Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Withings scales set to tell you more than just your weight

The next time you stand on a scale, you could get more than just your kilogram count. You might see insights into more about your health that could save your life.

There’s one device found in almost every home that so many of us dread: scales.

Yes, the dreaded scales. It’s not really their fault for being feared, hated, or looked upon with disgust. Rather, it’s typically because we fear the answer they’ll provide, a note of weight gain to suggest “oh no, I guess I better stop eating so much bad food or drinking quite as much”.

Scales tend to be a one-stop shop for a look at how much you weigh, offering very little use outside of this. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the latest take on scales aims to evolve that by offering you a little more to work with.

It’s an area Withings has been working on for some time, and in its latest release, the smart scales will take on a life of their own, looking to venture beyond what the traditional weight checking metal and glass foot mat normally does.

While we wait for Withings to release its updated ScanWatch and let us look into our urinary health with the first urine tracker (something it actually announced), the health tech-focused company has decided to update another category it covers, releasing two gadgets aimed at helping you know yourself that little bit better.

They’re variations on each other, but both update the classic bathroom scale, as the Withings Body Smart makes an entry-level smart scale and the Body Comp upgrades it significantly.

In the $199 Body Smart, Withings is offering a scale that can track the fat around internal organs that has been linked to heart disease and diabetes, using body composition analysis to measure that fat and show how much you have versus organ weight.

It’ll join a metric measuring Basal Metabolic Rate, a score that shows how many calories are burned during west, helping you understand not just your overall health, but also how well you’re burning calories at rest with others in your age group.

All of this information, including how much fat you have, mass and water percentages, your actual weight, BMI, standing heart rate, and a graph of the changes can be found on the small screen on the Body Smart scale itself, with up to eight users in the home able to be recognised.

It will need WiFi or Bluetooth access, the former connecting to your wireless network or the latter opting for your phone, but we’d suggest WiFi for long term ease of use. Just set it up, step on it, and let it do its job.

The $399 Body Comp is made with the same ease of use, but goes even further in its metrics.

It too will break down a combination of health metrics, covering body composition in overall weight, fat weight, mass and water percentages, visceral fat, bone mass, BMI, and venture into other areas beyond standing heart rate, providing a cardiovascular assessment with your heart’s vascular age, a feature Withings launched to the range previously.

New to the Body Comp is an understanding of nerve activity, found by looking at the sweat glands in the feet. Withings says this can help understand cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, all from a single scale.

The Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis technology allowing Withings to pull off this sort of complex analysis isn’t remarkably new, but being able to identify each part of the body is something specific to Withings. For those who don’t know, bioelectrical impedance technology fires a small electrical charge around the body and measures the time it takes to get from one part to the other, and it’s something you can’t feel happening.

As it is, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch models use a form of it, albeit not to this level of understanding. Withings is using the technology over several frequencies and with algorithms to understand the different metrics about your body.

“Knowledge is power, and to affect meaningful change, people need an in-depth understanding of health data, why it matters and how it changes,” said Antoine Joussain, Product Manager for Scales at Withings.

Both the Body Smart and Body Comp scales rely on the Withings app that we’ve seen on the Withings Sleep Analyser and its wearables to monitor the metrics and provide insights on what you provide.

The information is also on the small screen found on the scale, but thanks to an “Eyes Closed Mode”, the information doesn’t have to be found on the scale for folks who don’t want to see what the scale tells them. Instead, the information will go to the app, and the screen will show information such as weather, air quality, and motivational messages.

And yes, they’re priced higher than the ordinary thirty buck scale you can find from your local buy-anything store, but given that they also offer a greater understanding of your health, that may be all the more worth it. You mightn’t find you’re as scared of the outcome here, and might be more intrigued to stand on it daily.

The Withings Body Smart and Body Comp scales are available at JB HiFi now for $199.99 and $359.99.

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