While smartwatch makers like Apple and Samsung delve into robust fitness, Garmin is supporting its advanced health features. Today, the company announced that it is adding FDA-cleared ECGs to its Venu 2 Plus smartwatch.
The EKG app allows Venu 2 Plus owners to record a 30-second electrocardiogram to screen for abnormal heart rhythms, which can be an indicator of atrial fibrillation. The results are immediately available on the watch or can be viewed later in the Garmin Connect app. Venu 2 Plus owners can also create historical ECG reports that can be shared with their doctor. To get the ECG feature, make sure the Venu 2 Plus and Garmin Connect app are updated to version 10.06 and 4.56 respectively.
For now, the EKG app is only available to US customers. That said, Garmin says it plans to expand the feature to other devices and regions in the future, pending local regulatory approvals.
The feature itself is not that revolutionary. It’s similar to what we’ve already seen from Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit. Apple first added EKGs in 2018 with the Series 4, while Samsung and Fitbit followed suit in 2020. Recently, Google also added FDA-cleared ECGs to the Pixel Watch through the Fitbit integration. However, these companies are known for making lifestyle smartwatches and fitness trackers with a greater focus on health. Garmin’s claim to fame has always been its rugged endurance sports watches with in-depth training features.
You could read this as Garmin backing off against Apple and Samsung, who both launched rugged fitness watches last year with the Apple Watch Ultra and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. With that in mind, it makes sense for Garmin to choose to launch its EKG app on the Venu 2 Plus. The smartwatch was introduced at CES 2022 and is the closest thing to a full-featured smartwatch. Primarily, it’s the only Garmin with a microphone and speaker, allowing it to make and receive calls from the wrist and access your phone’s digital assistant.
Adding ECG here makes it a more worthy alternative for lifestyle users looking for a Fitbit alternative or an OLED smartwatch with true multi-day battery life.