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Reliable smartwatch for contactless pay in Europe

I believe most Europeans use Apple watches with Garmin running in second place. I'm an Android user so that leaves Garmin if I want to fit in. Haha. Garmin makes fitness trackers and I don't need that. Any thoughts on a simple NFC capable watch that will perform in Europe? Battery life is important, being notified of text or calls maybe....

Posted by
7521 posts

Your info may be off...

Europe is more Android than Apple, with maybe the UK being the one exception, but they are reasonable close in use. Most also do not use watches, using card or phone more often.

But, all that really does not matter, if you are comfortable with a watch, use a watch. As for ones to look at, probably the leaders are Google Pixel and Samsung. Both have a range of models, you should be able to find something that suits you.

Posted by
304 posts

I've never used it, but my Garmin Venu IIs has some sort of contactless pay setup via my Pixel 6 Pro phone. I don't think you are restricted to just Google watches. (I primarily use the Venu as a fitness watch, recording mostly walks, runs, and gym workouts, and syncing with Strava. I rejected both the Google and Apple watches b/c they needed to be charged every night.)

Posted by
296 posts

I would say most people use their card, or phone - smart watches are in a minority. If you want one, buy whatever best suits your lifestyle, but I wouldn't buy one just for travel.

Incidentally, Apple doesn't have majority market share in most continental European countries. It does have a 50% market share in the UK.

Posted by
14956 posts

I have the Samsung Galaxy 5 Pro. I like it.

The Google Pay option is convenient but can also be finicky. Sometimes I have to try a few times before it works. And other times I get frustrated and take out my phone to pay. (Of course, the watch acts up when people are waiting behind you and you're holding them up trying to get the watch to work.)

I find that there is a "sweetspot" with every register/till and you have to find that with the watch. The phone is more forgiving.

My watch can last up to 4 or 5 days before recharging but I usually do it every couple of days. It charges quickly via its own wirless charger.

I have come to love the notification options for calls, emails texts, calendar reminders, etc. With the phone in my pocket, I would sometimes miss these especially when out and about in a noisy city.

You can customize the watch face to include Google Pay and notifications. Mine also has current weather as well as rain probability.

Samsung Pay doesn't seem to be accepted as much in Europe.

Since the Galaxy 6 is now out, you might be able to get a good deal on the Galaxy 5 series. Samsung updated the software on the 5 to do most of what the 6 can do.

Posted by
180 posts

I used my smartwatch (in the interests of transparency, an Apple Watch) for contactless payments in England, Scotland, and Italy last year with no problems. The best thing about a smartwatch (regardless of brand) is that you don’t have to reach for a phone or wallet to pay.

Posted by
35 posts

Thank you! That's all I'm trying to avoid -- pulling out a card or phone. Also glancing at my wrist for local time in an airport or train station seems lovely, as well. I may only use it when traveling. Who knows? I have one ordered that uses Google wallet (differentiated from Google pay -- Google it:), has several days battery life and was on sale for $150! I have a month to get used to it before departure. Still appreciate personal experiences regarding this💕