Galaxy Note 4 S Health can sense and track even more stuff

Your Note 4 can record your blood oxygen saturation and sunlight UV levels, in addition to other metrics

In the Galaxy S4, Samsung introduced a built-in pedometer and the S Health app. Earlier this year it followed up with a built-in heart rate sensor in the Galaxy S5. And now in the new Galaxy Note 4, the Korean manufacturer brings a couple more sensor capabilities into the mix. Read on for a quick look at S Health's new tricks.

Galaxy Note 4 S Health

The latest version of S Health on the Galaxy Note 4 comes with all the capabilities and features owners of the Galaxy S5 will be familiar with — an exercise tracker with built-in pedometer, and the ability to keep tabs on food, weight, sleep patterns (with a supported accessory), and your heart rate using the built-in sensor. On top of that, the phone can now sense your blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) and the strength of ultraviolet light from the sun.

Both of these are measured using the Note 4's sensor module, which is once again situated below its rear camera. And it's grown a bit since we first saw it on the Galaxy S5.

Galaxy Note 4 sensors

Reading your SpO2 level works the same as reading your heart rate — in fact, when you take a reading the former, the Note 4 will also report the latter. As we've seen on other Samsung phones like the Galaxy S5 Mini, taking readings using the rear-mounted sensors can be hit and miss, and on a couple of occasions the Note 4 demo units at IFA failed to take an SpO2 reading even when our finger was right over the sensor. That said, we're still dealing with preproduction hardware and software in a noisy trade show environment.

According to Wikipedia), your SpO2 level should generally be above 94 percent. Any lower than 85 percent and you'll have bigger problems than properly aligning your finger with a bunch of sensors on your smartphone.

UV level

UV dialog

Recording UV levels uses the same sensor. The Galaxy Note 4 asks you to point the back of the phone up towards the sun for a few seconds, then gives you a reading from low to high. We couldn't test this feature outside, but after a few seconds the Note 4 reassuringly told us that the UV levels under the artificial show floor lighting were indeed "low."

As with other health metrics, S Health keeps track historic readings of both SpO2 and UV levels.

S Health on Galaxy Note 4

The S Health app itself has also undergone a minor redesign, with a refreshed overview page displaying your latest stats — SpO2, steps, caloric intake, heart rate, stress and more.

So if you're into tracking all your vitals on your smartphone, the Galaxy Note 4 offers even more stuff to keep track of. How much of this will be of any value to the average user, however, remains to be seen.

