Monitoring your blood pressure at home is important, particlularly as you get older. The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of developing health problems in the future. Taking one reading is a good start. However, a regular record of readings are needed to get a clearer picture of your health.
Essential reading: Top smart blood pressure monitors
There is a large number of connected blood pressure monitors on the market today, and some companies are already on their second or third generation devices. We’ve reviewed a fair few so far, and the technology is definitely making leaps and bounds. These devices make the job of monitoring your blood pressure much easier. Your results are automatically stored and charted so all you need to remember is to take measurements on a regular basis.
Koogeek is not new to the connected blood pressure market. In our review earlier this year, we were pleasantly surprised with the quality, ease of use and accuracy of their BP1 wrist blood pressure monitor. I have now been taking their new BP2 upper arm blood pressure monitor through its paces. These are my impressions.
The blood pressure monitor arrives in a small box that contains the main unit, USB charging cable and a little instruction booklet. It does not include any kind of storage case, but you can always save the box for that purpose if you wish.
The device looks fairly smart and sleek, and there is no clinical feel to it. There are also no cables to get tangled in as the blood pressure monitor is both Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi enabled.
This is fairly lightweight device, measuring 150mm (length-fold), 75mm (width-fold), 85mm (thickness – fold) and weighting around 300 grams. The high-quality PU leather cuff fits upper arms with a circumference between 220-360 mm.
The top of the BP2 consists of a micro USB charging port, reset button, LED and power button. The large LCD display screen is backlit, and uses fonts that are very easy to read.
You can take around 50 readings on a single charge which is pretty decent battery life. To refuel the lithium battery, simply plug the Micro-USB cable into a USB port.
Before operating the unit, you should install the smartphone app. Do a simple search in the app store, start-up the app, answer a few questions, register with an email account, pair the device via Bluetooth and you are ready to go. All in all, it only takes a few minutes to set up an account and log in.
This is a blood pressure monitor that takes readings from the upper arm. It needs to be secured 2-3 centimetres above your elbow with the screen facing up. Instructions for positioning are also written on the band of the monitor so if you happen to lose the little manual or need a reminder, you will always have those.
The gadget is very simple to use and works like any other blood pressure monitor. The display shows the pulse and diastolic and systolic blood pressure (measured as standard in mmHg).
To take a measurement, simply press the on button to switch on the device, and then press it once again to start the reading. The cuff will automatically start to inflate. Less than a minute later, your reading will be displayed clearly on the LCD screen after which the stats will be uploaded to the Koogeek Cloud via WiFi, and then synced to your app. The BP2 supports data storage of up to 16 users, and will automatically shut down if there is no operation in 15 seconds.
The other option is to take a measurement with the help of the smartphone app. The red heart in the app will begin to pulse as you turn the monitor on, indicating that a connection has been made. As you take a reading, both the blood pressure monitor and smartphone app will show the measurement results and save the data.
When taking a reading via the app, you have the added benefit of a drop down box that allows you to choose how many consecutive readings you wish to take. It defaults to one, but its a good idea to take 2 or 3 which will then be averaged into one reading for added precision. In total, the monitor can take up to five consecutive readings in a row.
The app gives a bit more information and shows your reading in a color coded circle, which makes it simpler for you to understand whether your measurements are within normal levels. A graph shows how your pulse and blood pressure readings have changed over time. There is also an option for viewing a list of all your readings, exporting measurement data, and syncing your results with the Apple Health app.
The BP2 is extremely easy to use and works seamlessly. You practically do not need the instruction booklet. I did find, however, that while the pulse reading would be fine every time, both the systolic and diastolic reading would usually be over 10 points higher compared to other devices. Now whether this is something to do with the particular unit I was testing, I really don’t know.
Whenever I do a review, I usually do a quick comparison to see whether my experience matches customer reviews on Amazon. Right now, the device is rated 4.2 out of 5 stars by Amazon US customers which is extremely high. It is also CE, FCC and FDA approved which would imply that its heart rate monitoring as well as blood pressure measurements are of high accuracy.
I did notice, though, that there were a few customers who also mentioned that the measurements were on the high side. So it is a bit puzzling. The instruction booklet does warn that keeping the blood pressure monitor near a cellular phone may result in incorrect measurements – but that doesn’t really make sense as you need your cellular phone if you are taking a measurement via the app!
Koogeek BP2 Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
Outside of the accuracy question mark which perhaps had something to do with the unit I was testing, the device works as advertised. In less than a minute you will get a pulse and blood pressure reading, and this will be synced to the app via Bluetooth or via WiFi to the cloud. I must have taken around 30 readings over the course of 10 days, and the device never failed to take a reading or to sync straight away with the cloud or the app. It really is very simple to use.
One in three adults are affected by high blood pressure but as many as a third of these can be unaware of a problem. That’s why its sometimes called the silent killer. If your blood pressure is high, it is putting extra strain on your arteries and on your heart which may cause a heart attack or stroke. Always keep in mind though – while home monitoring is important, it is not a substitute for regular visits to your physician.
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