The BP Doctor Pro cannot be faulted for not being original. While at first glance it’s just a smartwatch, this gadget really sets itself apart from similar devices with its integrated blood pressure sensor.
Before we go any further, it’s worth pointing out that this is undoubtedly a niche product and won’t knock the Apple Watch or the Galaxy Watch off the throne anytime soon. But for people with specific health conditions, it can be life-saving.
At first glance, the BP Doctor Pro isn’t the most streamlined smartwatch, with a long, rounded frame and a thick diaphragm. It contains a square screen in its oval casing that sits uncomfortably and gives way to a huge, ugly bezel.
The charging port uses contact pins instead of a good wireless charging solution like the widely used Qi standard. This makes the dock rather bulky and clunky as the user has to apply some force to clamp the watch in place so that the pins align correctly.
The blood pressure sensor itself sits on the watch’s strap as a sort of second strap that at first looks like it’s just a protective covering when it’s first taken out of the box.
Activating the sensor itself is an interesting but slightly uncomfortable experience. If you’ve ever had your blood pressure measured, it’s the same process, but it’s done on the wrist instead of the upper arm. The aforementioned second band begins to inflate and continues to do so until it is uncomfortably tight on the wrist and you can feel the blood rushing to your hand.
Now unfortunately, without access to a nurse and a blood pressure monitor to compare, the accuracy of the device could not be ascertained. Manufacturer YHE claims that it is a highly accurate sensor that is combined with advanced algorithms to make the measurements.
It’s worth pointing out that some other recent smartwatches and fitness trackers also claim to take blood pressure readings. But they do this by collecting other biological data from your body and using that to estimate your blood pressure, which can lead to relatively inaccurate readings compared to the pressure-based system on the BP Doctor Pro.
The watch has a multi-day battery with a power-sipping processor, as found on cheaper smartwatches and fitness trackers. Running a blood pressure test understandably consumes the battery significantly, with 5-10 percent power consumption seen as it pumps up the tire to achieve the correct pressure. The weak processor also means it doesn’t have a particularly impressive feature set – it can’t play music during a jog or a trip to the gym, for example, and there’s no app store for extra functionality.
The other built-in features commonly found on fitness trackers include a heart rate sensor, blood oxygen monitor, and step tracker. It can also track your sleep and show you the weather, but that’s about the extent of its functionality.
In some ways, with such a sophisticated operating system and its relatively clunky exterior, the BP Doctor Pro has a prototype feel to it. It lacks the streamlined aesthetic that Apple and Samsung use in their devices and the size is a hard pill to swallow, especially for someone with wider wrists (see product photo above).
Because of these factors, it should really only be recommended for people who need regular access to a blood pressure monitor due to health problems. It’s worth pointing out that with hypertension affecting more than 1.1 billion people worldwide, it’s not necessarily a niche market. Its unique selling point certainly helps it stand out, but the lack of other features for the relatively expensive $399 (£293) means it’s not for everyone.