The trend of pairing a traditional gadget with a smartphone is not lost on the fitness world. The iHealth Scale is a digital scale designed to pair with a smartphone app to track your weight and body mass index. Will this $69 accessory help whip--or guilt--you into shape?
Click to EnlargeThe iHealth scale's glass top and frosty white lining underneath gives the device a modern look, and it's also very easy to clean. The display on the scale shows your weight in large numbers, but is not backlit. The scale itself is 14.2 x 14.2 x 2.2 inches and weighs 4.4 pounds, and is powered by 4 AAA batteries.
To get started, we downloaded the free iScale app from the App Store on our iPhone. Unlike the Fitbit Aria and the Withings scale, the iHealth only connects to your phone, and not an online account via Wi-Fi. Pairing the iPhone with the scale via Bluetooth was easy. Annoyingly, however, we needed to re-pair the two devices every time we wanted to use the app with the scale. iHealth says this is so that more than one person can use the scale and that it prevents weight data from being sent to the wrong iOS device.
Click to EnlargeThe iScale app, available for only iOS devices, looks very simple, and not in a good way. There are three tabs across the top: Calorie Counter, My Weight, and Activity Tracker. Some of the spacing above and below the title of the screen is uneven.
The selection of foods in the calorie counter database could be better organized. For example, when we searched for "banana," the iScale app showed banana-flavored baby food for the first 15 results and only listed "banana, raw" after 20+ results. By comparison, the FitBit app live-populates suggestions as you are start typing the name of the food. Also, in the FitBit app, it came up with "bananas, 90 cal" at the very top and banana-flavored items on the bottom.
Click to EnlargeThe activity log's search was just as counterintuitive. Not only did it not give us live suggestions, but when we typed "running," it was not smart enough to populate "run" as a search result. We only found our activity if we typed the exact word in the database.
In the app, the user can set a plan with goal weight and the starting and ending dates. You can set an activity reminder, a measurement reminder, a food diary reminder and an excessive calories reminder. For all the reminders, you can only set one time per day. In the case of the food diary reminder, it's not going to be too helpful because you will want to measure your food intake more than once a day.
The iScale app has a FAQ tab on the bottom. The simple, text-only FAQ articles do help explain body weight information by giving the user diet tips. You can also learn how to use the scale and also how to troubleshoot if something goes awry.
Click to EnlargeThe iHealth scale stores weight information, so that the next time you connect to the scale, the app will ask you if you want to upload all the weight info. The app looks at the weight from the last time you weighed yourself and automatically checks off similar weights in the list. If it makes a mistake, you can manually check and uncheck the measurements in order to sync the correct data.
We weighed ourselves three times, and found the scale itself to be accurate and consistent. However, we really wished that the display was backlit like the Fitbit Aria and the Withings scale. Another feature the scale is missing is that it does not show you BMI like the other two scales do.
Click to EnlargeVerdict
At $69, almost half the price of the FitBit Aria scale, the iHealth scale would seem like a bargain. However, it offers much less functionality and the app isn't thoughtfully designed, making this device less of a deal than it would appear.