IFA 2019: Hands-on with the blood pressure measuring ASUS Vivowatch SP
ASUS has unveiled its next smartwatch at IFA 2019, the VivoWatch SP. The device goes further than anything else on the market with its ability to monitor heart rate, pulse oxygen and even blood pressure from the wrist. The all-important question is just how accurate will it be?
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The smartwatch is proudly displayed on ASUS’s IFA stand which runs until September 11th. You can see it in the pictures below. I must say I wasn’t too impressed with the looks. The display is difficult to read and the watch itself does not look too premium.
Some budget wearables claim they can track blood pressure from the wrist. But you’d be a fool to buy into the hype. There is no device that can do that with any great precision. This is precisely why no mainstream brand has this functionality in its wearable offering.
Okay, there’s the Omron HeartGuide, but it has a miniature inflatable cuff in the watch. So that’s slightly different. VivoWatch SP seems to be able to do this just with the built-in sensors.
Don’t get too excited, though. The gizmo will not keep tabs on your blood pressure around the clock, only on demand. A representative of the company told me that you will need to rest your index finger and thumb against the sensors on opposite sides of the watch for about 15 to 20 seconds to take a reading.
Oddly enough, I was told that VivoWatch SP does not track ECG, but it does use the ECG sensor along with the PPG sensor to calculate blood pressure. Unfortunately I was not able to test the functionality as ASUS did not have a working model at IFA.
Other metrics, which the watch keep tabs on include heart rate, activity data, sleep quality, pulse oxygen levels and a de-stress index. There’s also an altimeter on-board and well as GPS. All of this is viewable on the colour LCD display and the ASUS HealthConnect smartphone app.
VivoWatch SP is water-resistant down to depths of 50 meters. Battery life is an excellent two-weeks between charges. There’s no info yet on how long the battery lasts in GPS mode.
The Taiwan-based company states in its press release that stress and blood pressure readings will only be available in certain countries. One of these should hopefully be the US considering the company has already submitted an application to the FDA.
I was told the watch should land towards the end of this year. No info yet on how much it will cost but we’ll update when we hear more.
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