Apple Watch is arguably one of the best smartwatches for most of us. The way it fits into the whole Apple ecosystem, its health-tracking features, watch faces, medication tracking, and thousands of other features — it just works. However, there is a niche category of people for whom the Apple Watch may not prove to be the best option, and yes, I am talking about sports athletes and fitness fanatics.
While all the Apple Watch models flaunt dustproof and waterproof designs, it isn’t really an ideal smartwatch for people serious about sports. The display glass, even the “Sapphire crystal display” on the titanium and stainless steel models, is much weaker than the ones found on the likes of Garmin and Fitbit smartwatches. The overall durability is also much lower.
However, this isn’t a drawback as Apple Watch is aimed at people who are not into extreme sports and are attracted by its features, usability, and fashion. But, according to a new report, Apple is working to address the needs of people who want to use the Apple Watch in extreme conditions as the company is planning to release a rugged Apple Watch model later this.
While we already know that Apple is planning to release three Watch models in 2022 — Series 8, SE 2, and a rugged model — Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has detailed the features and specifications we can expect from the smartwatch. According to Gurman, the rugged model will come with a bigger battery, a rugged metal casing, and a larger display to appeal to the extreme sports athletes.
Starting off with the display, Gurman says that the rugged model Apple Watch will feature a “nearly 2-inch display” with 7% more screen area than the largest Apple Watch available today. While the overall shape is expected to remain the same, the bigger display will feature an improved resolution of 410 pixels by 502 pixels. This display will also be more “shatter-resistant”, due to it being targeted toward extreme sports athletes.
The leaker also believes that the smartwatch will be able to show more information on the display during exercises and workouts, thanks to the bigger display. While the report doesn’t reveal what sort of material Apple will use to improve the smartwatch’s durability, it claims that the smartwatch will be built with a stronger metal than aluminum.
Powering the Apple Watch rugged model will be the same Apple S8 chip that is expected to debut alongside the Series 8 later this year. Previous reports have revealed that the S8 chipset will be nothing but a rebranding of the S7 chipset (which in itself was a rebranding of the S6 chip). Another feature that the rugged model will share with the Apple Watch Series 8 is the ability to take the user’s body temperature and detect if they have a fever.
All of this won’t come cheap. While the report doesn’t mention the exact price tag, Gurman does say that the rugged model will be priced higher than the standard stainless steel model which starts at $699. So, you can expect the price of the rugged model to match Garmin’s Epix 2 price, which retails for around $900 today.
The overall leaked features and specs do suggest that Apple is developing a worthy contender that would be able to withstand extreme conditions. Coupled with Apple’s excellent health tracking features (more coming with watchOS 9), premium build quality, and excellent user experience, Garmin and Fitbit could have serious competition at their hands. Would you be interested in buying the Apple Watch rugged model? Let us know in the comments section below!
How your watch takes your pulse, blood oxygen, and other vitals
Smartwatches have become an essential part of our daily life. Not only do they help us reduce screen time — by showing notifications and other important info on our wrist — but they also help us keep track of our fitness and body vitals. But, have you ever wondered how such a small gadget is able to measure pulse, SpO2, stress, ECG, arterial stiffness, and other important body vitals? Here’s everything that you need to know!
Blood Oxygen (SpO2)
Blood oxygen or SpO2 level is the percentage of oxygen in the blood. Oxygen, as we all know, is vital for all organs of our body, and SpO2 tells us how much oxygen your red blood cells are carrying. It is considered a key sign that depicts the health of a human body. Usually, blood oxygen lies between 95% to 100%, but if it goes below 90%, it can cause distress in the nervous system, kidney, liver, and other vital organs.
Thankfully, most new smartwatches can measure blood oxygen levels, so in case it starts to fall, you can take precautions and necessary steps to maintain healthy levels. But before we move on to how smartwatches measure SpO2, let’s take a look at how a conventional pulse oximeter measures the blood oxygen level.
