Withings devices have always stood out for the amount of fitness-tracking technology packed into svelte, stylish devices that look like regular analogue watches. That’s more true than ever with the latest device from the company, the ScanWatch, which monitors more health stats than any previous Withings watch.
We’re way beyond steps and calories burned here – though the ScanWatch will also track those – and into the realm of electrocardiogram (ECG), breathing rate and blood oxygen measurements.
While several watches are able to take an ECG measurement from the wrist, the devices need to be certified by the EU for the feature to be turned on in the UK. Recent editions of the Apple Watch and the Fitbit Versa 2 launched without certification but now have it (or in Fitbit’s case, a compatible app has it), while the feature on Samsung devices is stuck in limbo. The ScanWatch will be CE marked from launch, presumably helped by the existing Withings Move ECG making the grade.
This means the ScanWatch can detect atrial fibrillation – an irregular heart rhythm that can be a sign of serious medical conditions. This is done through a test in which you hold your finger on the watch, but also proactive heart scanning that will encourage you to take an ECG measurement if the ScanWatch detects an irregular heart rate.
The ScanWatch will also monitor your breathing and log any disturbances during the night when you stop breathing for several seconds. Having multiple such disturbances during the night can be a sign of sleep apnoea, a common condition that often goes undiagnosed. Full medical-grade sleep apnoea detection will become available on the ScanWatch later in the year after the watch gains further certification on this front.
While blood oxygen saturation measurements via an SpO2 sensor have become more common on high-end fitness trackers and smartwatches, the need for them has become more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have shown symptoms of COVID-19, or had a positive test, monitoring your blood oxygen saturation becomes important because your levels can drop to a dangerous extent.
Of course, no-one is suggesting that a smartwatch can replace proper medical attention, but having the measurement available through your smartwatch may help give you peace of mind.
On top of these measurements, the ScanWatch will also track your everyday activity, sleep and sports, using your phone’s GPS to provide more accurate tracking during outdoor exercise. It can also estimate your VO2 max. The watch is waterproof and offers up to 30 days of battery life, hitting the high standards that Withings consistently offers on this front.
The Withings ScanWatch is available now in two sizes: 38mm, which costs £249.95, and 42mm, which is £279.95.
Buy from Withings | £249.95-£279.95