There has been some talk lately of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the new health features it includes. But what are they? And, more importantly, do they matter? Fitness and phones are not commonly referenced together, but the Galaxy S5 seeks to lessen the gap between the two topics. Let’s take a look at what is being referred to as “S Health,” which helps you to, “Take better care of yourself by tracking your workouts and what you eat.”
First, what are these S Health features?
In short, they consist of a built-in heart rate monitor, pedometer, and fitness tracker—the first of which, Verizon Wireless reports, is a first for smartphones. There are also diet and exercise records you can manage as you care for your body.
S Health 3.0 is an app that works with the built-in features to help you stay in shape. The heart rate monitor is great if you’re working on strengthening your cardiology system. Those who do aerobic exercises might find this most useful of all the features. Located under the phone’s camera flash, the sensor can take up to eight seconds to read your finger after it has been placed.
The pedometer is self explanatory—it will help you record how far you’ve walked. For those who jog or walk for a hobby, play sports, or simply commute by foot to work everyday, this could be a beneficial tool.
As far as the tracking features go, the included subscription services might interest you. The S5 is bundled with a year-long subscription to RunKeeper, a fitness tracking service, and a year-long subscription to Lark, a personal health and wellness assistant. There are also two six-month trials to MapMyFitness, a workout tracker, and Skimble, a personal workout trainer.
One important aspect of the S5’s health features is that they can sync with blood pressure monitors and glucose meters through Bluetooth. The phone can also sync to other products like the Samsung Gear Fit. With this synchronization, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of your body’s current state.
So do they matter?
It depends on what you want from your mobile device. If you carry your phone around a lot—even when you work out—these features might make the phone stand out more. Rather than just being a way to listen to your usual exercise music, the phone will actually help you work out, provided you take advantage of what it has to offer. Some people likely won’t use these capabilities at all, and for those individuals, the phone’s fitness features simply won’t matter.
The S Health features present an interesting dichotomy between mobile devices and personal health. On the one hand, phones can certainly encourage people to remain stagnant lives, not requiring any more out of them than to simply tap, swipe, and scroll with a single finger. Yet on the other hand, the S5 is showing that phones and fitness can coalesce. It’s possible that what this smartphone is doing will be reflective of the future of phones in relation to exercise.