Blood oxygen is measured using a technique called Transmissive Pulse Oximetry. In this, a sensor projects red-colored and infrared light onto your skin. The light enters the blood vessels containing oxygen. Haemoglobin, the protein particle of the blood that carries oxygen, absorbs some light and reflects some part of it. The intensity of light reflected depends on how much oxygen it’s carrying (the darker the blood, the less oxygen).
A sensor then measures the amount of light that passes through the sensor and calculates the SpO2 level of your body using algorithms. However, since smartwatches don’t have a receiving sensor on the other side, they rely on a different technique called Reflectance Oximetry. In this, a sensor on the smartwatch measures the difference between the light emitted and reflected to determine blood oxygen level.
Apple Watch Series 7
It’s available in 41mm and 45mm models, and it has GPS and cellular versions. The cellular is best recommended for those who want to take calls while out and about and those who want to connect to the internet, make calls while away from their devices.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is a great companion for someone interested in fitness. It features several 24×7 monitoring capabilities and is compatible with Android and iOS devices.
The Fitbit Sense has an ECG sensor that can track many sports activities. It’s one of the best fitness wearable devices on the market and works seamlessly with iOS and Android devices.
Heart rate is another essential indicator that reflects body health. Most modern-day smartwatches come with the ability to measure heart rate. Heart rate (BPM) is essentially the number of times your heart beats in a minute. It varies depending upon the activity you’re doing. For e.g., if you’re in a resting state, your heart rate might be low, but when you’re working out, your heart beats faster, and thus heart rate is high.
The current-gen smartwatches make use of a technology called photoplethysmography, or PPG, to measure heart rate. In this, green light is projected on your skin using LEDs. While the light is being projected on your wrist, a sensor looks for the intensity of the green light that bounces off your skin.
The blood is red in color, which means that it absorbs green light and reflects red light. When your heart beats, more amount of blood flows into your wrist, which means that more green light is absorbed. Similarly, between the heartbeats, there’s less absorption of green light since there is less blood, and thus more green light is reflected. A sensor on your smartwatch looks for the change in the intensity of the green light and calculates your heart rate using a series of algorithms.
In order for the sensor to work as advertised, the watch must be tightly wrapped to your skin — so that it can look for changes more precisely. This is the reason why the reading fails when you don’t wear the watch tightly, as the sensor isn’t able to read the change in intensity of light properly.
Most of the smartwatches sold today can measure heart rate, but an electrocardiogram (ECG) is a new thing that you’ll find only on premium smartwatches and fitness trackers. Instead of just telling you how many times your heart is beating per minute, ECG tells you how well your heart is working. It can detect the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity and can even help you detect heart problems like atrial fibrillation (AFib).
ECG on smartwatches works on the same principle as the ECG machines found in hospitals. In conventional ECG machines, 12 electrodes are connected to record the heart’s activity. On the other hand, in smartwatches, two external electrodes are used in order to form a circuit, which then records the time and strength of your heart’s electrical signal.
These external electrodes are built right into your watch. For e.g., in the Apple Watch (Series 6 and Series 7), one electrode can be found in the watch’s digital crown, and the second electrode is the ring surrounding the other sensors of your smartwatch. When you touch the digital crown, a closed circuit between your finger, heart, and wrist is formed.
This helps the smartwatch record the electrical impulses and thus form an ECG. Of course, the strength of the signal isn’t as strong as the conventional ECG machine, so smartwatches are embedded with multiple amplifiers circuits and noise remover circuits to enhance the signal. The signal is then processed by multiple software algorithms that help the smartwatch form an ECG.
Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE is the latest affordable smartwatch from the Cupertino-based company. If you’re looking for a reliable companion for your iPhone that will help you keep a track of your fitness, answer and make calls, monitor your heart rate, and do a lot more, then Apple Watch SE is the one for you.
