Withings ScanWatch Review:A Designer Watch Designed To Take Care Of You

With its ScanWatch, Withings continues its momentum of hybrid connected watches with screens. This latest model not only offers heart rate monitoring but also an electrocardiogram and sleep apnea monitoring.
The Withings ScanWatch

In recent years, the measures offered by connected watches, in particular for monitoring health, have been developing more and more. With its Scanwatch, Withings not only offers a hybrid watch with a very classic design but above all a watch capable of taking a large number of measurements. Heart rate, number of steps, sleep apnea, electrocardiogram, it does almost everything. Is that enough to justify its price of nearly 300 dollars? This is what we will see in this full test.

Withings ScanWacth Data Sheet :

Model Withings ScanWatch
Heart rate sensor Yes
Sleep analysis Yes
Accelerometer Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes
Price 336 $


A Sober And Elegant Design :

The Withings ScanWatch is not a connected watch like the others. We will more readily speak of a hybrid watch since the toquante has real hands. If the watch is well equipped with a screen, it is ultimately quite small, positioned on the upper part of the dial. For everything else, the Withings ScanWatch looks like any other classic watch.

The Withings ScanWatch is a real watch with hands

This has been the hallmark of the brand since its beginnings in the field of connected watches. The first watches of the French brand, the Activity, Activity Pop, and even the recent Move do not even have screens, but simply a system of hands. Here, we finally find an approach quite similar to that of the brand’s Withings Steel HR. That is, the watch has two dials, a main one for the time and a second for the number of steps taken, as well as a PMOLED screen, which we will come back to later.

The second dial of the Withings ScanWatch indicates the number of steps taken

The result is a design that is both sober and timeless. It must be said that the watch consists of a beautifully lacquered brass case. On the dial, Withings does not annotate the minutes but uses rather elegant metal bars. The needles are also in sobriety. We will also find all the markers of a classic watch with a real crown on the right side. Like on Apple Watch, it will allow you to navigate the menus by pressing or turning it. Horns seeming to extend into the bracelet are also present to hang the bracelet.

The horns and crown of the Withings ScanWatch

Speaking of the bracelet, it should be noted that Withings offers two formats of its ScanWatch watch: a 38 mm model – with a format of 38.4 x 13.2, a strap 18 mm wide, and a weight of 58 grams – and a 42 mm model – with a format of 42 x 13.7, a strap of 20 mm wide and a weight of 83 grams. In my case, I was able to test the first model, the smaller one.

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And yet, to say that the ScanWatch 38mm is small. Compared to many other smartwatches on the market, it looks faded on my wrist. It must be said that it will be especially suitable for small wrists, especially women while the 42 mm version will be more designed for larger wrists.

In both cases, even if the size of the watch and the strap vary, Withings has incorporated a removable strap system. It must be said that these are bracelets in the standard formats of 18 and 20 mm and can therefore easily be replaced by any other bracelet at a jeweler or online. Useful if the silicone strap, offered by default with the watch, does not suit you.

The 38 mm version of the Withings ScanWatch offers very thin borders

The other big difference between the two watch sizes comes from the case itself. If the 38 mm model clearly plays the card of sobriety, Withings has added a slightly larger crown to the 42 mm model. The curves of the small format then give way to a slightly more angular design. The lugs that attach to the wrist are also sharper and no longer seem to blend with the grip of the pump. Finally, around the dial, Withings has chosen to integrate annotations for its 42 mm model indicating precisely the minutes.

Finally, the last option to choose from, the Withings ScanWatch offers two colors for its dial: black or white. If the choice of one or the other is above all a matter of taste, note that the black version has the merit of allowing the screen to disappear, which remains clearly visible even when off on the white version.

On the waterproof side, Withings says its ScanWatch can be used in water up to 50 meters deep. The sapphire crystal used to protect the dial should also provide good resistance, especially to scratches.

A Very Secondary Screen :

If the Withings ScanWatch is above all a needle watch, it nevertheless has a small screen integrated at the top of the dial. This is a PMOLED display, which is a passive matrix OLED display. Concretely, it makes it possible to take advantage of completely black pixels, with an infinite contrast ratio, but a much lower definition. Furthermore, it is a monochrome screen, capable of displaying only a white image on a black background, without colors or grayscale.

You will understand, the screen of the Withings ScanWatch is not the prettiest, but that is not what we ask of it. This is clearly a spare screen that will simply allow you to navigate the menus of the watch. No need for always-on mode, since the toquante has a real deal with needles. The screen will simply display the menus and, if applicable, the text of your notifications.

