A Review of the Blood Pressure Watch ASUS VivoWatch BP — How We Tested | The Cardiologist On Your Wrist
Today, almost every other person owns a fitness tracker and smartwatch loaded with medical sensors. They count steps, measure the pulse and calories burned, monitor your sleep patterns and really help you take care of your health. And yet, making a compact, affordable device with a convenient and accurate blood pressure monitor has proved to be a daunting challenge. Asus VivoWatch BP is among the very few, if not the only, noteworthy gadget with this functionality.
Our Dr. Anatom keeps track of sophisticated devices that fall within the field of medicine. Last year, the innovative Healbe GoBe 2 entered the market and our “doctor” promptly tested it. Today, Dr. Anatom is dissecting Asus VivoWatch BP, and comparing it with major rivals, health monitoring watches from other trusted brands like Apple, Samsung Galaxy, Fitbit Sense, Garmin vivoactive.
- External appearance and design
- How it works
- Competitors. Health Monitoring Watches: Apple, Samsung Galaxy, Fitbit Sense, Garmin vivoactives
- Medical-Grade Alternatives
Blood Pressure Watch Review: External Appearance and Design
“VivoWatch looks unusual and even weird. Still, it is almost a medical device, not a fashion thing, something its appearance is simply screaming about. A small LCD takes up almost half the area of the watch, and besides, it is shifted to the right, with the entire left side being occupied by sensors. Well, the screen is color, after all. It is made on trans-reflective technology and is protected by tempered glass, so you can see everything under the sunlight, while no scratch remains on the case even when the watch is used by such a careless owner like me”.
The delivery set is quite scanty: besides the heart rate and blood pressure watch, the package includes only a charging station, USB cable, and instructions. Like somewhere in Sparta. However, it is hard to figure out what else can be included in the package, and therefore, let’s not consider it a downside.
“The strap is made from medical-grade silicone. It is not anything near luxury, but it does not irritate the skin, and it’s okay. I have been wearing this watch without removing for a few months, and I have not had an allergy or any other issues. Wearing a VivoWatch permanently is convenient as they weigh just 45 grams, while the soft strap does not rub your wrist, therefore, soon, it feels like wearing nothing. This is also good because the wristband is fixed and you will have to get accustomed to it, anyway,” says our doctor.
The case is dust and splash-resistant, complying with the IP67 rating. I shied away from diving with it, but I washed my hands without problems and did not remove it in the rain — VivoWatch has passed the test with flying colors.
In general, this heart rate and blood pressure watch is well-crafted and gives an impression of a long-lasting device. And yet, the weird design and quite large dimensions of the unit in combination with the small screen make it clear that the design is sacrificed to usability and functionality.
ASUS Vivowatch Features
The first Asus VivoWatch products entered the market as early as 2015, but these were generally conventional smartwatches without any peculiarities differing them from competitors. While the model with the BP index has been converted into a true medical device.
“To take your blood pressure, you should put your finger on an electrode located on the unit’s front panel and hold it for 20 seconds. The device produces more accurate data than that by competing brands. However, sometimes I failed to find the correct position for my finger on the pad at the first try, but this is a matter of practice”.
Not only does VivoWatch BP take blood pressure, but it also fully monitors the user’s lifestyle by counting the pulse, steps and calories burned, assessing the quality of sleep, the level of stress and physical activity. For this purpose, the device incorporates a GPS-sensor, an aerobic indicator of the pulse rate, and step and calorie counters. All this runs, pardon the pun, like clockwork: the device measures all this accurately and, for instance, distinguishes driving a car from jogging. As for the sleep monitor, it shows both your total sleep time and comfortable sleep time. The received data is automatically recorded and stored in the device.
Meanwhile, VivoWatch can get notifications about new messages and calls from the phone (however, I have disabled this function almost at once).
Managing all that wealth is easy — by using a multi-use button on the side and with the help of a touchscreen display. Even an elderly person would learn to take blood pressure. A branded smartphone app is needed not so much for the watch to function properly — it does well even when offline — but rather for statistics. The device is connected with a smartphone via Bluetooth version 4.2.