HUAWEI Watch GT 3 Pro
The HUAWEI Watch GT 3 Pro features an elegant and stylish design. It lets you track more than 100 workout modes and even has an ECG sensor. It’s available in Europe, the UK, and Asia. Check out all the deals on the device using the links given below.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 Active
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 Active features several sensors that let you track your activities and meet your fitness goals. It has an ECG sensor, HR tracking, and it can automatically detect sports activities.
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension that can negatively affect a person’s health and well-being. Interestingly, a lot of smartwatches sold today can keep track of your stress levels and help you reduce them. But how does a smartwatch that is already monitoring blood oxygen, heart rate, and many other vitals of your body measure stress as well? Here’s how a smartwatch can tell if you’re under stress.
Smartwatches rely on the Heart Rate Variability (HRV) technology to determine the user’s stress levels. Using this technology, the smartwatch measures the time variation between each heartbeat. The heartbeat of a person goes up when they’re under stress, which leads to decreased time intervals between each heartbeat. Your smartwatch keeps track of the difference in the time interval between each heartbeat and can, hence, determine your stress levels. The lower the HRV, the higher the stress — lower HRV means the time difference between each heartbeat is low.
Some premium smartwatches make use of a dedicated sensor to detect stress. Fitbit’s Sense smartwatch comes with the Electro Dermal Activity (EDA) sensor to detect the stress levels of a person. This sensor detects electrical changes in the sweat level of our skin and, coupled with other vitals such as heart rate and sleep, the smartwatch can accurately detect your stress levels.
Most smartwatches that are able to measure stress levels, such as the Fitbit Sense and HUAWEI’s latest Watch GT 3 Pro, also come with features that help you reduce stress. These smartwatches come equipped with a breathing exercise mode that helps the body relax through long breathing sessions, thus reducing stress.
Some smartwatches, such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, can also measure many body composition factors related to your health, such as fat mass, body mass, body water, basal metabolic rate, and more. Samsung says that the body composition sensor on the Watch 4 collects data from over 2,400 points and gives you a virtual picture of your body’s composition.
But how does it work? Well, it’s quite similar to how smartwatches take an ECG. You place two fingers on your smartwatch, thus completing the circuit. The smartwatch then sends low voltage currents to the body. Different elements, such as fat, water, muscle tissue, and bone, interact differently with the electrical signal. The output signal is then passed onto Samsung’s proprietary algorithms, and the users get results comprising of their individual factors.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
The Galaxy Watch 4 is the best companion if you want to monitor your health and fitness activities. It’s one of the most customizable smartwatches on the market and has excellent features to keep you focused.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is the device for those looking to own a traditional-looking timepiece that does more than meets the eye. It’s one of the best smartwatches for Android users.
Should you trust smartwatch sensors for tracking your health?
While experts say that we should not (only) rely on smartwatches for measuring our body vitals, some studies have shown that smartwatches have become quite reliable than before. The sensors and algorithms have improved, leading to much better results. Of course, smartwatches cannot replace medical-grade instruments, but they have come a long and have proved to be a life savior in some cases.
And oh, while we’re on this topic, make sure you check out my colleague Anton D. Nagy’s piece on why you should stick to just one fitness tracker for best results.
Best deals today: Apple’s 2020 MacBook Air, Sony X90K Series BRAVIA XR Smart TV, Apple TV 4K and more
Today’s best deals come with a little something for everyone and every budget, as you can currently purchase the 2020 version of Apple’s M1 MacBook Air for just $900 after scoring a 10 percent discount that will help you keep $100 in your pocket.
This model comes with a 13-inch Retina Display, 8GB Ram, 256GB storage space, a backlit keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID, and other great features, including long-lasting battery life that will keep you going for up to 18 hours without having to search for a power adapter.
