Product Review: Withings Pulse Wireless Activity Tracker

Withings Pulse Wireless Activity Tracker

Withings Pulse Wireless Activity Tracker

I recently purchased the Withing’s Pulse Wireless Activity Tracker to help get my weight back on track. I am not going to lie, I had intially planned to purchase the Fitbit Force, but then they were recalled. The Fitbit Flex just did not seem as exciting to me after hearing all the great stuff the Force could do, but I went to Best Buy to check out my options (Of which I was only tracking two; The Fitbit Flex and the Up by Jawbone.) Come to find out, there are a ton of other quality options for Activity trackers though; eg Body Media, Nike+, Withings etc. However, I still fixated on the two options I came to check out.  I found out quickly the  Jawbone UP severly lacked Android friendliness, and their newest one was only iPhone/iOS compatible (this miffed me. Come on companies- its 2014 and with the leading sales on Android, it should be compatible!). My next option, the Fitbit Flex was just not as appealing with no display screen and no compatibility with my phone (Galaxy S2), only the computer. The sales representative pointed me towards Withings Pulse and said it was 'feature rich for the price' and he many people came in to let him know they loved it. Immediately my hubby said “Yes! That’s the one you want!” My confounded expression had him continuing. “I didn’t know they had an activity tracker, but that is the same company that makes our scale.” Our Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer Scale is neat. We bought it last June for a pretty penny, but it reads weight, body fat, heart rate and CO2 levels in the room.  Suddenly, the Withings Pulse became an option.

If I am writing about it, then you clever folks have figured out I walked away with that option. At only a week in, I am pleased. I told my friends abou my new racker and have received tons of questions. It is still new to me, but I am getting enough questions about it, I figured I would do a post for you all on my initial thoughts and opinions.

First off, it synchronizes with a few apps that I recently downloaded to include Myfitnesspal (my calorie/food journal) which syncs my Withings too and lets me know my calorie adjustment based on my activity for the day. Another great aspect is it syncs with my scale, and the Withing’s Health Mate app is pretty easy to use, easy to read, and with the tap of the refresh button, I get my daily scale data uploaded and can start seeing the results. Therefore, it is very computer friendly to me and I love the ease of use so far for the digital aspects.

I love that there are several screens that track different data displays to include steps, miles, elevation (in feet), estimated calories burned, HR/Sleep, and time. This is instant gratification instead of having to look at my phone or computer.   This device has an accelerometer and altimeter to tracks my steps and elevation gain, and provides a rough estimate of the calories I have burned and distance traveled through the day. It tracks my sleep, how long it takes me to get to sleep, light sleep, and deep sleep. Unsure how accurate these are, but I can compare against each other day to day and make adjustments.

Withings HEalth Mate App Screens

Withings HEalth Mate App Screens

When I workout, it seems to do a good job tracking my distance. Of course, I have no other activity product to compare it to except my Garmin. The miles I ran closely aligned with the mileage (within .2-.4). It is water, sweat resistant, and seems to do ok with our latest rain/drizzle we have been having in our area. They call it Weatherproof.

I use it often, and checked it about 10 times a day (new device!). It takes a couple of minutes to sync, but seems smooth once it does. I am seven days in (as of 3/7/2014) and it just went to one bar today. A micro USB port makes charging quick and easy and it does not need an exclusive device to charge. That is very nice. The device comes with a dongle, but I only used it for charging because the Bluetooth takes care of the rest. Although it syncs on its own 2-3 times a day, I find it just as easy to sync on my own. Again, all this drains that battery, yet it is holding up well. I imagine it will last longer once I am not checking it so often.

Now some issues. Once I found out about this device, I did my research before buying it. The biggest issues on reviews were a defective device, sleep patterns, losing the device, hard to see in sunlight and heart rate reading issues. The heart rate monitor sometimes gives me an X, but eventually does give me my heart rate. This is a great feature as your resting heart rate lets you know how well you are doing on cardiovascular fitness so I am ok with it not reading it occasionally if it gives it to me. Second, I too had issues with the reading in sunlight, but I cup the device to block sun and read it. Concerning defective devices, customer service seems to be excellent! Any questions/concerns they respond too and they even have a rep on a Facebook group I found (detailed later).  The reviews informed me that the sleep tracker is NOT automatic. If you forget to turn it on or even worse, turn off, you can lose data/not gain data. I have been very good about doing both and maintaining that awareness, so not had any issues.

what comes in the Withings Pulse Wireless Activity Tracker package (Sleep band, Rubber holder, tracker, and dongle)

what comes in the Withings Pulse Wireless Activity Tracker package (Sleep band, Rubber holder, tracker, and dongle)

Break down:

Pros:

