WITHINGS PULSE SMART ACTIVITY TRACKER REVIEW
The newly available Withings Pulse Smart Activity Tracker is unique on several fronts: it interfaces with the smart Withings Body Scale, gathers heart rate data, and has a touch-sensitive screen. All on a tiny, tiny device. And there's more: You can easily buy and Pulse and via software upgrade it to a Pulse O2 (rebranded to Pulse Ox) device.
The Withings Pulse Smart Activity Tracker weighs in at only 8 grams (0.28 oz, 0.018 lb). While this may put it in the featherweight category by mass when compared to its rivals, it doesn't mean that the device goes light on its data tracking capabilities. With a heart rate monitor, an accelerometer that measures activity during the day and sleep at night, and a touch screen, this tiny device gives you a lot of features without taking up a lot of your space. The Withings Pulse tracks steps, distance traveled, heart rate, calories burned, sleep (duration, quality of sleep), vertical elevation climbed and stairs climbed. It also tells the time and has touch screen capability.
With compactness comes versatility: the Withings Pulse can be worn in a pocket or paired with a belt clip (included) or wrist band (included). However, for the forgetful, fitness trackers that must be placed in pockets or repositioned daily (for a sleep tracking band, or to be set aside for showers) can easily be misplaced or thrown in the laundry. On the positive side, the device has a rubberized finish that helps keep it secure in your pocket, preventing it from sliding out easily as might happen if it had a sleek finish.
A small size also means a small energy profile; the battery charge can last up to two weeks, on the longer end when compared to competing products. It recharges via an on-board micro USB port. (Check out the comparison chart to see how it compares to other health trackers on a variety of metrics).
Press your finger or thumb any time you want the device to grab your heart rate. Meanwhile, throughout the day, the fitness tracker continuously measures motion, gathering not only number of steps, but whether your activity is moderate or intense, and how many stairs you have climbed. When worn at night, it captures sleep quality and sleep duration.
Importantly, this activity monitor syncs wirelessly when you are near a paired device. Many users appreciate the convenience of automatic synchronization.
The device screen features a touch surface that lets you swipe from screen to screen. Data available via the screen include the time, calories burned, steps, and heart rate. Additional data (sleep quality and duration, flights of stairs, intensity of activity) can be accessed online via the Free Withings Health Mate App, available for iPhone and Android (iPad coming soon).
The Pulse works with the company's existing Withings Health Mate App, pictured below. The fitness tracker's app and online interface offer goal setting and monitoring, data viewing, encouraging notes, and weight tracking.
But most notably, the app serves as a hub for all information gathered by any Withings devices you may own. Withings already has several health products on the market including wireless scales (the Withings Smart Body Analyzer is their latest offering) and a blood pressure monitor.
Withings has an established API and a history of integrating their data with existing fitness apps MyFitnessPal and Lose It!, so similar compatibility could be expected when their activity tracker becomes available.
Pulse vs Pulse O2?
Withings has since released an updated version of the Pulse called the Pulse O2. Due to a copyright concern, they've since rebranded the Pulse O2 to "Pulse Ox". The new gadget comes with the added feature of pulse oximetry, allowing you to see your blood oxygen level. It also has a fancy wrist strap.
BUT, if you already have an original Pulse (or see one at a great price that you'd like to buy), don't despair! You can upgrade the original Pulse firmware free of charge, and the software update will enable it to also track blood oxygen level.
LET'S BREAK IT DOWN
Features & Added Benefits
The Withings Pulse Smart Activity Tracker tracks steps, distance traveled, heart rate, calories burned, sleep (duration, quality of sleep, light vs deep sleep), vertical elevation climbed and stairs climbed. It also tells the time and has touch screen capability.
The device became available in August 2013.
Hardware & Wearing
The devices is small: 43 mm x 22 mm x 8 mm (1.69"x0.87"x0.31") and weighs only about 8 grams (0.018 lb). It features a 128x32 OLED touchscreen. The small form factor of the new Withings Pulse makes it versatile: wear it in your pocket, or attached to your clothing using the device's accompanying clip. It also comes with a wristband for use while sleep-tracking. A slightly rubber-like coating helps keep the device more securely anchored in your pocket than if it had a sleek finish.
Battery Life & Charging
The Withings Smart Activity Tracker charges via an on-board micro USB port. A charge can last up to two weeks - impressive compared to its competition.
Automatic wireless syncing.
Access your data online via the free Withings Health Mate App, compatible with the following apple devices running iOS 5 and up: iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S & 5), iPod Touch(3rd Gen and up), iPad (all versions, including Mini). It also runs on Android smartphone or tablet (2.3.3 and up) with bluetooth capability.