Withings ScanWatch Review: An elegant health and fitness-tracking wearable

I checked Countless smartwatches and fitness trackers, and many of them fascinated me at first glance. But after reviewing a few people claimed a scar on my wrist. All was finally thrown into the nightstand after I forgot to charge them. Most smartwatch features are rarely used by me and fitness trackers often look out of place in the gym.

Withings ScanWatch is different. This hybrid smartwatch has a very specific set of capabilities: it goes easily for an analog watch; It tracks my activity, workouts, and sleep; It keeps a vague eye on my health; And it offers basic notifications from my phone. It can go a whole month in charge.

Understated Elegance

The timepiece’s sapphire glass and stainless steel construction create a sophisticated pairing that reflects quality. The Withings Scanwatch looks like a traditional watch, with chrome-plated watches and minute hands. Inside the round mouth are two small dials. The dial below has a red analog arm that shows your progress toward your fitness goals for the day, measured between zero and 100 percent. The dial above is not actually a dial. Press the rolling crown next to the scanwatch and move the minute and hour hand to one side as a tiny passive matrix OLED display comes alive to show you digital time and date. Give the crown a spin to see different bits of data displayed on that tiny screen: your heart rate, step count, distance covered, and floor climbing.

When switching from the Apple Watch, I first found the 42-mm Withings Scanwatch heavy. It has chunky logs (the 38-mm model has a much more elegant design), but it’s a comfortable timepiece to wear, a generous black fluoroilastomer wristband that has been proven to be more durable than my silicone band and less suitable for lint wear before. Scanwatch looks and feels precise. Classic design blends in with any setting or outfit, so I rarely feel the need to dress up or down.

Fallen and accessible

Photo: Withings

With the exception of unnecessary smartwatch features, the Withings Scanwatch focuses strongly on fitness and health. No NFC for mobile payments, no microphone or speaker for call or voice assistant, and no support for music playback. You can turn on incoming notifications from your phone, but I recommend setting them to calls only, because the display is too small for other notifications. When publishing a ticker-tap text message, you can easily slip the phone out of your pocket, read the notification and put it back.

It’s rare for me to use a device for nine months before reviewing it, but the American release of the Withings Scanwatch was delayed when the manufacturer sought clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for its ability to detect atrial fibrillation with a built-in electrocardiogram. Sensors, and to measure blood oxygen levels with the SpO2 sensor. Both the Apple Watch 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 offer similar functionality, but only the Withing Scanwatch has FDA clearance for blood oxygen monitoring.

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