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When we first received the press release for the Withings WifiScale — distributed locally by PC Range, better known as being the local face of Billion routers — jaws dropped in the CNET offices. Surely somebody, somewhere, was having a laugh at our expense?
But no — the Withings WifiScale is a real product. It is, as the name suggests, a weight scale with integrated Wi-Fi compatibility.
We can't say that we're genuinely au fait with the latest and greatest in design chic when it comes to bathroom scales per se. That having been said, the glass and steel design of the Withings Scale is pretty nice as these things go. The scale comes with four tiny optional feet to stick on if you're going to be using it on carpet. Otherwise, it just floats on four tiny stubs on your bathroom floor. It runs from four AAA batteries inserted on the base of the unit, right next to the unit's USB port. The top of the scale has a small greyscale LCD display and a four-way cross pattern to allow you to evenly place your feet with ease.
At a purely aesthetic level, the glass surface of the Withings Scale makes it not only a magnet for the same kind of fingerprint muck that befouls any "piano black" TV frame, but also the crud that may or may not accumulate on your feet on a daily basis. It's easy enough to wipe clean — but it isn't all that pleasant a reminder of the cruft that can accumulate on your feet on a daily basis, especially if you're sharing the scale with others.
It's a scale. It weighs things, but that should be pretty obvious. Beyond impressive industrial design, however, any scale's going to have to work pretty hard if it's going to justify an AU$249 price tag, or even its "$225 until Christmas 2009" introductory price tag.
The Withings Scale certainly tries. Yes, it'll measure your weight, and the weight of up to eight other people, albeit not all at the same time. It'll also deduce your lean mass, fat mass and BMI based on the figures you provide to it. All this data is stored on a secure website and graphed over time for up to eight users, so you can see how your weight's fluctuating on a by-the-minute basis if you really felt the need. You can set weight goals and see where your weight sits on a normalised curve based on your height and gender.