Withings' new Scanwatch brings a feature never before seen in a smartwatch

Withings ScanWatch
Withings has just unveiled its most advanced smartwatch ever: one that keeps the look of a classic watch and the long battery life, but with a ton of new smart features including ECG, sleep apnea detection and 24/7 heart rate monitoring. The new gadget goes by the name Withings Scanwatch and the company boldly claims in PR materials that it is "the most advanced health wearable ever designed."

While we can't quite judge before testing one, what we can see is indeed a long list of features:

  • 24/7 heart scanning
  • irregular beats alert
  • electrocardiogram
  • sleep apnea detection (world's first on a smartwatch)
  • 30-day battery life
  • VO2 Max measurement
  • multi-sport tracking
  • oxygen saturation
  • notifications

The timepiece keeps the classic watch styling with a white and black watchface options, but it also has a smaller, round second screen where it displays notifications, as well as health and fitness data.

The Withings Scanwatch has an array of sensors on its back: a combined heart rate and SpO2 sensor, 3 electrodes, and an altimeter that work together to give you more data. By using the electrodes, you can take an ECG in about half a minute and get a more detailed look inside the workings of your heart, and the watch will also look for signs of irregular rhythms and inform you if they happen. Detecting an atrial fibrillation is extremely important and can be a life-saver.

To detect sleep apnea, the Scanwatch uses the oxygen saturation sensor that will monitor your stats throughout the night. An oxygen saturation sensor is nothing new -- the Fitbit Ionic had one in 2017 and many Garmin watches do as well. What is new, however, is the way it is used to detect sleep apnea, something that other brands have only investigated but never really implemented in a device. You can see a report with information about whether an apnea episode occurred in the app, and Withings has filed with the FCC to receive regulatory clearance too. This last step might be a tough nut to crack as FCC approvals can take long months, which may mean the ScanWatch won't be released as soon as you might think.

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Of course, the usual hybrid smartwatch features are available too: various workouts are supported, you have sleep tracking, steps and you can swim with it. The watch will work with both Android devices and iPhones, and it will deliver notifications from both platforms to your wrist.

While watches like the ScanWatch sound captivating with their classic design and long battery life, you also have to make do with a tiny PMOLED display here that cannot even fully display short text messages and such messages will slowly roll through the screen, and reading them can be tedious.

The Withings Scanwatch looks and feels like a premium product. It comes with a durable, scratch-resistant sapphire glass and a beautifully crafted crown that is actually a button that you can press to start workouts and set alarms. The watch is stylish and functional, but it does come with a tiny digital screen, so you should not forget that you need to read the bulk of its data via the Withings Health Mate app on your phone.

The Scanwatch will come in two sizes: 38mm and 42mm, and prices are set at $250 and $300 accordingly. The release date is not announced just yet, but we will update you as soon as we know it.

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