The Withings ScanWatch allows you to display notifications

It’s actually the same type of screen that was already found on the Withings Steel HR, the brand’s first hybrid display watch, but slightly improved. The screen actually displays 9000 pixels – or roughly 95 x 95 pixels – over a diameter of 1.3 cm or 0.5 inches. In addition, it can go up to a brightness of 260 cd/m². It’s not enough, but it will be enough for extra use.

The screen definition of the Withings ScanWatch is very limited

Note also that the watch is equipped with an automatic brightness sensor to avoid dazzling your eyes too much at night. A manual brightness mode is also available in the companion app. To turn on the screen, all you have to do is press the button on the right edge of the watch. However, an option called “quick-look” can be activated, from the watch or the application, so that the screen turns on automatically when you turn your wrist to consult the ScanWatch. Obviously, this mode will tend to consume more battery.

Limited Watch Functions :

To synchronize the Withings ScanWatch to a smartphone, you must necessarily go through the manufacturer’s in-house application: Health Mate. Available on Android as well as on iOS, it is this application that will allow you to connect the watch to the smartphone via Bluetooth, retrieve the data collected by the watch on your smartphone – and on your account via the website – and even offer certain settings.

It is the crown that will allow you to navigate the menus of the Withings ScanWatch

Navigation within the watch is done exclusively using the rotating crown to the right of the case. As we saw earlier, a simple press of the crown button will allow you to turn on the screen. From then on, several applications will be offered to you by default, by turning the dial from bottom to top:

  • Hour.
  • Settings.
  • Breathe.
  • Clock.
  • Sport.
  • SpO2.
  • ECG.
  • Floors.
  • Distance.
  • step.
  • Heartbeat.

Here, it is especially the “settings” application that will interest us, since it allows some interactions with the watch such as the display of the remaining battery, the activation of the do not disturb or the “quick-look” mode which turns on the screen when you rotate your wrist. Unfortunately, this is where things get a little tricky.

Indeed, to go back, you will necessarily have to press the “back” screen. To activate an option, you will sometimes have to make a short press on the button and sometimes a long press. Overall, a large number of menus and the small screen size don’t make things easy, and it’s not always easy to see which way you have to go to find a particular option.

The Withings ScanWatch The Withings ScanWatch The Withings ScanWatch The Withings ScanWatch

A silent alarm is available in the “clock” menu which will also allow you to start a stopwatch or a timer. For other functions, related to sports activity and health, will come back to this in the next section.

As for the Health Mate application – which could be translated as “health companion” – it is logical data related to the user’s health that will be highlighted. However, several device settings are available. This is where you can manage watch notifications, for example.

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The Withings ScanWatch can indeed display the notifications received, the content of SMS messages, or the name of the person calling you. For the notifications themselves, you will be able to choose which apps can send notifications. A good way to be notified of a WhatsApp message, but not to feel your wrist vibrate when you receive a promotional offer from Call of Duty Mobile.

Other settings are available in Health Mate, such as setting the time, the next alarm – again – the shortcut of the long press on the button – which by default allows you to start a workout -, the management of the brightness, and some health-related parameters. In these “vital signs”, you can adjust the SpO2 reading, indicate which wrist you are wearing your watch on for the ECG, or detect signs of atrial fibrillation. This is also where you can activate sleep apnea detection.

Finally, the last setting is for the daily step goal. The default is 10,000, you can set it to another level. Depending on this setting, the second face of the watch – which shows the percentage of your goal achieved each day – will adjust.

A Very Comprehensive Health Monitoring :

If there is one area in which the Withings ScanWatch seeks to distinguish itself from the competition, it is in terms of activity monitoring and health monitoring. It must be said that in addition to classic measurements such as heart rate or SpO2, it offers certain features that are still rare on the connected watch market.

This is the case with the electrocardiogram (ECG), which is only offered on rare watches like the Apple Watch. It must be said that this is a medical feature and therefore must be validated by the health authorities of each country, which is why we are still waiting for Samsung to activate the ECG on its Galaxy Watch Active 2 and Galaxy Watch 3.

As a reminder, the electrocardiogram will allow you to visualize the electrical activity of your heart in the form of a curve. A good way to check that your heart is not suffering from atrial fibrillation, with an irregular rhythm or skipping beats.

