Apple Watch Is the Most Accurate Wearable at Measuring HR
A study published in JAMA Cardiology has found the Apple Watch to be the most accurate wrist-based wearable for measuring your heart rate. They hooked 50 healthy adults up to an electrocardiogram (EKG), the gold-standard test for measuring heart activity, and compared the results to heart rates obtained by Fitbit Charge HR, Apple Watch, Mio Alpha and Basis Peak. They also assessed a chest strap. The researchers measured everyone at rest, then walking and jogging on a treadmill.
The study found that the Apple Watch was the most accurate at around 90 percent, while the others were in the low 80s. Sadly no mainstream Android Wear smartwatches were included in the study though.
Measuring heart rate from the wrist is convenient, but it comes with some disadvantages. You need to have good contact between the photosensing cells; as a person is exercising more vigorously, there’s more bounce, so you may lose some of that contact.
Dr. Gordon Blackburn, one of the study’s authors, said that “at the higher levels of activity, some of the wrist technology was not accurate at all.”
“Fitbit trackers are not intended to be medical devices. Unlike chest straps, wrist-based trackers fit comfortably into everyday life, providing continuous heart rate for up to several days without recharging (vs. a couple hours at a time) to give a much more informative picture of overall health and fitness trends,” Fitbit representatives said in a statement.