Does Withings Weigh Up?

Steve AnkneyGadget Reviews, General, Reviews0 Comments

The WiFi BodyScale by Withings is available from their website and the Apple Store for $159.

The short answer is yes, it does! However, I’d now like to give you a more in-depth explanation as to why the WiFi Body Scale by Withings is an investment every health conscious person should consider. We landed on this scale after shopping both in stores and online, and quickly realizing that scales, frankly, suck!  The only scale we found that was able to provide all of the data we wanted, in the way we wanted, was the WiFi Body Scale by Withings.  After much debating on whether or not spending $159 on a scale would actually be worth it, we went to the Apple Store, grabbed the Apple-esque packaged item off the shelf, and returned home.  As we mentioned in our Christmas gift post, this would make a great Christmas present!

Setup

Being that I am a fan of Apple products, I tend to appreciate simplicity and recognize the importance of aesthetics when it comes to packaging, set-up, and the product itself.  It appears that Withings has taken a leaf out of Apple’s book by presenting this scale to the customer using quality packaging, quality materials, and making it relatively easy to use.  The packaging is adorned with a beautiful picture of the WiFi scale and nothing else. Clearly Withings is confident enough about the quality of their product, that they are comfortable letting it speak for itself.  After pulling off the plastic wrap on the box, and the two small pieces of circle tape near the flaps, the box continues to follow Apple’s fashion by immediately greeting you with the front of the shiny new scale.  Installation is as follows:

  1. Create Withings’ account
  2. Click install scale (this queues a downloader)
  3. Connect scale
  4. Configure WiFi connection
  5. Put on a flat spot

That’s it!  The only thing left to do is weigh yourself.

Useability

They couldn’t have made this more simple, and yet still complex.  I know that sentence inherently makes little sense, but let me explain.  First, the scale allows up to eight individual users,  all of whom can be tied to either one account or can be spread across eight different accounts.  This, for example, allows for a mother or father to track their children’s weight levels, but also allows for mom and dad to have separate accounts in case they would rather the other not have access to their data.  In case you aren’t grasping how awesome this is, Meagan and I both have separate accounts so that neither of us can see the other’s weight, BMI, fat mass, or lean mass levels.  At this point you may be asking yourself, “How does it assign the data to the correct user account?” This is achieved by quickly accessing your user account and checking past weigh-ins.  The next question you may be asking should be something like “What if two people have similar weights?”.  Well, Withings took care of that too!  In order to better answer this question I’m going to explain the entire process.

Please note: While setting up your account with Withings you are asked your current weight before stepping on your scale so that way the scale can immediately begin to associate your incoming weigh-ins with your account.

Scenario: User A weighs 150lbs and User B weighs 148lbs

User A steps on the scale and the scale immediately responds with a weight (for this explanation, we’ll say it displayed 150lbs) and then proceeds to check the associated accounts (which is noted on the scale by a small loading-bar just below the weight read-out).  Once the scale has finished checking all of the associated accounts, it will quickly notice that both User A and User B are within a very close weight range to 150lb.  Instead of just randomly linking this newly created data to an account, the scale pulls up a split screen with both users initials and asks the user to shift their weight to whichever initials correspond to themselves.  This is followed by the scale quickly flipping through the lean mass, fat mass, and BMI screens.  After this first interaction, the data is immediately uploaded via wifi to the Withings site and if you are using an iOS or DROID device, you will instantly receive a notification ensuring you that your new data has been received and logged.  This can be especially great for people who check their weight first thing in the morning and may not have their glasses or contacts on yet.

Data

The scale accurately tracks weight, lean mass, fat mass, and BMI.  The reason I stress “accurately” is because after returning a new scale and throwing away our old one we found that many scales just aren’t that accurate, but that’s a story for another day.  Anyway, after it gathers the information for you, it stores this data in graph form in order to show progression levels.  Meagan and I have both found that we are very interested in tracking and storing aggregated data for health purposes, so you can imagine the excitement we had when we found that other  fitness tools were beginning to pull data from our Withings accounts (as mentioned in our FitBit post).  The data is accessible via iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, or computer, and can sync up to many different sites as listed here.  It can post to Twitter and/or Facebook (for those who are brave and willing to share this information) and you can even give your trainer or physician an account so that they can monitor your levels.  This is the section where I believe the Withings scale really shines.  They manage to offer more than enough services and never sacrifice their extreme ease of use.

Negatives

Honestly, I feel as if the bullet-points I’ve come up with for this section were forced.  It is very hard to find things that I don’t like about the scale.  Withings really managed to hit this one out of the park and although I don’t need it, I even find myself intrigued by the blood pressure monitor that can also be integrated with this device.

  • Although I love the aesthetics of the device, I often find myself wondering why they went with a shiny, translucent plastic cover.  It is quite difficult to keep clean, especially when it is exposed to the usual drops of water, hair, and dust present in a normal family’s bathroom.
  • If strangers use the scale, they could be immediately confused by the user question and could end up logging their data under your account.  Not sure how this can be fixed, but it has been a slight annoyance to us in the past.
  • If you happen to drop a large amount of weight between weigh-ins, it can get confused as to what account the data should be stored.  The way to solve this is by making sure to weigh in on a very regular basis, which is easy (and actually kind of fun!) to do with Withings!

Summary

I have never seen a scale with even half the capabilities of the WiFi BodyScale.  With the current rate of adoption it has, I doubt we will see a quality competitor for years to come. I couldn’t be happier with our investment and would suggest the WiFi BodyScale to anyone who has a little extra money to spend on a scale. Last but not least, the WiFi BodyScale by Withings is fantastically paired with FitBit and Nike+ which enables me to get away with only having to manually log calories into my FitBit application.  I quite literally have never had an easier time logging data like this until Withings, FitBit, and Nike+ came into my life.

Steve is an Executive Recruiter at Robert Half Executive Search in Madison, WI with a business degree in Information Systems and E-Commerce from the University of Toledo. Steve loves spending his time away from work; running, gaming, watching movies, checking out new social networking tools/sites/start-ups and blogging.