  1.  Touchscreen display measures steps, sleep, heart rate, calories burned, elevation climbed and distance traveled
  2. Bluetooth- comes with a dongle, but I don’t use it except to charge
  3. Micro USB charging is easy and quick
  4. Light and almost undetectable
  5. Automatically syncs 2-3 times a day, but I can also effortlessly track
  6. Great Battery Life
  7. Connects with some great apps
  8. Heart Rate Monitor
  9. Comes with a wrist band to put tracker in at night for sleep
  10. Water resistant
  11. Compatible with most Android 4.0+) and iOS devices (3GS+)
  12. History browsing on device up to 10 days

Cons:

  • Horrible to read in sunlight. I can read but it is difficult. Glad our NW weather is mostly cloudy!
  • Easy to scratch. Scratched immediately coming out of the package L
  • Heart rate monitor sometimes gives me an X occasionally
  • Belt clip seems like the tracker can fall out, I
  • Sleep tracker is NOT automatic you must turn on/off this feature
Withings Pulse Wireless Activity Tracker showing Heart rate

Withings Pulse Wireless Activity Tracker showing Heart rate

I found a Facebook Group , ‘Walk 10,000 steps a day with a Withings Pulse Activity Tracker’, that supports Withing’s Pulse Activity Tracker and encourages you to do the 10,000 steps a day and I find myself doing everything I can to make that goal for the day and post it on this site. I love when I get the announcement on my phone I hit that goal!  This group also posts reviews,  ways to best use your tracker, and even a post on how to make a holder for your tracker. Also how to set up your Pulse to have triggers such as when you log steps above an amount you specify.

So far, this device is doing what I hope it would do and more. It is encouraging me to sync my apps and hold myself accountable when it comes to my food diary and daily weigh ins. I LOVE that it helps keep me more active. When I first started a week ago, I did not realize how sedentary I was with my desk job. Only getting 2000 steps if I did not get my run or activity in for the day, and even then maybe only 5000 steps. Now, I find myself taking stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away, and twice- TWICE, when I was low on steps/activity I added a workout at night. Something I have NEVER done before. Out of the 7 days, I have hit the 10,000+ twice. Once two days ago and once yesterday.

I am down 3# for the week (as of 7 March, 2014) with the combined diet and exercise and it is working for me. I am glad I was not stuck on the ‘brand names’ and found a great alternative for $99. I hope that motivation continues and I never lose it, but it is working for now and that is what matters to me.

 

Update: This post is posting one week after I wrote it, so I hought I would update you. I did Charge the Battery at ten days. I am checking it much less and I am at two bars currently. I am now parking my car .7 miles away to get in an extra 2000 steps a day and interspersing walk breaks. With the additional Water, dieting (1700 calories a day),  and extra exercise, I have lost an additional 6 pounds since buying this two weeks ago.  I really like the sleep tracker, although I am unsure of how accurate it is, but it is neat to see what it says for deep sleep, light sleep, and shows a line for when I get up in the night to relieve my bladder.  There seem to be a lot of great trackers out there, hopefully you find the right one for you. But I truly do believe this one is ‘feature rich’ for the price.

9 Comments on Product Review: Withings Pulse Wireless Activity Tracker

  1. Very thorough review. I currently have the cheapest Fitbit. I used to have a more expensive one but didn’t use the extra features so I sold it on ebay and bought the cheaper one. I really like wearing a tracker though. I’ve considered buying a different model that I can wear on my wrist. We’ll see. It’s more a case of wanting than needing. 🙂

  2. Kimberly, to be honest, this one is no friendly for the wrists. It comes with the sleep wrist band, but I can’t see that standing up to 24 hour use. Such a shame you didn’t use the features, but I completely understand selling it because you didn’t! Hopefully you find the right one for you.

  3. Oh! and Thank you 🙂

  4. Great Review Maryalicai!! and Thanks!~

  5. I, too, have a Withings Pulse as well as the Smart Body Analyzer. Having only used the product since Tuesday, March 11, I can say that I really do LOVE them both. Maryalicia did an incredible job laying out all the features, and I echo the positive sentiments. It’s a fabulous set of products that are priced appropriately, look excellent (think “Apple” product with clean lines, smooth finishing, etc.), and does everything I want and more.

  6. I was curious if you would recommend the Withings Pulse for someone who does mostly high impact areobics. I do walk so I know it would be a plus in that aspect; but I would like a device that would be a bit more accurate in showing calories burned during areobics and walking

    • Truthfully, it will only count aerobic activity if there are steps. I get about 5000-6000 steps during a medium level 60 minute workout of Zumba. It also tracks my treadmill, elliptical, and stair steppers and so the pulse can calculate those calories. Accuracy of course will not be perfect, I don’t think any activity tracker is though, but it is made for running and walking, so I cannot say it will be awesome. Also- stuff not so good for Pulse? Kettle Bell, lifting weights, stationary bike, you will get few trackable steps on activities like those.

    • you are welcome. It is not perfect, but I don’t think any tracker is. It’s doing a good job, with patches and updates, rying to improve. AND they have great customer service! I washed my sleep band and dried it- and the velcro fell off. They are sending me a replacement for free, although it was my doing that lead to it’s demise. Hopefully you will find something that works for you if not Withings, I believe there are several great options out there now.

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