The Withings ScanWatch is the ultimate smartwatch for keeping a track of your health. Clinically validated, this sleek-looking watch has an inbuilt ECG, on-demand oximeter and heart-rate monitor.
I’ve never been so impressed by a watch. You can have your fancy wearables which hold your music, or can pull up a map for wherever you are, but the Withings ScanWatch wins hands down for health tracking. I was impressed by the Withings Steel for its accuracy, but if it’s in-depth health monitoring you’re after, the ScanWatch is your answer.
Withings has a fantastic first-look customer experience – those initial moments where you unpack your watch are everything. It comes in a handy pouch which has space for your charger and helps protect your watch when it’s stored. It’s different and that makes it stand out.
What the ScanWatch offers
The Withings ScanWatch is easy to set up and once you’ve download the app (available on Android and iOS), it only takes a few minutes. Within the face, it has a digital screen section and a dial to track your daily step goal. From the digital face, you can access other functions. These include day, date and digital time, heart rate, step count, distance, how many floors you’ve climbed, ECG, SP02 (oxygen levels), when you want to log a workout, the ‘breathe’ function (helping you reduce tension and anxiety), clock settings (including setting an alarm, stopwatch and countdown), and general settings (including battery life). Within this digital face, it’ll also show you notifications and messages if you choose to sync these from your phone to your watch.
With more and more people becoming better informed as to their health and health risks, the ScanWatch gives access to health monitoring which would have only been available in hospitals. For example, I’m absolutely gutted that this wasn’t around when my mum was alive. She had Alzheimers and had suffered from strokes in the past and I feel like we could have better detected health issues much sooner had she been wearing one of these. I’ve already recommended this to my dad, who, at almost 80, is at risk of atrial fibrillation and has recently had 48 hour heart-rate monitoring due to some concerns, even though he’s otherwise considered in great health.
The ScanWatch also has a Respiratory Scan which can detect breathing disturbances which are based on blood oxygen saturation levels, heart rate, movement and more. I often get an update every morning on breathing disturbances which is reassuring.
Comparing the ScanWatch and Fitbit
For approximately a month, I wore both my ScanWatch and Fitbit simultaneously. And there were huge differences. While both were roughly the same for heart rate, they varied greatly on steps and sleep. If Fitbit were a person, he’d be an optimist. On one day, I had supposedly done 3,000 more steps than the ScanWatch detected. And similarly, with sleep – while both recorded a period of sleep when I was definitely awake (too much caffeine!), the ScanWatch was more reserved in my sleep results, telling me what I thought was a more accurate picture. For me, I’d rather veer on the side of caution. There’s nothing more likely to mess with your head than your smartwatch telling you you’ve hit a solid 82% on the sleep scale, when you’ve been tossing and turning all night and feel awful the next morning.
Health Insights and Meditation functions
As well as all these ‘hard’ health functions, Withings are also keen to help you holistically and they provide a couple of programmes to improve wellbeing. I currently have Health Insights active which is a chat feature that pops up every now and again to tell me about achievements, my trends and will assess insights to give me actionable tips to improve my health. There’s also a meditation programme, a leaderboard which is designed to help motivate you by allowing you to see your friends’ activity (only works if you have friends who also have a Withings smartwatch), and a pregnancy tracker.
The ScanWatch also has automatic activity tracking which means that if you forget to start and stop a certain activity (there’s over 30 sports to choose from if you wanted to track activity manually) it’ll assign a sport to it based on its wizardry (I imagine it’s detected from your movement and typical heart rate). This is great if you’re forgetful like me. There have been some instances where it’s told me it’s detected swimming, when in fact, I was being chased around by two four year olds pretending to be a scared monster, but I don’t suppose there’s a specific workout setting for that… I was pretty much in the water however – so it did get that right – we were out in an absolute downpour.
The battery life is amazing! I can’t remember the last time I charged it, but it can have up to 30 days on a single charge. When compared with my Fitbit Charge, it’s noticeable how much less I have to charge it. This is fantastic for when I go away on holidays as I don’t have to worry about forgetting my charger.
As a personal trainer with a couple of clients who are doctors, one conversation about the ScanWatch brought up frustrations my client was having with her own, other brand of smartwatch; that tracking for issues such as Atrial Fibrillation was only done on-demand, rather than constantly. With the ScanWatch, you can either assess for an irregular or abnormally fast heart rate as and when you like, or you can set it to monitor this at 10 minute intervals. While this does use the battery up a little faster, it’s worth it for those who might have those health concerns.
I sometimes find the notifications frustrating as when they appear, it scrolls through. If you miss it, you miss it and there’s no way to see what it was if you don’t look immediately which makes me feel as though I’m a bit of a slave to my watch. However, on the upside, it’s useful, because I can often see enough at first glance to see who it’s from or who’s calling which either prompts me to reach for my phone to take action, or to get on with whatever I’m doing.
Many other smart watches are quite bulky and look like your typical fitness watch – slightly bulky and unlike your usual everyday watch. I love that the Withings ScanWatch looks like a dress watch – something which blends in when I’m wearing activewear or am more dressed up. I’m constantly amazed that I have such a range of functions at my fingertips and as a result, I feel like I can better tweak my day and lifestyle to improve it where its needed.
This watch is perfect for those who want to keep a close eye on their heart health and take a deep dive into their health stats.
Disclaimer: the Withings ScanWatch was gifted. All opinions are our own.