The ECG on the Withings ScanWatch

To activate the ECG, you must first enter the information in the Health Mate application whether you are wearing your watch on your right or left arm, then simply launch the functionality in the menus of the ScanWatch. A 30-second countdown will then appear on the watch screen, along with a graph showing the heart’s electrical activity. After the thirty seconds have passed, you will have a display showing whether or not heart activity is “normal”.

Be careful, however, to run this EKG, you will necessarily have to put your other hand on the watch, so as to create an electrical circuit from one arm to the other. After recording, you will be able to find your ECG graph directly in the Health Mate app with some annotations like your heart rate and whether the watch has detected a problem.

The heart rate sensor on the back of the Withings ScanWatch

The other innovative feature offered on the Withings ScanWatch concerns sleeps tracking. We will be entitled to a fairly classic monitoring mode, which will take into account your movements and your heart rate to detect phases of light or deep sleep, as well as phases of wakefulness. In this area, as much to say from the outset, the Withings watch is hardly convincing. It has happened to me on 7:27 nights of sleep that the ScanWatch only shows me 2:56 of sleep. However, on the Health Mate application, we can clearly see falling asleep at 2.20 am and waking up at 9.27 am. Suffice it to say that in terms of subtractions, we’ve seen better.

In contrast, it is in the area of ​​sleep apnea analysis that ScanWatch clearly stands out. Withings had already launched a sleep sensor, to be placed under your mattress, the Withings Sleep, to detect breathing problems during the night. Here, the manufacturer has decided to offer this function directly on its watch. You can do this by activating a function in the settings of the Health Mate app. However, this comes at the expense of the battery.

If you choose to enable sleep apnea detection every night – rather than at regular intervals – the watch will drain its battery quickly, at a rate of 15% per day. However, if you have any doubts about possible difficulty breathing while sleeping, the watch may possibly confirm or inform it, based in particular on your SpO2.

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Because in addition to the ECG and breathing difficulties, the Withings ScanWatch also allows more traditional measurements like heart rate or SpO2, i.e. oxygen saturation in the blood. It will also offer a fairly standard accelerometer to measure the number of steps taken during the day.

A long press on the Withings ScanWatch button will launch activity monitoring

Finally, the Withings watch does not directly integrate GPS. However, it can use your smartphone, associated with Bluetooth, when you start a workout. These are six activities that are supported when you long press the crown button:

  • running.
  • swimming.
  • bike.
  • walking.
  • indoor race.
  • other.

For training sessions, the watch will measure the number of steps taken, heart rate, VO2max, distance traveled – based on the smartphone’s GPS – as well as the altitude difference or average pace. This information can, once again, be found in the Health Mate app on smartphones.

Record Autonomy:

In terms of battery, the ScanWatch can claim to be one of the most autonomous watches on the market. It must be said that its small screen consumes very little battery. Withings announces up to 30 days of use in classic mode and 20 additional days in reserve mode.

Data that seems to be confirmed by my use. In classic mode, with the “quick look” option disabled and the nighttime breath analysis set to “automatic”, the watch will have lost only 20% of battery power in a week. This is an excellent score, which does suggest up to a month of use. However, on a second cycle, by activating the “quick look” mode and switching the respiratory scan to “always on”, autonomy was greatly reduced.

With these settings, it only took eight days for the watch to drop below 5% battery power. Like previous Withings watches, the ScanWatch then goes into “power reserve” mode. In other words, the hands keep turning and the watch will still measure the number of steps, but the other functions can no longer work.

The Withings ScanWatch offers a long battery life

For charging, Withings provides a magnetic charging base connected to a USB-A cable. However, no charger is offered with the watch. If the manufacturer communicates over a period of two hours for a full charge and one hour to reach 80% battery, my measurements were less. Starting from 0%, the watch was only charged to 39% in one hour, to 77% in two hours, and it took a total of 2h30 for a full charge.

Withings ScanWatch Network And Communication :

The Withings ScanWatch does not offer a 4G connection or even Wi-Fi. The only connection it has is Bluetooth Low Energy to communicate its information to the smartphone and vice versa.

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On the GPS side, if training tracking allows you to locate yourself, it is again using the GPS of the smartphone associated with it. The swatch does not integrate GPS and, if you plan to go for a run without a smartphone, you will not be able to find the track of your route.

Price And Availability Of The Withings ScanWatch:

The Withings ScanWatch is available at a price of 300 euros(about 361$) for the 42 mm model and 280 euros(about 337 $) for the 38 mm version. It is offered with a black dial or a white dial in both cases. Withings also offers optional straps in addition to the black silicone strap supplied with the watch.

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