Withings Body Scan

Magnus has become a little smarter, and it's all thanks to this smart scale.

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Especially over the past year, I haven't been able to ignore the fact that my body is getting older. This may sound arbitrary, or even like some kind of clichéd sales pitch. I understand the instinctive reaction of reserve when someone else launches into a journalistic diatribe about how a specific product has initiated the creation of a healthier lifestyle, and it's certainly not solely the Withings Body Scan scale that has made me aware of what I already knew, or created the motivation out of nowhere.

The truth is that my girlfriend Klara has wanted to try one for a long time. She has suffered from health anxiety in the past and has always treated being made aware of any health issues with extreme caution, and rightly so. So when Withings gave me the opportunity to borrow one, we took it slow and studied the different features carefully to make sure she didn't suddenly get an unpleasant dose of what young people today call "TMI" (I'm only 31).

Withings Body Scan

What happened was a surprise to me in particular, since I never really took care of myself after my carefree university years, where, just like in high school, I felt that I was basically made of rubber and magic and could bounce back from it all without much trouble. But that's not true, it was never true, and I've known that for a long time, but lacked the conviction, the willpower to do something about it, and here Body Scan became a catalyst that I can honestly say, hand on heart, is changing my health for the better - I think.

A Body Scan is a £350 scale. We can't run away from that. It's an absurd price for a scale almost no matter what, and let me quickly state that this is as much a review of the ecosystem that exists around Body Scan as it is a review of the scale itself, and you can access that ecosystem for about £90 via their Body Smart.

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But if you want to go deeper into the rabbit hole, Body Scan has some features that are quite unique and advanced as well. Body Scan consists of four central sensors that with precise calculations down to 50 grams can determine your BMI, your so-called nerve health and your heart rate. In addition, there's a kind of pole with a string attached to the front, and by taking that and making contact between specific points on your palms and metal plates on this pole, you create a loop that allows what Withings calls Multifrequency Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (or BIA). This means sending a small electrical charge through your body to map the specific composition of parts of your body, such as water, fat and muscle percentage.

The idea is that you can get on Body Scan every day, get weighed, measure your heart rate and nerve health, and the results are then automatically catalogued in your app, which can tell you more about how you feel and how you can improve your health over very long periods of time. On top of that, you're supposed to do a segmental weighing or an ECG whenever you feel like it.

While Withings isn't claiming any world firsts here, many of these features have traditionally been something you'd have to visit a specialist to get your hands on and are now made more accessible through a gadget you can buy at home, but determining exactly how useful these features are is like determining how useful 5x optical zoom is in a smartphone camera. For some? Yes, without a doubt. For everyone? Probably not. But that's also a boring answer.

Withings Body Scan
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So, with that, I can say that following a weight loss and a gradual increase in what Withings calls "the large leg muscle groups" in their app - as I've become more serious about running more continuously - has been a pretty awesome motivator, to the point where I always weigh myself in the morning and get a tip or two from Withings every once in a while as well.

However, the app does have issues worth mentioning. Firstly, it could be useful if the information it provides was more customised, more user-friendly, because you often have to dig for crucial context if your nerve health is at the upper end of "fine". The notifications are usually tailored to the smartwatch-crowd, and by that I mean you're spammed with meaningless badges and stupid pats on the back congratulating you for stepping on the scale two mornings in a row - well done!

It's hard to recommend Body Scan as a smart scale unless you specifically know that segmental weighing and ECG analysis is something that will make you happy. Body Smart is probably a better place to start, but Withings has something here, something that got me started, and for that I'm actually grateful.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
overall score
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