With clinically validated ECG and PPG sensors, this is one of the most health-focused wearables we’ve ever used. This is our Withings ScanWatch review.
Withings ScanWatch Review: A Watch After Your Heart
Years ago, we’d be lucky if a smartwatch tracked more than just basic activity metrics. Recently, however, companies like Apple, Fitbit, Garmin, and Withings have taken the risk. sounding cliché: pushing the boundaries of what wearable technology can be.
The Withings ScanWatch embodies this idea. It offers a medical EKG and pulse oximeter to help users keep track of their daily health stats and notify them of possible warning signs of AFib and sleep apnea.
You may be too quick to dismiss the Withings ScanWatch as a “speciality portable” device, but I encourage you to reconsider that notion. It has been one of my favourite portable devices over the past few years and an essential device for those who may suffer from serious ailments. Read our full Withings ScanWatch review to find out why.
We have updated our Withings ScanWatch review with details on US pricing details and software updates.
Why should you care about the ScanWatch?
Sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation (AFib) affect millions of people each year. These silent killers often go undiagnosed. It has been found that the symptoms of these problems are difficult for the consumer to identify with conventional handheld devices, especially if they are not present at the time of the doctor’s visit.
If you are concerned about breathing problems or atrial fibrillation the first thing you should see is a doctor. Next, consider purchasing a Withings smartwatch. Notify users of signs of AFib and breathing disorders at night. It has received medical CE certification in Europe for AFib detection (via EKG and PPG sensors) and SpO2 measurement.EU approval for sleep apnea screening is expected to be passed in 2020 but appears to have been delayed. Received FDA approval for the detection of sleep apnea using an EKG in October 2021.
TL; DR, this is far more than your average smartwatch hybrid. It’s a notable step up from previous Withings offerings like the Steel HR. Add in a medical EKG monitor, pulse oximeter, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, and one month of battery life.
Design: This build quality is hard to beat
Hybrid smartwatches have the advantage of integrating more than typical smartwatches, and if it weren’t for the occasional screen lighting, most people would think it was a regular analogue watch.
The Withings ScanWatch is great. Everything – the supplied FKM bracelet, the stainless steel case, the minimal design language – looks and feels incredibly high quality. It’s the most important Withings device I’ve ever used and the most comfortable hybrid smartwatch I can remember.
Withings did well. Some of their previous hybrid watches look nice, even though they were made from cheaper materials. However, the ScanWatch is made of 316L stainless steel and has a sapphire crystal display, which makes it difficult to scratch. Materials, I wasn’t as concerned about the ScanWatch cracking or scratching while exercising as I was with previous Withings devices.
It is available in two sizes, 38mm and 42mm. I use the 42mm model which fits my medium-sized wrist nicely. It’s a lot harder than I expected. It was difficult to get used to the weight of 83g at first, but now I hardly notice the watch on my wrist.
Compared to other devices such as the Steel HR, the ScanWatch has a larger and brighter PMOLED display. It’s monochrome and low resolution, but good enough for simple notifications or for reviewing EKG measurements in real-time. I wish it was a little lighter; can be difficult to see in direct sunlight.
There is an ambient light sensor on board and the display has an alarm function. However, I wish I could raise the sensitivity. The screen likes to turn off every now and then if I don’t move my wrist firmly enough during exercise or at my desk.
The ScanWatch also has a rotating crown on the right side of the case. It also feels nice and is a good replacement for the missing touchscreen.
Withings advertises a battery life of 30 days for the ScanWatch. It’s entirely possible to get 30 days on a single charge, but you need to be careful which features you enable. Turn it on, the breath scan set to auto and six follow-up exercises, and I had about 11 pounds left after 10 days. Granted, this was my first week of using the device, so I checked the settings and refined the device a lot more than I normally would. I hope the battery life improves a bit over time; however, it is still a long way from the advertised battery life of one month.
Fortunately, the energy-saving mode is activated when the battery is empty. You can then use your ScanWatch for an additional 20 days.