Garmin adds FDA-approved EKG to Venu 2 Plus smartwatch

While smartwatch makers like Apple and Samsung explore solid fitness, Garmin is beefing up advanced health features. Today the company announced the addition of an FDA-approved EKG 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 that may be indicative of atrial fibrillation. Results are immediately available on the watch or can be viewed later in the Garmin Connect app. Venu 2 Plus owners can also generate historical EKG reports that they can share with their doctors. To use the EKG feature, you must ensure that the Venu 2 Plus and Garmin Connect app are updated to version 10.06 and 4.56 respectively.

Currently, the EKG app is only available to US customers. That said, in the future, Garmin says it plans to expand its capabilities to other devices as well as other regions pending local regulatory approval.

Venu 2 Plus on the screen of the voice assistant

The Venu 2 Plus is Garmin’s closest thing to a full-featured OLED smartwatch.
Image: Victoria Song/The Verge

The feature itself isn’t very innovative. Similar to what we’ve already seen from Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit. Apple first added an EKG to the Series 4 in 2018, and Samsung and Fitbit followed suit in 2020. Most recently, Google also added an FDA-approved EKG to the Pixel Watch through Fitbit integration. However, these companies are known for making lifestyle smartwatches and fitness trackers that are more focused on health. Garmin’s reputation has always been rugged endurance sports watches with in-depth training capabilities.

It can be read as Garmin fighting back against Apple and Samsung, which launched rugged fitness watches last year with the Apple Watch Ultra and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. With that in mind, it makes sense that Garmin chose to release an EKG app on the Venu 2 Plus. The smartwatch was introduced at CES 2022 and is the closest the company has come to a full-featured smartwatch. It’s primarily the only Garmin with a microphone and speaker, allowing you to make and receive calls from your wrist as well as access your phone’s digital assistant.

Adding an EKG to this makes it a more valuable alternative for lifestyle users looking for a Fitbit alternative or OLED smartwatch that offers true multi-day battery life.

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