Withings Pulse Review
It’s one thing to get into shape, but it’s totally another trying to get motivated to even start. Looking around, there are plenty of fitness activity accessories to go with, like the Fitbit or Nike FuelBand, with both getting plenty of attention in the space. Entering the scene as a newcomer, the Withings Pulse looks to give the current crop of devices a good run for their money, as it boasts some of the same tracking features as its esteemed rivals, but as its name so aptly implies, it also has the ability to read our pulse. Paired with its interesting design, it seemingly has enough arsenal to steer ahead through the crowded waters.
This is an interesting looking little fella, and at first glance, we wouldn’t fathom for a moment that it’s an activity tracker. First things first, it’s unbelievably tiny in size and its weight is nearly non-existent! Obviously, those are aspects that are agreeable to everyone, but there are times that we’re scared of actually losing it, since it’s so darn small. Sporting a rectangular looking casing with a uniform soft touch finish, there’s no denying that it’s flaunting a modern design that makes a distinct statement. Despite its alluring design, there is a bit of hollowness in its casing that exudes some cheapness with its construction – plus, it didn’t help when its internals seems to come out as we tried removing its charging cable from its microUSB port.
No doubt one of its most defining characteristics, the Withings Pulse features an OLED touchscreen with a 132 x 32 pixels resolution. With its aqua colored glow, it definitely attracts some attention at first glance, however, its potency is lacking when we try to view it outdoors with the sun present. Essentially, it becomes washed out and almost impossible to view. On the flip side, though, there’s a pleasing iridescent glow when it’s in the dark. As for the touchscreen portion, it can be a bit sluggish with its response every now and then – causing us to swipe multiple times. Not surprisingly, its functionality is minimal, as we’re mainly swiping left/right or tapping to make selections. Thankfully, the Pulse stores and can display readings for up to 10 days.
On its top edge, the ‘Withings’ name is the most prominent item printed on its body – while a circular sized recessed button nearby turns on the device with a single press, and pressing it again enables us to cycle through its different modes. Along the bottom edge, there’s a microUSB port that charges its internal battery, which is rated to deliver up to 14 days of juice (more on that later). And finally, flipping it to its back, we find one peculiar thing we don’t tend to find with most other activity trackers – green/red LEDs that measure our heart rate, along with its optoelectronics sensor.
Included with the packaging are two wearable pieces that allow us to carry along the Withings Pulse. First, there’s the rubbery clip holster that accommodates the Pulse, which is our go-to choice out of everything else. Sure, we can simply toss the Pulse in our pocket since it’s so miniscule in size, but the rubbery clip ensures us that we have access to it at a moment’s notice. Thankfully, the clip is tight enough to stay sufficiently in place – even when we’re moving vigorously, like running. However, after a month of using it consistently, the rubbery casing began to tear apart.
Secondly, there’s a fabric-like wrist strap accessory that’s supposed to be used for sleeping only, but we’d figure some people wouldn’t mind using it for other activities. With its mesh front finish, we’re still permitted to interact with the Pulse – so swipes and touches are registered. As much as we’d like to use this while running outside, the fabric material probably wouldn’t hold up in the long run, since it’ll absorb sweat and get dirty very quickly.