Samsung recently released a special Under Armour edition of its Galaxy Watch Active2, a Tizen smartwatch that was officially launched last year, but it’s the welcome addition of a blood pressure monitoring application for the smartwatch that’s caught our attention.
We can’t say its addition comes as a surprise. Blood pressure monitoring was once promised by Samsung and expected to first arrive embedded within the previous generation of the Samsung Galaxy watch model. But, it’s better late than never.
According to Samsung, the blood pressure monitoring app is expected to officially launch between July and October of this year and gives just one more reason for customers to choose that watch in lieu of an Apple Watch. Particularly for users that are health conscious or suffering from diabetes, an off-the-cuff blood pressure monitoring is arguably a god send.
But, there’s a catch – or two.
At the moment, this feature is only coming to South Korea as that’s where the country’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has given the feature the clearance it needs to go to market.
The second catch is regarding its operation.
Users will need to calibrate the watch sensor as the watch itself uses a photoplethysmography (PPG) heart rate sensor and an electrode for electrocardiograms – which combined can monitor your blood pressure but not without a crucial step. Users will have to measure their blood pressure using an actual medically certified BP monitor while wearing the watch. Then the user is required to manually input the resulting blood pressure reading into the Samsung BP monitoring app.
This is how Samsung explains it. “Once your Galaxy Watch Active2 device has been calibrated with a traditional cuff, you can simply tap to “Measure” your blood pressure anytime, anywhere. The device measures blood pressure through pulse wave analysis, which is tracked with the Heart Rate Monitoring sensors. The program then analyzes the relationship between the calibration value and the blood pressure change to determine the blood pressure. To ensure accuracy, users are required to calibrate their devices at least every four weeks.”
This begs the question. Why can’t users just use the medical blood pressure cuff?
There’s a good chance that people who regularly monitor their blood pressure already have a standalone cuff sitting at home. But there’s an added convenience of being able to monitor your BP at any time of the day by simply glimpsing your wrist as your blood pressure can be affected by the food you eat, or stresses throughout a given day.
Unfortunately for those of us not living in Korea, the availability of the feature elsewhere is murky for the time being with Samsung stating that the company has no plans to release blood pressure monitoring in the United Kingdom.