Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 brings a new tool that no other smartwatch has. It’s called the BioActive Sensor and Samsung says it can measure overall body composition in under 15 seconds. Body composition measurements may sound like a complex term for those who are not into advanced fitness metrics, but as users become more engaged with their health, smartwatches like Samsung’s and Apple’s are under increasing pressure to provide more useful data. Body composition measurements, for example, go beyond standard weight, height, and pulse to provide a deeper level of data about a user’s body.
Body composition measurements reveal the percentage of bone, water, muscle, and fat in your body. When it comes to being healthy and achieving fitness goals it is not all about weight and calories but also about how fat is distributed, water and hydration, calorie burn, and increases (or decreases) in muscle mass.
Samsung’s BioActive Sensor is unique and found in no other smartwatch in the market today, using contact with the user’s wrist and pressing two fingers from the opposite hand for 15 seconds, the watch gives feedback for users on a wide range of body measurements. Forbes reported that the Body Composition feature can be accessed by swiping the face of the watch to access the Widget page or by turning the bezel in the Samsung Watch Classic edition. To take body composition measurements, the user has to push their ring finger and index finger on the two buttons on the side of the watch. Arms need to be raised away from the body as the watch gathers information. Once the measurements are taken, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 will display a page of stats with information on weight (which needs to be entered manually), skeletal muscle, fat mass, body water, BMR basal metabolic rate (which is a rough estimate of the number of calories the user’s body needs each day), and BMI, or body mass index.
Samsung says that the new Watch 4 empowers users with body readings on their wrist. However, it is a well-established fact in the health industry that body composition measurements are never 100% accurate. Different ways of measuring body composition are often far more complex, some of which even require medical professionals to administer them. Samsung’s approach, empowered with new chips, is based on what is known in medicine as the bioelectrical impedance analysis, or BIA, which uses current resistance to make body composition estimations. These types of measurements have grown more accurate as new sensors are developed, but even the latest tech — like the sensors in Samsung’s fancy new watch — may be thrown off by a variety of factors, including hydration.
Samsung Watch 4 preorders are already up and running. In an attempt to compete with the Apple Watch’s health features, Samsung’s new body composition sensor was spotlighted during the Samsung Unpacked 2021. Samsung assures that their health-tracking features are extremely accurate in measuring body composition, but we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out. While the scaling down of body composition measurement technology made by Samsung is impressive, the question remains open not only on its accuracy but on how many global users are actually interested in daily readings of their bone, muscle, and fat percentage.