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Review: Withings Smart Body Analyzer and Pulse

withingsscaleWe’re so into not being defined by the number on the scale, but knowledge is power. And knowledge like your resting heart rate, body fat percentage and the CO2 levels in your room is dang cool and totally helpful when it comes to tracking your health and fitness. Especially when that data is wirelessly transmitted to your cell, which then tracks that — plus info from an activity tracker — over time. Yeah, like wow. That’s super cool and high-tech, right? Right! And that’s pretty much (in our non-technical FBG-a-fied terms) what the Withings Smart Body Analyzer and Pulse claims to do. And so they sent us one of each and we tried it for a few weeks for this review!

Withings: Smart Body Analyzer


First impression? The Withings Smart Body Analyzer is about the best looking scale we’ve ever seen. It’s sleek and pretty and definitely something you don’t feel like you have to hide when you have house guests over. Kinda sexy even.

And setting it up is pretty easy, although it takes a little bit of time. You set up users for the scale (for me, it was myself and my husband), and download the free Withings Health Mate app. Again, this is all pretty idiot-proof, but it just takes a bit of time. Batteries for the scale are included, which was a huge plus for me. I hate it when you get something and have to go find, or worse buy, batteries. So yay for that!

Once your users are set up (up to eight), you get to stand on the pretty thing! As you stand on it, centering your body the best you can for the most accurate weight, it runs through your stats: body weight, fat-mass percentage, resting heart rate, temperature of the air and CO2 levels in the room (it’s supposed to alert you if it’s too high — thankfully I never got to experience that though!). Then, all of those numbers are sent to your app, where you can look at them for longer (the scale rotates through them fairly quickly — especially if you’re blind as a bat, don’t have your contacts in and are therefore squinting to see the numbers) and track them over time. Once the scale gets to know you, you can just step on, and it’ll know it’s you just from the numbers. How cool is that?! It can even be set to Tweet or post to Facebook your stats for all of your online buds to see. Talk about motivation …

I really, really loved the multi-user and app component — felt like I was practically in the future. What I wasn’t a huge fan of though was that both Ryan and I could not get the system to give us our heart rate or body fat. And while I’m glad to know I’m not going to die from CO2 levels, heart rate and body fat were the two things I was most interested in seeing! So, that was kind of a bummer. The reviews are pretty positive on Amazon though, so hopefully mine was just a fluke.

For about $150, this scale is an investment. But, dude, the wave of the future is here. And it’s pretty.

Withings: Pulse

I’ve reviewed a lot of activity trackers in my day — FitBit everything, BodyMedia, the list goes on — and to be honest, the Withings Pulse is a good basic one, but it didn’t blow my socks off. Like the scale, it works with the Withings Health Mate app, sending your heart rate, steps, calories burned and sleep stats to be stored on your phone. It tracks your steps, stairs climbed, distance traveled and calories burned.

And while Withing says that it’s the only tracker to automatically detect running/jogging and instantly launch distance and time counter for the duration of the activity, I found that the reliability of that information to be a little suspect (at least for me). I wore mine for what I KNOW is a three-mile run, and it tracked it as a five-mile run when I clipped the Pulse on my waistband. (Hey, at least it errs in the direction of me being more awesome in the running department than not, I guess.) While the stats are easy to flip through on the device, they are hard to read when you’re out in the sun. However, I did find the sleep tracking of the band to work pretty well — you just have to wear it within a wristband.

The coolest and most unique thing about the Pulse is that you can put your finger on the back of it for a few seconds and it’ll show you your heart rate. That was pretty cool, even if it was kind of hard to do when you were actually moving. And, again, tying it all into the app was cool — plus it’ll partner with third party sites like SparkPeople, DailyBurn, Runkeeper and MyFitnessPal so that all of your info works together.

Overall, it’s a pretty basic device, but for $100, I just don’t think its design lives up to its price tag for me when there are so many other options on the market.

Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite activity tracker and scale? What features are most important to you — and which ones could you not care less about? —Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!