This Body Composition Scale Comes With a Feeble Fitness App
Smart scale pioneer Withings has been making Wi-Fi-connected scales for more than a decade. As the Body Comp name suggests, Withings’ latest scales provide a breakdown of your body composition, adding vascular age, visceral fat, and nerve health to the usual list of measurements. The Body Comp ($210) scales come with a year’s subscription to Withings’ new Health+ fitness service, adding practical advice to all that data, with programs that include workouts and meal suggestions to cajole you toward healthier habits.
Upgrading from the excellent Withings Body+ ($100), I was eager to see whether the Body Comp and Health+ subscription would justify the extra expense. After spending several weeks with these scales, I’m not convinced the new measurements are essential, and I was underwhelmed by the fledgling subscription fitness service.
Smarter or Superfluous?
The Withings Body Comp scales come in black or white and feature a familiar durable design with a glass top, circular metal centerpiece, and a little display to show your stats. Setup is simple, with four AAA batteries included (enough for 15 months of battery life if you weigh yourself once daily).
One of the things I like about the Body Comp is that the scales connect directly to Wi-Fi, so your phone doesn’t have to be nearby to upload your latest measurements. The Health Mate app is good, particularly if you use other Withings devices, like the ScanWatch (8/10, WIRED Recommends) or the Sleep Mat. But you can also export your measurements to Apple Health, Google Fit, Fitbit, Strava, and a few other apps.
The Health Mate app displays charts of your weight over time, enables you to set goals, and offers bits and pieces of advice. We’ll get into what Health+ adds in a moment. While you need to dig into the app to see longer-term trends and get the most value from your Body Comp scales, you can customize the scale display to show you the stats you want.
Hop onto the scales in bare feet (ideally naked) to get accurate measurements. The scales support up to eight users and usually identify you correctly by weight (this works fine for my family, but two people at a similar weight may have to attribute measurements specifically). The sensors in the Body Comp scales can be a little temperamental. Place your feet in the center, standing completely still, to trigger a set of measurements. You have to stay there for several seconds, which can be annoying on a cold morning.
By default, Body Comp shows your weight, weight trend (up or down since the last measurement), fat mass, muscle mass, visceral fat, heart rate, pulse wave velocity, vascular age, and a nerve health score, plus the weather and air quality. It also measures BMI (body mass index), body water percentage, and bone mass, and it can display your steps (if you have a linked tracker). You can customize the display for each user.
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