Sunday, July 26, 2015

My thoughts on the Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer

A few weeks ago I bought the Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer. I would of preferred buying the WS-30, but there was a good discount on the WS-50. The biggest difference between them is that the WS-50 provides the ability to measure body fat, heart rate, room temperature and CO2 levels. Both still automatically upload your weight. But is a "smart" weight scale worth having?

When first taking the scale out of the box, you will pair it to your phone using bluetooth. There is a button on the back to begin the pairing process. You will use the Withings app on your phone to configure it with your information such as the Wi-Fi network it will connect to. The scale does not support 5GHz Wi-Fi, just standard 2.4GHz.

The good thing about smart scales like the Withings compared to others is the Wi-Fi feature. Other, cheaper smart scales, require your phone to always be present so that it can sync the information with it's mobile app using bluetooth. The Withings scale will use Wi-Fi to upload your information to your online Withings account, no matter where your phone is.

After configuring the scale to your Wi-Fi network, you will create a profile with your characteristics on the Withings app including your age, weight, height, and nickname to use on the scale. Based on the approximate weight to your profile, the scale will detect who is stepping on the scale and display your nickname at the top.

Now it is time to step on the scale. It will first begin to measure your weight, using arrows on the corner of the display to assist you in balancing straight. Now here is where the WS-50 differentiates from the WS-30. The WS-50 will next display your body fat percentage (BF%). Like other scales, it uses the bioelectrical impedance analysis method in order to estimate your BF%. It may not be fully accurate, but it is a great for using it as a reference and comparing changes.

Afterwards, it will display the weather. It will show an umbrella if it is going to rain, or show the low and high temperature for the day. Following that, it will measure your resting heart rate, which Withings says is a good measure of fitness. And finally it will display the temperature and CO2 levels in the room.

Since the WS-50 provides temperature and CO2 data, I was hoping to use the Withings API to create a script in the future to measure that data from my room for home automation. But unfortunately the Withings API does not support this.

The real reason I got it was because I was tired of weighing myself with my standard scale and taking out my phone to record my weight and BF% on MyFitnessPal. The Withings app is compatible with Apple's HealthKit and MyFitnessPal, which means those systems can grab your weight and data from the Withings app and online profile. So now I just need to quickly step on the scale and go about my day, with my data being automatically recorded for me to analyze later.

If someone says it is crazy to pay over $100 for a smart weight scale because you are too lazy to manually record data, I would not argue with them. But I have found it to be a purchase that I am happy with. Especially since I am using it to record my weight not only daily, but the changes throughout the day. My recommendation would be to get the less featured WS-30 instead of the WS-50 if you do not care about minor things like room temperature and resting heart rate.

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