Withings Body + Smart Scale review: SLOW your roll: This scale has problems!


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Erin Lawrence

review, Withings Body + smart scaleMost people have gone on some type of diet or tracked their weight for various reasons, and a reliable and accurate scale can be extremely helpful for those looking to live their healthiest life. However, gone are the days of scales that simply provide a weight reading; instead, smart scales promise to track not only pounds, but body fat, BMI, water and muscle mass too. That’s the idea behind Withings’s Body+ smart scale.

Before I get to this review I have to confess: I reviewed a Withings scale several years ago and had a terrible time; it was buggy, hard to set up and glitchy, and I did not care for the product or the experience. Recently I saw that Withings new scale, the Body + has gotten great reviews from thousand of shoppers, so I figured it’s a good time to take another look.

In this review, I’ll test the scale, the set up and user interface, see if it has special features and how it integrates—or doesn’t—into my life. I’ll wrap things up by letting you know if I can recommend it for you.

Withings Body+ Smart Scale : what you get

The Withings Body+ scale is made out of tempered glass with a very thin design. The total dimensions of the scale are 12.8 inches x 12.8 inches x 0.9 inches, and colour choices include white or black. The scale’s display measures 2.4 inches x 1.6 inches and is made with high contrast lighting. An interesting touch to this scale is that it shows the local weather forecast on the display screen.

Perhaps surprisingly, the scale runs on four AAA batteries that are already installed – you just have to pullo the tab to connect the charge, and Withings says these batteries should last up to 18 months. Carpet feet to help it balance better, are also included in the box.

The scale uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to share data to your smartphone (iOS or Android). When syncing wirelessly to the app, you get free unlimited storage of your weigh-ins.

Withings Health Mate app

To accompany your Body+ scale, it is highly recommended you download the free Withings Health Mate. You can track your weight, sleep, blood pressure, and activity while also being able to log your caloric intake and set weight and nutrition goals. The app also gives you insights tailored to your current metrics, giving you more knowledge about what each metric means and how you can use the insights to get even healthier. As a nice touch, you can also view your health progress plus generate shareable reports for yourself and your physician.

Set up

review, Withings Body + smart scaleAs I noted earlier I had a terrible time with the last Withings scale I reviewed. I have to admit I was not hopeful for the set up process on this model. Much to my surprise the scale began the set up sequence on its own, and I just needed to re-download the Withings app to connect the scale. The app saw the scale immediately and after a quick prompt to connect to my home’s Wi-Fi net work it was online and ready to go. From there it took just a few tops to choose some preferences in settings and then I was able to step on and take my first measurement.

If you’re new to Withings, the app will ask you to create an account by entering your email address and a password before having you input your full name, birth date, gender, and current height and weight. Once the app is installed, the scale is connected, and your personal information is stored, the app will have you choose a weight goal.

If you are placing the Body+ scale on carpet, put the included carpet feet on the bottom first. Changing the unit that weight is displayed in can be done by simply pressing the button on the bottom of the scale until the desired unit is shown. Altering other settings such as the unit of temperature shown on the scale and the order of screens on your scale can be done through the app.

What can Withings Body+ Smart Scale measure?

The scale can display weight in pounds, kilograms, and stone and has a weight range of 9 to 396 pounds (5 to 180 kilograms).

review, Withings Body + smart scaleUsing the four weight sensors, the Withings Body+ scale incorporates Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis and can recognize weight, body fat percentage, body mass index (BMI), body water percentage, muscle mass, and bone mass. The scale supports up to eight different users and can automatically recognize who is on the scale.

Interestingly you can choose to have the scale show you a weather forecast every morning too if you wish.

Different Modes for athletes and parents

The Withings Body+ scale comes with two optional modes – Baby Mode and Athlete Mode. As the name suggests, Baby Mode allows users to step on the scale holding the baby and accurately measure the baby’s metric that way instead of trying to keep the baby still on the scale. Athlete mode is made for those with athletic body types who exercise often, as their fat mass is calculated in a special way.

The Withings app also has a Pregnancy Tracker, which tracks current pregnancy stages and provides tips.

Integration with other apps & services

If you use other health-related apps, Withings’s technology can connect with over 100 of the most popular ones including MyFitnessPal, Noom, and Apple Health. Withings also makes other devices like trackers and watches, which can also be added to the app.

I connected the Withings app to my Apple health and it simply involved enabling permission.

Using the Withings Body+ Scale

Weighing yourself is the same as any other scale: just step on it evenly and wait. If you have multiple users connected to your scale with similar weights, the scale will allow you to pick which user is on the scale by simply leaning left or right. Depending on the settings you have chosen during setup, you may see the Weight Trend screen which allows you to see your progress. The app will have all of the relevant data for weight and other metrics like body fat percentage and body mass index, which are all good metrics to know.

I used the scale for about two weeks and took my weight every day. It’s certainly not a chore and it’s convenient that you get your information both on the digital readout screen and on your phone so it’s not like you have to go hunting.

review, Withings Body + smart scaleSmall arrows will light up around the four corners of the display screen and these will show you if you’re off-center or leaning. If you can get the squares to stop flashing, you’ve got an even weight distribution and the scale will take your reading. Sometimes this is a bit finicky to get just right.

