A scientific study reveals that connected watches and bracelets are not reliable in measuring health and physical activity data.
If you thought you were a high-level athlete, you may resent your connected watch. Researchers from the University of Quebec in Montreal have shown that devices worn on the wrist were generally quite disappointing for measuring energy expenditure.
Our connected watches would not be very reliable
A research titled Wrist-worn devices for measuring heart rate and energy expenditure: A validation study for the Apple Watch 6, Polar Vantage V and Fitbit Sense. attempted to show the reliability and usefulness of the smart devices we wear on our wrists.
The three connected watches were tested by thirty participants of all sexes during several physical exercises. For control measurements, the Polar H10 chest strap and the MetaMax 3B portable gas exchange meter were used. Results compiled by Stronger by Science in the table below.
What the results of this research show is that these devices were actually pretty bad at tracking calorie burn in physical activities performed. The average deviation from daily expenditure varied wildly, rendering these watches useless for tracking calories burned. The difference between what the watch measures and the real values is also greater if the energy expenditure is lower or higher than the average. However, if the estimates of our devices are bad, they remain quite consistent; if we have an overestimate, it will be the same every day. Erroneous measurements, but still useful for monitoring the evolution of calories burned.
These measures are considered insufficient for researchers. Moreover, this is not the first scientific study that tends to show a lack of reliability on the part of connected devices worn on the wrist.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is doing a little better
“Good news” for Apple Watch Series 6 users, the Apple brand’s connected watch is doing a little better on reliability, especially for heart rate measurement in all activities. For the other watches evaluated, the fidelity of their pulse measurement fluctuates depending on physical exercise. Regarding the number of steps calculated, these models seem to be in place; this is also the case for many other connected watches on the market.
If you want to buy a connected watch to calculate the number of steps you take each day or measure your heart rate, some models will be perfect. But if you’re on a fitness journey and set a calorie burn goal, the wearables not all of them will be reliable enough for this.
Moreover, some research suggests that these smart devices can have a positive effect on fitness: seeing its “performance” from a numerical point of view motivates users to engage in more physical activity.
To follow us, we invite you to download our Android and iOS application. You can read our articles, files, and watch our latest YouTube videos.