Review: Withings Pulse Activity Tracker

In the world of Nike+ Fuelband and Fitbits comes a new entrant which track more than what other tracking gadgets are offer, the Pulse has a dedicated Heart-rate monitor, sleep detector along with one of the most accurate step counter and other functions.

The Pulse weighs 8g is small in size and sync with the smartphone Bluetooth to its proprietary app provides online data analytics and more.

Although it sounds extremely promising there are some of the flaws you notice the first time you see the Pulse, its not wearable and so small that you may misplace it, it happened with me more often than not. We have tested Withings Pulse over a month an here is the first hand review of how good / bad Withings Pulse fares.

What’s in the box and first Impressions

The package is attractive and shows exactly what the tracker does.

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The back of the package shows how you can wear the Withings Pulse and what all it can do

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The box contains:

Withings Pulse
Belt clip
USB charging cable
Sleep wristband
Quick installation guide

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Pulse is black in colour and has a soft touch coating that provide good grip, the coating however attracts dust and lint.

On the side opposite the button you’ll find the micro USB connector which is used to charge the Pulse’s built in battery. Battery life is approximately 2 weeks per charge and from what I’m noticing so far, that sounds about right. Not having to worry about charging it every night, is definitely a plus.

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On the back of the Pulse you’ll find the built in heart rate sensor. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t require a chest strap or anything other than the tip of your finger, however, it is not that accurate, I took 2-3 sample one after another and there were considerable different in each test report (1st 97- bpm, 2nd – 155bpm, 3rd – 55 bpm)

Usage: Withings Pulse Activity Tracker

Setting up Withings Pulse is easy, Press and hold the top button and a Bluetooth Logo will flash, enable bluetooth on your phone and connect the tracker from the list, open the Withings App and setup your Tracker. Once done you’re ready to us it.

Once set up and linked to my iPhone, several new “widgets” appeared in the Health Mate app showing activity, sleep, and heart rate. Syncing the Pulse and the Withings app happens automatically about every six hours, It is also possible to force a sync by pressing the top button for three seconds. An animated graphic appears on the screen showing the entire process, and the Withings app does not need to be open for the data to pass between the two devices.

During the review period, I used 2 pedometers, one Fuelband and other Withings Pulse, there was a different between the Step count for both the devices, while for eg. Fuelband showed 6000+ steps, Pulse had counted more than 7500+ steps, but having said that I also did a manual run of the step count and found that Pulse has a better step counting mechanism than the Fuelband and it counts in real time.

The face of the Withings Pulse has a mono backlit display which is easy to read in the dark, but difficult to in the sun, it also doesn’t have a light sensor to brighten up the screen. One press of the button shows the total steps you’ve walked for the current day. Swiping your finger across the face from left to right will allow you to scroll through 10 days of data.

Pressing the top button will cycle you thought the below display on the tracker

Steps taken

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Inclination

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Distance travelled

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Calories BurntIMG_4631

Heart rate Monitor enable and Sleep tracking enableIMG_4633

Final screen is of the time and the name of the user

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Withings has both an Android and an iOS app for maintaining the tracking and analytics. If your Withings account also syncs with other services like Runkeeper, some of that data will also show up in this app.

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You can setup profiles for the same.

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Steps tracking per hour

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Heart rate tracking

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Sleep tracking analysis

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Weight monitor analysis

Either you add weight manually or Withings Scale to automatically update.

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While the App and the Tracker is wonderful they still need some work to be done, including the software and the physical heart-rate monitor.

Pros: Withings Pulse Activity Tracker

  • Accurate Step counter
  • Size fits perfectly in the pocket
  • Syncing done automatically
  • Touchscreen on the OLED Display
  • Pricing is below other Trackers in the segment

Cons: Withings Pulse Activity Tracker

  • If you’re forgetful you may lose your tracker or put it in the washing machine with your trouser.
  • It doesn’t sync automatically as advertised
  • No PC or Web App
  • You have to force the app in the sleep tracking mode and remove it once you get up, otherwise it keep tracking
  • If you strap it on your hand during the day it shows incorrect, inflated reading

The DNetWorks Team