Provides: Weight/fat/BMI measurement and wireless tracking
Minimum Requirements: Mac OS X v10.4.10 or Microsoft XP Service Pack 2, WiFi network for online tracking, iPhone or iPod touch for portable tracking
$160 for a scale. Okay, I get it. Kind of like paying $160 for a toaster, right? Well, suppose that toaster could keep track of your whole grains intake and tasty breakfast satisfaction on the web. Suppose that toaster could beam your whole wheat or potato bread choice to your iPhone. Suppose it could automatically share your English muffin/Pop Tart preference on Twitter. Would that make it worth it? No, because that doesn’t make any sense. But with the Withings WiFi Body Scale, it does make for a surprisingly useful (and somewhat addictive) feature set.
First things first, this is a good-looking device. That’s an odd thing to say about a scale, but yes, the WiFi Body Scale is very-well designed; its modern, metallic look under tempered glass is attractive enough that it need not be hidden away in a bathroom or closet. On the other hand, it’s so thin that you can easily stand it up behind a door if you don’t have room for it to sit out permanently.
The scale wants to sit on a hard, flat surface, of course, but Withings does include raisers to lift the scale for use on carpets. Even with these in place, however, I found calculations to be off; stick with a hard surface if at all possible.
This, of course, is not worth $160 yet. That price tag comes from the WiFi capabilities. You’re given a choice of synching your scale up with your computer (via web browser) or iPhone, iPod touch (via the free WiScale app), or both. When you launch the Pairing Wizard, the scale will connect to your computer (initially via the provided USB cable, then subsequently via WiFi) and allow you set up an account at my.withings.com.
After the initial hookup is complete, the scale will automatically send your weight, lean mass and fat measurements to this password protected account. There, you can track them via easy-to-read/navigate graphs. You can also set up additional accounts for multiple user tracking (each account can have its own password), provide objectives, and customize how your results are displayed (e.g. fat mass calculated as a percentage or mass unit). The Withings website explains what all of this is and why it’s important.
The site displays numerous health tips that can be turned off or accessed at any point by clicking the “Tips” icon in the upper left. You’re also given a few options for sharing your results. First, you can set it to be shared with other users of the scale when they log in to their accounts. You can elect to make your online profile public so anyone can log in to see your results. And finally, a recent addition gives you the option to have your calculations automatically published to your Twitter account. I’m guessing you’d have to be fairly confident to subject yourself to that kind of scrutiny, but to each his/her own.
iPhone and iPod touch connectivity is even easier to set up and use, as it’s simply a matter of placing your device on the back of the scale and hitting a button. After doing this once, your results are automatically sent to the iDevice, and a number on its icon will indicate you have results to read. Once launched, you’ll basically see the same display as that from the lower right of the web interface. Hit the information icon, and you’re provided with a few user/calculation settings similar to those available at my.withings.com.
And if you’d like to see a graph display of your progress (or, in my case, lack thereof), simply tilt your phone to the horizontal position:
So, what can you do with all of this? Not a whole lot. There’s no real program here. Nothing analyzes your progress and offers customized weight loss suggestions. The whole point of the WiFi Body Scale (aside from reporting your weight, of course) is to keep track of your weight loss/gain, making it easier for you to see how you’re doing. Having this information stored online and on your phone can be quite an incentive, however. It’s easy to forget gaining a pound or two, or to not document that in a journal. With the WiFi Body scale, you can’t gloss over that (although you can delete any entry). Seeing your fluctuations displayed visually can certainly help you stay on track.
So, yes, $160 is quite a lot for a scale, but the Withings WiFi Body Scale can justify its price through its sturdiness, accuracy, design and functionality. It’s by no means a personal coach, but the automatic reporting/sharing will help you visualize your progress and give you that little extra push towards your goals. If you end up in better health as a result, then yes, I’d say it’s worth it.
Buy the Withings WiFi Body Scale