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Garmin smartwatch users flag problems with new heart rate feature

The Garmin heart rate dynamic source switching tool was seen in recent stable updates. (Image source: Garmin)
The Garmin heart rate dynamic source switching tool was seen in recent stable updates. (Image source: Garmin)
Garmin has recently released its new heart rate dynamic source switching tool for more smartwatches in stable updates. However, users of models like the Fenix 7 and Forerunner 955 have shared several concerns in the company’s forum, flagging issues with inaccurate data and a broader impact on wearables.

Garmin smartwatch users have raised concerns about the new heart rate dynamic source switching tool. The feature arrived for beta testers earlier this year and is now rolling out in stable updates for models like the Forerunner 965 (v19.18) and the Fenix 7 (v17.20). A complete list of compatible smartwatches can be found on the company's website.

The heart rate source switching feature has been designed to improve the accuracy of heart rate data captured during exercise. It works for users who wear their smartwatch and an eligible Garmin heart rate monitor strap simultaneously, with the source of the heart rate data said to change dynamically in situations like a drop in connection. However, several Garmin smartwatch users have taken to the forum to flag issues with the new tool. A few wearable owners indicated that the tool was causing the watch’s battery to drain faster than usual.

Others said that data collected in the first 20 minutes of their workout was erratic, or they observed abnormally high spikes. Garmin does note that heart rate data can be inaccurate at the start of the run due to a poor connection between the skin and electrodes, which is resolved when you start to sweat. Despite this, several users suggest that this issue with inaccurate heart rate data at the beginning of a workout is worse with the new dynamic source switching tool. Some Garmin smartwatch users may be pleased to learn that you can switch off the dynamic heart rate source tool, a feature that appeared in beta releases like v19.13 for the Forerunner 955. You can find instructions on how to do this in the screenshot below.

Instruction for users to disable the heart rate dynamic source switching tool. (Image source: Garmin)
Instruction for users to disable the heart rate dynamic source switching tool. (Image source: Garmin)

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 05 > Garmin smartwatch users flag problems with new heart rate feature
Polly Allcock, 2024-05-29 (Update: 2024-05-29)