The YHE BP Doctor is part of the new generation of smartwatches that combine daily life applications and medical capabilities to keep track of your overall health in a convenient and non-intrusive way. The BP Doctor is different from most of the other wearables available because the blood pressure measurements rely on a standard inflatable cuff. In that sense, it is a direct competitor to the Omron HeartGuide, which up to now was the only smartwatch relying on a technology usually found only in Blood Pressure Monitoring devices. For $399, the BP Doctor has a lot to offer and should be considered seriously when looking for a smartwatch offering precise blood pressure measurement capabilities.
BPDoctor by YHE
Price when reviewed: $399.00
We tested this new smartwatch extensively during the daytime, nighttime, and even while working out. This article results from our unbiased opinion on the real value and benefits of a blood pressure smartwatch that may well change how you manage your blood pressure.
What is the history behind the YHE smartwatch?
As for many technology-related projects, the YHE BP Doctor started on Indiegogo as a crowdfunded initiative. The two campaigns conducted by the company were successful. They raised close to 1 million dollars to be used for the development of this new generation of health smartwatch that combines optical and pressure sensors in an attractive watch that will not look like a medical device.
Design and User Interface
With its 1.4” AMOLED lozenge-shaped glass screen and its quick-release silicone strap, the Doctor comes with a form factor that will differ from the standard circular or square smartwatches we have been used to seeing in the last couple of years.
The bezel is oblong, which makes the overall watch slim and gives it an elegant look that will suit the boardroom and the gym. The strap will accommodate wrists from 13.5 up to 22 centimeters in circumference.
We recommend that you measure the size of your own wrist before falling for this new device as you want to make sure that it will fit you and offer all of the benefits of the integrated blood pressure inflatable cuff.
Despite its neutral gender look, we assume that this smartwatch will better suit males than females. Just a matter of personal preferences, though.
The watch comes preloaded with three dial themes, and the dial theme manager offers access to seven more than can easily be uploaded and activated.
The watch is controlled through two side buttons and the touchscreen. The upper button will turn it on/off and allow a quick pick at the time, while the larger button will get you into the various features that will then be activated by pressing on the touch screen.
As for the User Interface, we do not have any complaints. Probably not the most innovative one, but this is not really what we expect from a smartwatch. All the features are easily accessible with just a couple of swipes. Simple and efficient.
The menu offers the possibility to change the display’s brightness -we had no problem reading the Oled screen even in bright daylight- set the screen saver timing and even choose the options to “raise on wake” or “Always on.” We tested the always-on mode and drained the battery in one day, so probably not the setting to choose if you do not want to carry the USB charger with you at all times.
What is under the hood?
The Blood Pressure Doctor smartwatch is responsive and does all we can expect from a modern wearable in terms of performance. Powered by a Mediatek 208 MHz chip and 256 Mb of memory, the health and tracking features rely on a pressure sensor, triaxial accelerometer, and Photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor.
Data is synchronized to the app via Low Energy Bluetooth 4.2, and the 170mAh Li battery gives plenty of power for not having to worry about using the USB charging pod for at least a couple of days.
This is where the YHE BP Doctor really shines. More than other smartwatches, this device really aims at becoming a health companion watch that will help keep track of the most important vitals starting with the blood pressure.
While traveling, it will not be needed anymore to carry a bulky blood pressure monitor or oximeter.
Hypertension is called the silent killer for a reason. You usually do not feel any symptoms, and without regular checks, the health consequences can be very severe for your heart, kidneys, or brain. The World Health Organization considers that forty-six percent of hypertensive patients are not even aware of being sick.
There is no need to check your blood pressure several times a day, but a weekly check is a great way to stay on top of your health. In addition, having a blood pressure monitor on the wrist is convenient and will save you money and time in visits to the local pharmacy or the doctor.
The blood pressure monitoring capabilities of the BPDoctor are impressive. Relying on the same oscillometric technology as the one used in automated BP monitoring devices, the smartwatch provides a BP reading in approximately fifteen seconds.
The inflatable cuff is located under the strap. It will inflate enough to block the blood flow allowing the pressure sensor to detect the Mean Arterial Pressure and compute the systolic and diastolic values based on the heart rate.
Most smartwatches use a Photopletysmographic sensor (PPG sensor) to measure the heart rate to estimate blood pressure. However, even if the PPG methodology has gained traction in the year, using a pressure sensor to stop blood circulation in the radial artery is the most effective way to measure a close to clinical value.
This method will never be as accurate as a standard blood pressure measurement using a stethoscope and an arm cuff. Still, it is somehow the closest to a clinical blood pressure examination.
