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I killed my Withings Pulse in less than 48 hours (a review of the Withings Pulse)

Warning.  If you buy one of these puppies, TAKE CARE.  It’s so small I temporarily misplaced mine twice. Then I accidentally put it in with my laundry and killed it.  

I hadn’t even owned it two days and it was over and done with 😦

withings-pulse

But if you’re not as stupid as me, what can you expect?  Well this is a great little invention.  I purchased mine from Household Technologies in Australia, a local Withings agent.  At $129 (with free shipping), this diminutive device is good value – so long as you don’t kill it like it i did.

What does it do?  Well it tracks a range of your activities – including:

  • Steps taken
  • Altitude gained/lost
  • Running (kicks in after 60 seconds of running, proved quite accurate on my Sunday run)
  • Heart rate measurement via a touch screen on the rear
  • Sleep quality measurement (putting the pulse into a watch-like strap and setting the appropriate mode on the device)

The device has a basic touch screen where you can slide your finger to review options and make some settings options.  The top button acts as a toggle to cycle through some settings too.

Charged via mini-USB, Withings claim a remarkable two-week battery life, and full credit to Withings for ensuring you can plug that USB into your iPhone charger brick too. Awesome.

Connectivity to the free app on your phone is via Bluetooth.  I found it a little slow to dump the data to the phone, not badly so, but bluetooth has never impressed me so it wasn’t a surprise in the scheme of things.

Screen withings-pulse

The Withings apps is comprehensive and easy to use, the people behind this have clearly put a lot of thought into it.  Set up is easy, and the data is presented in clean interface.

In the short time I owned the Pulse, I really enjoyed using it.  It’s amazing technology in a tiny package.  I only have two gripes;

  1. Unlike Withings Smart Scales (which I use and love), the data does not get pulled into the “My Fitness Pal” app.  I didn’t realize how much I counted on this integration between my scales and the app and was sorry to see it’s absent.  Maybe in a future update?
  2. I think there’s a very high chance you will lose or kill your Pulse – putting it in the wash is all too easy when it’s clipped to your running shorts.  Suggestion – make a bright orange or yellow cover for it.  Black device on black running shorts – disaster.  They could offer a range of colors so you could go for maximum contrast.  Also, what about an optional beep tone toward end or start of day as a sort of alarm if it’s sitting in a bunch of laundry waiting to be washed?  (or just make it waterproof somehow – maybe via inductive charging and a membrane type button.

Will I replace it?  No.  I can guarantee I’ll destroy another one – it’s way too easy, and I bet a lot of people will also learn this the hard way.  I do hope they make it more visible, waterproof, or alarmed.  Until then, I am certain there will be a lot Withings Pulse’s without a Pulse.

UPDATE:  I was sent a quick survey by Withings, along the lines of “You haven’t used your Pulse in a while, what’s up?”  Guessing that’s the case with a lot of these things, in fact I’ll go out on a limb and say over half will be lost or drowned.  So I’m thinking a bracelet model is the only way to go – e.g. Jawbone Up, Nike Fuelband, Fitbit Force (and the last of those three has my attention at the moment)