Activity Trackers: Withings Activité review

1

What is the Withings Activité?

Most activity trackers are ugly, awkward things. Their rubber straps and little LED displays are fine at the gym, at home or anywhere that’s informal, but you don’t want them dangling from your arm when presenting to the board, attending a wedding or in any setting where you need to ‘look the part’. The Withings Activité is the exception.

It’s a marriage of the old and new. Old-school watchmaking and watch design; new-school wireless technology and sensors. It tracks your steps, runs and sleep, but it has the style and pedigree of a Swiss-made watch. Many will prefer the cheaper Activité Pop (£120), but if you have a taste for the finer things in life then the Activité is a luxury statement worth considering.

Withings Activite Activity and Sleep Tracker

$259.99 450.00

Here is a list of steps you can try while setting up your Withings Activit

Made by: Withings, Available: In stock

 

The Activité ought to look good given the price, and it does. It’s available in white with a brown leather strap and blue accents, or black with a black leather strap and orange accents. We tested the white and brown one, but both look great.

But looks alone don’t explain why the Activité costs more than twice as much as the Pop. It mainly comes down to materials and pedigree. The Activité is made from stainless steel, comes with two straps – a leather one and gym-friendly rubber one – and has a domed sapphire crystal. The latter is impervious to scratches and is very strong. Withings also throws in an extra battery and each lasts eight months – no chargers here.

The other key difference is that the Activité is ‘Swiss-made’. We’ll leave you to debate the point, but the key benefit is you can tell people it’s Swiss-made. It’s like Champagne versus Cava – they both have bubbles, but you feel superior drinking one and drink the other ironically. The Activité is as much a fashion item as a gadget.

That’s where the differences between the Activité and Activité Pop end. They share the same basic watch face design and have the same tracking abilities, which comprise steps, running, sleeping and – in a future update – swimming. Neither, sadly, feature an altimeter, so they can’t measure the number of stairs you climb. They’re both waterproof to 50m and are dustproof.

The Activité is the nicer looking of the two, though, even if it’s by a small margin. The stainless steel finish and leather strap give it a more classical look, whereas the coloured metal and silicone strap on the Pop has a more everyman, Swatch-like appeal. The straps are removable on both, though, so no there’s no reason a Pop owner can’t buy a nicer leather strap – the width between the strap lugs is 18mm, so there’s plenty of choice out there.

What makes both so attractive is their neat simplicity. The Activité isn’t a smartwatch in the modern parlance – it’s a ‘smarter’ watch. Yet the only visual evidence is the smaller dial on the watch face, which tracks your daily step goal progress. It’s an elegant, at-a-glance reminder that works perfectly.

There’s nothing particularly ostentatious about the Activité, either – a likeable trait. It’s stylish and classy, but not in a “look at me!” way. It’s also very comfy, in large part thanks to the slim unisex leather strap – I’m not a habitual watch wearer, but the Withings doesn’t irritate me the way smartwatches often do.

It’s debatable whether this is truly a unisex watch, though. It’s not huge – the case is 36.3mm in diameter – but ladies with slim wrists might find it a tad large. It also protrudes further from the wrist than you’d expect, thanks to the extra sensors inside. I got used to it quickly, but it’s not the best if you prefer a super-slim watch.

But these are just small quirks. If Withings’ aim was to create an outstanding watch that just happened to be an activity tracker, it’s succeeded.

3

Withings Activité – Setup & Healthmate App

No activity tracker is complete without an accomplished app to go with it. The Withings Healthmate app is just that, but it comes with one huge caveat – right now, the Activité isn’t compatible with Android. Withings promises an Android update in the coming weeks, but until then Android users are bang out of luck.

This large oversight aside, the Healthmate app is good. It’s not the very best among its rivals, but it delivers where it needs to. It’s colourful, easy to navigate and presents information in a straightforward, easy-to-understand way. It also supports Apple Health app syncing, something rival Fitbit has shied away from. Excellent support for third-party services, such as MyFitness Pal, ensures it plays nicely with other apps you’re likely to use.

What it lacks is the more proactive, analytical feedback offered by some rivals – Jawbone is especially good for this. For example, it has a section for setting up helpful, life-enriching reminders – such as sticking to a single bedtime, taking a walk after dinner, and remembering to weigh yourself regularly – but it doesn’t dynamically prompt you based on your activity.

