Withings Pulse Review8
At heart, the Withings Pulse is a pedometer, so it measures the amount of steps we’ve taken, which in turn, computes our distance covered and the amount of calories we burn. Using the rubber clip holster, it manages to accurate measure all of our steps to the teeth. However, we notice one fatal flaw – waving it in our hand causes it to register it as steps. Although it’s unlikely for us to use the device day in, day out while physically holding it, we hope that some sort of software update can remedy this flaw in the future. Besides that, it works wonderfully when it’s safe and sound in our pockets, backpack, or when it’s clipped onto us via the rubbery clip.
For other measurements, like calories burned and distance travelled, it’s all calculated based on the information we provide to the accompanying Withings app. Much like other calculated based fitness trackers, these are measurements that it comes up with, which aren’t always the most accurate. For example, it’s unable to read our heart rate consistently during various exercises, especially when going from a stagnant starting point to something intensive – therefore, the calories burned figure isn’t as precise as say a chest strap heart rate monitor.
And that leads us to the unit’s ability to measure our heart rate, which is done when we activate the sensor and place our finger over its neon green LED light. Basically, we keep our finger still on it for some time, which then gives us our heart rate. Needless to say, it’s nice that it offers this unique function on the fly, but the data is only useful when we measure our heart rate under the same conditions – like at a resting rate.
In addition to measuring various physical activities, the Withings Pulse can also analyze our sleeping patterns too – a special perk no doubt! Placing it into sleep mode right before we go to bed, the Pulse can analyze when we’re doing some light or heavy sleeping. Heck, it even can tell us how long it takes us to fall asleep. We’re surprised at how active while sleeping, since the Withings Pulse pays close attention to movement during our sleep. Whereas other portions of its tracking is automatic, like how it tracks how many steps we take, we have to physically put the Pulse into sleeping mode right before bed – and again take it off the mode in the morning when we wake up.
Working in conjunction with this multiple faceted fitness tracker, the Withings app (available for Android and iOS) is the one-stop hub where all the stored information can be seen in detail. Mostly relying on bar and line charts, it’s wonderful that we can visualize our actual fitness activity – plus our sleeping habits too! Storing all of that information is wonderful and all, but we sorely wish it can offer us recommendations on how to improve, or set goals to further our activity goals. Instead, the information is simply raw and without any meaningful suggestions. In the future, we’re crossing our fingers that they deepen the app’s features set.