Oct 30, 2014
I had the misfortune of having some serious health issues a short while ago, and, without getting overly conversational about it, it changed me. It made me take health more seriously, and one fringe benefit is that it allowed me to take a longer, more appreciative look at the burgeoning area of connected health devices.
“Burgeoning” is somewhat of an understatement; the category is exploding. As part of my personal fitness odyssey, I’ve had the privilege of trying out interesting connected gear. The Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is one of them.
Personal blood pressure monitors are not new; I have had a generic one for quite some time. While convenient, the one drawback is the collation tool is not self-contained. I used my smartphone to collect the data via my all-round app HanDBase, and while the solution worked, I’d like a more homogeneous fix.
The Withings Wireless BP Monitor isn’t new either, but it’s a product that has continued to improve and is still defining the product category years after its inception.
The review piece Withings sent us shows the hardware in its retail glory; it’s in the familiar white and green (with chrome-ish accents) finish that Withings is familiar for. It has a prominent pre-formed cuff capable of fitting arms ranging from 9″ – 17″ and has a velcroed end that helps corral the extra strap that is part of the monitor. There is also a prominent bar that runs the vertical length of the unit that houses the batteries and presumably the bluetooth module that the unit uses to connect to devices; on this bar is an on/pairing button with LED. The unit comes with batteries already installed; the box also continues documentation.
Using the device as one getting acquainted with the companion Withings Health Mate app. When connected to the device (via Bluetooth/Bluetooth LE), the device preps to take a reading for a user registered to the device (or, a guest), and tapping “Start” does it. The cuff automatically tightens, and the cuff takes a reading; it promises accuracy within 3 mmHG on either side of a measurement, and also notes WHO systolic grades.
The companion app also serves as a health hub, allowing users to connect other Withings devices to it (like the Withings scale, and consequently allowing for a better health portrait to be created.
One thing I think the monitor could do better is be more like the Scale in its ability to gather seamless readings; as it is, it can only be initiated from within the app, unlike the scale, which can take readings with auto-detect capabilities that can be confirmed later. Also, the connection can be stubborn at times. I also would appreciate the ability to share batches of data via the app rather than single readings.
All in all, it is still a relevant piece of hardware. It isn’t the cheapest investment ($129 on Amazon), but does have the benefit of being relatively well thought out.