Consumer Reports: Fitbit heart rate monitoring tech is “very accurate”

Purple Fitbit Charge HR

Wrist-worn optical heart monitors aren’t perfect, yet some of them work better than others. Select Fitbit products — such as the Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit Surge and the newly announced Fitbit Blaze — integrate this capability allowing for better performance tracking.

However, the company’s proprietary technology called PurePulse has been called into question in a class action lawsuit earlier this month, in which plaintiffs from California, Colorado, and Wisconsin claim that Fitbit’s heart rate monitoring capabilities didn’t work as advertised, especially during intense exercise.

Fitbit, unsurprisingly, responded “with strong disagreements,” saying that PurePulse provides “better overall heart rate tracking than cardio machines at the gym.” The company added that its activity trackers aren’t meant to be scientific or medical devices.

Willingly or not, now we have Consumer Reports coming to the [Fitbit’s] rescue with a new report saying that the optical heart rate monitoring in Fitbit’s Charge HR and Surge wrist trackers is actually “very accurate.”

The publication engaged two testers — a female and a male — who wore Fitbit Surge and Fitbit Charge HR devices on their wrists and compared results with readings measured by Polar chest straps. “During nearly every trial, the variance between the chest strap and the Fitbit devices amounted to no more than three heartbeats per minute,” Consumer Reports writes.

It’s not clear how or even whether this report will affect the mentioned class action lawsuit, but it seems obvious Fitbit’s layers are collecting Consumer Reports’ papers as we speak.

In the meantime, the Fitbit Blaze is coming, featuring increased sampling rate that may (or may not) deliver even more accurate heart rate readings. We’ll see…

[Via: TheVerge]