High Blood pressure strains your heart and blood vessels and can cause serious medical problems. If you have high blood pressure or your doctor has recommended you check your blood pressure regularly, you might be going to the local pharmacy— or even to the doctor— to do it. Now there’s a way to check your blood pressure at home easily, and to be able to share the info with your physician.
Withings BPM Connect is an at-home blood pressure cuff that’s easy to use and highly accurate. Created with the help of cardiologists and cleared by the FDA (but as of filming time, not by Health Canada), it makes taking your blood pressure and heart rates convenient and gives you immediate colour-coded feedback on its easy to read LED display. It also connects seamlessly with the Withings Health Mate app on your phone.
Read my review of Withings Body Cardio Scale.
Why get a smart Blood Pressure Monitor? Avoid White coat syndrome or added stress
Have you heard of white coat syndrome? This is where going to see a doctor or medical professional for tests or readings can actually increase your stress levels, resulting in higher readings. Being able to check you pressure at home using Withings BPM Connect means you can stay relaxed in the comfort of your home and get readings without worrying.
Who can use Withings BPM Connect?
The Withings BPM Connect can be used by up to eight people and is supported by Android and iOS devices. It features a long-lasting battery that provides six months of use with a single charge.
Even for those who wouldn’t consider themselves tech-savvy, the Withings BPM Connect is easy to learn and to use, since it operates with one button.
The LED display will show you your numerical readings, and also give you a colour coded light that tells you if your blood pressure is normal up to hypertensive, based on recommendations from the American Heart Association. These colors also appear in the app so you can see your full data history.
Setting up & using Withings BPM Connect with multiple users: not simple
Getting the device set up is easy enough. You’ll set up or log into your Withings Health Mate App account and pair the app to your your Blood Pressure Cuff. With that done, you’ll be able to take a reading.
Press the power button once to turn the Withings BPM Connect on and another press on the same button will start the reading, inflating the cuff tightly around your arm and taking your blood pressure and heart rate measurements. Taking your heart rate, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure will take only about 30 seconds.
You may think you can seamless swap between users, but unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Each reading taken will be attributed to the last person who used the cuff, with no way to change that info once it’s registered, and there’s no way I can see to move it from one person’s profile to the next, if you forget to change users in the app before you take a reading, you’re stuck with someone else’s readings, messing up your health report and trends. (You can enter readings manually by typing them out, but you need to use the web version of the Health mate app, a kind of tedious option.)
And oddly, you can’t seem to select a different user in the app, and have the readings go to that person: you need to do this on the device, so here’s how:
As soon as the results populate on the armband, click the button once and the first user’s name will pop up.
Hold the button down until the next name pops up. Use the longer button-hold to toggle through users.
Once you toggle to the correct user, click the button again and a check mark will appear to confirm the selected user.
You should then see the results under the selected user in the app.
Guest user option is imperfect
There is a Guest user option if you don’t want to record the entry into one of the user accounts. But another annoying little thing is that any users who use the device as a Guest, won’t have their readings saved into the app, not even under a generic ‘Guest’ tab. These readings are available only on the arm band and not saved, so if you miss your readout, you’ll need to do it over again.
Using the Withings Health Mate app
There’s good and bad in the app. The good, is that all your readings are stored. The bad is, it’s hard to find them and that the app labeling isn’t intuitive. For example, you’ll find the main user’s last readings only on the main screen; no one else’s. To look at yours in more detail or to find another user’s data you need to go into the not-helpfully labelled Dashboard. Each user lives in there, and you can swap between them. Your blood pressure lives further down and it will only show today’s or the last measurement taken. To see more detail, click into that reading. Want historical data? Click ‘See my trend’.
Single Reading or triple reading
There’s a feature that will let you take three readings in a row on this device. You can access it by pusing the power button quickly once, then pushing and holding it again until you see BPx3 on the unit display. To get it back to a single reading, single press, then press and hold, and press to change. A word of warning here: if you don’t actually run through a reading it will turn off and not save that setting, so you’ll need to re-set again when you take your next reading.
Features of Withings BPM Connect
Withings BPM Connect is packed with multiple features that make the device reliable and easy to use when taking blood pressure tests at home.
View results on device or in app
You can view your results on the device, using the LED light readout, or in the app. Featuring Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi connectivity, BPM connect syncs quickly with the Withings Health Mate app
Colour-coded bar for easy reference
After taking your measurements, the numbers will display on the side of the unit in white lights, and there’s also a colour bar for at a glance assessment of whether the reading is high or low. If you want more detail, or to see your trends over time, the app has it. The app presents results fairly quickly, though there is about a 6-10 second delay before it will show up in the app.
One button operation
The Withings BPM Connect is to operate. The long adjustable strap is comfortable to put on by yourself, and when used by multiple users, it can accommodate a wide range of arm sizes.
Press the power button once to turn it one and another press on the same button will start the reading, taking your blood pressure and heart rate measurements. Taking your heart rate, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure will take only 30 seconds. The device can also share your blood pressure and readings with other apps like Apple Health or with your doctor too.
Is Withings BPM Connect accurate?
Withings says the BPM Connect has been thoroughly tested to ensure it gives you highly accurate results. While I don’t have access to medical equipment to verify it, the readings seemed accurate for what I know my own baselines to be.
I also compared the heart rate taken by the BPM Connect to Apple watch for example, and found they’re the same.
Withings BPM Connect is portable
Withings BPM Connect is pretty stylish for a medical device. It is slim and does not feature a hoop of tubes and balloons, and, therefore, it is easy to carry around. It winds down to a small discrete package that no one would ever know if for your blood pressure.
The small and compact size of the Withings BPM Connect perfectly fits in a purse, a messenger bag or an overnight bag. This makes the device travel-friendly so you can check your bold pressure regularly even when traveling. The heather grey colour of the cuff and the white devices means you will no attract attention when you use the device in public.
Overall review: Withings BPM Connect
Overall, There’s a lot to like about the Withings BPM Connect. If you need to monitor your blood pressure, Withings BPM Connect is a very easy, user-friendly DIY home option. The on-device readout gives you easy to read and understand info.
Withings BPM Connect is highly portable, and you can comfortably use it in public without attracting unnecessary attention. Plus the long lasting 6 month battery means you won’t have to worry about charging if you want to take it traveling. I spent about three weeks with the device so I can’t yet say anything about the actual battery life.
When it comes to downsides, I think Withings could to a much better job at the multi-user experience. It would help to be able to manually reassign readings to other users, and the process for swapping the users back and forth needs to be simplified. It would be nice if Guest readings were available in the app. And I think the app organization and labeling could be a bit more intuitive.
Even so, I think this is a good device for those needing to monitor blood pressure regularly and I can recommend it, for both technophiles and those without a major knowledge of technology.
Withings BPM Connect sells for about $99USD and you can get it from Withings website or from Amazon.
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I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.