Sunday, December 6, 2020

Fitbit Inspire 2 Vs. Apple Watch Series 6 (ECG and Sleep recordings)

 Last year I purchased the Fitbit Inspire 2 (lilac color) basically to track my sleep and heartrate.  I had been feeling exhausted (and still am) and wondered if the sleep feature would show me anything.  Also, I have had heart palpitations and so I thought it could show me something on that as well.  I thought I would see that I toss and turn and hardly sleep all night long.  I thought it would show my heart beating at 175bpm like my Homedics blood pressure monitor showed.  I was so wrong.  The Fitbit app DOES show amounts of time sleeping/awake, what my heartrate was throughout the night, and what my average bpm is throughout the night and day, BUT it only shows my heartbeat every 5 MINUTES! That does not help me when my heart palpitations only last 30 seconds.  And as far as sleep goes, there's been times when I was awake for an hour but the Fitbit app showed I was sleeping during that entire hour.  So it was not 100% accurate.

Don't get me wrong, the app has TONS of helpful features and it did show when my heartbeat jumped up during the night when I had a panic attack.  And the heartbeat reading was accurate when compared to other heartbeat readings.  I liked that it shows my stages of sleep as well.  With Premium (which costs $10/month) it shows additional features like my restoration and a pdf file of my Wellness Report (summary of all the recordings within the month).  I also like how it includes a sleep score based on time asleep, time in Deep and REM sleep, and Restoration (restlessness, low heartrate). 

Things I did NOT like about my Fitbit, other than the complaints above, was that it left a permanent indentation on my wrist.  And if I got it wet at all, it would cause blisters.  So I had to take it off every time I washed my face, showered, etc.  That wasn't too much of a hassle since I put it on the charger during my shower and that's all I had to charge it!  The battery life was amazing.

I also did not like the bright screen at night.  Every night, I had to manually turn off "quick view" so I wouldn't be blinded during the night whenever I moved my wrist.  

Anyway, I looked into seeing if there was another Fitbit or even another device that would show like an ECG/EKG reading for my heart.  I could not find any Fitbits that did such a thing.  But I DID find that the Apple watch, series 4 and later, does!  So since it was Black Friday, I searched for deals online and found the Apple Watch Series 6

Before I even got the watch I bought a clear protector case.  Since my Fitbit got so scratched up when I wore it, due to my job, I wanted something to protect my Watch, especially since it was so much more expensive than the Fitbit.  The first thing I did when I got my watch was change my watch face to Minnie Mouse.  I wish they had all the classic Disney characters like Donald Duck.  He's my favorite.  The second thing I tried out on the watch was the ECG reading.  I placed the ECG app in the upper right of my watch face, and my heartrate in the lower bottom.  So now when my heart palpitations start, all I do it tap the ECG icon and put my finger on the "crown" (little wheel on the right of the watch).  It's so cool!  It reads my heart for 30 seconds and records it in the Health app on my iphone.

The third thing I did was turn off all notifications, except the ECG app notifications.  I kid you not, every darn minute I had some sort of notification that vibrated and dinged at me.  And of course I downloaded some sleep apps to my phone to compare with the Fitbit app.  Since the Health app designed by Apple only shows time asleep, it wasn't helpful.  I want the works!  I want to know how long I was in Deep, Light, REM, and restoration sleep!  I want to know how often I tossed and turned and woke up!  Sorry, Apple, but you are the short end of the stick when it comes to sleep logs.  I have a more extensive post on the sleep apps in my next post.

As far as the heartbeat recording, I was disappointed that it did not record every heartbeat--just once in a while.  Apple's Health App is horrible for recording heartbeat and sleep.  Luckily, I found an app that I could set to continuously record heartbeats--Cardiogram.
The first image on the left is my heartbeat recordings in the Health app.  You can see that it shows the range 79-99 bpm within the HOUR.  The second and third pictures are the cardiogram app set to continuously record.  You can see that every minute it shows the bpm.  However, if you set it to record EVERY heartbeat, it drains the battery and it will not go into the sleep mode so the screen will be on all night when you are trying to sleep.  It still does a better job at recording and logging heartbeat without it being continuous, than the Health App.

Also, I am a little disappointed in the ECG, as it will only record afib if your heartbeat is below 120!  My palpitations are 175bpm, so if it ever happens, I'll get this error message:

I am not the only one concerned with this.  Dr. Anthony Pearson wrote an article related to this on MedPageToday.  I suppose if you do not have afib nor are concerned about having it, this is not a problem.  Reading the ECG along is a very helpful feature.  I went to the doctor not long after purchasing the Apple Watch and they did an ECG on me.  It looked just like my ECG on my Watch.

I do like the other features that the Apple Watch has, so I think it was a good investment.  I was very happy to find that as long as I have a Sleep Mode on, the screen turns off during the night, so I never have to be blinded in the night again.  It is also much more comfortable to wear than the Fitbit.  It doesn't leave indentations in my wrist.  I also like that there are so many different watch faces to choose from.  I also like that I can answer the phone and send/receive texts.  There are two types of Apple Watches: one that is directly connected to your phone and you have to have your phone near in order to send/receive texts/calls.  And one that has cellular data so that you do not have to have your phone nearby.  After accidentally leaving my phone home twice since I got my Watch, I figured I should have paid a little more to get the watch with cellular data.

Overall, if you are only looking for thorough sleep logs, the Fitbit takes the cake, and it's much cheaper than an Apple watch.  If you're looking for monitoring heartbeats and using an ECG app, the Apple watch does the job (as long as you download the right app).  All in all, I am very happy with my purchase and would definitely recommend it.