French health tech company, Withings, continues to innovate in the world of smart scales with its latest flagship product, the Body Scan. Positioned as a “connected health station,” the Body Scan transcends traditional weight tracking, offering users a comprehensive suite of health assessments. Priced at $399.95 in the US, €400 in the EU, and £349.95 in the UK, the Body Scan aims to provide a holistic health check-up for users.
1. Advanced Health Assessments: The Body Scan employs a unique hardware design with an integrated bar that extends from the floor unit. This feature allows the scale to delve deeper into health assessments, particularly cardiovascular health. By combining skin touch-points and embedded sensors, the scale offers insights into blood vessel function, heart health, and lifestyle impact.
2. Comprehensive Metrics: In addition to weight, the Body Scan calculates and charts Body Mass Index (BMI), Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), and estimates “Metabolic Age.” The scale utilizes multifrequency Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) to measure body composition, including muscle, fat, bone mass, Lean Mass, Water Mass, and Visceral Fat Index.
3. Cardiovascular Insights: Withings introduces medically approved features, including Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV) measurement for assessing arterial stiffness. The scale tracks Vascular Age, providing a comparative rating against the user’s actual age. Another notable feature is the 6-Lead Electrocardiogram (ECG), capable of detecting atrial fibrillation (AFib), a common cardiac rhythm disturbance.
4. Nerve Health and Other Metrics: The European version of Body Scan includes a “Nerve Health Score,” designed to detect signs of peripheral autonomic neuropathies. The US version features an Electrodermal Activity (EDA) Score, assessing sweat gland activity for insights into stress levels, diet, and overall health.
How It Works:
The Body Scan encourages users to step on the scale daily, offering a quick health snapshot. The scale incorporates tutorials and terms and conditions to activate certain features, providing a seamless experience for medically approved assessments. The scale displays results on its color screen, with a more detailed data visualization available in the companion Withings app.
Mixed Results and Challenges:
During testing, the Body Scan demonstrated mixed accuracy in certain measurements, with fluctuations observed in metrics like body composition. Some measurements, especially those medically approved, were found to be more reliable. However, the scale faced challenges, including occasional errors during scanning and occasional difficulties in recording specific health scores.
App and User Experience:
The Withings app, while providing rich data visualization, faced criticism for its complex navigation, sporadic notifications, and challenges in troubleshooting communication. Users reported issues with missing data fields and occasional errors in displaying metrics.
Conclusion and Verdict:
Withings’ Body Scan holds promise in revolutionizing personal health monitoring, especially for fitness enthusiasts and individuals with specific health concerns. While the scale offers valuable insights, users need to approach the non-regulated metrics with caution. The device’s accuracy, coupled with ongoing software refinements, will likely determine its long-term success. As Withings positions Body Scan as a “new hardware base,” it remains to be seen how the product evolves and whether it becomes a staple in the connected health tech landscape.