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Gadget Guy: Withings Internet-Connected Scale

Published On: Feb 23 2010 04:12:21 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 23 2010 04:13:17 AM CST

Withings Internet ScaleRating: 4 out of 5 Price: $159 www.withings.com

When?s the last time you ever considered something in your bathroom to be technologically advanced? Chances are that just hasn?t happened. Well, hopefully your wireless internet reaches into the bathroom, because the Withings Scale is going to need it.

Straight out of the box you know this isn?t your parent?s scale. It has a sleek, metallic, modern look that is something you?ll want to show off in the bathroom, rather than feel like it should be hidden in a drawer.

So why would you want your scale to go online? So it can send your weight measurements to a secure site that can track and graph your progress.

Step on this scale barefoot and it not only measures your weight but it also sends a very small electric current into your body. Based on the amount of resistance it feels it calculates how much of your body weight is lean mass and how much is fat mass. It also calculates your BMI and sends those readings to a website where it?s all tracked, graphed and laid out for you to see.

Before we go any further, I should add that since it uses a small electric current to calculate the lean and fat mass numbers, someone with a pacemaker should not use this product.

With that out of the way, let?s go ahead and talk about the website where your data appears. Once logged in you see not only the most recent readings, but also the last two weeks? worth of fat, lean mass, BMI and weight all on a timeline that allows you to click on any date and see its data.

For the purposes of testing I weighed myself at the same time every day. But typically you?d do this once or twice a week as even on a daily basis your weight fluctuates a few pounds based on what you eat, drink etc.

The same data is available via a free iPhone application allowing you to take your tracking with you.

And the information can also be linked to things like your Google Health account, Runkeeper and Calories 2 allowing you to see exactly how exercise and food intake are helping or hurting your weight loss goals. If you?re brave enough, the scale will even take the liberty to post your results on your Twitter page!

Most people will have more than one individual in a family that wants to track their weight and the scale is smart enough to know who you are once you step on. It can keep track of as many as 8 different users. You?ll know it?s you because once you step on it will display the first three letters of your name.

The Upsides: What I liked about it was it?s very easy to use. Take it out of the box, connect it to your computer via USB and select the Wi-Fi network it?s to use. Then place it in your bathroom and step on it and your data is instantly sent to the website. It?s nice to have the lean mass and fat mass plus BMI because it gives you a better idea of how you?re progressing toward your goals.

The Downsides: While the Web site had a lot of great information, there?s just something about the user interface that feels a bit lacking. I think with a few tweaks that could be made even more intuitive. I?d like to be able to see lean mass, fat mass and weight all graphed out on the same page without having to select two for instance.

The Bottom Line: If you?d like to get a better handle on your new year?s weight goals or if you think a technology upgrade could make you step on that scale more often - this wireless device may be a smart purchase.

It retails for $159, with more information available at www.withings.com.

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