Apple Watch leads to bringing beneficial health monitoring features to the market, but it is a feature Samsung's latest smart watch laws we haven't seen from Apple yet. Samsung's recently revealed Galaxy Watch Active will be able to measure blood pressure in a future update.
Samsung does not yet share many blood pressure tracking specifications on its latest Galaxy Watch Active. Just that feature comes later next month through a research app, called My BP Lab, backed by UCSF:
New to the Galaxy Wear Line, Galaxy Watch Active provides smarter blood pressure tracking on the wrist. As of March 15, users can download the My BP Lab, the research program developed with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), directly to Galaxy Watch Active to monitor blood pressure and keep an eye on their physical health every day.  Samsung adds that blood pressure tracking will be launched in five countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, Australia and Germany.
Samsung does not mention the feature on the product side of the new Galaxy Watch Active, only in the press release, but a version of the My BP Lab app that is already available can tell us more about how the feature works.
The phone version of the app uses an optical sensor (camera) to take measurements, but a traditional blood pressure cuff is still needed to "calibrate" the sensor. It only tracks changes over time without an initial calibration. From the smartphone version of the app's description:
Note, the optical sensor needs a blood pressure measurement from an external blood pressure cuff to "calibrate" the sensor. If you don't have a blood pressure cuff, it's okay! You can still use My BP Lab to track your percentage change in blood pressure from baseline measurement rather than displaying blood pressure values.
Technical specifications for Samsung's new watch do not mention any new hardware beyond the heart rate monitor, so it is possible that the same limitations will apply – or maybe the clock will work differently? We'll see next month.
It is too early to judge the quality of Samsung's blood pressure monitoring function on its latest watch, but it's probably just a matter of time before we see a similar feature on Apple Watch if the measurement method is actually reliable.
Apple Watch Series 4 introduced a great new heart monitoring benefit with its built-in electrocardiogram function in the United States and autumn detection around the world. Apple Watch also detects low heart rates and high heart rates that may indicate heart conditions.
Want to measure your blood pressure with Apple Watch or iPhone today? Bluetooth blood pressure cuffs from Qardio and Omron (this is the model I use) can pair as health materials and share data with Apple's Health App.
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