John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Samsung Gear Live Heart rate monitor

I was wondering just how accurate the Samsung Gear live Heart rate monitor is. Now right off the bat, I will tell you, that Samsung NEVER expected this device to be used while exercising. In fact, the app even says stay still when it’s measuring. And they never intended for it to give an ongoing heart rate. I also last reviewed a Mio Link wrist based heart rate monitor and found it VERY inaccurate. The wrist is a convenient but terrible place to get a heart rate. There’s so much going on and I have small wrists. Now expectations are important, so up front I have to say I have very little expectations the data will be all that accurate.

So with all that aside, I wanted to see how accurate it is anyway. So I did two data runs. First is where I am wearing the watch while walking (active) and the second while I am sitting relatively inactive (on a train). Now I made no attempt to not move around. I’ve done a couple of these correlation runs before so I have a methodology. So I am going to use Sportstracklive to capture the data off the Gear live. It has the ability to support the data off the Gear, as well as export the data to a CSV. I will use my Scosche Rhythm+ heart rate monitor along with BLE Heart rate monitor to capture and export the data.

Let’s start out by comparing the coarse data:

The data on the inactive (which was where Samsung intended this to be used) is pretty good if you throw out the max. Looking at the data I found two points where the number just makes no sense. Maybe the watch lost contact with the wrist. With these two data points thrown out the max off the watch is 96, so compares favorably.

The graph on inactive is also not all that bad, and not as bad as I expected:

Now looking at the active data the max and the min obviously show some pretty good variance to the Rhythm data. But for a real giggle you have to look at the scatter chart of the data. To say the data off the gear is an act of fiction is not far off. Now I can only imagine how bad this would be if I was doing something real active like say mountain biking. And I also wonder what the temperature range for the watch’s heart rate monitor is? The Rhythm was only good to +5C.

One can not overlook battery consumption. When using the heart rate monitor it consumes a whopping 15% per hour or 6 hours 22 mins from a full charge until dead. No idea why the battery life is so bad, it never was this bad on the gear 2 Neo. But do remember this mode was never intended to be used by Samsung. Answers why they never included an app to do this feature.

So in the end, is it accurate? Well no, but then I did not expect it to be. And it is not that bad when used as intended. What is an interesting point, is that it had little effect on the calorie count. A variance of 10% is within my (low) expectations anyway!

January 2, 2015 - Posted by | Android, Android Wear (Smartwatch)

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