Smartwatches with music – under $300

Music on a smartwatch is basic functionality. We look at the smartwatches that cost under $300 and offer you the ability to play music. Some smartwatches control the music on your smartphone. While others have on-device storage to store songs on the smartwatch. On-device storage on a smartwatch is very useful as you can play music through the smartwatch. You can do so without any Internet or Bluetooth connectivity. Obviously, you would be using the speaker on the smartwatch. So, you watch ought to have a speaker to play the songs directly through the watch.

Garmin Venu Sq – Music edition

Garmin’s Venu Sq is a pretty basic watch in terms of functionality and features. It also features the music on the smartwatch. It has on-device storage that allows you to store up to 500 songs on the watch. You can play the music directly through the watch storage. Venu Sq Music edition is a 40 mm smartwatch, and it also gives you the ability to control music on the smartphone paired with the watch. So, it is up to you on whether you wish to store music on the watch storage and play the songs through the watch. Or, you can control and play the songs on your smartphone.

Garmin Venu Sq Music edition is very competitively priced and is available at around $199 as of now.

Venu Sq music edition also offers a very good battery life of 6 days on the smartwatch mode. It has all the multi-sport functions from Garmin, including the Golf mode, swimming mode, cycling mode, and tracking of outdoor recreation activities. Sleep monitoring and body battery scores are also available on the Venu Sq Music edition. Body battery scores help you in figuring out your body’s stress levels or fatigue levels.

Venu Sq music edition is by far the cheapest smartwatch that has good functionality and on-device music storage. It is backed by a relatively stable Garmin operating system.


Fitbit Versa 2

Fitbit Versa 2 may be considered a bit dated in 2022. But, the watch is a decent and value for money proposition in the smartwatch market. It has all the basic smartwatch features. In terms of music capabilities, a Versa 2 smartwatch can be used to control music on the smartphone that is paired and close to the Fitbit Versa 2 watch. It can also be used to store music on the device, for directly streaming music out of the watch. Fitbit Versa 2 does have on-device storage to store up to 300 songs on the smartwatch.

Besides the music stored on the smartphone, and the device, a Versa 2 smartwatch can also work with the Deezer and Pandora apps to download playlists in specific countries. Deezer and Pandora are paid subscription music services that can be bought for a monthly recurring fee. Both apps are available for subscription in the United States.

Compared to the Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa 3 smartwatch, the Versa 2 is available for a discounted price under $150. For someone looking at basic smartwatch functionality and music functions through the paired smartphone, Fitbit Versa 2 ticks all the boxes.

Fitbit Versa 2 also allows you to work with the Spotify app and stream music through it.


Garmin Vivoactive 4

Garmin’s Vivoactive 4 is a smartwatch that has a list price of $349.99 as of now. However, you could always get a special price or a price cut to get it for close to $300. It comes with all the standard smartwatch features. Music functionality has always been one of the standard offerings on Garmin watches. A Garmin Vivoactive 4 allows to play music in one of the following ways:

  • on-device storage on the Garmin Vivoactive 4 watch allows to store music on the watch and play it directly through the device. You can store up to 500 songs on a Garmin Vivoactive 4 watch.
  • you can also control music on your smartphone through the music controls on a Garmin Vivoactive 4 watch.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 is a very good smartwatch from Garmin, especially if this would be your first smartwatch. You can grow with the Garmin operating system and evolve with the watch to move to the Venu 2 series or the Fenix 6 series smartwatches.


Amazfit GTR PRO 3

Amazfit GTR Pro 3 smartwatch is the latest smartwatch from Amazfit. The music feature on the Amazfit Pro 3 watch will give you the ability to store music on the watch and play the songs directly through the watch. Amazfit Pro 3 has device storage to store the music files locally on the watch. Besides storing music on the device, Amazfit GTR Pro 3 also allows you to control music on the smartphone that is paired with the watch. In a way, it has complete music functionality on the GTR 3 Pro.

The watch is available for $229 and has an extended battery life and all the basic functionality of a smartwatch. AMOLED display and a screen size of 1.45″ makes it a good contemporary design watch.


