Test: Withings Pulse

Withings Pulse is one of the smarter step counters in terms of features, but the result could be much better.

Withings would be the only manufacturer in your connected, healthy life, it became extremely clear when they introduced the activity meter Pulse and the latest version of their connected scales. With Withings products you can measure weight, fat percentage, heart rate, temperature, CO2, blood pressure, heart rate, steps, sleep, heart rate, and more. For the observant who read the previous sentence carefully, we can announce that it was not a misprint typing pulse three times in the enumeration. Heart rate measurement you get from personal scales, blood pressure meter and now the activity tracker and all three give completely different results (blood pressure meter is plausibly the most accurate).

In addition to the Withings take help of Runkeeper and Myfitnesspal for fitness training and nutrition, where these will be synced into the Withings app, it is more a complete solution with custom widgets that Withings. Previously, it was mostly about to become friends with so many other services that enable data sharing to them, but that’s not the case anymore.

Pulse is an activity meter, or glorified step counters, if you will, in the same style as the Jawbone Up, Nike Fuelband or the Fitbit. The sign went up, sleep, how high you climbed during the day in such as slopes or stairs and calories burned. The trump card of the Pulse is also, as its name suggests, a built-in heart-rate monitor to give you second current pulse measurement when you need it (unlike the resting heart rate, which is the point of the blood pressure monitor). It has the same form factor as a Fitbit and is thus supposed to be carried in your pocket or on your belt with the supplied bracket, but the great difference physically is that you can browse the history by using the device’s touch screen.

Night time pokes you in the Pulse in a wristband, switching on the sleep poll to bed and asleep while the gadget measures how good your sleep is. Unlike both the Fitbit and Jawbone Up lacks the vibration motor, however, and can therefore not be used as silent alarm clock, which is very sad.

Daytime keeps Pulse tabs on your step during the day and also when you strain yourself a bit more, for example while running. Sometimes the counter unit rose more or less accurate, and with about the same minuscule margin of error the Fitbit. Some days, the device is not really at as good mood, without showing either too few or too many (mostly the former) but no direct reason. It happens maybe once a week, but it’s still a concern.

A much greater concern is the built-in heart rate monitor that simply do not work reliably. In many cases, it refuses to pick up the heart rate at all, then operate flawlessly right after with the exact same location. In some cases, the a Jolt and claims that the pulse is a bit over 190, despite having been sitting still for a whole morning. A minute later it measures up a pulse around the 30 mark and so keep it on. Often, the variations are not quite as big, but it is definitely unusual that it oscillates between 60 and 90 beats per minute, even though the measurements are taken in sequence one after the other.We actually got more constant results were better with the more serious blood pressure recorder by using an app that checks your pulse via the mobile phone’s camera and photo light than what we got with the Pulse.

Then sync all of your data via standard bluetooth to an Ios or Android device and summarized in the Withings Health Mate-app. it works without any major problems, in addition to the synchronization in some cases seems to hang and suck out of the battery really fast.

If you use the Withings other products with heart rate monitors, however, it becomes a God’s touch for pulse measurement in the app, especially because the heart rate monitor in the Withings scale is only marginally more reliable than that of the Pulse. Sign in blood pressure and weight for health reasons by Withings (where blood pressure Recorder has regulations to follow in order to even get sold) is simply all heart rate data quickly useless.

Withings has sent out a lot of software updates during our test period, so they are probably very aware of the problems. Step count has improved during the period, as well as some of the battery cleaner bugs, while the heart rate monitor is still as lousy. It’s really sad, because it is the function special Pulse from other activity tracker on the market. It is not only boring, but closest to the disastrous, from this point of view that Withings previously made a name for itself selling sensible stuff for mobile connected health measurement.


Name: Withings Pulse

Type: Activity meter

Measurements: Step, activity level, gauge, altimeter, heart rate monitor sleep

Dimensions: 43x22x8 mm

Weight: 8 grams

Battery life: up to two weeks

Communication: Bluetooth