How does Smartwatch Detect Motion, Steps, Or Calories? Identify Fake vs Real

How Smartwatch Detects Motion

Smartwatch stays on your wrist but have you ever wondered, how it Detect Motion, Steps, Or Calories? from Heart rate, SpO2, sleep tracking, Stress Monitoring, calorie burning, and it can even tell whether you gonna get a heart attack or not with the help of ECG Sensor.

So today let’s find out how a smartwatch calculates everything from footsteps to Calories.

How does a Smartwatch Detects or Counts Steps and Calories?

Heart Rate Sensor on Smartwatch

Smartwatches mainly rely on accelerometers, gyroscopes, and GPS to provide accurate Steps and Calories.

An accelerometer sensor helps to track the movements of your body, the speed of your body, and even how your hands are moving.

Gyroscope sensors help to measure the body’s orientation and rotation, whether you setting, sleeping, or even running.

Lastly, we have GPS which tracks your real-time location to measure the distance traveled accurately.

Related: How ECG Works On A Smartwatch? Is It Reliable?

Now, when a smartwatch uses a GPS, accelerometer, and Gyroscope together, it can tell the running speed, body posture, movement of hands, and live location which is further sent to the smartwatch application and presents accurate footsteps, and burned calories.

Premiums smartwatches from Apple, Fitbit, Samsung, and Garmin also use ECG sensors along with GPS, accelerometer, and Gyroscope to provide more accurate footsteps, and burn calories.

Now, ECG costs more money and that’s the main reason why budget smartwatch uses the PPG sensors to measure the heart rate in which case, the data won’t be accurate.

While some budget smartwatches only offer Accelerometer and Gyroscope sensors, they don’t offer built-in GPS in this case, the footsteps, and burn calories won’t be accurate at all.

In Conclusion, to get accurate data, having a built-in GPS, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, and ECG sensor will detect Steps, and Calories accurately.

Algorithm Role

Tizen OS

Whether it’s a smartphone or smartwatch, the company needs to make an Algorithm to put everything together, so users can access all the data.

When GPS, accelerometer, and Gyroscope collects all the data then Algorithm puts all the data in the right order, it further selects the right reading or false reading and at the end, it shows you the footsteps and Calories burned on a smartwatch display.

Related: How Does GPS Work In Smartwatches? Is It Reliable?

For example, sometimes a smartwatch can count footsteps when lifting your leg halfway through, Algorithm decides whether the step should be counted or not.


ECG Sensor on Smartwatch
ECG Sensor on Apple Watch

Nothing is perfect, the same applies to smartwatches as well.

As I have already said, if a smartwatch has all the sensors from built-in GPS, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, and ECG sensor then a smartwatch will provide close to accurate footsteps and Calories burned.

Now, if the smartwatch only has Accelerometer and Gyroscope then the smartwatch won’t provide accurate data because the smartwatch can’t record the live location and the heart rate data won’t be accurate because of the missing ECG sensor.

Related: How Does Sleep Tracking Works: Is It Reliable

So if you’re buying a new budget smartwatch for exercise then make sure the smartwatch has the built-in GPS, Accelerometer, and Gyroscope.

Talking about ECG, this sensor won’t be available in below Rs 10000 smartwatches, you will have to spend more than Rs 20000 to get an ECG sensor.

Smartwatches with ECG:

One More thing, it also depends on the quality of the sensors, if the smartwatch is priced at Rs 500 and has a built-in GPS, Accelerometer, and Gyroscope then there is a chance that, the sensors will be fake or it will be cheap.

These days, you can get Accelerometer and Gyroscope in Rs 2000 smartwatch while the built-in GPS is available between Rs 3000 to Rs 5000.


Putting all things together, when buying new smartwatches, make sure to check the built-in GPS, Accelerometer, and Gyroscope to get accurate Steps and Calories.

That was it, still, if you have any kind of questions then feel free to ask in the comments, I would love to chat with you, see you there…

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