The One about the Withings Pulse Ox

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As a proud owner of Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer, I was looking forward to the Withing Pulse Ox Black.

For my runs, I tend to use my Garmin Forerunner and most recently, my TomTom Spark Music + Cardio but always willing to test out affordable watches that deal with wearable health/sports technology.

Out of the box, you get the Withings watch which comes with the strap/holder, a clip on (for those who would rather wear it on their belt and are prone to silicone band allergic reactions) and a short USB cord for recharging.

Out of the box, mine had only 20%, so you will want to let the watch recharge for several hours before installing on your iOS or Android phone.

I used the device on one arm and my Garmin on another to check out step accuracy and for the most part, the amount of steps was similar (which is the good news).

You can see the steps, elevation, miles, you can track your activity such as sleeping and also by taking the device off the watch band, you can read your heart rate as well by putting your finger on the back of the unit.

You can also opt to compete with friends via your cell phone.

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But the Pulse Ox integrates well with the Withings Healthmate website and if you own more than one Withings device, both work hand-in-hand and will display your steps, your sleep pattern, how many calories you burned, etc. There is only one button on the device, so everything is within a touch of the button in order to cycle through various screens. There is use of the touch screen, which will probably be used more for those wanting to switch to heart rate or sleep activity.

I like the black with blue lettering of the watch. Clock is easy to read and it shows you your battery power. You can easily set up how you want the watch to display.

And that was the good…now what I didn’t like about the Withings Pulse Ox.

– The display is not clear and sharp. I’m not sure if it’s the protective glass layer but the information displayed on the screen is blurry and fuzzy and has been well-documented on Withings Facebook page, which owners have discussed this issue.

– No Strava Connection as of 12/19/2015.

– Unlike the Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer, which syncs with Withings Healthmate website and MyFitnessPal and Garmin Connect, the Pulse OX does not. Once you download the information to your cell phone (holding the single top button will sync to your cell phone), you can only view via Withings Health Mate.

– The Heart Rate Monitor reads your finger, but it wouldn’t work for m, I tried multiple times in different finger positions while holding the watch, but still unable to get a good reading. I prefer heart rate monitors that can read on your wrists, but this is not possible as the holder blocks the heart rate monitor reader behind the watch. Garmin and TomTom, the monitor reads directly on top or the bottom of your wrist.

– No GPS. It would have been nice to have this function but it would have been wonderful if there was GPS integration with the Pulse OX.

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JUDGMENT CALL:

While the Withings Pulse Ox works well in reading steps and counting calories burned and elevation and it’s under a $100, there are other watches that do much better with a different price range. The Garmin Forerunner 10 or 15 are inexpensive and are much older but give you more bang for the buck.

While Fitbit Charge and the Garmin Forerunner 25 will run you up another $50. But personally, for basic step counting and more bang for your buck with GPS integration, with FitBit and Microsoft really turning things up with health technology for the under $100 category, it’s good to see Withings continue the technology and making this watch affordable.

But with a blurry screen, no GPS or access to third party health sites/comunities outside of the Withings Health Mate, you just feel that there is so much potential for a better device for Withings but unfortunately, some of these issues may turn people off.

Otherwise, if you are in it for step counting, tracking calories burned and having sleep activity and heart rate being tracked, as well as having a clock integrated, then you can’t go wrong with this device. It’s a good non-GPS device but Withings could have done much better.

Dennis A. Amith