More: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 hands-on

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

  • Does anyone even use this app? How accurate is it? Posted via Android Central App
  • I watched test from Cnet with S5.. It showed everything so wrong.. So I don't trust this... But who knows.. Hope they will test and Note 4 :-) Would be great if it actually works.. :-)
  • I love S heath, its probably the best android health app on the market. I don't use the heart rate monitor but use the work out app when I run. It seems pretty accurate but haven't taken the time to compare it while using another app as reference.
  • How does the S health app help you when you run exactly? thanks
  • S Health tracks steps, but it will also keep track of how long you do a certain activity and calculates an estimate of how many calories you've burned. It also has an audio guide and will play music during your run and stuff.
  • I use it but knock at least 10-20% off the pedometer. Bumping it will cause a 'step'. It is not bad though, but highly accurate, with the Note 3 at least, would be overstated. Posted via Android Central App
  • I tested the pedometer from the S5 by just walking to the next store and counting my steps. S5 in my pocket. After 700 steps i compared: the S5 was just 4% off. Thats amazing if you ask me.
  • This is the future and the direction manufacturers are going in with excellent fitness offerings. The Galaxy Note products have always been the ONLY true multitasking and productivity handset on the market with legitimate abilities. These features are all excellent directions Samsung is going with the Galaxy Note product line. At the end of the day you have the only product on the market offering legitimate needs to it's users true battery life, excellent cameras, excellent feature implementations/software enhancements, and industry leading productivity and multitasking abilities. The Galaxy Note line continues it's total domination in the phablet category. Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge on tap for me in October. From my Galaxy Note 3 on T-Mobile via Android Central App
  • seems accuracy is constantly debated ... until accuracy is consistent no one is going to depend on garbage filler software also, how many times are you going to block me on g+? this is number two ... are you mad because i call your bs out too much? i'm everywhere, dick
  • More spam, nothing to see here people.
  • I have actually used this every time I've gone to the doctor which is a lot. 4 times a week in fact, and it's accurate every time to the dot. The oxygen and pulse are accurate on the note 4
  • Does anyone know if have fingerprint scanner?
  • It does Posted via Android Central App
  • Reference from wikipedia, readings from heart rate sensors on mobile phones.
    Accurate information all round.
  • Wikipedia uses reliable sources most of the time... Posted via Android Central App
  • You're funny. I don't have "wikipedia" as a source at all in my thesis and I would get laughed at by the scientific community if I even hinted at using wikipedia.
  • You could also use "Wiki" as a base source and list the sources it uses...
  • Samsung=gimmicks Posted via Android Central App
  • How about google fit? Must be ground breaking!
  • All phones=gimmicks
  • Lets just launch the thing already mmmmkay Posted via Android Central App
  • Yeah have we heard real dates yet? Posted via Android Central App
  • Not yet. Although I can't imagine Samsung would let Apple get out in front.
  • I don't know isn't apple supposed to ship within September? Everything from the carriers point to October for the Note. I guess we will find out today about Apple Posted via Android Central App
  • Has any of this functionality been approved by the FDA? I heard a story about how the majority of the flood of "health apps" on smartphones are not verified for effectiveness/accuracy by the FDA (though some actually are). I think we are wading into dangerous territory with stuff like this.
  • The FDA are paid monkeys, they've been approving garbage for human consumption for years, i doubt they will care too much just as long as they get paid.
  • Ouch. :) Still I'd prefer to take my chances with SOMEONE vetting this stuff vs. only the parties making money off of it.
  • I agree with that 100%.. research is always welcomed on anything and everything.
  • What we need is, if you live in the USA and you go over your daily calorie intake your phone will zap you. I live in USA by the way. Posted via Android Central App
  • Much zapping n5
  • There would be people laying everywhere, including me. LLS
  • Can it tell you how many babies you've had? Posted via Android Central App
  • Lol Posted via Android Central App
  • Did you lose count? XD
  • So...measuring the SpO2 is useless then. If it's below a certain level, you won't be able to get a reading on it anyways because you'll be out of it. Awesome. More useless technology.
  • You really need to read again and use some common sense. The sensor does not read below a certain level because you would be in a coma. But the wierd thing is it read all the way from perfect to dead, so say your on oxygen, you could use your phone to double check your levels, or maybe your taking a hike at 12, 000 ft and your dizzy, could check to see.... You get the point I hope. Posted via the Android Central App
  • So it's worthless. How many people will be going above 12,000 feet with their Note 4? Quit justifying useless technology.
  • Plenty in Colorado. Pikes peek is paved to 12,000 Posted via the Android Central App
  • And good job seeing the world outside your view. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, chances are that if a person has low SpO2, they'll either pass out or die. This won't tell them anything new. Again, useless technology. Quit justifying it.
  • So, I don't need any of the features that help handicap people, so in your world, let's remove them. Nobody needs an s-pen, so axe that too. Seriously dude, chill on the black and white crap and try some imagination. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm waiting for the day my phone can detect my blood alcohol level
  • It's your lucky day. Posted via the Android Central App
  • What a time to be alive
  • It's like Santa delivering Easter baskets. Out of control. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Waiting for a proper tricorder app...
  •'s time to just release this beast out into the wild! Hurry up sammy, October is a bit too much of a wait don't you think??
  • I was not going to bother upgrading from my note3 but if the Oxygen saturation sensor really works then it is going to be a must have phone in my home as my daughter was born with a heart condition and we have to keep a close eye on her oxygen saturations as well as her heart rate. Its never going to be as accurate as hospital equipment but it would provide a vital early warning if anything is wrong. Her saturations are between 75 and 85 due to her condition. Posted via Android Central App
  • Can someone give me an example or two of who would have use for the blood oxygen saturation sensor? I'm not really sure what function it serves, so if someone could educate me, I'd appreciate it.
  • I have a disease that makes my O2 sats. low so I use supplemental O2 at 6 to 8 liters per min. (That's a lot of supplemental O2.) Even with the additional O2 I have been prescribed by my doctor when I walk the short distance from my front door to my car my O2 sats. drop to about 80%. I have found from personal experience that when my O2 sats. are below 92%, my mental and physical abilities are compromised. I simply do not think as clearly as I should nor are my physical reactions as quick as they should be. I absolutely refuse to drive a car in this condition. So, when I get to my car I must sit and breath until my saturation levels go to 92% or above. I have to carry a device to measure this so having this ability built into my phone means for me, I have one less thing I have to carry around with me.
  • Pedometer function is way off. Does nir record steps correctly.
    Example:I do NOT run. App records my steps as running when all I do is easy walk. Crazy..
    Also, app fails to record steps at all some times. I'm not tip toeing, I'm walking. Really walking. App ignores my steps.
    Have complained to Samsung, they are clueless. Said phone needs to be restarted. Ridiculous. Restarting phone is not making any difference.
    App is the problem - AND - how about the phone's motion recognition mechanism??? Duh.
  • It's all accurate at least for me I have to tested it but now I'm going to out of curiosity but it's use for me every day is almost perfect as far as I cam tell. Sometimes there is a delay in the step counting in the note 4 but it always counts then all