LAS VEGAS—Heart health was clearly one of the main focuses of CES 2019. There were tons of new wearables that incorporated tools like electrocardiograms and improved heart-rate monitors—all of which were packed into stylish designs. (Apple Watch, who?)
But blood pressure was on the agenda, too, and there’s one wearable that stood out more than the others. The Omron HeartGuide has an inflatable blood pressure cuff built into the watch strap, and it’s received clearance from the FDA as a medical device. Let’s take a closer look.
On the outside, the Omron HeartGuide looks like a smartwatch; using the middle button on the side of the case, you can cycle through metrics like notifications, activity tracking, and sleep tracking, and pulse rate on the LCD display.
But there’s a little more to it than that. Press the top, blue button above it and you’re prompted to place your wrist over your heart. Within seconds, the cuff will begin to inflate as it starts to take a blood pressure reading. It’s because of the cuff that users are provided with more accurate measurements, rather than depending on sensor technology, like other wearables on the market.
Unfortunately, the size of the smartwatch was a little too big for my wrist, so I wasn’t able to actually try it out—a smaller case size is in the works. Even though the style of the HeartGuide is clearly tailored toward men, it didn’t look strange on a woman’s wrist. It’s stylish for what is essentially an incognito blood pressure monitor.
But witnessing a reading, I wouldn’t have been able to tell the watch strap was inflating if it weren’t for the numbers fluctuating on the display. For an easier visual, the HeartGuide works in the same way a standard blood pressure monitor does at the doctor’s office. Omron also says that it’s actually a little bit gentler too, since we all know how hard those things can squeeze your arm.
Once the reading is done, you can sync the data to the HeartAdvisor app. While you can access the metrics of your last reading on your wrist (the device can hold up to 100 readings), the app paints a more in-depth picture. Whenever you want to compare results throughout the day, week, or even month, the app will provide you with a graph of your blood pressure and pulse to see the fluctuation.
There’s more you can do on the app as well, to help you get the most out of the HeartGuide. You can answer more personal questions about your day by filling out a questionnaire that asks whether you’ve consumed alcohol or caffeine, exercised, taken medication, and more. From there, the app takes all that data to provide personal insights and recommendations on why your blood pressure average might be higher on say, Monday versus Tuesday in an effort to help you improve your habits for better results.
You’re also able to set reminders on the app for anything you’d like—whether that’s to record your blood pressure reading at a certain time and on a specific day, or to take your medication every day.
As mentioned before, the blood pressure wearable can track activity—like steps, calories burned, aerobic steps, and distance. You can also wear it to bed to track the quality of your sleep; it can detect when you’re in deep sleep or light sleep, as well as keep track of when you go to bed and fall asleep. The wearable can also receive calls, texts, and email notifications.
The Omron HeartGuide Wearable Blood Pressure Monitor is available on the company’s site for $ 500.