“What I liked most is that a single charge of the battery is enough for a full month of continuous use. This is a true record among other devices of this class, which last a few days at most. You may not take the watch charger with you on vacation or a business trip — very convenient”.
How It Works
Certainly, Vivo does not measure blood pressure directly but rather determines it by some indirect indications. The sensors, a photoplethysmographic one and two electrocardiographic ones, take up about half of the front panel.
When the user holds a finger on a photoplethysmographic sensor, the latter (a quote from the official website) “records changes in the pulse volume of the peripheral blood circulation that occurs in the finger held on the sensor”. The electrocardiographic sensors, in their turn, measure the electric fields that are created while the heart is beating. On the basis of the data received, the watch calculates both the pulse rate and blood pressure. And here is the big “but”.
“You will need to calibrate VivoWatch before using it in full swing. Take your blood pressure several times using a conventional blood pressure monitor, then enter the data into the app. There is no rocket science here, but without such a calibration, my watch displayed something far apart from the truth — this data cannot be used in any way. But following the adjustment, the values of Vivo and the blood pressure monitor have evened out and now, the difference is less than 5%”.
For daily use, this watch is accurate enough. Hardly anyone would carry a blood pressure monitor around everywhere, while the watch always remains on your wrist, be it on a walk, at work or lunch. Should you suddenly feel bad, you can quickly take your blood pressure and take appropriate measures then. Sounds great. Meanwhile, despite the sensors being medical-grade, you should not pin your faith on them. They can help you adjust your lifestyle or let you know that it is time to see a doctor, but still they do not convert the watch into a diagnostic unit, nor do they make a diagnosis. So bear this in mind and do not entrust your life to consumer electronics. Even though it is such hardcore stuff as Asus VivoWatch BP.
Competitors | Health Monitoring Watches: Apple, Samsung Galaxy, Fitbit Sense, Garmin vivoactive
Of course, Asus was not the first company that tried to create a watch with the function of a blood pressure monitor. The Casio BP-100 model is almost 30 years old, but it is still for sale at online auctions — about sixty dollars — and more importantly, they will work. However, this is certainly for vintage lovers: Casio looks even harsher than VivoWatch BP.
If you are an Apple fan, you will be glad to know that there is a stylish and feature-packed model from this brand. The New Apple Watch Series 6 checks your heart rhythm, tracks all types of workouts, helps you meet your sleep goals, let you listen to music, get calls and texts. When compared to the Asus VivoWatch BP, it has several advantages. First, The Apple watch measures not only a heart rate but also blood oxygen, something that makes it a good replacement for pulse oximeters. Blood oxygen level detection is a unique feature that allows you to see whether you have issues with your lungs or blood circulation. According to pulmonologist Adrian Pristas, M.D., more people now measure blood oxygen levels at home because they know that low levels could be a sign of COVID-19.
Another advantage of the new Apple model is that it can measure different types of workouts. While the Asus VivoWatch BP focuses on tracking steps, distance, exercise duration, and calories burned, the Apple Watch Series 6 allows you to measure specific activities like yoga, running, dancing, cycling, and many others. You can even track your workouts underwater! By the way, the watch has a swim-proof design and is water-resistant up to 50 meters. Apart from that, it features 5GHz Wi-Fi, a bright display, and customizable faces. However, the Apple watch has a shorter battery life of up to 18 hours.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is another trusted brand. The device automatically tracks the 7 most popular activities, including running, swimming, and cycling. Like the Apple model, this device can both monitor a heart rate and measure blood oxygen levels. But additionally, it can monitor your stress levels. In this regard, it is similar to the Asus VivoWatch BP, which has this function, too. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 monitors your sleep and offers advice on how to improve it.
If you need a more sturdy watch that can withstand weather elements, opt for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 rather than the Apple or Asus model. Made with a military-grade case, it complies with the MIL-STD-810 standard. This is a U.S. military standard that requires testing a device by subjecting it to stressing environmental conditions. Besides, the Samsung watch features an IP68 water resistance rating, whereas the Asus VivoWatch BP is rated IP67. Both are fully dust-resistant but an IP68 device allows for full immersion in up to 1.5 meters of water, while an IP67-rated watch can be dropped into water up to 1 meter deep only.
