Your Fitbit Sense may need to be replaced — here's why

Fitbit Sense
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you've got a Fitbit Sense smartwatch, one of its marquee features may not be working properly. But don't worry — Fitbit is on the case.

In Fitbit's community forums, a few users have noted that they've been contacted by the company via email, alerting them about their Fitbit Sense. According to the email, Fitbit identified a "hardware issue with your device that could affect its ability to work properly." It's asking people affected to send in their watches for a free replacement.

Specifically, the problem appears to be with the electrocardiogram readings given by the ECG app on the Fitbit Sense. Fitbit confirmed the issue to The Verge, adding that the issue is limited to a small number of devices — about 900 worldwide.

Still, the ability to perform ECG readings is a big one for the Fitbit Sense, sitting that $329 smartwatch from many of Fitbit's other offerings. It also gives the Sense a feature you'll only find in devices like the Apple Watch 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

When you launch the ECG app on the Fitbit Sense and place your thumb and forefinger at either corner of the watch, the app can tell you if you've got an irregular heartbeat. It's no substitute for an official diagnosis, but it can be an effective early warning for you to seek medical attention.

The problem on some Fitbit Sense models is that the app was incorrectly identifying results as "inconclusive," which would certainly be worrying to people with regular heartbeats and potentially dangerous to people actually suffering from atrial fibrillation.

After this story was first published last week, Fitbit contacted us with a comment:

“We have found an issue in a very limited subset of our initial Fitbit Sense shipments — a few hundred devices globally - that could cause the ECG App to default to an ‘Inconclusive’ result during readings. We are able to identify the impacted devices upon set up and are immediately reaching out to these users to provide them with a new replacement device free of charge. No other Fitbit devices are impacted, and future shipments of Sense devices will not be affected by this issue.”

It sounds as if Fitbit has been able to contact affected Fitbit users directly, so if you don't hear from the company, your Fitbit Sense is good to go. Let us know if you've had any trouble with your Fitbit Sense in the forums or if Fitbit has reached out to you about replacing your smartwatch.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.