Owners of some Samsung smartwatches can now take accurate ECG readings from the wrist – after the feature was launched in more counties worldwide.
Samsung's latest smartwatches are capable of taking more accurate heart readings, with both the Galaxy Watch 3 and the Galaxy Watch Active 2 packing in ECG sensors just like the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Fitbit Sense watch.
While the sensors were in place on those watches when they first launched, Samsung has had to wait to get the necessary regulatory approval to turn it on for users.
It's now live in Europe, as well as the US, South Korea and is rolling out across Japan, India and more countries. It's not available in all locations, we'll tell you which ones below.
ECG enables users to measure heart rhythms that could help detect the heart irregularity known as atrial fibrillation. However, it won't detect other heart health issues like high blood pressure, congestive heart failure or blood clots.
If you want a deeper breakdown of what that is, we've got a pretty comprehensive atrial fibrillation and wearables guide you should give a read.
Which Samsung smartwatches can measure ECG?
It's a good place to start. You need to have one of two Samsung Galaxy smartwatches to take ECG measurements. That's either the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and the Galaxy Watch Active 2.
You won't be able to do it on a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, older Galaxy Watches and even Gear watches for a simple reason, They don't have the ECG sensor built into their cases and this isn't something you can simply add as a feature over a software update.
What else do you need?
This is really important. You have to have a Samsung smartphone to be able to use this feature. While Samsung's smartwatches are compatible with Android phones and iPhones, you need to have access to software that's only available through Samsung's smartphones that are using Android 7.0 or above.
Does your country have ECG support?
Much like Apple and Fitbit, to turn that ECG feature on, Samsung will have needed to get the necessary regulatory approval in those countries to deem it suitable to take the kind of measurement that could reliably offer insights into your health.
In Samsung's native Korea, it received clearance for its Health Monitor app, which unlocks the ECG feature, by South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS). It's also been cleared by the FDA in the US.
In Europe, it's also received the all-important CE-marking, which has made it available in 28 countries: Those countries are:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
There's also plans to turn on the ECG feature in the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Chile.
Once you've established you have the right Samsung smartwatch, phone and you're in a country that supports ECG, it's time to get into how to get things set up.
How to set up ECG on a Samsung Galaxy Watch
Step 1: The first thing you'll need to do is be prepared to do a bit of software updating across your phone apps and your watch, So keep those both close by.
Step 2: Go to the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app on your phone that is paired to your smartwatch. Go to the Home screen, scroll down to Watch software update. Tap to select.
Step 3: Select the Download and install option. This will make sure you're using the very latest software updates that adds the support for ECG. The update details will let you know if you have the right update.
Step 4: Once you're all up to date on phone and app, your next update job is to head to the Samsung Galaxy App store, search for the Samsung Health app and check to see if you have the latest version. You'll know if you haven't if it gives you the option to update.
Step 5: Once that's done, head back to the Galaxy App Store and also download the Samsung Health Monitor phone app as well.
Step 6: Swipe left on your watch from the main screen to scroll through all of your currently used widgets. When you reach to the + widget screen, you'll be swipe through to see available widgets to add. Scroll through until you see the one dedicated to ECG and tap the screen to add.
How to set up the Samsung Health Monitor app for ECG
Now that you have everything on the watch that you need. Let's get into how to actually take a reading.
Step 1: Swipe to the new ECG widget and tap Learn More where you'll need to permit Samsung Health Monitor access to the ECG sensor.
Step 2: Next you'll be prompted to go back on your phone to open up the Samsung Health Monitor app. You'll need to have a mobile network to activate the features tied to this app. It won't work with just a Wi-Fi connection.
Step 3: With the Health Monitor app launched, you'll be asked to accept permissions to write data from this app over to the Samsung Health app. Once you've decided what to accept, you'll need to create your profile with some basics like date of birth and gender.
Step 4: Once that's all done you'll be pushed into the main screen. You'll see options for Blood pressure and ECG. Switch to the ECG mode and we can finally get started.
Step 5: You'll get an explanation of how the ECG works and the types of results you might see along with explanations of what they mean. It will also let you know that the ECG app shouldn't be used to look for a signs of a heart attack of if you have implanted devices like defibrillator or a pacemaker.
How to take an ECG reading on Samsung Galaxy Watch
Step 1: After navigating through the above, in the next screen, Select which wrist you wear your watch on.
Step 2: Open the Samsung Health Monitor app on your watch and select ECG
Step 3: Make sure your watch is sat snug on your wrist. You'll be prompted to gently hold your finger across the top right button on your watch. You'll need to do that for 30 seconds and ideally not move about during that time to get the best readings.
Step 4: When the reading is done, you'll be displayed your classification. You'll also be given an average heart rate reading and the ability to add in additional symptoms you may be experiencing.
Step 5: Hit done to sync the reading to the Samsung Health Monitor app. To view your data, head back to the Samsung Health Monitor app on your phone.
What else can you do with your ECG data?
From the Health Monitor phone app along with viewing your readings, you can also share your report via PDF. You can also view your data history showing you all readings and breaking down readings by classification. So you can view all of your Sinus rhythm readings or inconclusive readings in one place.