This means it’ll often congratulate you on hitting records, but it won’t nudge you when you’re falling short, and a well-directed nudge is often more important. Moreover, as most notifications are scheduled, they’re also repetitive. The more repetitive they become, the easier they are to ignore and the less effective they become.

Withings wins points for its excellent ecosystem, however. There’s a myriad of clever and effective accessories that hook into the Withings Helathmate app, such as the Smart Body Analyzer and Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor. It also has some neat touches, such as the ability to read your resting heart rate using your phone’s camera. There’s so much room to grow here and the Activité proves that Withings is dedicated to real quality, which shines through in all its products. You could do worse than to invest in the Withings ‘health ecosystem’.

Setting up your Activité is very simple, too. It connects to your phone using Bluetooth 4.0, which means you don’t have to anything to setup the connection – the app automatically connects when you open the app. It sometimes takes a little longer than we’d like to make the connection, which is irritating when you launch the app and you want to see the latest data straightaway, but at least there’s no messing about involved in making the connection.

4

Withings Activité: Performance & Tracking

We had no problems with the Activité’s tracking through our use. It accurately recorded daily steps with great consistency, and did the same for running. It struggles more with ‘mixed activities’ where you’re switching between running and walking – or slouching – but that’s not unusual for this kind of tracker.

Sleep tracking works OK, too, though we often feel there’s lots of guessing involved in judging light versus deep sleep in all trackers. The total sleep stats are the most instructive and provide a useful guide to whether you’re getting enough shuteye. The Activité also features a ‘silent’ alarm – it vibrates when it’s time to get up. This works well enough, though it’s quite a light vibration – heavy sleepers may want to set a fallback alarm in case it doesn’t stir them.

Our only serious complaint with the alarm system is the inability to set a different one for the weekend. Perhaps this is intentional so you stick to your routine, but waking up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning isn’t a routine we’re keen on. You can turn the alarm off, of course, but that relies on your remembering to do so, and turning it on again before Monday morning.

5

Other things to consider

One small feature that doesn’t work as well as advertised is the ‘responsive glass’ feature. The idea is you can tap the glass to reveal your alarm time, but it often takes several attempts before the arms actually move.

We do like the timezone feature, though, which ensures the watch will automatically switch to the timezone you’re in when your phone does. It’s a neat piece of attention to detail and a cool thing to brag about to ‘luddite’ watch lovers.

 

6

OtShould I buy the Withings Activité?

Inevitably, it comes down to whether you think it’s worth spending extra for the Activité over the Pop version. The difference in price – £320 vs £120 – is large and the difference entirely down to the design and materials used. A high-quality leather replacement strap and a Pop will still come in at less than £200.

We can’t answer that question for you, but we can confirm that the Withings Activité is an exquisitely made watch and a very capable tracker. We love the long battery life, the beautiful and comfortable leather strap, and the faultless build quality. You’re paying for quality and getting it.

That may be enough if you value its finer design and ‘fashion statement’ it makes. If not, go for the Activité Pop – you won’t be disappointed either way. If you’re less fussed about looks but want a tracker that shows the time and some useful info, take a look at the Fitbit Charge, though the Jawbone UP24 remains our no.1 best fitness tracker overall.

7

Verdict

An outstanding and stylish tracker and watch, provided you don’t mind the price attached.

Withings Pulse O2 Activity, Sleep, and Heart Rate + SPO2 Tracker for iOS and Android
9 Total Score
Start from: $39.99

WARNING: This product is not waterproof or sweatproof Activity tracking: steps, elevation, distance, running and calories burned Wear it your way: clip and wristband included Vital signs reading: instant heart rate and blood oxygen level Sleep monitoring: sleep cycle analysis, wake-ups, total...

Read more on shop website →

  • Deals
  • Specification
  • Photos
  • Last comments
Product Dimensions

0.3 x 0.9 x 1.7 inches ; 0.32 ounces

Shipping Weight

5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

Domestic Shipping

Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.

