The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 can now administer electrocardiograms to detect signs of atrial fibrillation. But there's a catch — only Galaxy Watch users with Galaxy smartphones are able to use the new ECG app.
While Samsung's wearable products are compatible with iPhones through the Samsung Galaxy Watch app, only those Galaxy Watches tied to Galaxy smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, can take ECG readings on their wrist.
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On the one hand, most Galaxy Watch users are likely Galaxy smartphone users, so the ECG exclusivity might not be a big deal. But if you're in the smaller camp of Galaxy Watch users with iPhones, like me, this is a letdown.
I was excited when Samsung shared the news of FDA-clearance at its Galaxy Watch 3 launch event back in August. The breakthrough sounded exactly like what Samsung needed to keep up with the likes of Fitbit and Apple in the smartwatch market this year.
ECG readings can save lives by clueing you into potential heart problems. It's just too bad I can't test out this key feature on my iPhone. Ironically, I happened to return a Note 20 Ultra review unit earlier this week.
Do I hold this against Samsung? Absolutely not. In our Apple Watch 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 face-off, I explained how both companies blatantly cater to their respective smartphone users. Although iPhone owners can set up and use and a Galaxy Watch (the same can't be said vice versa,) there are simply more perks that come with using a Galaxy Watch and Galaxy phone together.
If you're looking for a smartwatch with an FDA-approved ECG reader that should work with Android phones and iPhones — not just one or the other — you might want to consider the Fitbit Sense instead of the Apple Watch 6 or Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. Fitbit's all-new premium offering has a number of intriguing health and fitness features, including the ability to track your stress.