Don't be fooled: Weight alone is not an accurate measurement of a healthy body. The Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale records your weight, lean mass, fat mass and body mass index to give you a more complete picture of your overall fitness level. But can the Wi-Fi Body Scale help you understand the meaning of all of these measurements for the premium price of $159?
Click to EnlargeThe Withings scale is available in black or white, but no matter which color you choose, the smooth glass surface gives the scale a modern look. The backlit 3.5-inch LCD with large numbers is easy to read in low light. Vertical and horizontal solid stripes under the colored glass spices up the design, and also marks where you are supposed to stand for the most accurate reading. The glass has electrodes that send a signal through your body to measure your body composition.
Measuring 12.6 x 12.6 x 0.9 inches and weighing 6.7 pounds, the Withings scale is slightly smaller than the iHealth scale and almost the same size as the Fitbit Aria. It comes with 4 AAA batteries, a USB cord, a tape measure and four attachments for when it is used on a carpeted surface. We loved the carpet attachments, something not included with the iHealth and Aria scales.
Click to EnlargeIt was extremely easy to set up the Withings scale. While you can use it simply to measure weight, you can only use its advanced features by setting up an online profile. We created our free profile by choosing a username, a password, and entering our gender, height and starting weight. A window gave us an explanation of weight, lean mass, and fat mass, and supplied answers for such frequently asked questions as "What is a normal body composition?" Using these features, Withings really helped us understand all the elements that go into creating a balanced body instead of just purely looking at weight as a be-all-end-all measurement of healthiness.
Unlike the iHealth scale but similar to the Aria, the Withings Scale connects to your Wi-Fi network. In order to do so, we first had to connect the scale to our Mac via USB (it's also PC-compatible). The setup took us less than 4 minutes.
Software and Interface
Click to EnlargeIn addition to using a browser dashboard, you can also check out your weight using the free Withings mobile app (available for Android and iOS devices). After signing into our account, we could view our weight information. When the app is in landscape mode, it changes from showing a single account of your weight, lean mass and fat mass to a chart of your weight history.
Unlike the Aria's Fitbit app for iOS and the iHealth scale app, we were not able to log our workouts or caloric intake with the Withing's app or Web portal. However, users can sync their data with a variety of different apps that do allow calorie tracking along with other metrics. We were able to sync with apps such as RunKeeper, DailyBurn and even the FitBit app.
Withings also offers many different sharing options, including Twitter and Facebook, as well as the ability to email your data to your doctor.
Click to EnlargeWhere Fitbit tries to makes its scale and Web interface fun, Withings is aimed at more serious athletes, as there are a ton of FAQs about the science of losing weight and explanation of diet terms such as BMI, body fat percentage and lean mass. Withings also runs a great blog with a focus on health, diet tips and the impact of smart technology on the health industry--whereas the Fitbit blog is focused on feature and hardware updates, and iHealth does not have a blog at all.
Click to EnlargeThe Withings scale measures everything that the Aria scale measures as well as lean mass--a great measurement for serious fitness enthusiasts. We were able to choose from different profiles to help make measuring our weight, BMI, lean mass and fat mass more accurate. On the top bar of the website, an "info" drop-down with a field called "Body Composition Model" gave us the choice of "Athlete Version." This profile is for people who work out more than 8 hours per week and who have a resting heart rate under 60 beats per minute.
For the scale to calculate lean mass, fat mass on top of the weight and BMI, we had to stand on the scale with bare feet. Using the little arrow cues on the display to center ourselves, we received consistent readings. Withings suggests that you weigh yourself around the same time every day for consistency; the app has an option to set up a push reminder for when it's time for the weigh-in.
Like the Aria scale, the Withings scale can track up to eight users. When a different person weighed himself on the scale, the scale and the website alerted us of an abnormality in the measurement and offered the option to create a new user profile. Even if two people have similar weights, we were still able to create a different user profile for that measurement on the Web or on the scale itself. The iHealth scale does not automatically recognize various profiles.
Click to EnlargeThe $159 Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale looks great in the bathroom, and it is easy to set up and use. We loved the multiple user feature and the ability to choose a different profile for a more athletic lifestyle. This scale also provides an extra measurement of lean mass. While more casual users might prefer the $129 Fitbit Aria, those looking for a more comprehensive approach to weight loss and toning should check out the Body Scale.