The best thing about the hot new Fitbit Sense smartwatch could be usable this year

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The best thing about the hot new Fitbit Sense smartwatch could be usable this year
Formally unveiled a couple of days ago and immediately put up for pre-order in the US, Fitbit's "most advanced health smartwatch" yet is only scheduled to begin shipping in late September. But early Fitbit Sense adopters may have to wait even longer for one of the product's main features to actually be enabled.

That's because the premium health-centric smartwatch follows in the footsteps of 2018's Apple Watch Series 4 and last year's Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 by debuting with dormant built-in ECG monitoring capabilities. For the life-saving technology to become active, Fitbit needs FDA clearance stateside, which can often take a really long time.

Obviously, one has to assume the wearable device manufacturer started the approval process way before officially announcing the Fitbit Sense, but the same could probably be said about the aforementioned Galaxy Watch Active 2, whose US owners remain unable of using the wrist-based ECG app.

While Fitbit initially kept things vague regarding ECG availability, the company quickly confirmed to the folks over at Wareable that the feature is expected to be authorized both in the United States and European Union "this side of the holidays." 

Although there's no specific date to share with the public just yet, the US Food and Drug Administration is apparently in the "final" stage of the review process, which means there's a very good chance the Fitbit Sense will be able to match the ECG-taking capabilities of the Apple Watch family by the end of the year. Early 2021 at the latest, and only if something goes seriously wrong in this final authorization phase.

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Basically, the race is now on between Fitbit and Samsung for who can deliver the technology to its customers first. Much like the Sense, the recently released Galaxy Watch 3 is expected to get the feature soon, possibly even before the Apple Watch Series 6 sees daylight.

For those unaware of its benefits, an electrocardiogram records the electrical signal from your heart to check for signs of atrial fibrillation, a potentially fatal condition that affects more than 33.5 million people globally. While a $330 smartwatch is by no means to be considered an infallible and professional medical device, its aim will be to help unsuspecting users to get to a doctor early and receive the assistance needed to keep such issues in check.

As highlighted by the latest global market report, Fitbit badly needs to catch up to the likes of Apple, Samsung, and even Garmin, which the feature-packed Sense could pull off. 

In addition to ECG, this puppy can also estimate a wearer's stress levels with a world-first electrodermal activity sensor, as well as monitor your blood oxygen saturation, skin temperature, and heart rate variability to provide almost unrivaled insight into your overall health. 

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