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“Oh, I don’t even own a scale,” I used to say breezily, in the smugly dulcet tone of one of those people who claims to never gain weight. Then I had a kid and gained a bunch of weight. And just as tracking my jogging stats with RunKeeper became an extra push to lace up my sneakers more often, a high-tech superscale like Withings’ Smart Body Analyzer WS-50 seems like just the thing to keep me honest and on track to meet my weight loss goals. We’re nerds. We need to embrace it.
Physically, the WS-50 is a beauty, with a modern look, deep gray glass, and easy to read LED display. It runs on 4 AA batteries, which are included, but it’s no basic electronic scale. The WS-50 weighs you, then calculates your percentage body fat, your heart rate, and the level of CO2 in your room. It transmits this information over Wi-Fi to your withings.com account, or over Bluetooth to the free Withings Health Mate app on your iPhone (an Android version is available too). Your whole family can use the scale, which recognizes up to eight people based on their weight. Little arrows on the LED display even correct your positioning if you’re standing in the wrong spot for an accurate reading.
The scale also checks the carbon dioxide (parts per million) and temperature of the room every 30 minutes—Withings recommends you keep it in your bedroom, both to track the air quality where you sleep, and since it’s not fully waterproof. But the CO2 number it gives you doesn’t seem super useful on its own, until you get enough data to make a graph, which showed me my numbers were getting higher at night. This makes sense, but I’m still not sure what to do about it—get some plants? Open a window?
The app is great, with a clean, attractive interface. You can set weight-loss goals and get encouragement, and link up other devices and services—I linked up my RunKeeper account, for example, and it works with Withings’ Smart BP Monitor and the Zeo sleep-tracking device too. You can enter any of this information manually as well (so you could still use the app no matter what scale you have), but wirelessly receiving data from the WS-50 is just so fun and futurey.
The bottom line. I didn’t look at the price of the scale until I had fallen for its good looks, pleasant companion app, and convenient wireless data. Considering how high-tech it is, I was guessing the $200 range, so its $150 price was a pleasant surprise. While that may seem like a lot for a scale, I think the Smart Body Analyzer is worth it, since it’s working for me.
Works with Withings Heath Mate app for iPhone
Good looks. Easy to read display. Great companion app. Transmits data over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
If you’re willing to enter the information manually, you could use any scale with the Withings Health Mate app to track weight loss. The air quality measurement feels like an add-on, but it also doesn’t detract.