Omron has been the dominant brand in blood pressure monitors for years and has more consumer models on the NHS validated blood pressure monitor list than any other brand I am aware of.
The Omron Evolv is one of the models the NHS recommended list and is an attractive all in one unit designed for the upper arm with built-in Bluetooth that can sync your results to the OMRON connect app.
Priced at £97.49 it is quite a bit cheaper than the Braun ActivScan 9 connected blood pressure monitor I previously used.
Unlike the Braun, this is an all in one unit so it is considerably more compact and you don’t have to worry about losing you cuff or base unit. The functions are a bit simpler than the ActivScan, and this could arguably be viewed as an advantage. If you just want to test your blood pressure there is no set-up required, all you do is place the cuff around your upper arm in a replaced position press the button and await your results.
The cuff itself is quite user-friendly, half of it is a springy plastic that wraps itself around your arm with the other half being regular material which then grips down with Velcro. It is both easy and comfortable to get the correct placement. Both the start button and screen are conveniently located for you to carry out the test yourself and read the results. Overall, doing a basic check is pretty much idiot proof.
I don’t have the biggest arms in the world, but there appears to be a lot of room for large arms.
Omron promotes the fact that this is highly accurate claiming 1 in 3 people measure their blood pressure incorrectly and the cuff is designed to give accuracy regardless of your position around the arm.
The fact that it is NHS recommended should give you some confidence, and I found that the results seemed both accurate and consistently reliable. While I did like the ActivScan 9 it was very prone to erratic results if you didn’t have perfect placement, I had several instances of worrying results with one being 201/82. Unfortunately, some people are prone to overreacting and panicking, and if they saw one bad result, they may rush off to the hospital with a result such as that. So, having consistently reliable results is very important when it comes to taking readings such as this. I experimented with various arm and seating placements to see if I could replicate some of the high results with this monitor, while things did vary it would be the difference between 120 and 124 systolic rather than 130-200 of the Braun.
The smart features are a little more basic compared to the Braun. Once you download the app, you can use the sync button on the cuff to connect with your phone via Bluetooth. The initial set up was simple as it subsequent syncs. The Omron stores 100 readings by itself, so you don’t have to sync every time you use it. The synced data will be mapped out into a graph showing you the trend over a period of time, and you can recall the data via a menu option in the upper right.
When you go into the individual results, it will highlight any that had an irregular heartbeat, but there is no real indication what this means. I suppose if it is something that regularly occurs, you should get in touch with your doctor. It occurred for 1 of my readings, and I will assume this is OK on occasion.
The mains issues with the app and the device itself are the lack of multi-user mode, and the app takes a bit of navigating around before you can get into the individual results. If multiple users are using the device, you can manually delete readings from the app so it doesn’t ruin your graphs, but this could have been easily avoided.
The most important thing a blood pressure monitor needs to do is accurately and reliably take your readings, and as far as I can tell the Omron Evolv does this better than any other monitor I have tried.
It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as the Braun option, but it is cheaper, user-friendly and works as intended.
While it is a lot cheaper than the Braun, it is still quite a lot of money. Omron has many options that are quite a bit cheaper which are worth considering if you casually monitor your blood pressure. However, the cost is relative, and if you need to monitor your blood pressure for a genuine reason, then the cost of this device should not be a concern as your health is far more important.
Product Name: Omron Evolv