Withings ScanWatch intelligently distills data with long battery life

Training with a companion is often advised to improve fitness gains and establish accountability. For these same reasons, smartwatches have not only become a widely adopted fitness companion at the gym, but are commonly worn around the clock to track all varieties of wellness metrics. The options available today vary widely in styles and features, but subjectively speaking, the French consumer electronics company Withing made a commendable effort to emphasize fashion alongside the smart tracking features built into their stylish sensor-equipped wristwatch, the Withings ScanWatch.

First impressions: The compact size of the ScanWatch took a while to acclimatize visually; compared to the Apple Watch we normally wear, the 38mm is significantly smaller (and smaller than most traditional watches in our collection). But what was immediate was that the Withings watch was extremely comfortable. Unlike the Apple Watch, the ScanWatch leaves the arm completely unobstructed, both in weight and due to its modest circumference. The 42mm edition is likely to be more appealing as a centerpiece, but there’s no denying that this smaller size delivers that ‘next to nothing’ feel we’ve come to appreciate throughout the day and during the weekends. workouts.

The impetus to migrate from a traditional watch to a smartwatch varies as widely as the features available today. For those looking for a distillation of health and app-related functionality less of many of the overly distracting screen-based notification systems of “smarter” devices, the ScanWatch is an intriguing proposition. With the appearance of a sleekly styled analog design watch, the ScanWatch is a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Behind its minimalist stainless steel casing and sapphire crystal hides an impressive array of health tracking features, including an ECG, sleep tracking, heart rate, and oximeter to record oxygen levels in the body. blood using an SpO2 sensor.

Without a screen-dominated design, Withings fitted the ScanWatch with a small, circular PMOLED display at its top, capable of reporting a surprising amount of relevant information despite its size thanks to its ability to use a ticker-style display to longer posts. The display is primarily dedicated to the health tracking purposes mentioned above, primarily an on-demand electrocardiogram and SpO2 sensor for cardio-respiratory health tracking, as well as fitness metrics such as heart rate tracking. distances and elevation of walking, running, biking, swimming and calories. burned while doing so.

Two screenshots of the Withings Health Mate app showing different monitoring options.

The ScanWatch’s svelte size also makes the device’s sleep-tracking capabilities a promising possibility rather than an uncomfortable proposition, something we barely noticed throughout the nights wearing it on our non-dominant arm. Most of these data points, along with the fitness tracking shown below, feed into the Withings Health Mate app. From there, users can check in to track workout progress and cardiovascular health. A more cumulative snapshot and macro health trends are available when the watch is paired with other Withings health monitoring devices, such as their Body Cardio Scale (also accessible via the same application).

One glaring missing feature that we’ve grown accustomed to when wearing the Apple Watch is the ability to track workouts using stationary equipment like a rowing machine or spinning bike; we were disappointed that we couldn’t use the ScanWatch while pedaling a Peloton (nor any official integration) or tracking our weight lifting sessions. Another shortcoming is the lack of a built-in GPS chip, which means you’ll have to bring your Android or iPhone device if you want accurate documentation of your ride or route.

What the ScanWatch offers is the ability to customize how and what information it displays with a firm vibration, whether it’s an incoming call, text, calendar events, or event-based notifications. apps. Although the PMOLED is small, it is effective in displaying vital information; in essence, less becomes more when wearing the ScanWatch.

Even more impressive is the ScanWatch’s extremely long battery life. If the Apple Watch is a 12oz box, the Withings SmartScan is a giant barrel. The company claims up to 30 days of use on a single charge (and another 20 days in power reserve mode), and we think that might even be a bit conservative depending on an individual’s usage. Even with a deluge of daily notifications buzzing throughout the week, the watch’s battery only consumed 60% of its capacity after 3 weeks of use. Withings has effectively solved the equivalent of “range anxiety” of smartwatches.

Is the Withings ScanWatch the best health+fitness watch? Yes and no. With its lightweight form factor, fashionable design, coterie of built-in health-monitoring sensors, and month-long battery life, it’s nearly perfect. If future iterations offer internal GPS tracking and a more robust selection of exercise tracking to match Apple Watch, we might take our pick of daily wrist strapping.

For more information on the Withings ScanWatch watch, go to withings.fr.

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Gregory Han is Technical Editor of Design Milk. Originally from Los Angeles with a deep love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.