It looks like Garmin could be working on bringing ECG support to its smartwatches and sports watches after an ECG mode was found on its Venu 2 Plus smartwatch.
Hats off to DC Rainmaker who managed to try out the functionality, which was hidden in the diagnostics menus on the watch, which is designed for Garmin’s tech folk to troubleshoot issues with the device.
Essential reading: How ECG smartwatches work
The ECG diagnostics page was actually spotted back in January by a user who mentioned it in a Garmin forum, but now Rainmaker has been able to get into that diagnostics menu to try it out.
While not a fully fledged app, he was able to take an ECG reading by placing his thumb and index finger on the watch bezel for 1-2 seconds and generate what he says was reliable-looking data.
As this was hidden in the diagnostic section of the app, there was unsurprisingly nowhere to send and export the data out to to check for its accuracy.
A look at the Garmin ECG app found it the diagnostics menu on the Venu 2 Plus (credit: DC Rainmaker)
It seems that Garmin has since rolled out a firmware update to cut off access to this page, though he was able to purchase a watch and without setting and pairing up to a phone, was able get to the section of the watch.
Now it wouldn’t be all that surprising that Garmin would look to follow Apple, Samsung and even Coros into adding ECG functionality into one of its watches. In 2021, Garmin actually conducted an electrocardiogram clinical validation study
In the description of that study, it stated that the purpose of the study was to, “confirm the Garmin ECG (electrocardiogram) software algorithm can detect and classify atrial fibrillation and normal sinus rhythm on single lead ECG data derived from a Garmin wrist-worn, consumer device. The study will also confirm the software’s ability to create a Lead I ECG that is clinically equivalent to a reference device.”
The fact that ECG functionality has been discovered on the Venu 2 Plus, may hint that Garmin is seeking to bring it to its smartwatches sooner rather than later.
It would also make a lot of sense to bring it to its most smartwatch-like device as well. The Venu series is undeniably Garmin’s answer to the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, which both have ECG sensors to detect signs associated with the heart condition atrial fibrillation.
Currently, the Coros Vertix 2 is the only sports watch to include an ECG sensor, though rather than being used for health monitoring, that sensor is used to offer workout recovery status insights
Whether Garmin plans to turn this ECG feature on fully or is simply testing it for future devices, it’s a pretty promising find if you’re a Garmin fan and you’ve been hoping its watches will get the same big health monitoring features as Apple and Samsung’s smartwatches.