With plenty of fingers pointed at Fitbit’s “all over the place” heart rate technology inside fitness-focused wearables not long ago, you may have been wondering about the reliability of similar features built into the costlier Apple Watch.
But as its key selling points include fancy Retina AMOLED displays with Force Touch, powerful processors, extravagant build materials like ceramics or cold-forged stainless steel, and now even standalone GPS, you were probably not holding your breath for studies praising the accuracy of the “iWatch’s” HR monitor.
While Cleveland Clinic researchers have indeed concluded nothing beats a good old fashioned chest strap, the (presumably original) Apple Watch handily defeated a Fitbit Charge HR, Mio Alpha and Basis Peak in tests conducted on 50 healthy adults.
These were first hooked to arguably dependable EKG (electrocardiogram) monitors, then asked to wear the aforementioned gadgets on their wrists as they rested, walked and jogged on a treadmill.
Unsurprisingly, results yielded by the chest strap fell perfectly in line with EKG readings in 99 percent of cases, whereas the Apple Watch “only” scored 90 percent accuracy. But its three direct rivals “dropped off into the low 80s for their accuracy”, making the iPhone-compatible smartwatch the best non-scientific, non-medical heart rate-tracking device around. At least of these four, as far as one particular study is concerned.
Notably, “all of the devices did a bad job… at the higher levels of activity”, with “more and more variability” reported as “intensity went up.” So, yeah, you can probably trust readings done while resting.