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Comparing Apple Watch, Fitbit, Google Pixel and Medical Care Alert's SmartWatch for Medical Purposes

Comparing Apple Watch, Fitbit, Google Pixel and Medical Care Alert's SmartWatch for Medical Purposes

Medical Care Alert on Jan 16th 2024

Table Of Contents

Comparing Apple Watch to Smart Watch Designed for Seniors

If you live alone or care for an older adult who does, having concerns about falls is natural. Purchasing a smartwatch that can detect an accidental fall can help give you or your loved one peace of mind. In this article, we're comparing the fall detection features — or lack thereof — of popular smartwatches, including Apple Watches, Google Pixel Watches and Fitbits. We'll also introduce the Medical Care Alert SmartWatch option for older adults.

Learn what features each of these devices have, how to activate these features and any relevant limitations to find the watch that best fits you or your senior loved one's medical needs. 

Do Apple Watches Offer Fall Detection?

The following Apple Watch models do offer fall detection features:

Apple Watch Series 4 or later
Apple Watch Ultra or later
Apple Watch SE

Here's how the Apple Watch fall detection feature works:

  1. When it detects a hard fall, the Apple Watch with fall detection will tap you on the wrist and sound an alarm.
  2. At the same time, an alert is displayed on the face of your watch.
  3. You'll have to respond to the alert by either contacting emergency services, pressing the Digital Crown to dismiss the alert, closing the alert or tapping "I'm OK." 

These are the steps that occur if the Apple Watch with fall detection can detect that you're moving after the fall. If the Apple Watch does not sense movement after about one minute, the Apple Watch will begin a 30-second countdown, during which the alarm becomes louder and the tapping continues. If no movement is detected, the Apple Watch will call 911 emergency services. 

After the Apple Watch makes the emergency call, it automatically messages the emergency contacts from your Medical ID list and sends them your location. Your exact location is also shared with the emergency team, allowing them to access you even if you cannot move or speak. 

Limitations of the Apple Watch with Fall Detection:

  • While it comes with many safety features, the Apple Watch's fall detection features have limitations. 
  • These watches may not be able to detect all falls or may mistake rigorous physical activity for a fall
  • The fall detection algorithm is designed for runners, not necessarily for seniors.
  • The Apple Watch must be paired with an iPhone and be within Bluetooth range to pair with the iPhone.
  • 911 does not know who you are, or where you are, and does not have a list of your personal emergency contacts to notify of the fall emergency.

Do Google Pixel Watches Offer Fall Detection?

The Google Pixel fall detection feature was introduced in February 2023. Here's how it works:

  1. If the watch detects a hard fall and no movement after 30 seconds, it will vibrate and sound an alarm. 
  2. Similar to the Apple Watch with fall detection, the Google Pixel Watch will display an emergency alert on your phone.
  3. This watch also requires a response. You will need to either tap "I'm OK" to dismiss the alert or "I fell & need help" to be connected with emergency services.

If you do not respond to the notification, the alarm will continue to sound and grow louder for about one minute. If there is no response after one minute, the watch will call emergency services and play an automated message indicating that you need help. You can also speak to the operator yourself.

Unlike the Apple Watch, the Google Pixel Watch will not automatically send your location to your emergency contacts after a period of no movement. However, you can call your emergency contact yourself — even while your device is locked, as long as you've unlocked your watch at least once since startup. 

However, the Google Pixel Watch does have some features that the Apple Watch does not. For example, it can detect the difference between a hard fall and vigorous physical activity using machine learning algorithms

Limitations of the Google Pixel Watch with Fall Detection:

  • The fall detection algorithm is not designed for seniors.
  • The Google Pixel Watch must be paired with an Android phone and be within Bluetooth range to pair with the phone.
  • 911 does not know who you are, or where you are, and does not have a list of your personal emergency contacts to notify of the fall emergency.

Do Fitbit Devices Offer Fall Detection?

There are no Fitbit fall detection features as of yet. Although some Fitbit devices have helpful features like sleep tracking and stress management, you'll want to seek out a smartwatch specially designed for fall detection.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Watch With Fall Detection Features 


Before you purchase a smartwatch, determine whether it has the following important features: 

  • Waterproof and durability: Older adults ideally keep their smartwatch on at all times, even when taking a bath or shower, as over 80% of falls in the home occur in the bathroom. Additionally, having a durable and waterproof smartwatch means they can keep it on while they do the dishes, lessening the chance of forgetting to put it back on. 
  • Long battery life: A smartwatch battery should also last a long time between charges. If an older adult has to charge their watch frequently, they might forget to put it on more often. A long battery life also helps ensure that the watch's battery won't be drained when fall detection is needed. 
  • Easy to use: A medical watch is a safe and reassuring way to keep you or another person in your care safe from falls, and it should be easy to work with. Displays should be clear and bright, and the interface should be big and bold. 
  • Caregiver app: A GPS-enabled smartwatch that helps detect falls should have an associated app for caregivers. When caregivers download the app, they can send medication reminders to the smartwatch and track the smartwatch's location.  

Another Solution: Medical Care Alert's SmartWatch PRO for Older Adults

The Medical Care Alert SmartWatch PRO is specifically designed for older adults to help them feel more confident and safe. It displays the time and date like a normal watch — the easy-to-use emergency services are a bonus. 

How the Medical Care Alert SmartWatch PRO fall detection works:

  • The sensors in the SmartWatch PRO are set to determine if a hard fall has occurred.  
  • If a fall is detected, the wearer has 30 seconds to cancel the alarm by tapping “I'm OK” on the watch face.  If no action is taken, the watch will call our Emergency Response Center.
  • The Emergency Response Center agent will know who and where you are and speak to you directly through the SmartWatch.  The agent will receive a “Fall Detected” signal notification indicating the situation even prior to speaking with you.
  • If you do not respond to the agent over the watch (i.e., unable to speak or knocked out) the agent will call your home or cell phone in an attempt to speak with you.  If no answer, they will dispatch help to your location and notify family members on the notification list.

Aside from fall detection, the SmartWatch PRO comes with features like:

  • A heart rate monitor to help older adults ensure their heartbeat remains steady. 
  • A pedometer to track steps and activity. 
  • A virtual assistant that can answer questions like what the weather will look like tomorrow. 
  • A companion app for family members or caregivers to track the watch's location or send medication reminders. 
  • Emergency calling services that activate with a push of a button

The SmartWatch PRO works in all 50 states and, unlike traditional smartwatches, doesn't require a cellphone or Wi-Fi coverage, which fits most older adults' lifestyles. And if we dispatch help, we'll always send a text to notify family members. 

Medical Care Alert's SmartWatch Is Your Trusted Partner in Fall Detection

The Apple Watch and Google Pixel Watch boast helpful features, including critical functions for people who have fallen. The watches can connect older adults with emergency services quickly and, when necessary, automatically. 

However, these watches may not be user-friendly for older adults, especially those who do not have a smartphone. They also lack critical features like a compatible caregiver app. At Medical Care Alert, we understand how important these extra features and characteristics are. Whether you're a caregiver concerned about an older adult or need a fall-detection watch for yourself, explore the SmartWatch PRO. Let Medical Care Alert help you feel more reassured!  Call today to learn more 855-272-1010.