7 October 2013

REVIEW: Withings Pulse

Heart of the matter.

A few months back we reviewed a rather special set of scales from fitness tracking company Withings, the Smart Body Analyzer. Although we really liked the scales we found it quite difficult to go jogging with it strapped to our wrists. Lol. Fortunately Withings now cater for the customer on the move in the form of the Pulse.

About the size of a stamp, the Pulse is a sleek little activity tracker that does far more than count how many steps you take (and even that it does very well). The Pulse can track, store and upload to a smartphone app your activity, calories burnt, sleep and even measures your heart rate. We clipped it on and got busy.

Covered with a silky soft matte plastic case, the Pulse features a nifty little touch interface with icons and data that glows blue from within the case. It certainly looks the business. As with the Smart Body Analyzer the Pulse requires you download a free app, available for both Android and iOS. Once connected to your phone the Pulse can be set up and is ready to go. A pretty quick charging session is all it takes to provide the Pulse with up to two weeks of juice - and trust us, although it says so on the box, we really did get two weeks of use out of it before recharging was required. Impressive.

Included with the Pulse is a rubber belt clip for daily wearing and also a super comfortable wrist strap for night time use. For the clip we found it was most convenient to pop it onto a belt loop or onto the top of a pocket and then to forget about it. The built in pedometer is incredibly accurate and seems to know the difference between real steps and one of us tossing it about in an attempt to confuse it.

As further activity goes, the Pulse will track not only your steps (are you doing the recommended 10,000 each day? We sure as hell aren't) but also altitude which we imagine is a major factor for climbers and hikers. It will calculate calories and also the distance you cover in a day (and again, a group of gadget journalists really don't go all that far. Just like our mums warned we wouldn't).

After a day of being active you can sync the Pulse with your phone and keep track of how you're doing. We found it created a bit of competition at Test Pit Towers to see who could walk the furthest that day or who managed to get the highest. In altitude, not with drugs.

The Pulse will also monitor your sleep, allowing you tell it when you're off to snoozeland and then to inform it you're up in the morning. This data is also then synced to the app and you can see how much sleep you should actually be getting. This is one element of the Pulse that impressed us the least as essentially all the tracker is doing is acting as a stop watch. We were hoping for something like a movement tracker during sleep or something to monitor night time air quality. But still if you are looking to time your slumber the Pulse is by far the most convenient way of doing it.

The gadget redeemed itself with the function after which it is named. Tap the heart icon and you will be invited to hold your finger to the underside of the tracker. There a green lights glows vividly and a sensor will measure your pulse. Quite how this is achieved we don't know, but the time in which the heart rate is calculated and how accurate it is (we also tested it the old fashioned way) is massively impressive. Certainly Withings have worked wonders to get all that in such a tidy package.

So tiny, unobtrusive and packed to the nines with features and innovations, the Withings Pulse is a must-have tool for those living the active life... and those who really should.

Like us chubby buggers.

£ 89.99

Visit www.withings.com

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