Review: Withings WiFi Body Scale
A beautiful, simple bathroom scale with no buttons, no switches, no cables but remains in touch with the world. The Withings WiFi Body Scale is all these things, and it works like a dream. After firing up and using Withings’ Smart Blood Pressure Monitor¹, I was ripe for the picking when I saw the this body scale on Amazon. The device is a beautifully constructed, minimalistic glass-topped slice with a small LCD display. Underneath is a battery compartment (four AAA cells) and a USB socket which is used only once for set up. Nothing else, nothing to press or adjust because the scale is automatic. The package includes a USB cable, four stick-on feet for use if you want to place the scale on a carpet, a dinky tape measure (150 cm) to help find your height, and a very minimal instructions leaflet. The most important advice in the leaflet is to log on to Withings for more information.
The body scale needs a wifi connection and a computer (which is used for initialisation). After inserting the four AAA batteries, connect the USB cable to a computer and visit the Withings site. You are then guided through connecting to your wifi network, opening a free Withings account (in my case I had already done this for the blood pressure monitor) and that’s about it. At any time you can change from Imperial (or US) to metric and choose how to have your fat and lean mass displayed. You must enter your height, either in centimeters or inches, so the system can calculate your body mass index (BMI).
- Stand on scale
- Wait until the display calculates then goes to sleep
- step off
That’s it, folks.
There’s definitely not much to learning how to use this body scale. Withings rightly recommend weighing yourself naked and at a similar time of day since weight can vary throughout the day. I choose early morning, just after my shower, because that’s usually the time when I get the most optimistic result. It doesn’t really matter when, as long as you are consistent. As you step off the scale it sends a blip of data through your wifi network to your Withings account. A continuous wifi connection would quickly run down those AAA cells. But the scale is smart enough to switch on and off just long enough to send the data.
Return to the computer (or your iOS device) and open your Withings web page or Withings app and you’ll find your weight charted. Almost as soon as you’ve stepped off the scale the results are on the web. The accompanying information panel shows the main statistics: BMI, weight, lean mass and fat. Unlike many other web companions for apps or devices, the My Withings site is extremely well designed, attractive and a delight to use. Once you are in there you could almost think you are working in a native Mac application rather than in a browser window. If you also own Withings’ blood pressure monitor you can view results tables and charts for both devices side by side.
The free Withings app for iPhone and iPad also displays all your data (as well as data from the blood pressure monitor) and you can also link your account to other sites, such as Google Health. Tapbots’ WeightBot is another iOS application which can download and display Withings results. Twitter your weight or Facebook your stats if you like, but I’ll give this one a miss.
Although I have not yet tried it, the scale can be linked to up to eight users. The scale works well, faultlessly in fact, and encourages regular use. Withings recommend checking your weight two or three times a week while I prefer a daily bounce on the scale. It’s a matter of choice, but the resulting graph is a useful guide to progress, whether you are a frustrated dieter or a lean athlete. The Withings site can be set to monitor average or athletic types.
So far both my new Withings toys are a delight to use. For once, I believe I will keep up the good work because Withings make everything is so blindingly easy.
The scale is available from Amazon (US) at $159 before tax or from Amazon (UK) for £119 including tax.
¹ The Withings blood-pressure monitor is not wifi equipped, unlike the scale. The BP monitor has a built-in cable with 30-pin dock connector and must be connected to an iOS device while in operation.