Bay Alarm, SOS Smartwatch: Review

SOS Smartwatch medical alert

The Basics

Product name: SOS Smartwatch 

Manufacturer / Distributor: Bay Alarm Medical

Compilation: Q1 2021

 

Phone: 
844-714-2365

 

[affiliate relationship]*

This page contains our Bay Alarm Medical | SOS Smartwatch review.

 

 

Analyst Summary: Bay Alarm Medical | SOS Smartwatch

The Bay Alarm Medical, SOS Smartwatch is one of several products we compared in a piece of research called "Smartwatch as Medical Alert". If you are interested in this category of product, we recommend you look at that comparative review.

The SOS Smartwatch is one of the "easiest to use" products in this category. It functions quite well as a medical alert, looks quite stylish, and has the key smartwatch attributes of telling the time, and step counting.

The emphasis is on being "simple to use" (rather than being "packed with extra smart watch features"), while having the appearance of a stylish piece of consumer electronics rather than of a conventional "medical alert".

It does have some limitations as a medical alert (see below). 

If you want a medical alert that keeps you as safe as possible, don't mind wearing a conventional medical alert even if it looks ugly, and don't really care about having extra smartwatch features like step counting in your medical alert, then one of the more conventional products we compared in "Mobile Medical Alerts: Comparative Evaluation" might be more to your liking.

But beware. Even though it is easy to say "I want to be as safe as possible", the truth is many people purchase a medical alert but then don't wear it, because they don't like the way it looks and feels. If you think that might be you, this may be just what you need. Because even though it has some limitations (see below), because it is really "a stylish watch", we think you are more likely to wear this than more conventional medical alerts.

The SOS Smartwatch is sold and distributed by Bay Alarm Medical, a well regarded distributor of conventional medical alert systems. The actual developer of the product is Theora Care, which also sells a slightly different version of the product, called the Theora Connect, which is designed to help care for patients with dementia. The product we evaluated included the features of both the SOS Smartwatch and the Theora Connect. In this review we discuss the SOS Smartwatch, but if you are interested in the dementia care aspects, see this review of the Theora Connect product.

 

 

The Pluses

We like the way this product looks. It is far from the ugly, stigmatizing, conventional medical alert to which we have become accustomed.

And by combining a medical alert, a watch, and step counting, it rolls three of the basic "wearable functions" into a single product.

To initiate a "call for help", you press a (smallish) button on the side of the watch. 

In our testing it worked rather well as a medical alert (see comparison article for how this and its competitors performed in "calling for help"). It did not experience any "call for help failures".

One of the advantages of this family of "smart watch medical alerts" is that extra features can be added with software updates. So, if you are reading this after our initial review date, check the list of features on the company's website to see if extra features (eg weather) have been added.

It has a very easy-to-use clasp, which is a weakness of some competing products for older adults with conditions like arthritis.

 

SOS Smartwatch clasp

Caption: easy-to-close, folding clasp.

 

 

The Minuses

The product does not have an automatic fall detection capability. It relies on you to press the button to summon help. For some, this is a major weakness. We discuss this more in the comparative article "Smartwatch as Medical Alerts" linked to above.

In our hands-on exploration of this product by our Longevity Explorers, some of the women felt it was "a bit big", but better than many of its competitors. All of the men thought its size was fine.

In terms of smartwatch capabilities, it has step counting capability (and can tell the time of course). But it lacks the weather, which many smartwatch-using older adults like, and has none of the many "extra apps" that a full featured smartwatch (like an Apple watch) has.

 

 

The Details

For lots more details about this product, including the topics below, we suggest you read "Smartwatch as Medical Alert?".

In Smartwatch as Medical Alert? we discuss topics including:

  • charging;
  • can you wear it in the shower?
  • ease of use;
  • where it does and does not work;
  • response time;
  • how well it can locate you;
  • any "failures to call for help" in our testing;
  • how this category of medical alert smartwatch compares with more conventional medical devices; and
  • features for caregivers (like knowing where the wearer is).

 

Here are some additional items not fully addressed in our comparative evaluation: Smartwatch as Medical Alerts.

 

Charging and Batteries

The watch drops onto a simple magnetic charging station. It charges fairly quickly (1-2 hours ), and it is fairly easy to position the watch for charging.

