The WellCare Today Samsung Galaxy 4 LTE Smartwatch With HealthAssist (starting at $199, plus a monthly subscription) is more than a stylish smartwatch. In addition to connecting you with an emergency response agent when you fall or otherwise need help, it takes ECG readings, monitors your blood oxygen level and heart rate, and tracks your daily activities. It also offers numerous caregiver features including medication and appointment reminders, messaging, and hands-free two-way calling. A Remote Patient Monitoring feature even sends your real-time health data directly to your doctor. All these features, in conjunction with the watch’s Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS location tracking, make it our new Editors’ Choice winner for mobile medical alert systems.
A Stylish and Durable Design
The Editors’ Choice-winning Samsung Galaxy Watch4 is the basis of the system, but the real star here is WellCare Today’s HealthAssist software (more on this later). You still get all of the Wear OS and Samsung app functionality as you do with the regular Watch4, but the HealthAssist software transforms it into a capable medical alert system.
The watch is available in several styles and sizes. WellCare Today offers 40mm ($199) and 44mm ($229) standard models in black, silver, or rose gold, as well as 42mm ($299) and 46mm ($329) variations of the Classic model (with a rotating bezel) in black or silver .
WellCare Today sent us the black version of the standard 44mm watch. Our test model measures approximately 1.7 inches by 0.4 inches (WD), weighs about 1.1 ounces, and comes with a smooth lightweight rubber wrist strap. Despite its stylish looks, this watch is pretty rugged: It meets the MIL-STD-810G standard for durability and sports an IP68 weather resistance rating. It also adheres to the 5ATM waterproof spec, which means it can last for up to 10 minutes at depths of up to 164 feet. The 1.4-inch AMOLED display has a 480-by-480-pixel resolution and features a protective Corning Gorilla Glass cover.
A 1.18GHz Exynos W920 Dual Core processor powers the watch, which comes with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It has Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and Wi-Fi radios, along with built-in fall detection, location tracking, and hands-free two-way talk (AT&T provides cellular service for the latter) features. The bottom of the watch houses a multifunction health sensor that can take an ECG; record your blood oxygen levels and your body composition (body fat, skeletal muscle, body water, body mass index); perform a stress test; and measure your heart rate. The watch also has a step counter and provides Sleep Insight readings based on your activity and blood oxygen levels while you are asleep. Temperature and blood pressure readings are on the horizon pending FDA approval.
The watch uses a rechargeable 361mAh battery that can last up to 40 hours between charges, but as with the Medical Guardian MGMove Smartwatch (starting at $199.95), you should charge the watch every day with the included magnetic charger to be safe.
The right side of the watch has two buttons: Press and hold both simultaneously to power up the watch. When you press and hold the top button you can just say, “Call for help,” to initiate a call to 911 or an emergency response center depending on your preference (this is preprogrammed before shipping). Pressing this button twice automatically dials the number. The bottom button wakes up the watch and doubles as a back button for navigating the menus.
WellCare Today Subscription Features and Watch Interface
The two available subscription levels are comparable with those for the Medical Guardian MGMove Smartwatch ($39.95 per month) and the LifeStation Sidekick Smart ($43.95 per month), but neither of these other watches offers fall detection.
A HealthAssist Gold subscription costs $34.95 per month and includes one-press calls to a caregiver, one-press calls to 911 or an emergency call center, medication reminders, Managing Medication Adherence (the watch alerts a caregiver if you don’t take your meds ), blood oxygen monitoring, blood pressure monitoring (again, pending FDA approval), fall detection, and ECG tracking. For $44.95 per month, a Platinum subscription gives everything above as well as Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). With RPM, the watch sends data such as ECG, blood oxygen, blood pressure, and stress readings to a participating physician or caregiver so they can monitor your health in real time. This allows doctors and caregivers to intervene quickly when the data suggests an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or any other medical issue. Along with the subscription fee, you must pay a one-time $30 cellular activation fee and a $25 shipping fee.
