Withings Body smart scale review – Livescience.com

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The Withings Body smart scale is easy to use and provides basic stats via WiFi. But while it does everything it promises to do, it’s lacking in metrics needed to properly track health and fitness.
Intuitive and easy to set up
Connects via WiFi and Bluetooth
Excellent app
Larger scale suits people with big feet or bad balance
No body composition stats or heart rate monitor
Can’t be set up from a computer
High maintenance glass top
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The Withings Body smart scale is decent enough: the set up is quick and it’s really easy to use, but it’s lacking any advanced metrics – just weight and BMI readings here. However the Withings Health App is excellent, and it integrates with all the main health apps on Apple and Android, giving you access to more insights to help you on your health and fitness journey.
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth
Size: 12.8in x 12.8in (32.7cm x 32.7cm)
Max users:
Stats: Weight, BMI, weather, steps (if you have a Withings watch)
Max weight: 180kg/397lbs
Supported apps: Google Fit, Apple Health, Fitbit and 100+ health and fitness apps
Batteries: 4 AAA (provided)
Features: Weather report
The Withings Body smart scale is well-designed, with a long-lasting battery (18 months) and auto-recognition for up to eight users. It’ll even tell you the weather if this is something that’s important to you when buying scales. Get the whole family involved with pregnancy and baby modes, via WiFi or Bluetooth.
The scales are quite big compared with some of the best smart scales, but this is a plus for anyone with larger feet or who struggles with balance. Our main gripe was the lack of body stats, so without the app it’s not offering a lot more than a regular scale. You can, however, spend a bit more to get the Withings Body+ or Body Cardio for data on body fat, water percentage, muscle and bone mass.
For those new to smart scale technology, here’s how it all works. Standing on the scales with bare feet activates a small electrical change that travels through your body. Don’t worry, you can’t feel it and it’s safe for most people. However, anyone who is pregnant, has a pacemaker or medical implant should consult a healthcare professional before using one.
By measuring the resistance it faces, the smart scale can map your body composition, which you can then view via the app. Common stats include body fat, BMI, bone density, muscle mass, visceral fat, basal metabolic rate (BMR) and protein.
Smart scales can vary in accuracy but they are still a good way to track body composition changes, and can motivate people to stay on track with a weight loss or fitness goal.Withings Body smart scale being used by Live Science contributor Maddy BidulphRefreshingly, this was probably one of the easiest smart scales to set up. Take it out of the box, attach the ‘carpet feet’ to protect your floor from scratches, then pull the tab out to activate the batteries (supplied) and quick start. Just a quick word of warning, don’t do what we did and energetically tear the sticky back plastic off the carpet feet, or you risk accidentally peeling the whole sticker away and not being able to attach it to the scales.
Download the excellent Withings Health Mate app (you’ll need to register and create a new account, or log into an existing one), then press on the back for three seconds for set up mode. The scales’ display will say ‘set up’ as well as hello in various languages. It quickly pairs with your phone and asks to use the WiFi. You can skip this step and use Bluetooth if you want, but using WiFi means you can sync data when your phone is out of range, see weather reports on the scale, and get firmware updates.
The Withings smart scale syncs with all the major health apps without any technical issues. You will need to grant permission when prompted to allow all your data to be transferred automatically. It’s really straightforward, and makes good use of your existing stats to provide further insights.Withings Body smart scale being used by Live Science contributor Maddy BidulphFrom here, you can set up your profile (or log in if you already have one) and then you can customize which measurements you want to see on the scale – weight (kg, lb, st & lb), weight trend, BMI, weather and steps (if you use a Withings watch with the app). 
You can also set up a weight goal (gain, lose or maintain) and you can indicate how many pounds a week you’d like to drop. Usefully, it will then tell you how many weeks it’ll take you to reach the goal, showing the month you would reach your target. This is helpful if you want to lose weight in time for a certain event, as you can see how many pounds a week you would need to lose in a specific timeframe.
The Withings Body smart scale comes with a toughened glass platform and a minimalist design. It’s larger than a lot of smart scales (32.7 x 32.7 cm), useful for people with big feet or who struggle with balance. We like how if you’re in the wrong position on the scales, small arrows in the corner of the display will show you where to move in order to get an accurate reading.
We also love the big 128 x 64 pixel display (2.4” x 1.6”), which is easy to read. The Withings Body smart scale can accommodate up to eight users, and it has auto recognition, as well as pregnancy, baby and athlete modes.
We’re not sure how useful the weather report really is, but it could be helpful if you tend to weigh yourself in the morning before you get dressed.Withings Body smart scale being used by Live Science contributor Maddy BidulphReadings on the Withings Body smart scale are super fast, and also clear to read with its white display and black background. Rather depressingly, the Withings scales recorded our tester as 3.1kg (7lbs) heavier than their home Renpho ones – a sure-fire way to dampen anyone’s mood.
When compared with a professional body composition reading at the gym, the Withings scales put our tester at 2.4kg (5.2lbs) heavier than the machine’s recording, making the professional reading more in line with regular weigh-ins on the Renpho scales.Withings Body smart scale being used by Live Science contributor Maddy BidulphSo while the Withings scale performs well in terms of speed and useful features, the actual weigh-in was rather inaccurate. It also recorded our tester’s body fat as 30.6%, whereas the professional machine said body fat was 20.8% – a big difference.
We also had a slight issue with setting up multiple users, because you need to set up each user on a separate phone. If you set up more than one user on your phone, then the second person can’t access their stats without borrowing your phone. If you live together and aren’t in a rush to see them, we guess it shouldn’t be a major problem. Withings Body smart scale being used by Live Science contributor Maddy BidulphThe Withings Body smart scale is a well-designed and decent bit of kit, but if you want body composition stats, we recommend the brand’s Body+ or Body Cardio scales instead. This is because the scale itself only measures weight and BMI, although the excellent Health Mate app integrates seamlessly with all the main health and fitness apps (Fitbit, Samsung Health, Google Fit and Apple Health). This means you can sync all your activity and workouts with any data from the scale.
We love the design, and while it’s bigger than a lot of other smart scales, it’s really intuitive to use. The main drawback is that it doesn’t track any body composition metrics other than weight and BMI, so while it’s interesting to use alongside other health and fitness apps, some might see it as just a glorified digital scale.Withings Body smart scale being used by Live Science contributor Maddy BidulphIf you have a bigger budget, the Garmin Smart Scale Index S2 is WiFi and Bluetooth enabled, making it easy to track your body composition stats. It integrates well with the Garmin ecosystem, so fans of the brand will find syncing their workouts easy. It’s expensive though  ($149.99 / £129.99) and the Garmin Connect app gives limited context, so if you’re not making the most of the extra features save your money and opt for something cheaper, like the Xiaomi Mi Scales 2.Garmin Smart Scale Index S2The Xiaomi Mi Smart Scale 2 ($39.99 / £29.99) has a minimalist design that wouldn’t look out of place in an Apple store. It syncs easily via Bluetooth with the Zepp Life app, and integrates well with other stats if you have other Mi products. It has an impressive amount of body measurements (13) for the price, but it lacks Wi-Fi connectivity.Xiomi Mi Smart Scale 2Maddy is a freelance journalist and Level 3 personal trainer specializing in fitness, health and wellbeing content. She has been a writer and editor for 22 years, and has worked for some of the UK’s bestselling newspapers and women’s magazines, including Marie Claire, The Sunday Times and Women’s Health. Maddy loves HIIT training and can often be found working out while her two young daughters do matching burpees or star jumps. As a massive foodie, she loves cooking and trying out new healthy recipes (especially ones with hidden vegetables so the kids eat them). 
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