Posted 31 December 2023

Smart watch with ECG

Hi, I'm looking for a new smart watch (currently gave the basic Amazon wearable) which will give an accurate ECG measure and good health functions but is also good for someone who likes running.
I currently have an old Android phone so even though the Apple watch has the ECG feature, I want to see if there are any better alternatives people would recommend as I don't want to be tied to having to always buy IPhones. Feeling a bit overwhelmed when I look. Thanks.
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  1. KodaBear's avatar
    You seek an accurate ECG.
    Unfortunately no single lead device is ever going to be considered 'accurate' as it's too basic to be considered diagnostic, and is so easily affected by artefact interference that it's very easy to end up with an unreadable recording - Both to the rudimentary AI interpretation system, but often to humans too.

    The Kardia 6L Device is about as good as you will get for taking ECGs on the go, but this isn't a smartwatch. And even that still very much has it's flaws. Depending upon what you're hoping to achieve with such a device it may still not be accepted by some doctors, if you're hoping to capture something to show to them.

    With the above in mind, if you still want to go ahead then the Apple Watch is the best for ECGs which does mean you need an iPhone. The Samsung Galaxy watches have always struggled to pick up a clean recording in my experience, and you must have a modern Samsung phone for it to work (not just any Android). The Fitbit devices like the Charge and Sense series, and the Pixel Watch family are slightly better but still won't give you a rhythm strip as clean as an Apple Watch can in my experience.

    If you don't have a specific reason for needing a smartwatch with ECG Functionality, I would say to just not bother really. If you don't need it, it's going to push the cost up to buy one vs another model that lacks this feature that you'll probably never use anyways. In which case I would recommend the Huawei/Honor bands for the fantastic range of features (but no ECG) and long battery life at a very low cost.
    MonkeysUncle's avatar
    Exactly this.

    In my experience all are rubbish. Even finger oxygen level sensors are better at picking up a heart rate with my experience.
  2. puskin's avatar
    Look at Withings ScanWatch. It's a hybrid watch and I'm using it for a couple of years, same as my dad. His doc was quite impressed by the accuracy of the ECG printed off the watch report. Definitely recommended.
  3. KodaBear's avatar
    Just thought I would add to this by posting 3 ECGs taken about a minute apart from each other, 3 different devices. First was the Apple Watch, Second was the KardiaMobile, Third was the Fitbit Charge.

    (Boring normal sinus rhythm right now, no fancy rhythms to show off today!)

    Hopefully this helps show a decent idea of what these will record in ideal conditions when I am relaxed, sitting down resting against a solid table with the a good, snug fit on the watches with perfectly clean hands and electrode contacts.

    The problem is that this is all in best case scenarios. If trying to capture something while out and about or active you won't be in best case scenarios. Nor will a single lead recording be enough for a cardiologist to be sure of what they're looking at so you'd be given a holter monitor/event recorder/implanted loop recorder to capture it on a certified and calibrated medical device with more leads - Something they could do anyways without wasting your money on these frankly useless devices.



    51883465_1.jpg (edited)
    KodaBear's avatar
    And now an example tonight when I felt some mild palpitations and tried to take a quick recording for the benefit of this discussion. As you can see in the real world when not in perfect circumstances you'll not always get a nice clean recording. And the AI classification just returns normal sinus rhythm rather than trying to guess what's actually happening. If you show this to a doctor they'll not want to diagnose anything from it as it's a noisy single lead recording. It's good enough to see the beats to establish the rate and rhythm. But nowhere near good enough to analyse the morphology of the ECG for example.

    The result: Unless you can interpret your own ECGs you're no wiser as to what's going on, blew your money on something that's not helpful, and in some cases may end up developing a great deal of unnecessary health anxiety because you have no idea what you're looking at.

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