CNET First Look
First look: Withings Pulse a sleek wireless pedometer and heart rate monitorWithings goes heads-up with Fitbit, adding a pulse reader to its new, tiny $99 pedometer.
Hey. I'm Scott Stein. And, you know what? I've been trying to get healthy. It's not that easy to do, but thankfully, there's a lot of tech out there that is helpful. But it's a little bit arcane because you probably heard by Fitbit and there's other stuff like the Jawbone app and Withings also has a lot of products to. It's a landscape of helpful different types of devices that all kinda function similarly in their own eco-system. And when it comes to pedometer, it's never been easier to track the steps that you take. There are pedometer apps on your phone and there's stand-alone pedometers like the Fitbit or one that you wear on your wrist or the new Withings Pulse. You know, Withings is made wireless health tech and wired health tech for years now. They have a scale, they have a blood pressure monitor and they now are getting into a very competitive but a wearable pulse and pedometer space. Let's say, pulse and pedometer, I'll get that in a moment because that's the neat little trick that's in the pulse. It's not just a pedometer. It's also is a little heart rate monitor right on the back that allows you to read your pulse at anytime. Withings says that this is the smallest one in any device. And you gotta think it's smaller than an iPad Shuffle. I haven't seen one and anything that's small. It's helpful, though I don't really need to check my standing or resting pulse rate that often. It also act as a sleep monitor aid if you attach it to your wrist with the included strap and use built-in tracking software to find out how your sleep was that night. Now here's what I like using a stand-along pedometer. The Withings pulse has a battery life that's about 2 weeks. Now, after a week and a half, I started getting a little battery warning on this but it still holds 24 hours of charge even when it seems like it's off and it stores multiple days worth of information. So if you wait a few days, and then choose to sync it with your phone, all that data will be there. And because it's an intra-connected series of products that Withings has-- and also a number of Apps including Run Keeper and others, you can choose to track your health in a lot of different ways and still find that you can use the pulse with your system, which is one of the issues that looks like they're getting to have with these pedometers is that they all kinda work with their own little eco-system of hardware. You still have to deal with the Withings app to wirelessly sync this. In fact, you can't sync it via cable in any other way. So if you are a mobile person. This is the way to go. If you like a physical synched-up connection to a computer, you might wanna consider something else. But synching via Bluetooth is very easy on the pulse. You just press this top button, you hold for 3 seconds, and boom-- it begins to sync the data down to your phone. Store it and also put it online or you can access it from any web browser. It also tells you the calories or the things you burn, although that was relative, the distance you've walked and it measures your steps taken against the marker that a lot of people used 10,000 steps a day, which is-- not everybody agrees with but it's certainly a nice milestone to achieve, a bit of a game. And I found myself watching it and encouraging myself to take more steps while wearing it. Now, wearing it is the thing. It's a beautiful design. I mean, this is like an Apple-level type design. It's all sleek black. It's got a OLED display that only pops up and is visible when you press the button-- a little hard to see in direct sunlight. And it connects with micro USB over here. But if you want to wear it, you're stuck using a couple of options that are included with the purchase price. But feel a little bit rinky-dink. There's this rubberized clip, which works well, but I'd be worried about, you know, wouldn't wear out overtime. You pop it in and you put it on-- whatever. And there's also a velcro armband that use for night-- for sleep tracking and actually has a little spot on the side, where the pulse rate or part will make contact with your wrist when you're sleeping. But this doesn't really feel ideal for working out at the gym. I don't think it would really-- not gonna meant to be wearing on your wrist because of that pulse rate on the back. You wouldn't want to get that too sweaty. This really meant to be tucked in your pocket or your bag. And it's so small you just might lose this thing. So I would prefer something like a-- an even better clip or wearable wrist device that you could pop it into. But those are small quibbles. Other than that, I really like the Withings Pulse. Now, I admit, I have not used the Fitbit extensively. And so, you know, look at that landscape and I'm sure people will have their preferences. But the complete set of features of the Pulse has, the ability to read your pulse on it-- the price which is $99.00 pretty competitive. And the app which is pretty outstanding add up to a really nice Edition to an increasingly good health tech landscape for pedometer. So, whatever you do, you just make sure you get a pedometer in some way and just start walking. I'm Scott Stein, and that's a look at the Withings Pulse, available now.