Withings Smart Body Analyzer
A smart scale could be a very simple way to weigh yourself. It’s the end of notes, papers and other manual methods. You can just stand on the scale and all your results will be saved automatically. Smart Body Analyzer by Withings offers you this and some other interesting features.
Withings company offerers two kinds of smart scales right now. The basic version, called Wireless Scale, is sold for 100€ and for its improved version, Smart Body Analyzer, you have to pay 50€ more. The main question is if it’s a good deal.
What’s the difference? The basic version can only weigh you, detect the person who is using it and send the measurements to the app in your smartphone. One more thing – it can show you today’s weather forecast. Just set the location of your scale in the app and then the forecast will automatically be downloaded from the internet. The smarter version, Smart Body Analyzer can do all of it plus three more functions:
- measure the percentage of body fat
- measure heart rate
- track temperature and amount of CO2 in the room
You can see full comparison on the Withings web.
There are 4 AAA batteries in the package and they last several months. For me, it’s a big thumbsup because you can use the scale immediately after unpacking and you don’t have to worry about getting other equipment. But in my case, there weren’t any batteries. Why? Because I bought the last piece at the shop and it was already unpacked with the batteries removed. Next time I have to check what I’m buying.
To use the smart functions you have to pair the scale with an iOS or Android smartphone. The scale will be connected to your Withings account and all the measurements will be sent there. Truth to be told, it was really difficult for me to do this on an Android device, but fortunately, I succeeded with my iPad.
While connecting, you can set the Wi-Fi access to your scale. You will no longer need your phone and all the data will be sent to the Withings servers directly through your router.
It would be a disaster if the smart scale couldn’t weight you right. But I can assure you that Smart Body Analyzer can do that and has even some features to improve the accuracy. You can screw in small legs that stabilise the scale on an uneven surface such as a carpet. When you step on the scale, there are four small arrows that help you steady your body.
The measuring takes about 8 seconds and it depends on how you stabilise yourself. If you are not able to stand calm it takes longer. After you weigh yourself, you will see a chart of your last measurement. It’s an easy way how to see progress without looking at your phone. This function is only a few months old, but it’s great.
I really like the graph of weight measurements in the app. Each measurement itself is not important itself, but correlates with the line of average. You can see it in the screenshot. You’ll get the best results if you always weigh yourself in similar conditions and at the same time.
Measuring of body fat
The method used for measuring body fat is not very accurate and, like with other smart scales, is predominantly based on estimates and mathematical calculations. Even your level of hydration can easily affect the results, so for this measurement, it’s even more important to use the scale in similar conditions every time. The Smart Body Analyzer guide says that the value in % is not as important as the progress you are seeing over a period of time.
The graph is very similar to the weight one. Fluctuations are reduced by using averages. The measurement of body fat takes about 6s.
Heart rate measuring
The scale is able to measure your resting heart rate. I can compare data from Fitbit Charge HR and from Withings Smart Body Analyzer. I have to say that the measurements are very different, but this problem may not be caused by technology. Fitbit measures your resting heart rate right after you get up and it does take some time to get onto the scale…
The measuring takes about 6 seconds and it’s not always successful. The scale thought I’m dead or heartless several times this week.
The resting heart rate graph is very nice again. You can view data by days, weeks and months. You can see the minimal, maximal and average value.
Truth is that I turned this feature off as soon as I got my Fitbit Charge HR. It would be useless for me to track the same thing on two devices. It’s actually a very useful thing to be able turn off features you don’t need.
Indoor air quality tracking
My first thought was – this is a great feature. It was one of the reasons why I bought this scale but I was disappointed. In the product video, everything is beautiful and real-time. Far far away from the reality. Air quality data are synchronised only when you weigh yourself or once in twelve hours (but really, most times it didn’t happen). It means you can’t receive notifications about CO2 in the air and the only way how to check the current state is to put your feet on the scale.
Even the charts are bad. You can only view data day by day but forget longer time frames. Withings doesn’t even have an API service, and the data cannot be exported. I managed to create a PHP library that helps me save these data to my computer, but I just don’t like it.
This feature is a flop. There are much better products to track temperature and indoor air quality.
There are two sides. Weighting functions are great, charts are very useful. But since this scale is very expensive, it should have something “more”. This “one more thing” should be the indoor air quality tracking, but it’s not working how presented in the video. I wouldn’t buy it again. I would try the basic version of this scale or Fitbit Aria.
And I hope this will not happen to me:
— Michal Adamopulos (@Networkalis) November 21, 2015