By Sole Providers
Last update on 2023-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch offers even more tools. Not only can it monitor sleep, heart rate, workouts, and stress. In addition, this device can measure skin temperature via a built-in sensor. The temperature is taken from your wrist at night and you can stay informed of when it gets lower or higher. Another distinctive feature of this FitBit smartwatch is that you can use Alexa or Google Assistant to get reminders and alarms as well as control your smart home appliances.
As for sleep monitoring, the device tracks light, deep, and REM stages, while the built-in alarm can be set to wake you up at a specific sleep stage. And it is something the ASUS VivoWatch BP does not have. Last but not least, this smartwatch is made with a fast-charging battery giving a full day’s charge in about 12 minutes. While this is certainly a benefit, it is worth recalling that the ASUS model boasts a whopping 28 days of battery life.
Last update on 2023-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
One more smartwatch from a reliable brand-name manufacturer is the Garmin vivoactive 4, GPS Smartwatch. Girls will particularly benefit from this device as it monitors not only heart rate, sleep, and stress, but also a menstrual cycle. Ideal for those who exercise a lot, the device offers more than 20 preloaded GPS and indoor sports applications. All animated workouts, including yoga, cardio, and strength exercises, can be viewed right on the watch screen. You can pick one of the preloaded animated exercises or download more. You can even get your personal running coach!
The battery lasts up to 8 days when the device is not used in music or GPS modes. You can download songs and connect with wireless headphones to listen to music but in this case, the smartwatch will last for just 6 hours on a charge. Like other smartwatches on the list, this one also lets you receive text and alerts.
By Matrix Electronics (SN recorded)
Last update on 2023-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
There are other models as well: Herzband Elegance 2, Eastor CK11, iNew H-One. All of them are cheaper than VivoWatch, but they fall short compared to the subject of this article in terms of functionality, reliability, and the level of technical support. More importantly, they measure blood pressure with wide margins of errors, which is why you probably should not entrust your health to them.
Medical-Grade Alternatives to Blood Pressure Watches
If you don't trust hi-tech innovative watсhes, use medical-grade portable blood pressure monitoring devices like Withings BPM with automatic Wi-Fi & Bluetooth data sync to the Health Mate app or Omron Evolve, an upper arm blood pressure monitor which works with Amazon Alexa.
“It is not the most beautiful device, nor is it stylish enough or cheap, but it is a very useful medical-grade unit. Speaking from my personal experience, I can say that Asus VivoWatch BP is worth its price, especially since there are almost no tough competitors on the market”.
Asus VivoWatch BP is not a trendy gadget or fashion thing. Nor is it just another way to blow some 200 bucks. This is a convenient, reliable, and functional gadget for those who know for sure why they need it. If you want something less sophisticated, opt for Xiaomi Mi Band, if you need something more hardcore, decide on Apple Watch. But neither the former nor the latter, for all their popularity, will provide you with the set of features the Asus model can.
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What Do Buyers Say? Reviews
I wasn’t surprised to learn that many other users are delighted with this thing as well. Just watch a video review published by Joshua Vergara, a blogger who has thoroughly examined and tested the device. Well, it seems that I am not the only one who has paid attention to a bulky design of this watch, which does not negatively affects its user-friendleness though. As Joshua noted, the gadget is incredibly light so you almost do not even realize that it is om your wrist. Another advantage he mentions is a long battery life that lasts 28 days, given that you can check your blood pressure three times a day using this watch. For people who really want this level of information when it comes to their heart and blood pressure, this might actually be one of the easiest ways to get accurate readings, he says.
Sherri L. Smith, a senior editor at Tom’s Hardware who has also got this watch, says, “It is not a watch, it is a health tracker.” And she is totally right! The fact that the product is branded is essential but, more importantly, it is one of the first watches to measure your blood pressure. Sherri showed how the gadget works, noting that she was a little bit excited so her blood pressure was higher than normal. The device takes real-time measurements in about 15 seconds. One more advantage she highlighted was the medical-grade silicone bands that are stylish and interchangeable. The watch works with ASUS’s AI technology to not only track your sleep and exercises but also give you recommendations on how to improve your health.