Withings Health Mate evaluation: I strolled 500 miles for an app

Withings Health Mate evaluation: I strolled 500 miles for an app

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My attitude towards fitness and health apps has long been one of deep-seated antipathy. I dislike the cacophony of irritating informs and triggers, and, maybe it’s simply me, however I likewise draw no encouragement from the pictures of perfectly tanned and toned bodies welcoming me into the common app. Couple of things are as demotivating as utilizing a piece of software application listing all of the dynamic activities I’m not doing.

Little did I know that a set of weighing scales would alter all of that.

About a year ago, I got the Nokia Body , figured out to utilize it in its dumbest form possible: getting just my weight measurement and eschewing all the tracking and body structure metrics. The accompanying app was definitely trash, I thought, therefore what’s the point in having a hard time with it? Well, a couple of months later, after Nokia offered its digital health organisation back to Withings co-founder Éric Carreel— who without delay restored the Withings brand name– I got curious adequate to check out the Withings Health Mate app. I’m glad I did.


Linking the scales approximately the app is a trivially simple task, done over Bluetooth, and once you have the scales on your Wi-Fi network, they’ll immediately submit any measurements you take to your account. If you care to track more than one person, Health Mate lets you produce profiles, and it’ll be clever sufficient to designate incoming readings to the pertinent individual. That’s worked completely in my case, but my own isn’t the toughest situation since the other person in my home has a really various body composition, and it’s tough to mix us up. Twins may have a harder time with this.

The app’s interface is what truly won me over. I didn’t need to prune it to any great level, it rapidly accepted that I just desired to see my weight measurements, and it tracked those reliably and graphed them well. The Body is also fairly precise about body fat percentage, which can be an useful sign, which’s included along with the basic weight measurement in Health Mate.

This might all sound typical, however to show how low the requirement for health apps and gadgets is right now, let me tell you about one big-name option. I still like Samsung’s excellent Gear S2 watch, however in order to get any Samsung wearable device working on an Android phone, I require to– deep breath— install a Galaxy Wearable app, which insists I likewise set up a Gear S Plugin, a Samsung Accessory Service, and finally the Samsung Health app. I need to do all of this while also granting access to my area, contacts, call, alerts, and every other possible approval along the way. The worst part of the entire experience? The 2015 Gear S2 appears to no longer be supported by Samsung’s burdensome software application stack.

The only inconvenience I came across with the Withings Health Mate is that I accidentally allowed step tracking via my phone when setting the app up, and it wouldn’t stop revealing me my actions. At any time I ‘d open it, I ‘d be challenged by the inactivity of my sedentary life and work style. It was frustratingly accurate, too. I’m a sucker for numbers, so, naturally, that bothered me very much, and throughout a few days, the Health Mate app deftly gamified my interest in my actions number, driving me into taking numerous strolls daily. This was the compound impact of the app’s clean and easy to use interface and its clear-eyed accuracy about precisely just how much I moved.

Being a smartphone addict, I always have my phone with me wherever I go, and Health Mate has by far the most precise step-tracking algorithms I’ve yet come across. No actions are handed to me totally free, and none go missing out on either. And that’s just with my phone. After about a week, however, I got agitated to have the most precise and complete tracking possible, and so I got ahold of Withings’ flagship health-tracking watch, the Steel HR Sport


Withings Steel HR Sport with a leather strap by Triwa.

Withings Steel HR Sport with a black leather strap by Triwa

Perfectly matching the Withings app, the company’s watch is light, stylish, and devoutly minimalist about its technology. It’s thin, which most smartwatches are not. It’s appealing, which most smartwatches are not. And it lasts for near to a month on a charge, which most smartwatches can not even imagine doing. Eliminate the black circle that houses a monochrome OLED display screen, and it’s just a pretty gown watch with a curious complication at the bottom.