The process is simple. Just sit down, relax, and make sure that the watch is positioned approximately at the same height as your heart. We used an armchair, and the position was perfect.
The next step is to launch the BP measurement process. Again, a simple press on the Home Button, right swipe, and press Start on the touch screen.
The cuff under the main strap will silently inflate. The sound of the pump is virtually inaudible, which is great when you want to check your vitals during a meeting or in a public place without attracting attention.
Occasionally, we received an error message when checking our BP. The solution was usually to tighten the strap a bit or to reposition our arm.
With close to 50% of the population in the United States suffering from hypertension, this watch is undoubtedly a great way to regularly check your blood pressure at home or on the go.
The YHE BP Doctor is not yet cleared by the FDA, so we were suspicious about its accuracy. To proceed to a fair comparison, we used an Omron wrist blood pressure monitor. The results were remarkably close, especially when considering that blood pressure constantly varies, meaning that standing up and using another device may certainly explain the small difference.
The results are automatically synchronized with the app, which allows you to follow up on the results and even share them with your doctor. Our regret, it is not possible to sync the data with your Health repository app. Ours is Apple Health. With so many smart devices measuring the different components of our health and fitness, we certainly favor simplicity and access all the information in the same place.
From what we heard, YHE is working on the possibility of sharing the results with the Apple Health app. So we certainly look forward to this software update.
Blood Oxygen Saturation and Heart Rate
Measuring the blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) is also easily done from the home menu. PPG sensors are now very reliable in checking the heart rate and SpO2.
We submitted the YHE to an unfair comparison but a comparison somehow and measured the reliability of its sensor to the Huawei Band. Not only is Huawei one of the best cheap fitness bands available, but its slim form factor allowed us to position the two devices on the same arm.
The results speak for themselves. No difference, even though the contrary would have troubled us a lot.
The sleep tracking feature comes now as a standard in most smartwatches. The YHE BP Doctor does not break the rule and lets you analyze the sleep duration and light vs. deep sleep episodes.
We honestly do not use these data a lot and consider that they are good to have but do not fundamentally add value to the overall wearable. An interesting point, though, is that the settings menu allows detecting sleep apnea.
We suppose that the watch will monitor the SpO2 level and vibrate to promote a position change if the oxygen level drops under a certain value….even though we did not experience it.
Heart Rate Variability
Heart Rate variability has been gaining much attention in recent years, and a low heart rate variability is often associated with health or psychological disorders. The BPDoctor measures the HRV at night time when the body and mind are in a state of relaxation.
By making the most of its sensors, the watch will give indicate the state of your HRV. The data are based on analyzing Lorentz plots. We regret that only the status is indicated and not the HRV value in milliseconds. But, at least, the indication is easy to understand and can be considered a good starter to Heart Rate Variability.
Calories consumption is accessible either as a tracking feature by swiping to the left from the main screen or the dedicated calories menu.
The first screen will summarize your activities and shows the daily distance, number of steps and overall calories burned during the day. Next, the calorie menu will go more into the details and show the three circles made famous by the Apple Watch.
It will be possible to check your Basal Metabolic Rate -the number of calories burned for maintaining the body functions alive and the number of calories used working or when working out.
The overall goal is to complete the three circles, but I have to admit that this is quite a herculean task that I rarely complete but keeps me motivated to walk another day.
The YHE BPDoctor is a health watch; we do not doubt that. But as the Omron HeartGuide does, it also doesn’t forget to assist you in your daily tasks or fitness goals.
Workout and daily life features
It comes with an Alarm, the ability to push the weather forecast for a glance, and can even track your workout progress. However, the workout tracking features are limited and only include indoor running, outdoor running, and outdoor walking. It is basic but enough to keep you active as it will show the time spent, heart rate, distance, and calories burned during the workout.
We hope that in the next software iteration, more workouts will be offered and the possibility to check on your Heart Rate Zones to exercise at a safe and effective heart rate.
The Blood Pressure Doctor watch can also be set to display notifications from your favorite social media application. And the choice is extensive: Wechat, QQ, MMS, Phone, WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, Viber, Line, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter.
Once received, the notifications will be displayed briefly on the watch face and the first lines displayed. Considering the size of the screen, it makes sense for the emails not to show up and not to be able to reply to them.
As the name shows, this feature is intended to notify that you have received a message and take out your phone to look at them or respond more conveniently than on a tiny watch screen.
The companion app. is available for Android and iOS smartphones and has been undoubtedly inspired by Huawei.
