Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Health features Vs Apple Watch Health Detailed

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 health features

Samsung has released the new Galaxy Watch 3 in an effort to convince fans that it can walk shoulder to shoulder with Apple. Samsung skipped Galaxy Watch 2 altogether and instead is showcasing a lighter, thinner Galaxy Watch 3 with a functional bezel.

The new Galaxy Watch 3 comes in two variants, 45mm and 41mm, both made from stainless steel, featuring a more traditional circular design. The 1.4 inch touch screeen on the larger 45mm model makes it easy to read the screen. The rotating bezel design, similar to that of the original Galaxy watch is what makes the interaction real special with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. You can navigate through lists and circular menus and make selections by rotating the bezel.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 bezel

On a winter morning run, that makes it really convenient. No more removing gloves and tapping the display to navigate this smartwatch.

Beyond the design specs, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 comes packed with some nifty fitness and health offerings. In this article, we will examine some of the health and fitness offerings and compare them with that of existing Apple Watch Series 5 and the rumored Apple Watch Series 6 model.

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Comparing Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 health features with that of Apple Watch

Overall Sensor Tech on the Galaxy Watch 3

The new Samsung Watch packs all the usual suspects when it comes to sensors. This includes 3 axis accelerometer, barometer, gyrosensor, and an ambient light sensor. Beyond the motion and ambient light sensors, the new Galaxy Watch 3 now features an optical heart rate sensor with 8 photodiodes and an electrical heart rate sensor.

ECG Monitoring comes to Galaxy Watch 3

Apple introduced ECG monitoring way back in 2018 with the release of its Apple Watch Series 4. Finally, Samsung has caught up with Apple with the introduction of ECG monitoring on its Galaxy Watch 3.Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 ECG feature

The Electrocardiogram monitoring was cleared in May 2020 by the South Korean equivalent of FDA. The new feature enables users to measure and analyze their heart rhythm for irregularities indicating Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).

Related: Apple and German Heart Foundation team up around using Apple Watch for dilated cardiomyopathy

Accessing the ECG monitoring is easy. Open the Samsung Health Monitor app when you are seated comfortably, and ensure the watch is fitted firmly to your wrist. Next, rest your forearm on a flat surface and lightly place a fingertip from the opposite hand on the top button on the Galaxy Watch for 30 seconds. The app will then measure your heart rate and rhythm, by using the electrical heart rate sensor which will be classified as either a Sinus Rhythm (a normal, regular heartbeat) or AFib (when the heart beats irregularly).

The Apple Watch makes you use the Digital Crown on the watch to take an ECG reading. Both Watches take 30 seconds to spit out the ECG reading.Apple Watch ECG feature

On an Apple Watch, once the readings are out, you have the ability to ‘add in symptoms’. Assume that you were feeling a little light-headed and decided to check on your ECG. On the Apple Watch, once you have got the ECG reading, you can add in the symptoms and it correlates the ECG reading with your entered symptoms.

Related: Samsung Health introduces Blood Pressure Monitoring for Galaxy Watch Active 2 users

The ECG feature will be slowly rolled out to different geographies. Samsung has just received the FDA clearance for its ECG monitoring, so this feature will be available when the watch rolls out in US.

This would add intelligence in use cases where remote monitoring comes into play. Now that US Federal health department (CMS) chief Seema Verma is pushing for approval of remote health platforms, this could make the Apple Watch a game-changer in the months and years ahead.

Related: Apple introduces new Mobility Metrics and other key HealthKit data with iOS 14 and watchOS 7

The value add in the case of Apple Watch is its feature to download ECG wave-form data into a downloadable PDF. Although the Apple Watch ECG display only caught about 41% of aFib cases, the wave-form PDF feature could easily detect aFib in more than 98% of cases. This study was performed by Cleveland Clinic with the Apple Watch 4 and the results published in Feb, 2020.

Samsung has a long way to go in order to prove accuracy and efficacy of its ECG monitoring feature. Tie-ups with leading universities and research hospitals will expedite its efforts of matching up to Apple’s lead.

ECG monitoring combined with HRV ( Heart Rate Variability) tracking are going to play a major role in not only front line detection use cases but also personalized disease management as well as remote health monitoring offerings in months and years ahead.

Fall Detection comes to Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Fall detection is one feature that made Apple Watch stand apart in a sea full of competitors. This feature made the watch appealing to the aging boomer population and found many references in the AARP magazine issues. And now, Samsung has finally arrived!

The Galaxy Watch 3 can now detect automatic fall detection. To ensure that help is never too far away in the event of a fall, Galaxy Watch3 comes with a new feature that detects falls, which identifies a potential fall and can send an SOS notification to your chosen contacts.

In the case of the Apple Watch, if it detects you’re immobile for about a minute, it begins a 30-second countdown, while tapping you on the wrist and sounding an alert. The alert gets louder, so that you or someone nearby can hear it. If you don’t want to call emergency services, tap Cancel. When the countdown ends, your Apple Watch automatically contacts emergency services.

The other key integration issue, when it comes to fall detection on the Apple Watch is dependent upon what Age you enter when you set up your Apple Watch. If you entered your age when you set up your Apple Watch, or in the Health app, and you’re age 55 and over, the fall detection feature turns on automatically. We are not sure how this integration works on the Samsung Galaxy 3 but assume it will have some similar features.

Both Apple Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 have similar limitations when it comes to fall detection. They can only detect a fall when the user is in motion not while the user is stationary.

Blood Oxygen Level Monitoring

Samsung beats Apple on this feature with the release of Galaxy Watch 3. The new Samsung Watch can now monitor your SpO2 levels and provide you with a blood oxygen level.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 blood oxygen level

It is easy to measure your blood oxygen levels using the watch. The Samsung health app keeps track of your SpO2 readings.

