Withings Scanwatch: Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Smartwatch

    Before mobile phones and wearables like Fitbit, Garmin and Apple Watches many people used to wear analog watches to tell the time and set alarms etc.

    If you want to go back to those days and have a stylish watch but not lose the health tracking features of a wearable smart band, the Withings Scanwatch might be right for you.

    Withings describe the ScanWatch as the:

    “First hybrid smartwatch to continuously scan vital parameters to detect heart health conditions and help improve overall fitness. Developed with professionals from world-renowned institutions, ScanWatch boasts a medical-grade ECG, an oximeter for SpO2 measures, and an exceptional battery life of up to 30 days”.

    Inside the box you’ll find the watch, warranty and manuals, charging cable as well as a nice felt pouch to store the watch and charging cable in while not wearing it.

    The USB Charging cable ends in a circular pad that has pogo pins on it, these need to be lined up with the watch exactly or it won’t charge. It’s a bit finicky to be honest. I wish smartwatches could charge via wireless QI charge.

    Recharging speed is a relatively slow 25% per half an hour or almost 2 hours from flat to full.

    The Scanwatch (83 grams) is much heavier than my usual Fitbit Sense (33.1 grams) due to its more premium metal and glass construction.

    It looks a lot more stylish than my Fitbit Sense and can easily be swapped for another wristwatch band of the same size.

    If you’re used to a digital smartwatch stats display it will take a while to get used to having an analog style watch interface rather than having apps on your watch to use for payment and lots of screens listing all your fitness stats.

    Also the Withings display area for smart functions is much smaller than the Fitbit Sense and you’ll have to get used to pressing and turning the watch crown to navigate menus instead of having a touchscreen.

    The long battery life is a real plus, I got 2 weeks which is impressive considering how many notifications I enabled.

    However on the negative side it doesn’t have NFC so you can’t pay with your watch and it doesn’t have GPS to track running routes etc. It relies on you carrying your phone to do that.

    Also the watch face is permanent, you can’t change it like you can on a Fitbit or Apple Watch.

    I can’t speak for Apple iPhones but if you pair a Scanwatch with an Android phone like I did you can set it to show you calls, SMS and optionally enable on watch text notifications from any other apps you select eg your bank transactions etc.

    However you need to pay attention as the tiny smart screen doesn’t have much room and the notifications scroll off screen quickly.

    Speaking of notifications to set those as well as view any of the health and fitness stats you’ll need the Withings Health Mate app, which can be linked with Google Fit if you wish.

    Since there’s no touchscreen you have to use the crown for navigating the watch menus etc. I had to disable the long press crown feature because it kept activating while I was asleep.

    It’s great to have all these tracking features but if you’re like me and don’t have any issues with oxygenation level, heart beat, sleep etc or don’t have a corporate job where you need to wear a business shirt, suit and tie etc then this $499 watch might not be well suited to your needs.

    However if you’re older and do have heart or other issues that this watch can help track and / or you have a corporate job where a more digital smartwatch looks unfashionable with your work attire then the Withings Scanwatch might be just the thing you need.

    Neerav Bhatt
    Neerav Bhatt
    Thanks to his broad general knowledge, research skills and ability to explain complex issues Neerav Bhatt has appeared in the online, print, radio and TV media including: ABC (Online, TV, Radio), SBS (Online, Radio), BBC World Service (Radio), 10 News TV, Sky News TV, Australian IT, Technology Spectator, Ausdroid, iTnews, APCMAG, IDG CSO and a variety of other publications. In 2023 he joined the techAU team and represents them at Sydney events.

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