Samsung Galaxy Watch is getting Apple Watch-beating blood pressure monitoring

Samsung Galaxy Watch's new update could give it the edge over rivals in the smartwatch space

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
(Image credit: Samsung)

If you think all this COVID-19 news is making you stressed, now there's a way to tell: Samsung Galaxy Watch users will soon be able to monitor their own blood pressure thanks to this update from Samsung.

Samsung has figured out how to measure blood pressure with "pulse wave analysis" which uses the same sensors as its heart rate monitoring systems. It will initially roll out the update to its Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2, but any Galaxy Watch device is said to do the trick, as the feature will be rolled out to other devices in the range. 

Although you will need a traditional blood-pressure cuff to calibrate the watch once a month, when calibrated your BP will be accessible at the touch of an app. Samsung has beaten rivals like Apple to the punch, whose Apple Watch Series 5 still requires a smart blood pressure cuff from brands like Qardio.

Announcing the update in a blog post, the app, although still in development, has been cleared by the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. Samsung's head of health team Taejong Jay Yang said: “the Samsung Health Monitor app has the potential to help millions of people around the world who are affected by high blood pressure.

“This is one of many examples of how Samsung is integrating its best-in-class hardware with the latest software innovations to innovate mobile experiences.”

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Does your blood pressure strike during busy traffic jams?

(Image credit: Samsung)

High blood pressure poses a significant health risk and contributes towards heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure among other conditions, according to the British Heart Foundation. Having a blood pressure monitor on your wrist, accessible at the touch of a button, could go a long way towards helping at-risk adults lead healthier lives. 

The device will need to be calibrated every four weeks by measuring your blood pressure with a cuff and inputting the results into your device. However, once that's done, you'll simply need to tap "measure" into your Samsung Galaxy Watch for an instant blood pressure update.

In a statement, Samsung said:  

"With the addition of blood pressure monitoring, the Galaxy Watch Active2 boasts Samsung’s most advanced health and wellness capabilities yet. The Galaxy Watch Active2 comes with more sensitive and accurate Heart Rate Monitoring sensors, and enables users to track their exercise, sleep, stress and get added healthcare insights that can help you improve your wellbeing."

Will Apple be next to roll out blood pressure sensor technology?

(Image credit: Apple)

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 blood pressure monitoring functionality will be available in Q3 of this year. Now the barrier has been broken, we anticipate it won't be long before similar technology comes to other wearables from rivals such as Apple, Huawei and FitBit. 

Update: This service will be available for Samsung customers in South Korea only, from Q3 2020. There are no current plans for a UK release.

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Matt Evans

Matt Evans now works for sister brand TechRadar, covering all things relating to fitness and wellness. He came to as staff writer before moving on, and was previously on Men's Health, and slightly counterintuitively, a website devoted to the consumption of Scotch whiskey. In his free time, he could often be found with his nose in a book until he discovered the Kindle.