Despite its robust feature set, the watch is very easy to use. When you turn it on or press a button, you see a classic watch dial with hour, minute, and second hands. Tap the amber circle on the left to automatically place a call to your caregiver, or tap the green circle on the right to initiate a test call to make sure everything is working correctly. When the watch detects a fall, it automatically places a call to 911 or the emergency call center if you remain motionless. At this point, agents can pinpoint your location and dispatch help if you do not respond. If there is no emergency, press the red X to cancel the call.
Swipe the watch face to the left to see your blood oxygen, ECG, heart rate, body composition, and stress measurements. Keep swiping left to access the step counter and Sleep Insights screens, as well as to reach a FAQ screen; connect with HealthAssist customer service; and view health data including reminder notifications and daily activity. The Special Functions screen lets you refresh data (send data to the servers); check battery life; view Wi-Fi and cellular signal strength; and send diagnostic information to HealthAssist.
Back at the dial face, swipe down to access Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth settings; set the display brightness; enable sound and vibration modes for calls and notifications; configure ringtones; and change the font size. Swipe up from the bottom of the dial to access Samsung apps that let you view call history, configure settings, access a compass, check the weather, set timers, use the calculator, and lots more. You can technically connect the watch to your Samsung phone, but we don’t recommend it, because doing so deletes the HealthAssist app and all of its data.
Users and caregivers can use the HealthAssist Web Companion app to enter medical information; create medication and appointment reminders; track your location; monitor emergency call events; and more. The software is available only on the web (there’s no mobile companion app), but it’s very easy to use and offers a wealth of information.
When you first log in, you see a dashboard with several large green buttons: Medication, Reminder Messages, Instrument Messages, Personal Health Record, Message Inbox, and Device Location. Tap the Medication button to enter medication names, dosages, and schedules. Here, you can also view medication histories, select pharmacies, add reminders, and see if the scheduled medication dosage is complete. Use the Reminder Message button to add one-time or recurring reminders for things like doctor appointments. Instrument Messages tell you when to take an ECG test or check your blood oxygen level. The Personal Health Record button lets you enter information such as your primary care physician, insurance carrier, and important medical history. The Message Inbox lets you see previous reminders (with time stamps). Finally, the Device Location button opens a map that shows your real-time location.
Simple Setup, Responsive Performance
Preparing the HealthAssist watch for first use is easy. Simply plug in the charger and place the watch on the magnetic charging disc for around 30 minutes to ensure it is fully charged. At this point, you or a caregiver can log in to the HealthAssist web portal and enter medication reminders, doctor and insurance information, and emergency contact information. It’s also a good idea to press the green circle on the watch face to test the watch before you venture out.
The watch worked well in our tests. An average response time (the time it takes for the watch to connect us to a live agent after we press the button) of 26 seconds was identical to that of the Medical Guardian MGMove watch. For comparison, the LifeStation Sidekick Smart and Kanega Watch respectively took 28 and 46 seconds on average.
As with every medical alert device we’ve tested, the emergency response agents were helpful and polite. Two-way audio was also clean and adequately loud. I compared the step counter readings with that of a Fitbit Inspire 2 and they were almost identical. Device Location tracking was accurate, too.
Comprehensive Wrist-Based Health Monitoring
The WellCare Today Samsung Galaxy 4 LTE Smartwatch With HealthAssist is an excellent alternative to a mobile medical alert device that you attach to your belt or wear around your neck. Granted, you have to shell out $199 for the watch and up to another $45 per month for a subscription, but that’s pretty much in line with what you pay for other medical alert watches. In its favor, the WellCare Today watch includes fall detection, offers web-based location tracking, and reports real-time health data to physicians and caregivers. All this earns the WellCare Today Samsung Galaxy 4 LTE Smartwatch With HealthAssist our Editors’ Choice award for medical alert devices.