Scales are a little scary. They blurt out your darkest fears without even so much as a “Do you mind?”. They then drift off into an uninterrupted sleep again, whilst you’re left to stitch together your fragile self-confidence. With the Withings Body+ Smart Scales, that feeling of inadequacy can be amplified with not only weight, but BMI, body fat, water and bone mass measurements available to you. Rejoice, or cringe.
- Lots of features
- Durable design
- Ever-improving Health Mate app
- Those stabilisers are dangerous on laminate floors
Many might be asking just what smart scales bring to the table that you actually need, over and above the obvious. Back when I reviewed the Terraillon Webcoach, I might have nodded along whilst that question was being asked. Despite that device being a great device, it was pricey and I ultimately ended up just using it for my weight. With the Withings Body+ Smart Scale though, things are a little different. The eco-system is there now with the Health Mate application tracking all measurements. Equally the accuracy has improved also to make this a really compelling option for those who want a little more information about their body makeup.
The Withings Body+ comes in white or black (we have the white one), and can be used on its own, or along with a number of fitness applications, on both iOS and Android platforms.
A very thick tempered glass slab covers and protects the top of the Withings Body+, with a lonely 128×64 pixel LCD display towards the top edge of the device. Around the back there are four feet which can have stabilisers put on them, as well as a battery compartment (which takes 4 x AAA batteries which are included) and a power button.
Specifications – Withings Body+
- Tempered glass & plastic construction (327 x 327 x 23mm)
- 128×64 pixel display
- Position Control technology for improved accuracy
- Weighing range: 5 – 180kg
- Units: kg, lb, st/lb
- Storage: 16 readings onboard, unlimited online reading recording
- Power: 4 x AAA batteries (average lifespan of 18-months)
- Up to 8 users
- Metrics & Features
- Fat mass
- Muscle mass
- Bone mass
- Steps (via sync with other fitness tracker)
Performance & Use
From the first use, the Withings Body+ give off an air of accuracy by demanding you take your first steps onto the scale barefoot. This allows the Body+ to more accurately measure some of the less obvious measurements such as bone density. This is due to the Body+ using the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) measurement method. A small current is used to measure the user’s impedance which aids in providing an estimate of such measurements.
Powering on the device you are greeting with a display that points you to the website to grab the required application to pair the device. That pairing process has the Body+ connect with your home WiFi for wireless sync, and so it can receive updates. The whole process takes around 5-minutes and is painless. Once paired, the Health Mate app can also start to show you some metrics, as well as being able to control the features seen on the scale during use.
It’s a heavy device, which is great as it isn’t supposed to be portable, and that weight delivers inherent durability. It’s not going anywhere unless of course, you intend to use this on tiled or wooden floors. In those cases, be incredibly careful. Once I had put the included plastic balancing feet in place, the Body+ became incredibly slippery when stepping on and off. I’d go so far as to say this is dangerous. On carpet though there is little issue. I’d like to see an option for rubber feet to offset this issue.
Before you step on, you might want to change the units the scale will display, as well as your weight goal. For the former, simply press the button on the back of the scale until the desired unit shows on the display. For the latter, use the Health Mate application to setup your profile, including sex, height, age, etc.
Stepping on for the first time, the Body+ will guide you to stay still, and you’ll see four little placeholders on the display to let you know if you’re balanced or not before it takes a reading. Once the reading is taken, you’ll be shown your weight, and then if you stay on the scale, the other measurements will cycle into view.
From the multiple measurements received, I can only really validate the weight measurements as highly accurate. They matched my previous digital scales that I’ve been using for around a year. As with all of these types of devices you have to take some of the measurements with a pinch of salt as they are guesstimates based on other factors. This is a point that Withings themselves are aware of. So much so that they include an Athlete Mode in the Health Mate app. This mode uses different calculations to approximate the mass readings, as athletes usually have a different body composition. It’s a nice touch.
Health Mate – The Perfect Companion
Companion applications are to be expected with such devices, but Withings have been slowly but surely creating a wonderfully connected eco-system. Along with a Withings smartwatch, there is little you can’t measure and keep track of. We’ve gone into this in more detail in our Withings ScanWatch review, but there’s also a web component too. It’s not to the level of fitness stalwarts such as Garmin, but it delivers a nicer interface than the application to view your tracked measurements.
Users can drill down into any section and really hone in on some good data. Withings also have a good deal of control over this data too via the profile page.
The Withings Body+ Smart Scale is an accurate (from what I can tell) device that delivers a good amount of data for those seeking to track their body composition a little more closely. Withings claim that “7 out of 10 Withings users with a weight loss goal manage to lose a significant amount of fat mass in less than 3 months following the installation of their body composition scale”. Whilst I might counter this claim with the fact that many seeking to lose weight, might invest in a new set of scales, it’s still worthy of note.
It’s easy to use, with lots of features and exudes durability. It, along with the companion application, is a really good option for historical measurement analysis also.
It’s when pairing this device with an individual who already has other Withings products that it really comes into its own, with a varied and details set of metrics than can (and did for me) help drive a healthier lifestyle. Just be careful of using on wood! Seriously.