Withings: A great app with some excellent fitness and wellbeing devices
Three devices combine for something great.
Fitness trackers, smartwatches, bands, and hybrids are a competitive section of the market in 2020.
Gone are the days when you simply had to choose between a Jawbone and a Fitbit.
Now you’ve a smorgasbord of options to consider and for the purposes of today’s article, we’re going to look at the work of French electronics company Withings.
Withings is a health ecosystem of connected devices and apps, designed for the purpose of improving daily wellbeing and long-term health.
Their products range from smartwatches and hybrids, to blood pressure monitors, to smart weighing scales, to sleep trackers you can put in your bed. Basically, they’re taking the daily wellbeing and long-term health mantra very seriously.
I tested three of their products for the past few weeks:
- Withings Steel HR Sport hybrid smartwatch
- Withings BPM Core
- Withings Body Cardio scale
Not all of the devices are new on the market it should be said, and while all three devices were impressive in different ways, it’s the sum of their parts which was most impressive.
The best thing about the three is the link with the Withings Health Mate app, where everything is synced and easily accessible, giving you a comprehensive breakdown of your daily life.
Fitbit's app has always held a spot close to my heart in this area, but it's difficult not to be won over by the detail provided in the Health Mate app. It compiles all your data, explains what it all means and allows you to export it all in PDFs in case you want to show them to your doctor.
When you combine the scales and the smartwatch, both of which work congruently in the Health Mate app, it gives most of the data the average, health-aware person would look for on a daily basis. Only two actions are required. The standing on the scale and the opening of the app on your smartphone. Everything else is handled by the devices themselves.
The app will then provide comparisons with other people your age based on the information about yourself. It’s interesting to note that the run you went on earlier gave you a better fitness score than 80% of other people your age.
If processes are made simple, people are more likely to use the features, and Withings is the definition of simple.
Withings Steel HR Sport hybrid smartwatch
The Steel HR Sport provides you with a slim, small hybrid watch that won't take up lots of space on your wrist. It’s gorgeously stylish and, unlike some other fitness trackers, looks equally as comfortable with a shirt and tie as running the roads. It’s a classy watch all the way.
The battery is seriously impressive. It's been three full days since I charged it and with two heavy training sessions under its belt the battery is still showing up as full. Withings say it will last 25 days but I think with moderate use, that's a conservative estimate.
The small digital display probably helps this but when you consider that it offers continuous heart rate monitoring, activity tracking and notifications from your phone on a tiny inset display, that's very good indeed.
I wore it alongside two other devices during exercise activity to test its accuracy and unless all three devices are telling me lies, it's as accurate as the others.
But one note, on a daily basis, I did find it rather conservative on the step count. A Fitbit I wore at the time was providing me with about a third more steps per day than the Steel HR Sport. While that may be a little high, and Fitbit are generous with their steps, I did find it difficult to meet a standard 10,000 steps with the Steel HR without making a conscious effort to go out and walk to reach it.
The true number of steps is likely somewhere in the middle and I don't think it's a mark against a fitness tracker that it errs on the side of caution.
The Withings Steel HR Sport hybrid smartwatch is available on the Withings website for €139.
Withings Body Cardio scale
The scale which aims to analyse your weight, fat, muscle, water and heart health and take effort out of tracking the fluctuations of your body.
It's simple really. It's a scales with a normal small display, with a bit more tech thrown in to make everything more streamlined.
Withings state it's not a health device, rather a wellness device. But it does have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connecting to the Health Mate app and you just have to click add device and you're all ready to go.
The scales can also identify different users, which allows them to record the measurements automatically on their own Withings account.
The Withings Body Cardio comes in either black or white and costs €149.
The product I used the least, but in reality I don't think a mid twenties male with a decent fitness is the target of such a device.
It provides a blood pressure and heart rate monitor, an electrocardiogram and a digital stethoscope. It all syncs to the Health Mate app over Wi-Fi seamlessly.
The BPM Core is a medical device and has been certified by a number of health organisations and costs €250 on the Withings website.