If you’re looking for a wearable to measure your heart rate, the best option right now seems to be a chest strap, like the Polar H7. However if the idea of wearing a device strapped to your chest all day long isn’t appealing, there are plenty of wrist-wearables that can track your heart rate as well, such as those offered by Apple, Fitbit, Jawbone, and etc.
Unfortunately for Fitbit, it seems that they have landed themselves in some legal trouble because according to a study conducted by law firm Lieff Cabraser, it seems that the study has found that Fitbit’s heart rate data is inaccurate by as much as 20bpm. This is a huge difference as it could mean that a person with a resting heart rate of 80bpm could think that they’re having a heart attack as it might read 100bpm instead even when they’re not doing anything.
However it should be noted that this study does use a rather small sampling of users – 43 to be exact, and they were only tested once meaning that for all we know, subsequent tests could yield different results. The difference in heart rate data is why the law firm is running a class action suit against the company.
It is unclear as to why there is such a huge discrepancy, or if the same results would have been found on a larger sampling with multiple testing on each subject, but for now it is speculated that the problem might simply have to do with Fitbit’s algorithms rather than the actual technology used to measure the heart rate, but what do you guys think? Any Fitbit users out there experiencing discrepancies themselves? Or do you think that they are pretty accurate as far as wrist-trackers are concerned?
Update: Fitbit has contacted Ubergizmo with a response concerning the lawsuit and the data backing it. Here it is:
“What the plaintiffs’ attorneys call a “study” is biased, baseless, and nothing more than an attempt to extract a payout from Fitbit. It lacks scientific rigor and is the product of flawed methodology. It was paid for by plaintiffs’ lawyers who are suing Fitbit, and was conducted with a consumer-grade electrocardiogram – not a true clinical device, as implied by the plaintiffs’ lawyers. Furthermore, there is no evidence the device used in the purported “study” was tested for accuracy.
Fitbit’s research team rigorously researched and developed the PurePulse technology for three years prior to introducing it to market and continues to conduct extensive internal studies to test the features of our products. Fitbit Charge HR is the #1 selling fitness tracker on the market, and is embraced by millions of consumers around the globe.
Consumer Reports independently tested the heart rate accuracy of the Charge HR and Surge after the initial lawsuit was filed in January and gave both products an “excellent” rating. We stand behind our heart-rate monitoring technology and all our products, and continue to believe the plaintiffs’ allegations do not have any merit. We are vigorously defending against these claims, and will resist any attempts by the plaintiffs’ lawyers to leverage a settlement with misleading tactics and false claims of scientific evidence.”