A Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker with the little extra.
At first glance this small, black, square gadget looks a bit odd and not like the usual activity trackers I’m used to see. In fact it looks like an ordinary, traditional pedometer. My first thought was how I’m supposed to wear that thing comfortably on my wrist. But you can’t judge a book by its cover and this thingy surely is packed with some incredible tools to monitor your health and keep you motivated for activity.
The Withings Pulse O2 has at least one great feature that most of its competitors don’t have, an in-built heart rate and blood oxygen levels monitor. You set the device to monitor, place your finger on the sensor on the back and it measures instantly. It’s not a continuous operation, and you have to do it manually once in a while, but hey, I’m impressed anyway. Before, and maybe after, training would be the right time to use this function.
Apart from that you can monitor the usual fitness tracking like steps, distance, calories burned and even elevation. And it’s said that this unit probably has the best sleep tracker you get. Read why later on.
Made in France
This activity tracker gadget is designed by the small company Withings located close to the French capital Paris. They are a very interesting manufacturer that has proven to come up with awesome tools for people interested in health and fitness. They have for instance also made the very cool WiFi Smart Body Analyzer Scale.
If you have heard about this product before, maybe you are a little puzzled by all the ‘Pulse’ products they have: ‘Withings Pulse’, the ‘Pulse O2’ and now the ‘Pulse Ox’. The truth is that they are all the same device. A legal issue with a large telecommunication company, with almost the same name, made Withings change the product name to ‘Ox’ in Europe. Since the gadget actually is a pulse oximeter I think they solved this name problem brilliantly.
The Pulse O2 fitness device is as mentioned a small, almost square, 4×2 cm thingy with an OLED touch screen on the front and the sensor for checking your instant heart rate and blood oxygen levels on the back. The display has a resolution of 128×32 pixels. The letters and icons light up in blue on the black background which looks pretty nice but it can be a bit difficult to read on a bright sunny day.
Cycling through the different screens of information requires you to press a small button on the top. Some screens require you to tap the screen itself or move your finger over in a sliding movement.
The activity tracker can easily be placed in your pocket, on your body or belt with a compact square belt clip or on your wrist with a wrist strap. It can be a bit tricky to slide the device into the wristband, but after a few times with practice, it’s no problem.
This fitness tracker is not waterproof so remember to take it off when you are in the shower. Put it in the charger in the meantime for instance. A good advice is also to be careful not to sweat on in too much because it’s not even water resistant.
Lots of Functions
A number of functions in this small device is nothing but impressive. It makes me wonder why not all activity trackers have all the same features as this one. A cycle through the different screens shows us the following:
- The first screen shows a self-chosen welcome message when you turn it on and then the time and battery level.
- The second screen shows you the step count which is according to user reviews and tests more accurate than other fitness tracker devices. A bar on the bottom indicates how far away you are from reaching your goals set for today.
- The third screen shows how high you have climbed and is especially useful if you walk a lot of stairs or run in hills. This is a neat feature every activity tracker should have!
- Fourth screen display your daily distance in km or imperial units and also how many minutes you have moved.
- The fifth screen shows a calculated estimate of burned calories. This is never an exact science and is just as unpredictable as other fitness tracking devices.
- When you reach the sixth screen, a Heart and a Moon icon are visible. The Heart icon is tapped when you want to check your heart rate and SpO2 levels with the sensor on the back. The Moon is tapped when you want to activate sleep monitoring.
You can also browse through your training history right on the device itself by sliding your finger over the different screens.
Best sleep tracker
Before enabling the sleep tracker mode you have to wear the device on your wrist. Then you click away to the sixth screen, tap the Moon and slide your finger over the display to turn the sleep cycle analysis on.
While many other activity trackers with sleep tracking only show movement and how long you have slept, this one also measure light and deep sleep, wake-ups and gives you graphs and overviews on your total night.
Sleep tracking doesn’t really help you in any way, but it’s interesting to see how this analysis reflects your own reality on how you slept. Did you have a good or bad night for instance? If you compare this analysis with how your day was and maybe you can compare good and bad days with the sleep analysis and find a pattern that eventually let you adjust your activities for better sleep.
Pulse and SpO2 measuring
Being able to monitor your blood oxygen level on a daily basis, even if you are not using the activity tracker for training, is a neat option. It’s said that the levels of oxygen in your blood (SpO2) can tell you a lot about your general health. In fact it’s called the “fifth vital sign” – the four others are temperature, pulse, blood pressure and respiratory rate.
Mountain climbers, athletes, people with asthma or other breathing problems can use this tool to give them a quick early warning assessments and monitoring of hypoxia.
On older Pulse devices a new firmware is necessary to install to unlocked the SpO2 measuring feature with the sensor.
Software and Apps
The training gadget uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect wirelessly with smartphones and tablets. Hold down the button for a few seconds and all the collected data is synchronized with the free Health Mate App. This is also synced to the web interface. The unit can record for 4 days before it tells you that you need to sync.
You set your goals in the app suitable for your use even if it is losing weight, gain weight or just maintain weight. If you own the Withings WiFi Smart Body Analyzer Scale, you can sync with that one too.
In the app, there’s a motivational tool in the form of a butterfly with wings that grow when you reach your goals.
The Pulse O2 is charged with a micro USB cable. When charged the battery lasts for two weeks. A good tip is to charge the battery more often for shorter periods of time to ensure that the battery always has power.
What’s In The Box?
- Pulse O2 device
- Belt Clip
- Micro USB charger
- User instructions
I like this product a lot because of its unique design and amount of functions. It may not be as anonymous other fitness bands, but you can hide it in your pocket if you don’t want to wear it on your wrist. Especially the elevation monitoring and the heart rate and blood oxygen levels measuring, which are unusual on a small device like this, are cool features. The price is medium high but you get what you pay for in this case – an awesome piece of technology and great advanced pedometer.
|Pros +||Cons –|
Where Can I Buy Withings Pulse O2?
US: Purchase this gadget on Amazon.com.
UK: Purchase this gadget on Amazon.co.uk.
If you are in or close to the, USA click the top link to check recent price and additional info. If you are in or close to the United Kingdom, click the bottom link.
More Info or Questions
If you want more info before buying, check out the Amazon user reviews section. Here are a few examples:
“I use it everyday. I really love it.” By yy (Eureka, CA USA)
“Great activity tracker, but much more…even get your O2 levels. Had other products before this is well worth price…which by the way is lower than most other like devices” By IJ
“It seems pretty accurate compared to others. The small size is perfect and the price is right. It’s very easy to use.” By Just me
Do you have any questions or comments on my Withings Pulse O2 review leave me a comment below.
|Type||Wristband and Clip|
|Dimension||43 mm x 22 mm x 8 mm|
|Materials||Plastic and rubber|
|Interaction||Button and touch screen|
|Interface||OLCD display in 128×32 Pixels Resolution|
|Battery Type||Built in Lithium-ion polymer battery|
|Battery Life||2 weeks|
|Charge Time||1-2 hours|
|Colors||Black. Wristband in Black and Blue + Green and Orange clip|
|Flight of Stairs||Yes|
|Sleep Duration and Quality||Yes|
|24/7 (All day)||Yes|
|Silent Vibration Alarm||-|
|Trophies/Rewards||Yes in App (Butterfly)|
|Wirelss or USB||Both|
|Device Compatibility||Windows, Android and iOS|
|Sync Method||Bluetooth 4|
|Mobile App||Health Mate App + third party apps|