If you followed along with Samsung Unpacked on Wednesday, you might have missed this morsel of news — Samsung snuck it in before announcing the show-stopping Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, as if the FDA gave its green light just moments before.
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Live: Samsung's new AirPods rivals revealed
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Meet the ultimate big screen phone
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs. Apple Watch 5: Which smartwatch should you buy?
Seriously, the FDA-approval footnote was so quick I had to turn to Twitter confirm what I heard.
Wait hold up, did Samsung say it JUST got FDA approval for #GalaxyWatch3 ECG readings? That's a pretty big frickin deal for how stacks up against the Apple Watch.August 5, 2020
And yes, as it turns out, the ECG monitor is cleared for use. For as the casual as Samsung made the announcement seem, I'd say it's pretty big deal for how stacks up against the Apple Watch. Especially with the Apple Watch 6's release right on the Galaxy Watch 3's heels.
While the Apple Watch’s FDA-approved ECG sensor is old news (it debuted with the Apple Watch Series 4), Samsung has been slow to get its version approved. The Watch Active 2 has one onboard, but until last month it sat inactive.
In May it received approval from South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to measure and analyze a user's heart rhythm for irregularities indicating atrial fibrillation.
And we presumed the ECG would mostly lay dormant in the new Galaxy Watch, because Samsung can’t enable the ECG in other countries unless it receives similar approval from necessary government agencies. In the U.S., it's the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA.
When will the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 ECG monitor work in the U.S.?
Considering Samsung acted like its ECG-reading technology received FDA approval mere hours ago, we don't expect it work on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 when it hits shelves on August 6.
But we imagine Samsung will be motivated to get it live in the next few weeks before the Apple Watch 6 can steal some of its thunder.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.