At iMore, we love the best Apple Watches on the market. And yet, we also recognize that these full-featured smartwatches aren’t for everyone. So if you’re someone who wants to track health and fitness routines from your wrist but doesn’t care less about changing watch faces and having an App Store on your arm, it’s time to get started. consider the Withings ScanWatch.
A great alternative to the Apple Watch, this FDA-approved hybrid smartwatch is beautifully designed and well-made. Best of all, it’s packed with many of the same features as the Apple Watch Series 7 at a lower price. While it’s also not for everyone, Withings’ latest product is its best yet and worth considering, as you’ll learn in this review.
At the end of the line : A premium hybrid smartwatch that collects essential health and fitness data 24/7. And did we mention battery life? This puts the Apple Watch to shame.
- great design
- Lots of useful features like ECG
- HealthMate app
- 30 days of autonomy!
- Small digital window
- Learning Curve for Obtaining ECG/SpO2 Readings
- The white watch face model does not offer a red activity hand
Withings ScanWatch: Price and availability
First announced in 2020, the Withings ScanWatch was finally made available in the United States at the end of 2021, following Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. The ScanWatch is available for purchase on the Withings website and at major retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. The 38mm model starts at $279.95, the 42mm model from $299.95. The watch is available with a white or black dial with silver everywhere else. Each watch comes with a fluoroelastomer sport band, magnetic charging cable and reusable pouch. Additional straps, some of which are leather, are available for purchase separately on the Withings website.
Withings ScanWatch: what is good
There’s a lot to like about the ScanWatch. The best starting point is its design and construction. We will then move on to its long list of features.
Design and build
The first thing you’ll recognize about the ScanWatch is its face, which looks very much like a traditional watch (hello, physical watch hands) until you see the two circular insets at the top and bottom . The top one is a PMOLED display where you’ll find the digital day/time and key metrics collected throughout the day, such as notifications, your current heart rate, steps, and more. This area also plays a role when calculating your on-demand ECG and oxygen saturation level and starting fitness sessions. You can find all the options by rotating the watch crown on the right side up or down. The PMOLED display is well lit, making it easy to view at night.
The first thing you’ll recognize about the ScanWatch is its face, which looks very much like a traditional watch (hello, physical watch hands).
The second inset offers a one-arm analog dial that shows your current daily step count. Watch the arm move slowly throughout the day (assuming you’re taking steps), only to be reset each day at midnight. The arm of this insert is silver on all ScanWatch models except the black 42mm (but not 38mm) version, where it is a much superior red.
Build-wise, the ScanWatch is anything but cheap. It features a stainless steel (316L) case with a lacquered brass dial and sapphire crystal. The 38mm version weighs 58 grams (2.07 ounces), while the 42mm version weighs 83g (2.92 ounces). My 42mm ScanWatch review unit felt a little heavy on my wrist, but that’s probably because it’s heavier than my 44mm aluminum Apple Watch Series 7 that I wear every day, which weighs 1.38 oz.
Characteristics. And more features
As I first mentioned in 2019 in my Withings Move review, I’ve been a long-time fan of Withings products, and one of the reasons for that is the company’s companion app, Health Mate. The free app keeps track of all the fitness and health metrics you can think of, as collected from its many products, including scales, blood pressure cuffs, treadmills, and more. sleep tracking, etc. The app automatically migrates this data to Apple Health.
The ScanWatch collects many of data, starting with its two most touted features, ECG and SpO2.
The wearable device’s on-demand EKG is used to detect signs of atrial fibrillation, with results easily shared with your doctor via the Health Mate app.
Called a single-lead electrocardiogram, the process works as expected, although there is a slight learning curve when it comes to taking a reading. You must activate an ECG reading by selecting it from the PMOLED display menu using the crown. As designed, that means covering the screen with your fingers, which makes it confusing the first few times. Playback begins when you feel a slight pulse and ends 30 seconds later with another pulse.
Collecting your oxygen saturation level (SpO2) follows a similar process as it requires placing your fingers on the watch. SpO2 can determine a person’s respiratory function.
Ideally, you should have the Health Mate app open when taking ECG or SpO2 readings on your watch. This will allow you to view data collection in real time. Either way, this information stays in the app for future reference.
The ScanWatch also keeps track of a user’s heart rate and sleep stages. When it comes to fitness, the ScanWatch has activity detection for running, swimming and surfing and can also monitor performance for up to 40 additional activity types. It also offers a VO2Max estimate to gauge your fitness level. Calories and elevation are also collected. ScanWatch does not have built-in GPS, which means you’ll need to take your iPhone with you for location data. The two devices communicate with each other via Bluetooth Low Energy.
The ScanWatch collects many of data starting with its two most touted features, ECG and SpO2.
It should be noted that the ScanWatch offers up to 30 days between charges, not the 18 hours you’re likely to get with the current-gen Apple Watch. It takes about an hour to charge the watch up to 80% and two hours to 100%. In addition, the watch offers water resistance up to 50 m.
Withings ScanWatch: What is not good
While I mostly like the design of the ScanWatch, there is one area where improvement is needed. The PMOLED display, while useful, is far too small to read iPhone notifications. That’s why I recommend disabling them. I also think the bottom dial looks like ha, fine with a red hand, which means I’m not as happy with the silver hand that comes with the white face of the watch.
Withings ScanWatch: Competetion
Smartwatches tend to get better with each new generation, and so do Withings wearables. If you like what you read on the ScanWatch, but don’t want the ECG and SpO2 capabilities, consider the cheaper four-star Withings Steel HR. The aforementioned four-star Withings Move is also very good for something more entry-level, assuming you can do without many of the features that make the ScanWatch shine. Both work great with the same Health Mate app mentioned above.
Naturally, if you’re not tied to the Withings ecosystem and want to upgrade to a full smartwatch, say hello to the Apple Watch Series 7 or the cheaper Apple Watch SE.
Withings ScanWatch: Should I buy it?
You should buy it if…
- You want Apple Watch features on a hybrid watch
- You want to track a lot of personal data
- Don’t be afraid to spend around $300
You shouldn’t buy this if…
- You want a complete connected watch
- You want a portable budget
- Doesn’t care about collecting health metrics
Currently, I can’t think of a better hybrid smartwatch on the market. A good rule of thumb: if you appreciate the hottest features of the Apple Watch Series 7 but don’t want a full-featured smartwatch, go with the Withings ScanWatch.
There’s not much not to like about the ScanWatch, which is packed with great features for both fitness and health in a design that’s both classic and modern.
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