International Shipping

This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More

Item model number

3700546700347

I liked it, for the two months that it worked. Be aware if you buy this product that it is not warrantied against SWEAT. I bought it to replace the Fitbit Force that got recalled, and I found the Withings to be pretty accurate but have less functionality and be less consumer friendly...for instance, if I forgot to wear the Fitbit I could add in my exercise on the app and it would calculate the steps it missed, but that wasn't possible on the Withings app. The real issue came when the device stopped working. After several emails back and forth with the company, they said they would send me a form to return it, but they also sent another form that said the device has a sensor inside and if it has detected any humidity, from any liquid including water or sweat, that the warranty is not valid. Well, I wore the thing to run, like I wore my Fitbit, so I guess it was the sweat that killed it. Not really a good option for exercise tech if it can't handle humidity or sweat.
September 8, 2014
I recently purchased the new Withings Pulse O2 activity tracker, (FYI now available for purchase on Withings website) after having to stop using the Fitbit Force, which was taken off the market due to a small percentage of users experiencing an allergic reaction to a metal piece that comes into contact with your skin. (Unfortunately after a few months of use I was one of those people.) I did not own the previous Pulse device.For a quick, short review, the Withings Pulse O2 tracks steps/feet climbed/miles traveled/calories burned, and can determine your heart rate, blood oxygen level, and sleep, which can all be displayed on the device along with the date and time. It can be synced wirelessly via Bluetooth, and you can set goals on the app. I enjoy the device; the 4 out of 5 start review is due to the material the band and clip are made out of, a soft, rubber material that attracts a lot of dust and lint. In comparison to the Fitbit, cannot track steps while in sleep mode or notify you when you've reached your goal. Those are not major reasons for me to stop using it, but since I've used different devices in the past, I have something else to compare to. I recommend this device to anyone looking to own an activity tracker that tracks the info listed, it is easy to use and sync. Below is a more detailed review, breaking down the different tracking options and comparing them with the other devices listed in the summary.I am a Fitbit fan; I have owned most of the different versions of the Fitbit. (Original Fitbit/Fitbit One/Flex/Force) For the most part all of the Fitbit's track the same data, the original and One are clips, and Flex and Force are armbands. The Original, One, and Force display the info on the device, Flex syncs to your phone or computer where you can check the data. The Flex will show "dots" on the screen to show your progress to what you've set as your goal, and will notify you once you've reach it, which is how the Nike Fuel band works.The Withings Pulse is very similar to the Fitbit, with the addition of being able to check your blood pressure and blood oxygen level. All of this info is displayed on the device, and you can sync by either plugging it into your computer via a cable or sync to your phone via Bluetooth. I recently received the Withings Pulse O2, so I only have a few days experience with the device, but that has been enough for me to compare it to different trackers I have owned.DEVICE FEEL:The Withings band and clip are made out of a soft, rubber material. That is one of the reasons I gave it 4 out of 5 starts. The rubber material is the type that attracts everything, dust, lint hair. And I have very small wrists and the band, even on the smallest setting, is still slightly big.The Fitbit Flex and Force is a more rigid, flexible rubber material, and uses a plastic clip to secure the band. You also select a size when purchasing, but similar to most wristbands, it has many slots to secure the clip. I found the Fitbit Flex/Force to be the most comfortable and secure device. The Original and One are clips and do not come in an armband options, but you are given a fabric wrist band to insert the device if you want to track your sleep.The Nike Flue Band is a very rigid, slightly flexible rubber material. I did not like the feel of the Fuel Band; it was too rigid and did not fit comfortably because of this. The Withings and Fitbit bands are flexible enough to wrap around your wrists comfortably, the Fuel band holds its shape.The Striiv is a device that you can wear many ways, you are given a clip, strap, and wrist band to wear. I have only used the clip; the device does not track sleep so I have never worn it in bed. It is larger than the other devices, but for me has been comfortable enough to clip on the inside of pants pockets.TRACKING STEPS:All of the devices track steps, the Withings, Fitbit Original/One/Force, and Striiv all display this info on the device itself. There isn't much to say here, one reviewer of the Withings mentioned it did not track as many steps as the Fitbit, I am currently using the Withings/Fitbit/Striiv devices and so far the Withings device is tracking the most steps. Striiv has the least amount of steps, which makes sense because I do not wear it at night, and I start using it once I am up and ready to leave the house. The Withings and Fitbit devices only come off when showering, so I am tracking those lost steps in between. As far as the