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First Look: Withings Pulse O2: Can it be your FuelBand alternative?
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First Look: Withings Pulse O2: Can it be your FuelBand alternative?

4:03 /

A pedometer turns into a wristband fitness watch with Withings' latest Pulse update: it's affordable, but not perfect.

HI, I'm Scott Stein and let's see. I've walked 4,170 steps today. I know that because Withings Pulse O2, which is a fitness tracker currently on my wrist. I'm wearing it like a watch. The Withings Pulse came out a year ago and when we reviewed it then I noticed that it was pretty much heads and shoulders above the fitness tracker market, because of the fact that it had a heart rate monitor built in on the back, which no other fitness tracker had. It's also really small and cool, could attach to a clip. Or to a little sleep tracking band that was flexible but it was missing a wrist band that well, this is what I was looking for and finally a year later it's here and there's also a firm wear update that allows the Withings heart rate monitor to also check blood oxygen levels. That's something that is not normally available in other heart rate trackers out there. For $119, you actually get a pulse tool, you also get a clip and you get the wristband ll in the same package. So at least you have a choice of different ways to wear it, which is lower than your average fuel band or alternative that's on the market. How did they compare? Well, I would liked at the time that it was a very easy Bluetooth Syncing Fitness Track and now that you can wear it on the wristband, even easier to have it on you, but there are a couple of quirks about this device. First of all, getting it in and out of this wristband. Once you get the knack it's okay, but this is metal, is a rubberized finish and it feels weird sliding in and out. Maybe it would chafe over time. It holds it tightly, but, as you can see, it needs to be pressed to turn on. The LED display and the matte finish here look really cool, but in bright daylight, this turns to basically, unreadable. And in order to look at the time, you're going to have to keep pressing that button. Plus, for the heart rate monitor, you've got to take this out of the wristband, and press go, actually go into the sub-menus here. To get your heart rate, press a couple of times here and it takes a while. Now I'm pressing, I'm swiping, cuz it actually has some touch-swipe elements built into the interface, but not for everything. And then I've gotta press a heart icon and then it helps me to place my finger on the heart rate monitor, and then I got to be patient while it takes my reading. Not a continuous reading like you'll see on the gear fit or Samsung's other gear watches. And, you know, this is not for intense workout. This is for afterward to see how you are doing. Not, it's point out to me that people who have asthma others who might wanna check their pulse-oxygen level. Might like the fact that this actually tells you your oxygen readings. I haven't tested this with other real medical pulse oxygen trackers so I'm not sure about it's overall accuracy, but it tells me that I have 98% O2 and really high heart rate, but I just had coffee. So that's an interesting feature. The good news is that if you have one of these from last year, it's actually a firmware update. So you get those features plus the ability to flip your clock vertically to fit into this band. Unfortunately, the clock is the only part that is vertical. Everything else is horizontal. So you kind of have to twist around. And the pedometer reading that's in vertical is really really small. You've got a, take a little microscope and read those numbers. Plus, it has micro-USB for charging, but that does mean this is not water resistant really in any capacity, between that and the heart rate reader. So, you have to be careful if you're washing your hands. Certainly don't take this in the shower with you. And if you were an existing pulse owner, $10 gets you this new wristband. You can swap the bands out, you can put in any other kind of band design that you want That's fun and flexible, are you on board with that? And do you like the Withings app which also allows you to work in a scale and blood pressure cup, which is useful for me because I check my blood pressure. That ecosystem is nice. It has a lot of apps you can tap into, that's what makes the Withings post. Very interesting, but just keep in mind that it's no longer really the star in terms of its design anymore, it's still a step behind. I'm Scott Stein and that's a look at the Withings Pulse O2 now available. [MUSIC]

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