If you’re looking for more power, you can also opt for the larger and more powerful 14 and 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro models that are now receiving up to $300 savings. But suppose you only need a new portable laptop to help you get basic work done. In that case, you can also consider going for the more affordable Lenovo Flex 5i 13 Chromebook 2-in-1 Laptop, which now sells for just $289 after seeing a whopping 47 percent discount. And if you want more options to choose from, you can also check out the HP Chromebook 14 Laptop, which sells for $160 after scoring a massive 45 percent discount. This last model comes with an Intel Celeron N4120 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage space, and more.
Apple’s 2020 MacBook Air is still one of Cupertino’s best laptops. It features an M1 chip, a 13.3-inch Retina Display, all-day battery life, and other great features.
Sony X90K Series BRAVIA XR Smart TV
Next up, we have a couple of smart TV offers that will invite you to purchase one of these fantastic options, starting with the Sony 85 Inch 4K Ultra HD TV X90K Series: BRAVIA XR Full Array LED Smart Google TV that now sells for $2,598 after scoring a 13 percent discount that translates to more than $400 savings.
Of course, you can also consider the smaller 55-inch model that now sells for $1,098 after picking up a 16 percent discount that will help you save $200 on your purchase, and you would also be receiving Dolby Vision HDR and exclusive features for the PlayStation 5, in case you already managed to snag one for your battle station.
However, you can also check out the VIZIO 50-Inch M-Series 4K QLED HDR Smart TV, which is a much more budget-friendly alternative, considering that it currently sells for $298 after picking up a huge 44 percent discount that will help you save $231.99 on your purchase.
Sony X90K Series: BRAVIA XR Smart TV
Get one of Sony’s best smart TVs on the market, as the Sony 4K Ultra HD TV X90K Series: BRAVIA XR Full-Array LED Smart Google TV is now on sale. It comes with Dolby Vision, Cognitive Processor XR to deliver amazing image quality, and other great features.
Apple TV 4K
Apple’s 2021 streaming device is also on sale, and you can now purchase a new Apple TV 4K with 32GB storage space for $130 after scoring a 27 percent discount that will get you $50 savings. Indeed, this model will deliver support for 4K content, Dolby Atmos for immersive, room-filling sound, Apple’s A12 Bionic chip under the hood, and other great features.
However, you can also opt for a more affordable Fire TV Stick 4K Max streaming device, which is currently listed for $55. I know, there are no visible signs of savings anywhere, but if you check out the description, you will find out that you can get this amazing little streaming device for just $35.=, but only if you remember to add promo code ADDFTV at check out, as this will give you $20 savings on your purchase. And believe me, it’s worth it, even if you don’t have a Wi-Fi 6 router, as this model is definitely faster and more powerful than its predecessor.
Apple TV 4K
Apple’s 2021 Apple TV 4K is the perfect complement for Apple users who want to enjoy their favorite streaming services at home. It delivers an outstanding media experience and supports the most popular streaming services available.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Savings are also available on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, which is now selling for just $199 after a 34 percent discount that translates to $100.99 savings. This will get you a 40m model with an ECG monitor and all the necessary sensors to track your activities, fitness, sleep cycles, and more. And the best part is that this version also comes with LTE support.
However, if you want the Classic version, you would have to pay $350 for the 42mm model, but you would still be able to save $50 upon purchase. And if you want more options, you can also check out the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS Smart Watch that now sells for $210 after you add the on-page coupon that will get you $90 savings.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
The Galaxy Watch 4 is the best companion if you want to monitor your health and fitness activities. It’s one of the most customizable smartwatches on the market, and it has excellent features to keep you focused.
Razer Basilisk Ultimate
Finally, we have one of my favorite gaming and working peripherals. The Razer Basilisk Ultimate Hyperspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse with a Charging Dock is now available for $115 after picking up a 32 percent discount that translates to $55 savings. This gaming mouse comes with a 20HK DPI Optical Sensor, 11-programable buttons, up to 100 hours of battery life with RGB turned off, and a great feel on the hand.