Fitbit Versa 3

Versa 3 is under $300, and has a complete smartwatch functionality including the music feature. Unlike Versa 2, Versa 3 does not have on-device storage to store the music content locally on the watch storage. However, you can control the music on your smartphone through the Fitbit Versa 3 watch. To control music on the smartphone, you will need the Versa 3 to be close to the paired smartphone.

Apart from controlling music on the smartphone, a Versa 3 smartwatch can be used to get Deezer and Pandora playlists on the watch. Deezer and Pandora are music subscription apps that cost a monthly recurring fee to offer music on the supported devices. Fitbit Versa 3 has an integration with the Deezer and Pandora apps to offer music functionality on the Fitbit Versa 3 smartwatch. Since Deezer and Pandora are not available in all the countries, please do make sure about their availability in your country before you make a purchase of Versa 3.

There is a thought that must go into buying a Versa 3 for music. If you have to take an app worth $9.99 a month, your Versa 3 costs would increase by almost $240 over a 2 year period. Add that amount to the initial cost price of a Versa 3 and you could get a Garmin Venu 2 or even the Apple Watch 7 in aluminium casing. So, do consider that if you are buying Versa 3 for music, you may actually improve your budget and get a watch from the next category.

Fitbit Versa 3 costs $199 as of now. So, if you were to add $240 for a 2-year subscription to Deezer, you end up spending $439 over a period of 2 years. A Garmin Venu 2 is almost the same price and an Apple Watch 7 will come close to that price as well.


fitbit-sense

Fitbit Sense

Fitbit Sense is geared towards offering health monitoring. It is available for under $250 right now. It is a good watch, as it offers detailed health tracking features. It does offer music functionality. However, it has no on-device storage to store music files locally, for offline music without the use of any third-party app.

Fitbit Sense provides music features by allowing you to:

  • control music on your smartphone through the Fitbit Sense.
  • allow you to import playlists from third party apps, Deezer and Pandora. You can use Deezer and Pandora for offline listening. But, both apps offer music services on subscription basis. So, that is an incremental expense that you need to provision for.

A Fitbit Sense is a complete watch, as it offers almost everything that you would need from a smartwatch in the normal scheme of things. Adding Fitbit Premium and a music app like Deezer further boosts Fitbit Sense’s capabilities. But, you need to consider the total cost of ownership of a Fitbit Sense with Fitbit Premium and Deezer or Pandora. Over a period of 2 years, you would be spending over $700 for the device cost, Fitbit Premium, and Deezer. That amount gets you a Stainless Steel model of the Apple Watch 7. Or, better still, you get a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro in that price range. So, think before you make a move.

As a basic smartwatch with essential health monitoring features, Fitbit Sense beats every other watch in that price category by a mile.


Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE has device storage of 32 GB. This can be used for storing music locally on the device. You can play music through a paired Bluetooth speaker or your paired iPhone. An Apple Watch SE costs around $300, and rides the full matrix of Apple Watch features. The only thing missing on the Apple Watch SE would be the blood oxygenation monitor, the ECG app, and an Always-on Display (AOD).

If you are an iPhone user, an Apple Watch SE will be a perfect companion; especially when are not very keen on spending too much money on a smartwatch. An Apple Watch SE is a practical watch. It is a smart and value-for-money package for people who aspire to use a smartwatch for practical considerations. And, Apple watch does not have any hassles associated with firmware availability and firmware updates.


Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Samsung’s Watch 4 is the newest galaxy watch from Samsung. It works with Android mobiles and rides on Google’s wearOS. It is one of the sleekest watches in the town. It also has 16 GB of internal storage. So, you will be able to store music internally on the galaxy watch 4. You can use Bluetooth speakers to pair with the smartwatch and listen to music in offline mode.

Samsung Watch 4 supports YouTube premium subscription services for offline music availability and listening. Also, you can control music on the paired smartphone using the Samsung Watch 4. Or, you can stream music using the Spotify app.

In terms of music functionality, the Samsung Watch 4 ticks all the boxes. And, it comes at less than $300 if you manage a strike at a discounted price with the company.


Conclusion

People looking to buy a smartwatch for music will benefit a lot by using a watch that has internal storage to store the music files on the watch. You could play the music through the smartwatch or through one of the paired Bluetooth speakers or even the paired smartphone. Third-party music apps are not a very smart idea, given the incremental costs that add to the total cost of ownership for a period of 2 or 3 years.

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