Smartwatches with ECG
What is ECG?
ECG or Electrocardiogram is a means of measuring the health of the heart. Heart rate monitors have been on smartwatches now for quite some time but the ECG smartwatch sensors are the new sensor in town. The heart rate sensors work by green LEDs on the bottom of the watch that shines a light into the skin and detects the blood flow. THen the light that bounces back is detected and through a complicated algorithm, the heart rate is displayed. This, however, is not always accurate and is no means medically sound. This is where the ECG comes in. Now instead of measuring the blood flow, it measures the health of the heart.
What do we need ECG for?
The sensors that are appearing on smartwatches are used to measure the heart health and now you can use your watch to keep a close eye on your heart, even setting alarms and notifications on some models if sensors detect abnormal readings. This can only be a good thing I hear you say.
The sensors can detect atrial fibrillation (Afib) which is a serious condition the can lead to the cause of a stroke.
Who would use the ECG smartwatch?
I suppose the burning question is, who would use an ECG smartwatch and the most obvious answer is that it is probably one of the things that you would use once and then forget about but for some people is going to be essential. Most manufacturers admit that the feature is going to be most useful for the over 50’s but in this market of ‘one-fits-all’ it may be useful for lots of people. On smartwatches, more sensors and gadgets to the people who buy them like us are viewed as an advantage and get more bragging rights for your new smartwatch.
How does ECG work?
The ECG differs from the heart rate monitors by actually measuring the electrical signals in the heart. This is usually done by placing your finger on a part of the smartwatch, usually the crown or a button, and holding it there for 30 seconds or more and then the reading is displayed. The ECG sensor on a smartwatch, although accurate can not be relied upon, although useful to know, as there is only one reading taken at a time. If you have an ECG reading taken at the hospital then the machine takes 12 readings at once from different sensors placed on the chest.
Lets get onto the top smartwatches recommended by Aroundwatches.com
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- Withings Move ECG
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
- Fitbit Sence
1. Apple Watch Series 6
The Apple Watch Series 6 is the latest smartwatch from Apple and the best ECG-enabled smartwatch in the market right now. Apple was the first brand to introduce ECG heart monitoring on smartwatches in 2018 with the Series 4. The Apple Watch Series 6 watch features improved ECG tracking from the last and also more robust health and fitness monitoring capabilities.
The watch is also approved by the FDA and ECA for personal use, and you can get ECG readings similar to the ones we see at hospitals directly from an Apple Watch Series 6.
A sinus rhythm ECG result indicates that your heart is beating uniformly between 50 and 100 BPM. In contrast, a result with atrial fibrillation (AFib) shows your heart is beating in an irregular pattern 50 and 120 BPM. Any result under 50BPM or over 120BPM is considered inconclusive, and this could be caused by some factors which include intense training, dehydration, stress, alcohol, infection, and others. You can learn more about ECG results from an Apple Watch here.
One point worth mentioning is the Apple watch series 6 is also not compatible with Android smartphones, and I don’t see Apple dealing with this anytime soon. If you’re an Android, you might want to check out the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 below. It’s not as good as the series 5 in the area of ECG heart monitoring but an impressive smartwatch with a ton of features and compatible with most Android (and iOS) devices.
2. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
The Galaxy Watch 3 is Samsung’s latest smartwatch, and it features an ECG sensor too! It is also the best Apple Watch 5 alternative and comes with tons of other health fitness tracking capabilities.
Now to the ECG monitoring. Samsung like Apple has also gone a step further to get FDA approval for the ECG functionality on the Galaxy Watch 3 so if you choose to go for this smartwatch, know that the FDA approves the personal use of ECG feature for HR monitoring and it works just fine.
The Samsung Galaxy Active watch is currently the best all-around Apple Watch alternative for Android users (and iOS users too). The ECG feature on the watch works exceptionally well and can help in detecting various heart-related issues directly on your wrist. For more information click the link below.
3. Withings Move ECG
Here we have the Withings Move ECG smartwatch. This smartwatch is second to none when it come to the ECG heart rate tracking. The Move ECG is a hybrid smartwatch with an analogue watch face with the extra sensors built in the background. Withings seem to just have the balance just right on this watch with the great looks and fantastic features. The watch features a very stylish traditional looking design with lots of internal health and fitness tracking features to choose from.
Getting an ECG reading on this smartwatch takes just 30 seconds, and you can do this by placing your finger on the metallic side button (just like the Apple watch) and allowing the watch to do its thing. It can detect irregular heart rhythms, and this is known as Atrial Fibrillation (or AFib) and also give you a detailed analysis of your heart rate via the “Health Mate” app when connected.
The smartwatch also features a lot of fitness tracking features too. Some of these fitness tracking features include calories burned calculator, steps counter, sleep tracker, and multiple sport modes for more fitness analysis. You never have to worry about the battery life on this as it is set to last 12 months but it has no touchscreen or regular notifications.
4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
The Galaxy watch Active 2 is an exciting premium smartwatch from Samsung, and like the Galaxy 3 I mentioned above, this watch also includes an ECG sensor for taking ECG readings and blood pressure monitoring.
The Galaxy Active 2 also comes with other fitness tracking features like blood pressure monitoring, steps counting, running coach, daily fitness reminders, and 39 sport modes designed to track your fitness when doing specific sports. Some supported sports include running, climbing, yoga, swimming e.t.c, and you can get recorded fitness data directly on your smartphone via the Samsung Health app.
This is a great premium smartwatch with a premium price-tag too at £219 / $279. |This price might put some people off this smartwatch.
5. Fitbit Sense
This smartwatch really is at the cutting edge of design and craftsmanship. The Fitbit Sense not only has ECG tracking but been a Fitbit is really handy for tracking anything you do really. That’s because the Sense has not just an FDA-approved ECG sensor and blood oxygen reading but the ability to measure electrodermal activity and skin temperature.
The Sense’s AMOLED display is really impressive too. While not as high-resolution as the Apple Watch 6, it was bright, colourful, and crisp, and easy to read even outdoors. The screen has three different brightness settings, and you can either adjust the timeout or set it to always-on (which reduces the battery life to about two days).
This is the third smartwatch to receive FDA approval for its ECG app (the Apple Watch 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 being the other two), the Fitbit Sense can look at your heartbeat to see if there’s any irregular activity or signs of atrial fibrillation which can be the main cause of a stroke or heart attack.