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Galaxy Watch Active 2: Nearly two months on, the ECG-tracking function has yet to reach users in various markets

This app uses the Watch Active 2's ECG sensor, but not in all markets. (Source: Sage Bioworks)
This app uses the Watch Active 2's ECG sensor, but not in all markets. (Source: Sage Bioworks)
Samsung promoted the Galaxy Watch Active 2 as a health-focused wearable that would rival the Apple Watch series thanks to its in-built medical-grade electrocardiography (ECG). However, the function was disabled at its launch. This is not the case anymore; however, German and Austrian users are reportedly still waiting for their access to this feature.
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The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 was launched alongside references to a new ECG sensor that would offer heart-rate tracking to a clinical degree, as with some generations of the Apple Watch series. However, the OEM was obliged to leave this potentially welcome feature disabled when it first went on sale, due to the need to certify the functions of the tech in question with medical regulators and authorities. 

This took an arguably long time: the Watch Active 2 launched in August 2019, and it took until May 2020 for it to become recognized by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in Samsung's native South Korea as an ECG device.

Since then, it seems it has failed to achieve the same validation in some other markets. In response to reader feedback, our German-language news team contacted the company's German and Austrian divisions in relation to the availability of the same function to users in those countries.

The responses included references to the My BP Lab app, a third-party app made by the research group Sage Bioworks that can indeed be used to track cardiac data. However, according to Samsung Germany, it only works "in other countries" that include the UK, US and Canada at this point.

The OEM's Austrian representatives, on the other hand, indicated that Galaxy Watch Active 2 units in that country would receive the ECG-activating update in the third or fourth quarter of 2020.

Should this be the case, it may be aggravating indeed for buyers that will get this feature after their existing watch's successor does. It is currently projected to launch with both blood pressure- and cardiogram-tracking options switched on out of the box.

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Deirdre O'Donnell
Deirdre O'Donnell - Senior Tech Writer - 3671 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 07 > Galaxy Watch Active 2: Nearly two months on, the ECG-tracking function has yet to reach users in various markets
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2020-07-17 (Update: 2020-07-18)