S, Moto 360 and of course the Apple Watch hubbub. That said, it’s a pretty great device all around.
It is running Android Wear, which means it’s similar to some of the aforementioned devices when it comes to software anyway. We wouldn’t necessarily consider this a low-end device, but it is comparable to entry level. One of the most promising features is the integrated GPS which means it can track your exercise even without a connected smartphone.
Most relevant to our current discussion, it does offer some pretty robust music playback options and you can even pair the device with Bluetooth headphones to listen to music wirelessly. It includes 4GB of internal storage if you want to store music locally, or you can stream it from a connected smartphone — although that would require you to also carry your handset.
Timex Ironman One GPS+
The Ironman One GPS+ is a ruggedized fitness tracker designed to withstand a great deal of wear and tear. It — like the Samsung Gear S — includes 3G mobile connectivity support which means you can move about without tethering the device to a smartphone. You can listen to music and track your stats while you run, bike or even workout. The mobile connectivity also means that you can stream your music, which essentially means you have access to a much larger library stored in the cloud. Like anything else on this list, there’s 4GB of internal storage too if you want to store and listen to your music locally.
You can also connected a wireless Bluetooth headset or earphones to the device to allow true, hands-free listening.
Hopefully, this device needs no introduction. The G Watch R is LG’s take on the round design previously found in the Moto 360. It is powered by Android Wear so there’s not going to be much difference between it and some of the other models on this list, at least when it comes to software features.
It has a bevy of sensors to track a wide variety of fitness data, although it is lacking native GPS support. Similar to the SmartWatch 3 there’s 4GB of internal storage which means you can store music locally, or you can stream it from a connected handset. You’ll find that’s a common pattern across the board.
The Microsoft Band does not include internal storage, but it does support music playback and streaming via Bluetooth with a connected handset. What that means is that you’ll need to carry your phone with you everywhere you go if you’re using the Band — which is not exactly a huge issue, considering some of the other devices on this list require the same.
The Gear S is powered by Samsung’s proprietary Tizen OS, but that’s fine considering it’s a standalone device that includes SIM card support. In other words, you can ditch your phone entirely and simply rely on the watch.
We’re not going to delve into the advanced features and functionality of the device, because this section would grow quite large. Instead, we’re just going to focus on the music playback support. You can play music locally, storing your media on the 4GB internal storage. You can also stream it via the network connection using one of many different third party apps.
The Gear S offers some of the best options when it comes to wireless music playback because you don’t have to be tethered to a smartphone in any way. That said, it’s price point is much higher than some of the other options on this list as it’s a premium device and keep in mind that you’ll need to pay for mobile network service, as well.
Adidas miCoach Smart Run
The Adidas miCoach Smart Run includes an MP3 player function built-in, which means you can play music located on the 4GB of internal storage. You can also stream your music through Microsoft’s MixRadio thanks to a recent partnership with Adidas. Smart Run users can gain access to 32 million music tracks free of charge, through streaming of course.
Keep in mind, the miCoach does not support third party apps like Spotify, Pandora or Deezer currently. Although further support may be baked in through a software update later.
Just like any of the other Android Wear devices on this list, the Moto 360 will allow you to play music directly from your watch. It includes 4GB of internal storage so that you can transfer music for local playback directly on the device, or you can stream it from a connected smartphone.
It’s worth noting — and we haven’t yet — that Google released an update to the Android Wear platform that now supports offline music playback. This was not initially possible with Android Wear devices, however it definitely is now.
The Best Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers With Music Playback Support: Honorable Mentions
There are a ton of other devices that also support music playback, however we did not included them on this list for various reasons. More importantly, because it would take forever to list out every device in great detail. Instead it’s better if we include the best options above, and offer a list of the runner-ups below exactly like we’ve done.
Keep in mind, if you do not see a device you own on the list or perhaps a device that we may have overlooked feel free to mention it in the comments. Anyway, the list below includes some of the best smartwatches and fitness trackers with music playback support that serve as honorable mentions.
- Asus ZenWatch
- Apple Watch (not released yet)
- LG G Watch
- Samsung Gear
- Samsung Gear Live
- Samsung Gear 2
- Samsung Gear Fit
- Moment Smartwatch
- Neptune Pine
- Sony SmartWatch 2