Withings and Fitbit being off on steps, I'm not sure yet why, maybe more use will give me more info to determine the offset.The Nike Fuel Band and Fitbit Flex do not display this info on the device, but it is tracked and can be viewed via the apps once the data is synced.TRACKING STEPS/FEET CLIMBEDTo note, most of the devices allow you to set what unit of measurement you want to use when tracking. All devices except for the Nike Fuel band track this information.Withings tracks feet climbed, Fitbit tracks steps climbed, and Striiv tracks equivalent stairs climbed. At the moment all three show different data, which I am not sure why. I would have to do more research between the devices to determine the difference.The Fitbit Flex does not display this info on the device, but it is tracked and can be viewed via the app once the data is synced.TRACKING MILES:All devices other than the Nike Fuel band track miles traveled and you can set what unit of measurement you want. They are all relatively close, similar to the steps being off, Withings shows the most and Striiv is showing the least.The Fitbit Flex does not display this info on the device, but it is tracked and can be viewed via the app once the data is synced.TRACKING CALORIES BURNED:All devices other than the Nike Fuel band track calories burned. They all show different numbers, the Fitbit shows the most because it calculates an assumed number of burned calories when sleeping. Striiv shows more than Withings, which is odd since it shows fewer steps taken. I would have to look into whether it also calculates an assumed number from sleep as well.The Fitbit Flex does not display this info on the device, but it is tracked and can be viewed via the app once the data is synced.TRACKING SLEEP:I read some reviews of the previous version of the Withings Pulse that the sleep data is more informative than the Fitbit, from my experience it is about the same. It will show you deep/light sleep and any times you were awake. Withings looks to be slightly more sensitive to movement, but other than that the tracked data is very close.With Withings, you need to set the device itself to "sleep mode" to being tracking the data. When it is in sleep mode, it will not track any steps taken if you wake up at any point and get out of bed. I did run into trouble trying to set the device to sleep mode. I read on their website to restart the device, and that did resolve the issue.The Fitbit does not have to be set in a sleep mode, you can either use your phone and indicate on the app that you have "started" sleep, and when you wake you indicate that on the app, or set the time you got in and out of bed manually on the app. (phone or computer) Once you sync your device it will calculate your movement and determine the same info, along with tracking any steps taken if you do wake up and get out of bed. It will also calculate calories burned during sleep, which is really just an assumption from the personal data you've entered when you receive your device.The Fitbit Flex does not display this info on the device, but it is tracked and can be viewed via the app once the data is synced. The previous version of the Nike Fuel band I owned did not track this information, according to Nike's website they have a newer version that does.ADDITIONAL DEVICE INFORMATION:Withings can also determine your heart rate and blood oxygen level. On the device, same place to set sleep mode, is a heart. If you press the heart it will tell you to place your finger on the device, there are sensors on the back of the device. Within a few seconds it should display the info. So far I have been having trouble getting the device to read that info, it worked a couple of times, since then it gives me X's to state it could not determine my heart rate and pulse ox. I am not too concerned about tracking this info, but I may contact customer service if the problem continues.The Fitbit Force tracks "Very Active Minutes", which can be helpful if you are looking to track the amount of minutes you may have exerted yourself. (Recommended 30 minutes a day of vigorous activity) One additional feature I like about the Fitbit is that it will notify you if you reach your goal by gently vibrating. I haven't used it, but you can also set a silent alarm, it will gently vibrate to wake you.The Striiv activity tracker is very unique in comparison to any other activity tracker. If you are interested in learning more about it, check out the following link Striiv Smart Pedometer, Accessory Bundle I have also posted a review about this product as well. There is too much detail to get into here about that tracker, but it has many other features that Withings and Fitbit do not have.APP INFO:All of the trackers have applications that allow you to see your data that has been tracked. You can either view it on a smartphone or computer, and these applications are very different from one another.The Withings and Striiv applications are very similar; you have a dashboard that shows you each of the items tracked. This is all you can do on the app with Striiv. With Withings you can download your information, look at previous day's information, manually enter your weight/height/BP/Pulse Ox, and earn badges.Fitbit allows for much more on their application. You can track your food and water intake, enter additional activity, enter heart rate, BP and glucose info to track, has a journal option to note any additional info, and the beta version of the dashboard now has a "Trainer" option, which is a 12 week plan you set to help keep you motivated.Between all of the devices, I feel the Withings Pulse O2 and Fitbit Force are very comparable, the Fitbit Flex tracks the same info but it is not displayed on the screen. I am a Fitbit fan myself, but so far have enjoyed using the Withings device. It is tracking the same information I was tracking previously with Fitbit, with a few additions. For what I am looking to track, it works great and fits great. As stated earlier, the 4 starts is for the type of rubber material they decided to use, not being able to track steps while in sleep mode, and not being able to notify you when you've reached your goal.
