Cool gimmicks: Galaxy S5 heart rate sensor vs a pulse measuring app

Cool gimmicks: Galaxy S5 heart rate sensor vs a pulse measuring app
Samsung went bonkers on biometrics with the Galaxy S5, equipping it not only with a Finger Scanner that lets you unlock the phone, or authorize secure payments, but also with a heart rate sensor. The optical pulse meter is situated next to the LED flash on the back, and is very ergonomic to use, as it requires a simple stretch of your index finger. The heart rate sensor is folded into Samsung's S Health app, which offers things like a step counter, via the built-in pedometer, as well as calorie counters, fitness tips, and a general worry about your wellbeing.

The S Health app widget on the home screen of the S5 has a dedicated circular launch key for the heart rate sensor now, and taking your pulse usually requires less than 10 seconds after you've placed your finger over the sensor. We decided to pit the contraption against those random heart rate sensing apps in the Play Store, which use your camera to optically read your pulse. Long story short, as you can see in the video below, the margin of error between the two methods is rather insignificant to warrant the inclusion of a dedicated heart rate sensor on the phone. Granted, it looks and sounds cool, and has that "wow" factor for bragging in front of friends or relatives, but in reality you can do a similar job with a free app on any Android device.

Related phones

Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Single camera)
    2.1 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
    Samsung TouchWiz UI



21. The_Innovation

Posts: 649; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

Once the 4.7 inch iPhone comes out, no one will even look at the S5. Forget the reasoning behind it or the comparison factor, I'm just stating a simple fact.

23. engineer-1701d unregistered

why its a little bigger iphone with still a crappy screen res, apples got no wow they have no idea what to do people keep saying o steve is the best was the best no people he did not work on the ideas just told people make it work and do it faster, i can do that at work apple has people that now nothing about phones or tech and think everything on iphone is new, thats why they have people if all the other phone makers made commercials like they do believing that the normal american has no idea what a phone can do on wp or android or any other apple would be non-existent now. oooo and i forgot didnt apple say you dont need a bigger screen, now they will redac that.

26. The_Innovation

Posts: 649; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

This is why I said comparisons aside. Forget logic, the iPhone is simply going to sell, as it always does. Believe me. I do understand what you're saying. I've used Android myself. I CHOOSE to use an iPhone as my personal preference. Their marketing doesn't affect me. But I'm just stating a simple fact. The phone will sell to the masses.

18. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

I like how the S5 feels compared to the previous generations, and the screen is nice, but there are so many marginal or just awful "features" on it. Ars Technical had like a 50% failure rate testing the S5 against a medical-grade heart rate sensor. Almost no review has liked TW (Too many different faces and still bloated, and I haven't seen one that liked the fingerprint scanner. Couple that with the extra size, Knox, region locking, minimal upgrades, and USB hi jinks, and the phone seems like a sure-fire flop. It's a shame, because there are some things to like about it.

17. Leonis

Posts: 338; Member since: Jan 08, 2014

A pregnancy test would have been 100% better.

20. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1291; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Yes, since its water resistant already.. I hope no problem with urine too... ;p

16. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013


13. KillerKeyboard

Posts: 372; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

And his accurate heart rate is actually 78 :D

12. newbey123

Posts: 706; Member since: Mar 19, 2012

Should have used the money to build a better lookign higher quality phone. Oh well, to each their own.

9. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I said this when I first saw it, I have had the Instant Heart Rate app on my phone for a few years now. I was told that it wouldn't be as fast or as accurate, or that it wouldn't be close to actual pulse reading (fingers on the wrist method). Long story short, after ten passes it was at most 7 beats off and in some cases dead even. What I cant understand is why spend r&d and waste phone real estate when you can use an app and your camera and get the same results. That's like having a phone with a dedicated button to launch Candy Crush Saga, and just as bad as the Facebook phone from a few years back with the physical button to launch FB. Why not spend some time focusing on something important like better reception or battery life than a gimmick that can be replaced by a readily available app. Now if they had an onboard EKG or heart paddles, then.....

7. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

This one is a certainly better gimmick than ultragimmickpixel. Atleast you can ignore the gimmick. How can you neglect camera lol.

25. ToxiD

Posts: 54; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

We expected you Mr. Ultragimmickpixel boy, The ultrapixel is at least better for night photos so it is at least more useful that the heart rate useless gimmick. Deal with it

27. ProWreck

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 12, 2014

Ultrapixel is barely useful for night photos. At least I can use the heart rate sensor for cardiovascular exercises.

6. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

looks like a paid article to me....bcoz in review phonearena mentioned that the heart rate monitor is not good enough and heart rate measuring app from play store that uses camera gives similar result....

10. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

That's basically what it says here, that differences between the monitor and the app are insignificant, or minor.

5. c.sonnen

Posts: 38; Member since: Mar 06, 2013

They should put blood test

14. rms.max

Posts: 95; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

Ya more like poop test.Character is a difficult thing to change.I mean why samsung has to do something like that.makes no sense .I don't know may be people still prefer gimmicks over real world performance.sad.

4. jad.boutary

Posts: 107; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

Why would I want a heart rate sensor on my phone !! They should have preinstall the app and use the money for a better thing.. maybe design ??

3. draconic1991

Posts: 200; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

now where is mr papasmurf....

8. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Crying in his toilet

1. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

lol. Super useless thing. Sure with the S5 you don't have to smudge the camera lens, but I'm 100 percent sure that nobody will actually use that regularly. And I'm kinda surprised that the camera measured it as accurately.

2. janis

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

they needed something for people who uses phone for everything, gaming, movies, professional photography,4k video experts, music, so now healthcare :D they should better invest that heart rate sensor money in new design team. but thats just my personal opinion.

11. chunky1x

Posts: 270; Member since: Mar 28, 2010

Or just removing many of it annoying features like region lock and Samsung's notoriously picky USB compatible devices.

22. engineer-1701d unregistered

then they missed the music part the speaker sucks i was listening to it today next to htc and it sounds worse then my s3

15. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

they should include urine testing bcoz phone is water resistant anyway

19. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1291; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

LOL... Good one bro...

24. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

My dad, a computer science professor, wrote an app that can detect your heart rate accurately from over 10 feet away. Too bad its only available for medical purposes.

28. Edusave

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 23, 2015

Hello Neo_Huang, what is the name of the app and how does it work?

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