In our testing, the battery lasted for less than a day when we wore it continuously, averaging about 20 hours. When we discussed this with the company they said they expected "typically" for the battery to last for "a day", but that conditions like poor cell coverage could use up battery life faster than that.

This is not "ideal", but fairly typical for this category of smartwatch as medical alert.

The right way to think about this is to consider exactly how you would use the product. 

  • If you use it during the day but take it off at night, this battery life should be fine.
  • If you want something you can wear "24/7 and never take off", this product will not be suitable, but nor are most of the other "smartwatch medical alerts", and only a small number of more conventional "mobile medical alerts".
  • If you fit an "in between" category where you want to wear it all day and night, but take it off daily for an hour or two to charge, then the battery life of this product will be a bit marginal, at least it was in our test conditions.

 

Appearance and Ease of Use

This is an especial advantage of this product.

Apart from some comments about it "being a bit big", the Longevity Explorers who looked at the product generally thought it had a modern aesthetic and was attractive in appearance, and looked "well made", rather than "looking cheap" as did some of the competitors.

If you are looking at this category of products because you want to "avoid the stigma" that some feel go along with wearing a medical alert, then this is likely an excellent choice.

The version we tested had two alternatives for how the "face" looks, adjustable in the "settings". See below.

SOS smartwatch face options

 

Works Everywhere

The SOS Smartwatch connects via a cell signal (in the watch itself) and uses the T-Mobile 4G LTE network. This means it will work anywhere there is cell reception for that carrier.

It does NOT require you to have a smartphone.

In our testing, the product worked well, being able to successfully connect to the responder in 10/10 of our tests, and successfully reporting a location in all but one of them. This was as good as any of the other smartwatch products we evaluated and better than most.

See Smartwatch as Medical Alert for a discussion of how well this product compared to its competitors.

 

Vision & Hearing Issues

The face of the watch is bright, crisp, and easy to read. With the analog face in particular (see above), it is easy to read the time, even without one's reading glasses.

When making a call, the sound is clear and fairly loud.

 

Smartwatch Features

The watch has a choice of several watch faces, including a digital face with large numbers, and an analog face with "hands".

The watchface is a touchscreen, which means the company could potentially add additional features in the future with software updates.

It has a basic step counting capability, but no other smartwatch capabilities beyond "telling the time".

 

Can You Wear it in the Shower?

It has a water resistant rating of IP67, which means "(up to 1 meter for 30 minutes)". So, it should be fine to wear in the shower, alhough not when you go for a swim.

 

Caregiving App

As of February 2021 the SOS Smartwatch does NOT come with any sort of "caregiver app", which means a carer can not see where the wearer of the watch is, although the "monitoring center" does know where the watch is.

Bay Alarm Medical says they are working to add a caregiver app, and that will be an important "improvement".

 

Pricing

  • For current pricing, see the vendor's website (links below).
  • For a table comparing pricing of this product and the others in our comparative analysis at the time of our evaluations, see Smartwatch as Medical Alert: Pricing.

 

 

 

 

Where to buy it or learn more*: (this takes you away from our website)

Reviewed product

 

 

Ph: 844-714-2365

 

[affiliate relationship]*


 

* Disclosure: If you use these links when you buy products we write about, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate or other affiliate program participant. This does not affect the price you pay. See How we Fund our Work.

 

 

Product Line & Company: Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical makes an "at-home medical alert" and a "go anywhere" medical alert. The company seems well regarded in reviews on the Internet, and these products often score well in on-line review sites of medical alert products.

The company has a solid reputation as a home security company (ie burglar alarms etc).

Like many medical alert providers, the company outsources the actual "monitoring response service" to a company that specializes in that service. In the case of Bay Alarm Medical, they use a well respected monitoring responder company, also used by many other medical alert providers, called AvantGuard.

  .........Read more

 

About this Research

This product review is part of an extensive series of medical alert system reviews of over 50 products, including hands-on evaluation and real-world testing of the most promising ones, in real-world situations.

These reviews and analyses are part of our Research Project designed to help older adults and their families Choose the Right Medical Alert System for YOU — the result of which is our Medical Alert Systems: Selection Guide.

We have tried hard to make this research as independent and objective as possible. It has not been funded or sponsored by any of the vendors of these products, and includes no advertising or "sponsored content". The team that conducted this research has strong scientific, clinical, and aging services backgrounds. You can read more about the team that did this research at the links above. 

 

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Last Updated: April 15, 2021.