April 29, 2014
Note: I bought an open package Amazon warehouse deal with the Pulse to cut the costs down a bit, the display on mine (not the actual device) stopped working after 14 days. My review is still 5 stars because when I e-mailed Withings (through their site support channel) they got back to me that same day to get more information. The next day (after a reply) they gave me instructions on sending my device in for inspection. Two days after I sent it out I got an e-mail with a one-time coupon code for a brand new device.Also, I see a lot of reviews on tracking devices saying that step counts are not accurate, this was the biggest thing holding me back until I shook the irrationality of it. 1. Are these people actually counting all the steps they take during the day? And why is it that every time people say whatever device that gives them MORE steps is the one that is accurate? 2. What matters is that with more activity you are getting higher numbers. That's the point, to improve, not to get perfect statistics. 3. If your tracker is off by 150 steps per day (compared to others, or compared to moving the device around/wearing it differently) it's not a big deal. When you're aiming for 10,000 per day, you shouldn't be worried about 150.PROS:- The sleep tracking is awesome, when my deep sleep is off by 30 minutes, I notice the difference. The night that the Pulse tells me I only got 3 hours of deep sleep are the mornings I feel extra tired. (Before looking at what the statistics are.) This is important for me to pay attention to so I can take note of what makes the difference in getting a good sleep.- Comfy: If you're used to wearing watches, this is no different, a basic rubber band that's no different than the average digital watch. If you don't like the watch, this comes with a belt clip which clings pretty well.- Looks good: I got the FitBit for my mom and it's a bit bulky compared to this and honestly hard to put on (as opposed to the normal watchband this device comes with). I was tempted to get the Basis because it tracks heart rate constantly (as opposed to this which you have to take off and put your finger on), but the thing is huge and ugly. Something that attracts attention. When the display times out on this (after a few seconds) it's a thin and hardly noticeable wristband. (Also, for those curious about the sideways display you can change the settings via the phone app so that the time displays vertically which is easier to read from your wrist, and you can make it the default display when you turn it on.)- Lots of data: This tracks not only steps and sleep but elevation and mileage. It really does know the difference between taking the stairs and the elevator. If you're rising and not stepping, you don't get the elevation points. ;)- App: The Withings app tracks and graphs everything. The graphing is more valuable with the Withings scale (unless you want to manually do weight and things) but the device automatically syncronizes with your phone via bluetooth.CONS: (Does NOT include step accuracy.)- Bluetooth: When I first got my device it had to update as I was setting it up. This screwed up my phone and I had to restart the setup process multiple times to get it to work right. I think it'd be better if this could plug into the computer and interact with software from there. It charges via USB, why not interact with a PC? (Seriously, I get that smart phones are popular, but they are not quite on the level of regular computers yet, let's not go crazy.) The Bluetooth is slow and might fail if the phone is moving around too much. It takes a while to get used to, but the device will eventually sync, if it doesn't by the end of the day do it manually and hold the phone very still over the device.- App: The app is buggy, it crashes a lot and is generally slow to load. It's much easier to just look at your online profile through a normal browser on a normal computer.- The sun: You can't see the display outdoors during the day, not even if you put your hand over it and squint. The display totally fails against the sun and it's impossible to read with a bit of glare. If you're inside or if it's dark, it looks great, but don't count on looking at your step count right after an outdoor run, wait until you get inside.
July 7, 2014
Activity Trackers: Withings Activité review
9 Total Score

Durability
9
Portability
9
Ease of use
8
Design and form factor
10
User Rating: Be the first one!

1 Comment
  1. Reply Mushroom August 25, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Good post. I learn one thing more challenging on dirnfeeft blogs everyday. It’s going to always be stimulating to learn content material from other writers and apply somewhat something from their store. I’d favor to make use of some with the content material on my blog whether you don’t mind. Natually I’ll give you a link on your internet blog. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a reply