If you want more affordable options, you can check out the ASUS ROG Chakram Wireless Aura Sync RGB Gaming Mouse Optical Sensor, which sells for $100 after a 38 percent discount, representing $60 savings. Or get the HyperX Pulsefire Haste Wireless Gaming Mouse that now goes for $60 after a $20 discount. And if you can live with wires, you can also check out the wired Razer Basilisk V3 Customizable Ergonomic Gaming Mouse that sells for $50 after a 29 percent discount.
Razer Basilisk Ultimate
The Razer Basilisk Ultimate Hyperspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse comes with a 20HK DPI Optical Sensor, 11 programable buttons, and up to 100 hours of battery life.
Samsung products will get more expensive and you will not care
Samsung announced that it’d be holding its upcoming Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event on August 10, where it’s expected to introduce the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, Galaxy Z Flip 4, Galaxy Watch 5 series, and the new Galaxy Buds Pro 2 wireless earbuds. While we have most information about the upcoming products, we didn’t have any leaks on the pricing up until now.
We shared a report earlier, claiming that Samsung could reduce its profit margin on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 series of foldable devices, to make them more appealing to a larger target audience. The cut in the profits would’ve meant less money for Samsung, but it could have sold more units. Now, it looks like that might not be the case, and the prices might indeed go up after all.
According to a new report from PriceBaba, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 will set customers back by €1,080 for the one with 128GB of storage. The 256GB model will reportedly cost €1,160, while the 512GB model should retail for €1,280. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 launched for €1,049, and given the current events, inflation, and the post-pandemic world; we’re not too surprised by the slightly higher price tag.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 will reportedly (via Gizpaw) come with 256/512GB model variants, starting at €1,864 and €1,982, respectively. That’s a €64 and €82 increase compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 announced last year.
The Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro smartwatches will be available in multiple sizes and models. The standard Galaxy Watch 5 40mm Bluetooth version will reportedly (via DealNTech) start at €259, while the 44mm model will retail for €286. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro will reportedly go for €420 for the Bluetooth-only model, which is slightly higher than last year.
Last but not least, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro wireless earbuds will reportedly start at €226. The first generation Galaxy Buds Pro wireless earbuds cost €230 back in January when they were first introduced, and it’s possible that the price will remain the same this year, although it’s too early to tell.
Samsung products to get more expensive, but chances are, you’ll still upgrade
Nobody likes price hikes, but let’s face it, fans will still be fans, and they’ll happily shell out more for marginal improvements. This year’s Galaxy Z series might be a tough sell to many people, but we can already see a massive online queue wanting to upgrade. While this year’s changes will be rather small, there will be significant improvements to the durability and design of the new Z series of devices, and we can see fans shelling out a lot of money to get a better device.
If you fall into the latter category, we won’t judge; after all, people like myself who bought into the Samsung upgrade program also signed up for a reason: to experience the latest and the greatest whenever available. Those stuck on carrier deals will be able to look into upgrading early, although they’ll likely have to pay an extra fee to do so, yet many will consider it as an alternative method. People will also trade-in their existing devices and pay up a few hundred dollars to upgrade to some of these new smartphones and smartwatches.
We expect Samsung and all major carriers to offer some exclusive and appealing bundles, discounts and trade-in deals to make the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 devices more affordable. If the past is anything to go by, we’ll expect a case, a fast charger, and possibly an S Pen included with all Galaxy Z Fold 4, while we would be happy to see a case and a fast charger with all Z Flip 4 smartphones.
What are your thoughts about the new prices for the upcoming Samsung devices? Will you consider upgrading your smartphone, smartwatch, or wireless earbuds? Let us know in the comments down below!
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4
Reserve now and get attractive offers!
Samsung will announce new Galaxy products on 10 August 2022. New devices that will be announced at the event will likely include the Galaxy Z Fold 4, Galaxy Z Flip 4, Galaxy Watch 5, and Galaxy Buds. You can now reserve your Galaxy device via the official Samsung Store page.
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