Withings – a company that’s earned a reputation for creating stylish smartwatches with a clear health focus – has announced the Australian availability of its ScanWatch. It's the first smartwatch to market here that includes clinically-approved ECG functionality.
While other smartwatches can monitor and record your heart rate, only the Withings ScanWatch has been approved by the Australian Government's Therapeutic Goods Administration as a medical device. It's beaten Apple, Fitbit, Garmin and all the other players that offer similar wearables with ECG hardware available on board but unfortunately aren't approved for use Down Under.
This will be of particular interest to the estimated 475,000 Australians that suffer from atrial fibrillation (opens in new tab) (Afib), which is an irregular heartbeat that increases risk of stroke or heart attack. A great many people will be unaware they might have this condition, and early detection via a product like this could be a critical element that leads to treatment, and a long and healthy life.
If the ScanWatch detects an irregular heartbeat it will alert the user and recommend that it record an ECG. This information is then displayed in the app, which includes in-depth diagnostic information and recommendations – although in cases like this it's best to see your GP immediately.
The ScanWatch also includes related heart monitoring functionality that can detect breathing disturbances during sleep, which could be related to sleep apnoea, as well as measuring oxygen saturation. An oxygen saturation reading can be run any time, taking about 30 seconds to complete.
Beyond this, the ScanWatch includes all the usual fitness-oriented smart watch features, including sleep monitoring and 24/7 activity tracking with various fitness and workout programs to follow. The ScanWatch is water resistant up to 50m, and has a claimed battery life of up to 30 days.
The Withings ScanWatch will be available exclusively in JB Hi-Fi from November 9. It’s available in 38mm (AUD$479) and 42mm (AUD$499) sizes, with black or white faces paired with a standard silicone band, although a variety of optional bands will also be available.
- The best fitness trackers you can buy right now