As soon as you go through another painless pairing process to associate the Steel HR Sport with your phone’s Health Mate, the app immediately starts ignoring the phone in favor of the wearable device. And yes, the step-tracking precision is still supreme among all the ones I’ve tried, which includes Samsung’s, Xiaomi’s, and, most laughable of all, Apple’s, which offers me 700 steps by lunch break even if I’ve barely left the bed. If you’ve ever questioned why there’s no step count issue for the Apple Watch, my hunch is that Apple knows its action tracking isn’t that great, therefore it gives you the abstraction of circles instead.


The Steel HR Sport also has you finishing circles, as the red hand in its lower half tracks the percentage of your everyday step goal that you have actually completed up until now. However due to the fact that it represents the tracking in an analog style, it feels somehow more natural and appealing than its digital rivals. I like pushing that red hand forward.

Pushing the single button on the side of the watch cycles through a selection of alternatives for the OLED screen, consisting of inspecting notices and messages, but I rapidly whittled it down to simply two: one press to reveal me the date and time (helpful when you need to know the time at night, because the watch face has no illumination of its own), and a second press to reveal me the day’s action count. That’s all I have actually ever required for a watch to feel boosted by innovation. Whatever else that other business try to layer on top of that is essentially cruft and bloatware to me, and I’m delighted that the Withings enjoy lets me stay with the fundamentals.


Using a standard strap accessory, the Steel HR Sport makes it simple to put your own styling to it, and I used that flexibility. The silicone strap that features the watch is great and soft, but it picks up lint too quickly and, after only a number of weeks, it grew glossy at the spot around the clasp where the silicone rubs versus my sleeve or any surface area my hand is on. Placing on a leather strap I already had from Triwa added a touch of class to the already elegant watch. It’s difficult to overemphasize how un-technological this health-tracking gadget feels. It’s really just a watch with a scattering of techie dust to make it knowledgeable about its user.


The final Withings thing that I ended up finding surprisingly useful is consisted of in the Steel HR Sport’s name: heart rate tracking. The watch will instantly take a reading every half hour, or you can activate one by pushing the side button. In all cases, the watch takes the measurement silently and just feeds it into the app the next time you sync it up. How did that show appropriate to me? Well, taking a look at my heart rate graphed out over the course of a day is a terrific method to identify the times when I’ve been inactive for prolonged periods, plus it likewise flags up circumstances I may have found difficult by showing big variations.

More than anything, the heart rate tracking contributes to the Steel HR Sport’s sleep tracking, which, in another initially, is the first time I have actually discovered any sleep tracker to be trustworthy. Since the watch is so light and inconspicuous, it’s comfortable enough to wear while I’m sleeping, and it is stunningly precise. Health Mate permits me to fix any mismeasurements, however I only ever need to add or remove a couple of minutes. You can trust this watch to correctly log your sleep every night and even for extended naps. Inevitably, getting that insight into my sleep and seeing everything measured, I discovered myself motivated to improve my numbers, and so yes, this manipulative app and watch combination got me to sleep better, too.


At the time of composing this evaluation, I’ve tracked in excess of a million actions– 819 kilometers or simply under 509 miles– with the Withings Health Mate app, and an embarrassingly high proportion of that is because of the app. I’m fully conscious that my health ought to be enough motivation to get me out and moving, but it’s a simple truth that my primitive brain responds better to the attraction of numbers. I even roped in a few of my pals to utilize Health Mate, syncing their own fitness-tracking apps to it to offer their action counts, and I have actually had a couple of heated end-of-the-week contests with a buddy in Moscow.

This whole experience is essentially what innovation should be about. The wise scales led me to the wise app, which led me to the smartwatch, which led me to make smarter choices about my health. The mobile phone, the 3rd gizmo of this tale, played a critical function in linking all of this up. Instead of trying to take over and determine my life, the Withings devices and software application combined into it. Their subtle gamification and stylish style turned me from a physical fitness app hater into somebody who tracks his weight, body composition, actions, and sleep on an everyday basis and is actively taking pleasure in the entire thing.

Some individuals will tell you not to treat your health as a game, however in my case, turning healthy activities into a point-scoring contest was the very best thing I could do.

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