Garmin ECG now Live – Possibly Garmin’s most boring-ever January product announcement

Garmin ECG is now Live


Garmin’s new ECG feature is now live but only on the ‘ageing’ Venu 2 Plus.


What is ECG vs EKG vs Echo Cardiogram?

ECG and EKG are abbreviations of the same thing. An echocardiogram is different and will never make its way onto a smartwatch.

It can be confusing as there are different types of ECG with varying levels of quality and accuracy. A hospital ECG uses as many as 12 leads or electrical circuits, while a smartwatch ECG uses only one lead or circuit, which goes from either the metal bezel or start button to an isolated piece of metal on the back of the watch, usually the entire backplate. The circuit runs from one arm through the chest and then the other arm, and over the heart, which is where the information is collected. It’s important to note that the ECG functionality is not inherently linked to the LED optics on the back of a smartwatch, although it may be combined with other sensors.

It is also important to note that hospital ECGs do diagnose potentially fatal and common conditions such as Atrial Fibrillation (Afib), however, the ECG on your smartwatch cannot diagnose such a condition.

Smartwatch manufacturers such as Garmin and Apple will avoid making such claims. Furthermore, each geographic region will require separate certification, so the ECG feature on smartwatches may not be available in all countries.

It is important to remember that if you are feeling unwell, it is best to consult a doctor

How it works

It is also important to note that an ECG is a wellness feature and not an athletic feature. As such, it is not possible to take an ECG recording during exercise.

To take an ECG reading on your Garmin, you must sit still for 30 seconds and place your index finger and thumb on the bezel. This process is not overly burdensome, but you will soon stop doing it unless you are highly motivated to continue. In contrast, Apple’s ECG feature automatically takes readings periodically throughout the day and tracks any instances of AFib.


Which Models Get ECG?

As of today, it’s only on the Venu 2 Plus and only in the USA

According to DCRainmaker, it is speculated that the only current Garmin watch capable of the feature is the Venu 2 Plus, which has a special electrical isolating ring around the main sensor. It is not certain whether other Garmin watches have the capability for AFib detection via ECG or whether Garmin will give this feature to other watches.

His speculation may be true as the oHR sensor unit on the rear has a special electrical isolating ring around the main sensor. However, as I’ve said before on this blog, many other Garmin watches have the requisite metal button or bezel and metal backplate to be ECG-capable. Whether they have the other necessary internal or whether Garmin is commercially motivated to give the feature to you are probably the more significant factors determining which Garmin watches will get AFib detection via ECG.



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13 thoughts on “Garmin ECG now Live – Possibly Garmin’s most boring-ever January product announcement

  1. Ageing Venu 2 plus! The thing is only one year and 20 days old.
    Anyway, this is great news for all current venu 2 plus owners. It will piss off mostly everyone else, but it is what it is…
    At least we Can expect the feature to be added to more devices from now on.

    1. Yeah it’s a ridiculous comment, really. Companies should avoid releasing new products every year. Garmin is not Xiaomi. We should be grateful they release something to an older watch instead of crying that there are no five new watches.

  2. It’s not DCR’s speculation. Garmin has confirmed all current gen watches except the Venu 2+ lack the necessary hardware. The only one speculating is you. 😬👍

      1. OK, thank you, I’ll take that as official

        however it is not clear. I would not argue against VEnu 2+ having a unique piece of hardware amongst released garmin models…it clearly does have that.

        however Garmin’s granted patents cover at least one other way of making an electrical (I-Lead) circuit including those which use the start button. So the F7 could still get the ability.

        I’ll try to back down gracefully an admit defeat tho.

        yes you’re right and I’m (probably) wrong 😉

      2. My best guess (and it’s just a guess) is that they couldn’t get the original Venu 2 ECG prototype to provide reliable results (hence the added metal ring).

      3. maybe.
        another thought i had was that they might have realised that the setup for the epix2/f2 infringes an ecg patent, so they had to change it for the venue (I reaslie the product launch timings don’t quite back that up, but something along those lines and patent related)

  3. And why not via HRM-Pro(Pro-plus) more precise and if I’m not wrong It could give live alerts.

  4. Couldn’t agree more that this was a MAJOR let down!! I don’t see a lot of use for ECG especially for a Venu 2 user!!

    TBH … I was hoping with the updated Garmin Connect app would be an overhauled Physio Trueup. That’s the big feature that I think many would be excited for and was introduced in the Fenix Alpha before the holidays with HRV syncing. I am waiting for the day that I can wear a Vivosmart 5 during the day on my right wrist and a regular watch on my left wrist and do activities with my 955 and have it all sync beautifully to give an accurate training readiness score in the Morning Report!!!

    1. yes physio true up sync sounds peripheral and a thing that only appeals to a minority.
      which i guess is true to an extent but it also opens up the ability of garmin to sell us multiple products eg a band for sleep recording and a watch for the day.

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