It has been rumored that the upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 will feature SpO2 readings.

Apple Watch Respiratory tracking study

Apple has already been engaged with a leading university in Germany in order to explore how the Apple Watch can help with the detection of respiratory issues.

Related: Amazfit adds new features for Stress and SpO2 readings to its app

This study called ‘CoronaWatch’ is currently using the Series 5 but with the addition of SpO2 feature with Series 6, it will make it easier for the watch to monitor respiratory-related issues.

Availability of SpO2 monitoring feature

You should note that Samsung’s blood oxygen level monitoring will not be available immediately. According to Samsung, SpO2 feature is not available at the time of launch and will become available during Q3 2020. The feature will require a software update.

Blood Pressure Monitoring on Galaxy Watch 3

This is another important win for Samsung. The new Galaxy Watch 3 features a cuffless built-in blood pressure monitor that can help you get a BP reading.

According to WHO, An estimated 1.13 billion people worldwide have hypertension, most (two-thirds) living in low- and middle-income countries. In 2015, 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women had hypertension.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Blood pressure monitor
Image credit: Samsung

Fewer than 1 in 5 people with hypertension have the problem under control. This provides an opportunity for Samsung to position Galaxy Watch 3 as a system that can help patients with hypertension. Management and monitoring go hand in hand. If you cant’ monitor or measure your Blood pressure without going to your doctor’s office, it becomes hard to manage the issue. Samsung’s Blood pressure monitoring feature is going to be a major help for patients suffering from hypertension.

Currently, there are no rumors around Apple Watch series 6 featuring any blood pressure-related capabilities.

Having said that, the Samsung blood pressure monitor has some limitations. It requires quite a bit of calibration.

Related: Is Apple’s approach to Blood Pressure monitoring via Apple Watch different than that of Samsung’s

Based on approved Apple patents around this feature, it appears that Apple may be approaching to solve the problem in a way to overcome the constant calibration handicap.

Integrating Blood Pressure, Activity, location, weather and more

Did you know that Shoveling snow is a known cause for heart attacks – the increase in blood pressure combined with cold air constricting arteries creates the right environment for it to happen?

Snow shoveling is particularly strenuous because it uses arm work, which is more taxing than leg work. Straining to move wet and heavy snow is particularly likely to cause a surge in heart rate and blood pressure.

Now, take a minute and think about it…

How difficult do you think it is for the Apple’s watch and algorithm to calculate an activity risk indicator based on your blood pressure readings, current weather of the location, and your arm movement/activity and heart-rate?

We are pretty sure when Apple releases its Blood pressure or Blood oxygen monitoring, it is going to be integrated into some interesting algorithms that will perhaps spit out life-saving notifications.

Apple Blood pressure metrics
Blood pressure metrics are a key part of the ‘Vitals’

The basic systolic and diastolic metrics along with metadata are currently available in the HealthKit under ‘Vitals’. Generating inferences based on the Vital metrics will be the key.

James Nestor Book “Breath – The new science of a lost art” has some very interesting insights. Different breathing methods do affect your physiology. One can envision new ‘Breathe’ app features on Apple Watch that help you lower your high blood pressure and more. We highly recommend the book!

It remains to be seen how it works out for Apple, but this is one area where Samsung wins hands down for now!

Sleep Tracking on Samsung Galaxy Watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 can now detect and track your sleeping patterns. Samsung’s enhanced sleep analysis algorithms help you work toward healthy sleep patterns (through the four sleep stages), aiding recovery at night, and getting you ready for the next day.

Samsung Galaxy watch 3 sleep tracking

Much like the Apple Watch, the Samsung Galaxy watch uses its accelerometer to notice the subtle movements associated with breathing and differentiate between sleeping and waking states.

Apple Sleep tracking and monitoring

Apple unveiled showcased its sleep tracking features with watchOS 7. Users who are interested in learning details of their sleep stages and other metrics will find the Samsung offering more attractive as Apple currently doesn’t provide them.

Fitness and Exercise support via Samsung Galaxy Watch

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 will incorporate Running analysis. For runners, this new feature will be able to offer real-time feedback during your runs, as well as six-factor post-workout reports, which are aimed to help improve form, boost performance, and reduce injury.

Exercise programs such as Baby steps to 5K, Run 5K and more are available via the Samsung Health app to take your running to the next level and you will be guided via voice prompts during the workout.

To track your cardio progress as you go, you will be able to easily access VO2max readings which offer insight into your oxygen uptake.

Apple Watch currently provides users with VO2 max readings but the heavy lifting around running has been delegated to popular third-party apps. The built-in Running tracking feature is somewhat basic but actually works pretty well for regular runners.

Feature Availability of Running Analysis and VO2 support

The new running analysis algorithms and the ability to track VO2 max will be made available via a software update in Q3 of 2020.

Even when you’re at home, you have access to a full-service fitness studio with Samsung Health, which features a library of more than 120 different video workouts. Cast the workout programs on your TV and use your Galaxy Watch 3 to monitor your stats.

Availability and Pricing of Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 will be available starting tomorrow, August 6. Both the Bluetooth and LTE will be available beginning tomorrow, August 6, 2020, and will come in 41mm and 45mm variants, starting at $399.99 and $429.99, respectively, for Bluetooth.

Galaxy Watch3 LTE will also come in 41mm and 45mm variants and will start at $449.99 and $479.99, respectively.

Galaxy Watch 41mm variant will be available in Mystic Bronze and Mystic Silver, while the Galaxy Watch 45mm variant will be available in Mystic Silver and Mystic Black. The Galaxy Watch Titanium model will only be released in September 2020.

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