Review: Withings Smart Body Analyzer WS-50

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These days people take their fitness seriously. I would hold my hands up and admit that I probably don’t look after myself as much as I should, but recently I have started to take more of an interest in my fitness, particularly with my little challenge coming up. Thankfully, the gadget world has plenty of offerings to help us keep our fitness in check.

The Withings Smart Body Analyzer is not your average bathroom scale. Sure, stand on it and it will show you your weight, but it can do SO much more than that. Withings has created a great back-end service to accompany the hardware, and this additional functionality makes all the difference to help you track your progress and hit your goals.

The hardware

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As you might be able to tell from the photos, the Smart Body Analyzer is a very sexy bit of kit. Gone are the days of the horrible plastic bathroom scales. Instead you get a cool grey, high-strength tempered glass slab with an LCD window. Touch-sensitive buttons on the rear are provided to allow you to change the units or set up a bluetooth connection. Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity allows the scales to connect to your smartphone or the internet directly to transmit recorded data to your Withings account.

The scales run off 4 x AAA batteries, and Withings claim that these will last for about 8 months before needing to be replaced.

What can it measure?

The Smart Body Analyzer can measure your weight, body fat percentage, and heart rate. It also, rather cleverly, measures your indoor air quality by taking carbon dioxide (CO2) and temperture readings every 30 minutes.  To get useful air quality data, it is recommended that you keep the Smart Body Analyzer in your bedroom, to track the air quality as you sleep. All these data are displayed by the scale and get synced with your app and/or Withings account.

Up to 8 people can use the same Smart Body Analyzer, and it can detect who the user is using automatic recognition. If more than one user has a similar weight, then options are provided on screen and you shift you weight from one side or another to select the correct user. Different users can be set up in different ways: either each person has their own private Withings account, or additional users can be set up within one Withings account.

The smartphone apps and Withings account back-end

The Smart Body Analyzer is a great piece of kit, but the real power and functionality is provided by your Withings account.  All data gets uploaded to the servers and you can access it via a web browser or through the Withings smartphone app (available for iOS and Android). The apps show you a dashboard which outlines your recent data and progress towards goals that you can set within the app.

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Clicking on the options will give you more detailed information in the form of graphs and plotted data points so you can see your progress more easily.

Links with other services

Another great feature is that your Withings account can be linked with a large number of other services, so your data can be shared with other apps too. For example, if you enjoy using the MyFitnessPal app to track your food intake, you can link you Withings account to it so it can make use of your weight data. This also works going the other way too. I have just linked the RunKeeper app to my Withings account, and now any runs, walks, cycling, mountain biking I do will be shown within my Withings app, and count towards my “Activity” goal.

To see a list of what services you can link up to your Withings account, go to http://www.withings.com/en/app/partners

For anyone who knows of and uses the IFTTT service, then there is a Withings channel on there which you can link up to your Withings account to trigger other actions such as sending a tweet, or adding data to a Google spreadsheet.

WSAT_01It is also worth mentioning at this point that Withings are soon to be releasing an Activity Tracker (shown in the picture on the right), akin to similar FitBit or Jawbone Up offerings, which will also tie in nicely with the Withings ecosystem. We hope to be able to bring you a review of this in due course. They haven’t announced a release date as yet – but they told us on twitter today that it is coming “by the summer”…

The verdict

The Smart Body Analyser packs some great features and functionality into some very sexy hardware. It isn’t cheap for a set of bathroom scales, but the ability to track your progress and help in achieving your fitness and weight loss goals certainly makes the extra cost worthwhile. The Withings account and smartphone apps are a fantastic accompaniment to the Smart Body Analyzer, and the upcoming release of the Activity Tracker should make these even more helpful in our daily fight against flab.

The Withings Smart Body Analyzer costs £129.95 and can be bought online direct from Withings, Amazon.co.uk or the Apple Store

To see more photos of the Withings Smart Body Analyzer, visit the album on our Facebook page.

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