Taking weight measurements: not so fast…

My first few days didn’t go so well. The scale seemed to have become disconnected from Wi-Fi and I had to reconnect it in order for it to sync my measurements. Next I noticed that it took my initial weight add to just 68 pounds. Then despite the fact I was taking my weight in bare feet, the scale did not seem to be recording any of the additional data such as body fat, bone mass, and muscle mass.

To attempt to remedy this you have to go into the devices tab on the app and look in unknown measurements. You’ll likely see your weight displayed in there and then what you need to do is assign it to a user. Even so, after I did that it still was not properly displaying my weight in the app dashboard. I decided to force close the app and re-open it. This finally seemed to jumpstart things… But not entirely.

My weight was finally being accurately recorded, though it was attributing it to two days in the past. Body fat, bone mass, and muscle mass were still not being tracked.

review, Withings Body + smart scaleI did some reading up on this and apparently this is not unusual since Withthings website has a page that describes how to deal with this problem. One of the suggestions was that if your feet are too dry it won’t take body composition measurements. The recommendation is for you to weigh yourself after a shower. Taking the moist feet into consideration I wet the bottoms of my feet and then got on the scale to see if that would do anything. But no dice.

Next up I tried to follow the provided instructions for how to ensure body composition measurements were enabled. Except the steps provided online for the scale did not match anything in my app. I insured I had the most recent app version, I did, but still couldn’t get the measurements happening.

Getting professional help: mandatory

I finally ended up contacting Withings customer phone support for help.

Assigning Unknown measurements

It seems the first issue is that you may need to weigh yourself multiple times for the scale to begin saving data to your profile. If this is a new device it may be saving data as “unknown measurements”.

You’ll need to assign these unknown measurements to a user profile. To do that look in the home tab or the devices tab for anything labelled unknown measurements once you click on them you can assign each one to a specific user.

The customer service rep took me through this about 7 times and still nothing.

Next we manually added weight measurements. That didn’t work either.

Factory Reset & re-installation

Final step was a confusing reset sequence. You first need to delete the scale from your Withings health app and disconnect it from your Bluetooth menu. Then you will reset the scale using the reset button on the back of the scale (hold it for about 7 seconds) and then quickly choose the reset option from the three-item menu that comes up (mac, options reset?)  or you have to start it over.

With the scale reset I needed to re-add it back to the app and re-connected to Wi-Fi.

After more than 35 minutes on the phone troubleshooting, I finally had it taking readings.

I’m just going to say it… Unfortunately with things app and devices don’t appear to be much improved from several years ago. My experience with the set up process and getting correct data to appear was again buggy, confusing, and problematic and took way too much time to resolve. I will say the Withings rep I spoke to on the phone was quite kind, helpful, and patient. But I think this would be an extremely frustrating process for a lot of users.

Viewing body composition readings

Now that I could properly view my body composition readings I was able to see data such as my body composition including body fat, Bone mass, muscle mass and body water… on the scale at least. Seemingly again, the app seemed to be struggling to sync the data. I figured much like the weight that this data would begin to sync after a few more weigh ins, which it finally did.

Is Withings Body + scale accurate?

The key question with any type of body measurement device is, is it accurate? While I can say for the most part it seemed in line with my weight which I have taken with other scales, I did not have another scale with me to compare it against. Similarly with the body composition readings I don’t have another way of verifying that data, so it seems I need to take Withings word for it.

review, Withings Body + smart scaleI suppose if you’re just starting out on your journey and you don’t have anything to compare it against anyway, this will simply become your benchmark. I have found comments online where some users feel the measurements are not accurate for them personally. For me I don’t have any qualms about the readings since I don’t have anything to compare them against. But it’s something to consider as you’re shopping for a device.

Overall review: Withings Body + smart scale

Overall when it comes to the scales basic function; and that is giving you your weight, it seems accurate and it works well. I was able to get basic weight information both on screen and on the app. The design and the looks of this device are quite nice, and when it comes to other pros, the battery life is long and with the ability to simply replace the four AA batteries every year and a half or so, that makes it quite convenient. You can also get a lot of advanced body composition data right in your home, both on the scale’s display screen and tracked overtime on your smart phone.

On the downside I’m incredibly disappointed to find that years on from the exact same type of problems I first experienced with the Body Cardio scale, Withings hasn’t made the set up process any better, and it still requires customer service intervention to get it working.

The bottom line here: if you’re willing to invest an hour on the phone in your set up if you should have any trouble, you’ll get good help from Withings customer service. If you are the type of shopper that prefers plug, play, and instant satisfaction from a gadget or device, Withings’ smart scales cannot deliver.

For me the fact the set up process is so buggy and frustrating is the main reason I’m not going to recommend another with things smart scale. My preference instead has been for Fitbit smart scales which have worked bug free in my home for many many years. While the Fitbit Aria Air has more limited data available, it costs about half what Withings does, and it works like a dream.

The Withings Body+ smart scale retails for $99.95USD on Amazon or the Withings website.




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