I’m currently working on the TechnoBuffalo review of the Galaxy S5 and, as part of it, I was recently testing out the S Health 3.0 heart rate sensor. At first I was pretty impressed by the technology—it seems relatively accurate and consistent. Then I remembered an app I downloaded a year or more ago on my iPhone that promised to let me do the same thing. I hadn’t ever used it, but it stuck out to me at the time as one of the top apps under health and fitness and I figured at the time I should own it. The app is called Instant Heart Rate, and it works just as well as the heart rate sensor on the Galaxy S5. Better yet, it’s available on Android, too.
I took the Galaxy S5, the HTC One (M8) and my iPhone 5s and first tested the heart rate sensors on myself. The Galaxy S5 told me my heart rate was at 72 beats per minute, while the iPhone 5s and HTC One (M8) with Instant Heart Rate said my rate was sitting at 73 beats per minute.
After several more tests that yielded similar results, I decided to ask a few members of the staff to test themselves on the iPhone 5s and the Galaxy S5. After three separate tests, I can confirm that the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5s with the Instant Heart Rate monitor provide nearly identical scores, if not identical. To me, that tells me that Samsung is spending a lot of money trying to differentiate its phone as a health monitoring tool when, technically, you can already do the exact same on an iPhone or most Android phones (I think the only requirement is a flash with the camera).
I’m not a doctor, but the comparison tests tell me that the Galaxy S5 is no better at monitoring a heart rate than phones that are already on the market. Of course, without knowing to dig into the health section of the app store you might not know these options exist. If you were only planning to buy the Galaxy S5 because of its potential to help you monitor your health more than other phones, you may want to reconsider that choice. We’ll be bringing you our full review in the coming days.