Withings Pulse Ox

by Volker Weber

withings withings

My Withings setup is now complete and all devices sync with the iPhone 6 Plus. Weight, blood pressure, workout data. Withings Health Mate is a great app and you can track weight and blood pressure without buying anything from Withings. You will want to, but you don't have to.

The Withings Pulse Ox is the newest generation of their tracker. It senses motion and it can measure your pulse and your blood oxygen level (SpO2). It comes with a nice watch strap that lets you wear the Pulse around your wrist, but you can also attach it to your clothes or just drop it into a pocket. Much like the Fitbit One it will track your steps and also the altitude you climb. It syncs all data in the background over Bluetooth and it will also sync on demand if you press and hold the only button for three seconds.

Pressing the button lights up the LCD display and with each button press flips you through a number of panels, that are user customizable from the Health Mate app: horzontal watch, vertical time (left and right), steps, elevation, distance, total calories, active calories, heart + sleep. It's a touch screen which lets you swipe through your history for steps, elevation, distance. Heart starts the pulse and oxymeter. For that you have to take it out of the band and place your finger over the sensor on the back. It's not a continuous readout that some smartwatches provide; for a good reading you need to be standing still. Sleep will start the night and sleep tracking.


Likes: the tracker is way smaller than I expected and I can wear it very comfortably with the wrist band. The display lets me read all vital data without the app on a phone. Pulse charges over standard MicroUSB cable, no adapters required.

Dislikes: it's inconvenient as a watch since the display is off until you press a button. The whole device has a matte soft finish, including the display, which makes the small fonts look fuzzy. A MicroUSB plug probably means this is not waterproof in any way.

The step counter seems to be very reliable. It does not register any false positives and errs on the conservative side. And there is a nice little swith in the Health Mate app: "Forgot my Pulse". Flick the switch and Health Mate uses the iPhone as a tracker.

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I'm waiting for something to come to market which measures blood sugar levels too. This could be possible with some sort of injectable chip (like a dog tag) which then sends data to the wristband or handheld.

That would be fantastic. Measuring sugar levels sucks.

Stephen Bailey, 2014-12-08

Yes, that would be fanstatic.

But it's a different game. Once you bring things into the human body, you are in healthcare. Regulated business, lots of testing and certifications. And it absolutely, positivaly has to work. And it has to be secure. If you get the sugar level wrong, people are in real danger.

I don't expect to see this innovation from an incumbent. They are living very well with the consumables you have to buy.

Volker Weber, 2014-12-08

I'm using the pulse for some month now. I mostly have the tracker in my pants pocket. There I get some false positives on long car rides. Frankfurt - Leipzig gave me 300 steps. No big deal... So it also works well for people who don't like anything on there wrist. Just wanted to mention it.

Moritz Dahlmann, 2014-12-08

No news on the new Activité watch?

Chris Frei, 2014-12-11

No. Supplies are very limited

Volker Weber, 2014-12-11

How is your experience with the Pulse going? I'm thinking of buying one to replace a FitBit One (because of the heart rate monitor), but I've read too many negative reviews on Amazon. As you seem to be a very active user of the device I wonder if your opinion is different. Thanks in advance!

Pedro Meireles, 2015-01-23

I would keep the Fitbit One.

Volker Weber, 2015-01-23

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