The data collected are automatically synchronized and stored. The main screen is the watch control center and allows to check in more details to the HRV, SpO2, Heart Rate, Workout, steps, and sleep.
We will concentrate on Blood Pressure. As for the other measurements, the main screen will track your daily, weekly, or yearly data. This can be especially useful for those suffering from hypertension to assess the efficacy of the treatment over a long period of time.
As we mentioned, the YHE BP Doctor is not FDA cleared and is not a medical device. Anyhow, it shows some recommendations according to your blood pressure values based on the U.S Hypertension guide, 2017. These can be useful and help define if you have to plan a visit with the doctor.
Overall, the app. is probably not the strongest point of this watch. Still, it provides a safe place to store and analyze the data. We suspect that new updates will bring additional valuable elements to the app, which can also be sued for setting up the alarms and change the watch faces.
We know that one of the main issues of smartwatches is linked to their limited battery life. When using it night and day, it can be difficult to make them last more than 24 hours.
We pushed the BP Doctor to the limit and voluntarily did many measurements, checks, and digging and ended up with two days of battery life, which is really good.
In a less intensive configuration, we usually charge it once every three days, putting this watch above the average.
The watch recharges using the provided USB cable and connector. We noticed that it took less than 45 minutes to go from a totally depleted battery to a fully charged one.
What we would have liked to see
The YHE BP Doctor is undoubtedly a very efficient smartwatch for measuring blood pressure, heart rate or even for tracking your level of daily activities.
Despite all its qualities, we somehow are missing a couple of key points to make it the ultimate health smartwatch. It relates to Electrocardiogram (ECG) and Stress.
Smartwatch makers have understood the importance of measuring heart health. Some as Apple or Samsung offer clinically validated EKG on the wrist, allowing them to check for tachycardia or Atrial Fibrillation.
We know that smartwatches will not replace 12 leads anytime soon, but they are somehow useful. AliveCor, the maker of the portable EKG Kardiamobile, collaborates with Omron to offer a complete blood pressure monitoring and EKG solution.
As the name implies, the YHE BPDoctor is dedicated to providing accurate blood pressure measurements. We would love to have a Jack of all trade device on our wrist and being able to check our EKG as well. Maybe a feature to look for in a future v2 or v3 version.
It comes the same way for stress measurement. The Fitbit Sense shook the world of wearable with its Electrodermal sensor devoted to analyzing stress levels. Without integrating a specific stress sensor, we would have enjoyed some form of stress analysis, not only a night-time HRV, especially considering that stress is closely related to blood pressure and that analyzing both could open new avenues when dealing with hypertension.
We know it looks like a Christmas wishlist, but the YHE has all the fundamental rights and can potentially become the ideal health smartwatch, so we are picky.
During our tests, we encountered some issues with the app when linking the watch to two different accounts. For security reasons, the watch can only be associated with a single account. As a result, we ended up not logging into any of the accounts and being systematically kicked out of the app. It was really frustrating, to say the least.
The level of support we received was far beyond what we can expect from a startup. They really dig into our problem and found a solution in a quick and efficient way—really stellar support.
Pros and Cons
- Stylish design
- Attractive price
- Very accurate Blood Pressure readings
- Long-lasting battery
- Numerous functions
- Sleep cycles and HRV
- Stellar support
- App. could be better
- No possibility to share the data with the Apple Health app.
- Some features (EKG, stress) are missing
To wrap up
We were very pleasantly surprised by the YHE BP Doctor. This smartwatch is proof that startups with good ideas and a great team can compete against more established brands.
Is the YHE Blood Pressure Doctor smartwatch perfect? Unfortunately, no, but it already has a lot to offer, and we appreciated its design, build quality, and accuracy of the medical sensors. The issues were mostly related to the app and software, so they are easily fixable with several software updates.
Most definitely a health smartwatch to consider seriously for those serious about their blood pressure.
YHE BP DOCTOR WELCOME DEAL
Use the code YHEWELCOME for a $100 discount on the purchase of a YHE BP DOCTOR
|Screen Size||1.4" AMOLED|
|Screen Resolution||320 x 360 pixels|
|Processor||208 MHz MTK|
|Battery Life||Up to 5 days|
|Health Tracking||Bloop Pressure, Heart Rate, SpO2, Sleep Cycles|
|Sensors||PPG, Tri-axis accelerometer, Gyroscope, Pressure sensor|
|Battery||170mAh Lipo battery|
|Water Resistance||Splash Resistant|
|Material||Medical grade stainless steel, PMMA Glass, Silicone strap|
|Dimensions||54 x 38 x 12.9 mm|