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FDA Clears Samsung Galaxy Watch3 for EKG

There are some exciting developments on the horizon for Samsung fans. While Apple currently leads the wearable tech market, the newly-released Galaxy Watch3 may challenge their smartwatch dominance. That’s thanks to an abundance of new features, including an FDA-cleared electrocardiogram (EKG) app.

In their recent Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung announced that the new Galaxy Watch’s EKG received FDA clearance. That means that you can use the Galaxy Watch3 as a medical device. It’s the same level of approval that things like powered wheelchairs and pregnancy tests have.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Product Image

Earlier versions of the Galaxy watch already featured an EKG app in countries like South Korea. The FDA hasn’t cleared the technology for use in the US until this year, though. It’s unclear when the app will make its way to American smartwatches, but the clearance alone is significant.

Why does a wearable EKG matter?

An EKG is a test that measures your heart’s electrical activity. That tells doctors two crucial things: the rhythm of your heartbeat and the strength of each beat. With that information, doctors can diagnose or monitor all kinds of heart-related problems.

A low or weak pulse is often the first sign of needing a pacemaker. Medical professionals use EKGs to confirm if that’s the case, but this traditionally involves hooking you up to a machine in a hospital. With an EKG on your wrist, you could monitor your heart from your home or on the go.

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Having that technology with you all the time can help you see if you should consult a doctor or not. If you’ve already seen a professional, they can use your smartwatch to gather the necessary data remotely. It reduces the time you’d have to spend in the hospital and can help avoid unnecessary medical bills.

Galaxy Watch3 vs. Apple Watch Series 5

The Galaxy Watch3 isn’t the first smartwatch to feature an EKG app. Apple’s included one in their smartwatches since 2018 in the Series 4, which is also FDA-cleared. So how do these features stack up against each other?

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Product Image Hands Holding

Both Apple and Samsung’s EKGs have the same level of FDA clearance, and both are also less sensitive than traditional EKGs. On top of the EKG, the Galaxy Watch3 features a blood oxygen sensor, which Apple may include in later watches, but haven’t confirmed. You should note, though, that this sensor won’t be available in the U.S. just yet. 

So, as far as medical tech goes, the Galaxy Watch3 and Apple Watch are pretty similar. Both Samsung and Apple’s newest smartwatches start at $399, so they’re equal in price too. Which one is better really comes down to which brand you prefer.

The next step for health wearables

Features like this in the Galaxy Watch3 and Apple Watch are promising developments. Smartwatches may not be a replacement for a hospital visit, but things like EKG apps are bringing health tech closer to home. This tech represents a shift towards widespread health wearables, bringing medicine into the IoT age.

Whether you prefer Apple or Samsung products, you can now get an EKG on your wrist. Smartwatches are better than ever, no matter your preferred brand.


YouTube: Galaxy Watch3 – The most advanced health monitor on a smartwatch | Samsung

Photo credit: All images shown are owned by Samsung and were provided with permission for press use.
Source: Samsung press release / Statista report / Michael G. Link (UPMC Pinnacle) / Sanjay Gupta (CNN)
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Shannon Flynn
Shannon Flynn
Shannon Flynn is a tech writer who covers the latest news in IoT, AI, and consumer trends. She works as the Managing Editor for ReHack.com and contributes to VGR.com, TechDayHQ, and more. Follow ReHack on Twitter for more articles by Shannon.