The market is saturated with so many fitness trackers, that finding one that works for you can be a minefield.
New Year will always see a spike in the sales of these gadgets, as we try and work off all that Christmas excess. The point of having it in the form of a watch, is that it then starts to become more than a step counter and something a little more versatile and useful.
The Withings Pulse Ox is a slim looking device that I have tested over the festive period. Visually having the ability to see and check your steps is motivating and keeps you working towards your goal.
In the kit you get a watch strap, a belt clip, a micro USB charger and the tracker itself. The tracker can attach as a watch, to your pocket or belt, or you can just simply slip the unit itself into a pocket. The tracker is small and sleek, and the wrist strap is very comfortable.
The unit charges really quickly, which is always a bonus. It uses a standard micro USB, which most people (android users in particular) will have more than one of, so you can charge it at home or at work easily. Once fully charged it will last around a week.
The tracker is extremely light and you don't notice it at all. You can easily forget you are wearing it, and the downfall to this is it isn't water resistant, so you have to remember to take it off before a shower or swimming. The unit just slides into the watch strap, and it is pretty secure. On occasion, it did become dislodged when sleeping, resulting in a hunt for it in the morning.
The watch starts tracking instantly, but you will need to download the Withings app. The app is easy to use, and anyone should be able to use the simple interface. It isn't complex and it is quick to set up. With this simplicity, comes a slight downside, in that the information you receive is quite basic. However, I felt it was ample to keep me motivated. You can see steps, elevation, active calories (and total calories) burned, along with timed segments showing activity.
The range of features on the watch are pretty decent. There is a small button on the side which enables you to cycle through the various screens. It displays steps, time, elevation, distance, calories and has a screen for heart rate and night time modes.
Whilst on any one of these screens, if you touch the screen with a finger and slide it, you will see results for the previous 10 days.
As a step counter it works really well at keeping you on target. The screen makes it pretty easy to read, but if you stare at it too long it can look a little blurry after a while. The screen automatically switches to black, which is great for the battery life. The downside to this is that every time you want to know the time, you have to press a button.
The calorie count isn't always accurate. It can seem to be quite low considering the speeds I ran or walked at. However, it seems slightly more accurate when you bluetooth the info over to the app, and you see total calories burned. There are much more accurate calorie counters out there if this is a specific need to you.
It has a running tracker, which tries to automatically detect movement. This doesn't always work as well as you would like it too, and having something which you can turn on and off yourself would be easier.
I found the sleep tracker to be quite basic. It records you lying down rather than tracking your sleep. I have had sleepless nights with this on and it has told me I have had a good nights rest, when the opposite was true.
The heart monitor works really easily. You simply place the light over a finger and wait for a specified amount of time ( a few seconds). This proved to be pretty accurate as far as I can see. I did note on a couple of occasions that my heart rate seemed to be pretty high when I didn't feel I was over exerting myself. But I feel the tracker gives a good gauge.
Overall, the Pulse works pretty well. It is simple, has a fun and good looking app and will keep you motivated. You can invite friends and follow each other on the app’s leaderboard. Withings also have other bits of tech (scales etc) that can work alongside the pulse, making it pretty good value. I would say it is better suited to those who are more interested in general fitness, rather than those who are in serious training.
It isn't water resistant and the sleep tracker is poor. However, the target audience here are not hardcore fitness folk. It is a great general all-rounder for those just wanting to make sure they move enough, or are starting out getting in shape.