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Withings Smart Activity Tracker and Smart Body Analyzer scale (hands-on)

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Gallery Photo: Withings
Gallery Photo: Withings

We just spent some time with two new products from Withings, the company behind the Wi-Fi Bodyscale. As we reported this morning, the Smart Activity Tracker is the company's answer to the Fitbit One: it's a small activity tracker that measures your steps taken, calories burned, and the quality of sleep. It also features one significant new addition: press your finger to the back of the device for 15 seconds, and it will detect your heart rate. The data is synced to the Withings app, giving users one more metric to measure and keep track of from their smartphone or the Withings website. The device can sync via Bluetooth or Bluetooth LE, depending on your device.

The tracker is roughly the same size as the Fitbit One, with a bright OLED display that was easy to read. It should fit nicely in the change pocket of your jeans, but the company will be providing both a belt clip and an armband for more versatile use. One compelling feature is the addition of a touchscreen; users can scroll back to view their activity history from within a given category. Unfortunately we found it somewhat awkward to use, having to try several times for the swipes to register. The heart rate monitor feature was similarly problematic, but we were assured that the device we used was a prototype and not final hardware. Withings wouldn't reveal the price of the Activity Tracker, but they did say it would be in line with competitors.

We also looked at Withings' latest scale, the Smart Body Analyzer. For those familiar with the original Bodyscale, there's not much new here in terms of industrial design. It does have quite a few neat tricks up its sleeve, however. The original Bodyscale used a small electrical current to measure your body fat when you weighed yourself with bare feet, but the new version also takes the opportunity to measure your heart rate. It also includes sensors for both the ambient temperature of the room and the CO2 present — and users will be able to sync the scale via either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth . Priced at $149.99, the new scale will replace the current Bodyscale in the Withings line. Both products will be available by the end of March.