Heart Rate Monitor : Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. iPhone 5s

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Heart Rate Monitor : Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. iPhone 5s


The battle between the iPhone 5s and the Samsung Galaxy S5 (soon to be available on April 11, 2014) is fought on many fronts. The use of the smartphone for health benefits is one of them.

Apple’s iPhone 5s has a downloadable app that measures the users heart rate while the Galaxy S5 of Samsung contains a built in heart rate monitor.


Which is better?

Let us look at the tale of the tape:


1) Function.

The Galaxy S5’s monitor works by placing a finger on a specific part of the phone (found on the back portion just below the main rear camera) and waiting for a few seconds for the results. The device shoots a red beam through your finger and captures the pulse rate and gives data on your heart beat speed. The data is then easily synced with the S Health app of the Galaxy S5.


The iPhone 5s does not have a built in heart rate monitor but a number of apps can be easily downloaded from the App Store to perform this function.

One of the apps most recommended by iPhone users is ?Instant Heart Rate? which is compatible with the iPhone 4, 4s, and 5 by utilizing the flash tool. The iPhone 3GS and the iPod Touch can also use this app but can only be used in good lighting conditions. Instant Heart Rate uses the camera (placing the finger on the camera lens for a number of seconds) to study the changes in the color of your fingertip.

The Galaxy S5 can also be used in the same way with its camera.


2) Data

The data measured by the Galaxy S5 and synced with the S Health app will give you a report containing your heart rate level, complete with a graph that enables you to plot the data over time. This graph can be reviewed later on and you can go back as far as days or months.

The S Health app cannot distinguish or log what your activity is during the data measurement so you have to log the activity separately so you can differentiate heart rate readings depending on your situation (workout versus heart episodes). The S Health app is also used exclusively and the data cannot be shared with other software or apps.


The iPhone 5s, with the Instant Heart Rate app, allows the user to indicate what activity is being done during the time of the heart rate measurement. The app also allows the user to see data trends over specific time periods. This app can be connected to other apps such as Argus (an app that tracks activity). Argus enables the user to use the motion sensors of the iPhone to measure the distance of a walk per day and also measures the amount of calories burned on a specific activity. The integration with Instant Heart Rate gives the user a comprehensive snapshot of the health profile of the user in a specific activity.


3) How it Performed.

Actual trials reported during the launch of the Galaxy S5 showed that measuring the pulse was very fast and convenient. The use of the sensor was a big welcome for those who do not like touching their camera’s lens. However, the limitation of having the data confined to the S Health app did not impress many of those who were tested. Those who had their heart rate measured indicated that they would like Samsung to have the data available for third party apps. We find no reason why Samsung would turn a deaf ear to this feedback and we expect that a fix to the S Health app or to the Galaxy S5 itself will be coming soon after it is launched.


The basic Instant Heart Rate app (by Azumio Inc.) is free but the Pro version (which will enable you to track trends) will cost a few dollars.


I decided to download the free app and try it. Here is what I got.

It does work on my iPhone 4 but was a bit sluggish. At first, I just thought it was because of my clunky ?old? iPhone but some research said that many users found it a bit slow to measure the pulse rate.

Some users also mentioned that one has to be very still when measuring the heart rate. After using the camera lens to analyze the fingertip, one has to make sure to clean the lens unless the pictures taken afterwards look smudgy.

The ability to share the data with other apps is a big plus for those who are using it especially the ability to record the type of activity in the app itself.


The decision:

It’s a draw.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 allows a faster and ?cleaner? way of measuring the heart rate but the iPhone 5s has more flexibility in managing the data.

The good thing about this rivalry is that both Apple and Samsung will surely keep on developing better devices and apps that would assist the consumer in monitoring their health.


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