Image source: Masimo

Masimo’s first smartwatch packs a hydration index

Irvine California-based Masimo has entered the wearables space with a smartwatch simply called W1. It comes with some novel health tech on-board.

Another company with a smartwatch – not really big news. What makes this interesting is that the wearable comes from an outfit called Masimo.

For those not in the know, they are a global medical technology company. Founded in 1989, Masimo is credited as the inventor of the modern pulse oximeter. In fact, Masimo SET is the primary pulse oximetry technology used at 9 of the top 10 hospitals in the US. Their pulse oximetry tech is used to monitor some 200 million patients each and every year.

Massimo W1 advanced health tracking watch

Masimo W1 watch
Image source: Masimo

Now Masimo is bringing their 30+ year rich knowledge of the medical tech space to consumer wearables. The first watch is called W1.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

The good news is that this is not copy-cat technology we’ve grown so accustomed to seeing. There are actually some unique bits and pieces about the Masimo W1.

As far as design the wearable is fairly standard looking. The lightweight (34 grams) timepiece comes with a square 40mm colour touchscreen and two physical buttons on the side. This is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with surface hardness and IP24 water-resistance.

Battery life is also nothing to brag about. You can expect about a day of operation between charges. Three hours are required to top the watch up from zero to full.

A health data hub

It gets more interesting as we delve into the actual functionality of the thing. Masimo is known for producing highly accurate medical tech equipment. Hopefully the timepiece will be a continuation of this tradition. The company says it has miniaturised its monitoring technology in order to integrate it into a watch.

The wearable can spit out a range of metrics. This includes oxygen level, heart rate, pulse rate, pulse rate variability and breaths per minute.

On top of that you also get a Perfusion Index which captures the the relative strength of your pulse, along with something called a Pleth Variability Index. The latter is a calculation which takes the changes of your perfusion index into account. The metric can be affected by your fluid volume during your respiration cycle. For example, it can increase with lower fluid levels.

Masimo W1 watch

Finally, users also get a Hydration Index. This is a particularly exciting metric and something no other wrist wearable can do. At least, not accurately. The index calculates your relative level of hydration by using the red and green LEDs on the underside of the watch. How well this works remains to be seen.

Of course, there are still the standard stats such as step and distance count. All of this can be viewed in the accompanying Android or iOS smartphone app, along with insights, sleep reports and more.

Masimo W1 watch
Image source: Masimo

Masimo W1 watch is one pricey wearable

Now we get to the bad news – the price. The Masimo W1 hardware requires a one-off payment of $499 on the company’s website.

Unfortunately, on top of that there is a Personal SafetyNet Service Membership. It seems you can use the watch without this, but you will miss out on insights and access to new health data and software updates.

The basic membership option runs at $7.99 per month, the advanced $18.99. Another option is to pay for this annually – you can save a few bucks this way. Nevertheless, it still is quite costly. At this price the Masimo W1 watch is probably something for those with health issues, who need to keep a closer eye on their vitals stats.

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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